Monday, 16 December 2019

End Of The Line


The 2019 general election is over, and despite my desire for an unlikely result, my suggestion that the outcome was unpredictable was nothing more than wishful thinking. Boris Johnson will be in Number 10 for the next five years. Life will go on. The campaign to Remain in the EU will not. It is, barring something quite extraordinary happening, over. There is no democratic pathway to victory, and that must be accepted. We will leave the EU in January. It is true that Remain/EURef2 parties won 53% of the vote. It is reasonable to say that the Conservatives will take us out of the EU against the will of the people. However, our system of democracy works on a First Past The Post basis. And I have some thoughts about that, the result, and the way forward.

First Past The Post

FPTP does not usually produce a parliament that is truly reflective of the electoral vote and this time is no different. There have been occasions when a party with fewer votes that their direct opposition end up with a majority and can form a government. In this election, the Liberal Democrats increased their vote share by more than the Conservatives, SNP and Greens combined but ended up with one MP fewer than they started with.

On the flip side, FPTP does mean that there are fewer coalitions, which I consider a good thing. It also means that genuinely extreme parties are usually kept out of parliament. UKIP, despite its large vote tally in 2015, won just a single seat - and that was a Tory who had defected. I have never argued against the FPTP system, so I cannot grumble now that it has worked against me.

Jeremy Corbyn 

His supporters are already claiming that the defeat of Labour was simply down to Brexit. It is true that Brexit played a significant role, not least because by refusing to choose a side, Corbyn alienated both Leavers and Remainers. But the truth is, people just don’t like Corbyn. They don’t trust him. He was toxic in this election. He is incredibly divisive. And that was summed up best by Corbyn himself, with his party slogan.

‘For the many, not the few’ sums up his entire campaign. It’s a slogan that people are likely to associate with his Marxist roots, and this is not a country that is remotely inclined to lean very far in that direction. It’s an ‘us and them’ message, which is by its nature divisive. Even then, Corbyn failed to properly and accurately define exactly who belonged to ‘us’ and who belonged in the ‘them’ camp. Allowing your opponents free reign to do that for you is political suicide.

And yet, despite the crescendo of boos at the final curtain, Corbyn is refusing to leave the stage. He is attempting to set the scene for the next election. If he is allowed to do so, he is setting up the Labour Party for further defeat.

The Liberal Democrats 

I voted Lib Dem. The plea from those who ran tactical voting websites, plotting the best course to ensure that the Tories were denied a majority, was for me to vote Labour. I considered it. Right up till the last moment with pencil in hand, I was not entirely decided. But I could not vote for a party lead by Corbyn. Still, my vote for the Lib Dems was far from enthusiastic. You might think that their policy switch - from arguing for a second referendum to promising revocation - would sit well with me. It didn’t.

I believe in democracy. I am of the opinion that there should not have been an EU referendum in the first place. But there was. The electorate made a choice and it was (and still is) the duty of parliament to work towards taking the UK out of the EU. The only democratic means of reversing that instruction was through a second referendum. That was a poor call by the Lib Dems. And whilst they won my vote in this election, they lost me as a member of the party.

Rejoin

The UK will now leave the EU on January 31st. I am in no doubt the campaign to rejoin will start immediately. I won’t be aon that bandwagon, at least not for a while. Nothing will be achieved by stomping up and down, screaming blue murder on February 1st. Its also not reasonable to expect the EU to either want or allow the UK to jump in and out of the union every five minutes. The case to rejoin the EU will be made, or not made, further down the road. The case will be made on economic and social issues, and will include a new generation and a different demographic. And I will revisit the debate when the time is right. Exactly, when? I do not know. It could be two years. It could be twenty.

Until then, whilst I am not sure many people will ‘feel the heal’, I will enjoy the tranquility brought about by the certainty. And I will console myself that those who voted most fervently for Brexit are the ones who are most likely to suffer from the consequences, rather than myself. Indeed, when it all goes wrong and they come cap in hand for benefits, perhaps I’ll vote Conservative just to spite them.

Conclusion

My Inbox will be a more restful place now that I've unsubscribed from the Lib Dems, Open Britain and People's Vote. I wish Boris Johnson the best. He is what he is, and I've covered that ground before. Perhaps what is important is this: he isn't much of an ideological extremist. He isn't thick. He isn't really 'Britain Trump'. And thanks to his sizeable majority he will, one hopes, free himself from the ERG gangsters that have had the Tory party by the balls for the last several years. His post-election speeches clearly seem aimed at a new, wider audience than before. His narcissistic tendencies may well be our saving.


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Monday, 9 December 2019

Brexit 419


I'm not going to call Boris Johnson a liar. There may well be a mountain of well documented untruths, deceptions and broken promises to put forward as evidence regarding the question of his honesty. But I've decided I won't stoop so low as to call Mr Johnson a liar.* It's unseemly, undignified and adds nothing to the febrile political atmosphere. What I will say is this. If the Conservative manifesto began with the words, 'Dear Beloved One', introduced the writer as  a Mr Johnson Ahmad (a close confidant of the daughter of the late Colonel Muammar Ghadafi, dontcha know) and finished with a request for the readers bank details and a small advance fee,  then the document would more accurately reflect it's true nature.

The Conservative manifesto is, at its heart, the ultimate 419 scam. A scam that promises the world, and all for such a small price. Just a little initial sacrifice. And then another small charge. And so on, until you've nothing left to give. Nada. So on until it's all gone. Your savings. Your pension. Your NHS. And the promised riches are still no where to be seen. Because, of course, they never existed. No faux Nigerian prince has ever attempted anything this ambitious, this audacious, on this sort of scale. The Tories are breaking new ground with the scam, and they are confident that they can pull it off. And why not? If we've learned just one thing these last three years, it is that a surprisingly large proportion of the general public are a greedy, gullible and easily duped.

I do not know what the result of the general election will be. The pollsters seem convinced of a large Conservative majority. But then, they were wrongly convinced of a similar Tory landslide last time round. To my mind, this is as unpredictable as an election can possibly be. But if there one outcome that this democratic exercise will deliver of which I am certain, it is this: the Leave voters will be disappointed. A hung parliament may take away their dreams of Brexit with a second referendum. Or - worse still - Boris Johnson  will triumph, but his undeliverable Brexit promises will be shown for what they are. A scam, peddled by shysters, bought and paid for by mugs.

*Not today. But normal service will resume tomorrow.








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