So the Conservatives win again, with a bigger majority.
This despite having a leader who almost nobody likes, and policies that nobody really wants.
Unless they are very rich of course.
And despite promises by the opposition to make the NHS secure, nationalise transport and utilities, and give out free broadband.
All too easy to blame it all on Jeremy Corbyn. Supposedly, the public just don’t like him, and his leadership cost Labour the election, as well as losing many historically-held seats.
That’s not really the case though, we all know that.
The election was only ever about one thing, and that was Britain leaving the EU.
Since the summer of 2016, Leave voters have been derided for being racist, stupid, uninformed, misinformed, duped, and many other things, including apparently all being overweight. Not one of them was ever given the credit for understanding what they were voting for, because they were considered to be unintelligent, incapable of reason, and unable to comprehend anything. The Labour Party was taken over by people insisting on remaining in the EU, as was the Liberal Democrat Party. During the recent campaign, many Labour candidates (including the one where I live) openly stated that they would fight to cancel Article 50, and stay in Europe as a member of the EU.
The Liberal Democrat leader made staying in Europe the main feature of her party’s policies and platform. She lost her seat, and has resigned as leader.
In former Labour strongholds that had voted to leave the EU, Labour was defeated by a swing to the Right that was unprecedented in those communities.
This is the backlash. The revenge of those people deprived of democracy after voting Leave in the referendum in 2016, and winning that vote. Ever since, they have had to sit and watch as politicians and organisations attempted to overturn that vote, and unravel the whole democratic process we thought we lived by.
So now we have this government. One run by the rich, for the rich, and nobody knows how bad it will get over the next five years. This country may well have a increasingly right-wing Conservative government for the rest of my life.
Is anyone surprised? I’m not.
The ‘No choice’ Election
Well it looks like we will have a General Election in December. That’s a ‘maybe’, until someone tries to stall it, like they have stalled leaving the EU for over three years.
December the 9th, or December the 12th. It matters not to me, because I have nobody left to vote for.
My usual default vote would be (somewhat reluctantly these days) for the Labour Party.
But now they want a second referendum on the EU, if they win. (Which is unlikely)
At best, they keep talking about a ‘People’s Vote’, just another expression for a second referendum.
So, I cannot possibly vote Labour, as they have ignored the result of the 2016 referendum completely.
Because they didn’t like that result.
I cannot possibly vote for the Conservative Party, because they are just privileged arseholes.
I would sooner bite off my own leg, than ever cast a vote for those insufferable bastards.
Liberal Democrats? Wishy-washy, no-policy losers, who want us to stay in the EU.
My vote is never going to go in their direction.
The Brexit Party? Right-wing, xenophobic Nationalists, one step away from Fascism.
It goes without saying that they can f***k off.
The Greens. All cosy, comfy, and worried about the planet. Hmm…
No. They want to stay in the EU. To hell with the 2016 referendum result.
So, that’s me. Done with politics. Sick to my stomach about so-called ‘Democrats’ who think it is alright to fight against an election result because they didn’t win.
Fed up with elected politicians who ignore the will of the people that voted them in, because it suits their pockets, and their personal ambitions.
Good luck with the election. I will not be participating.
Unless they put ‘None of the above’ on the ballot paper.
Parliament, Brexit, and The Will of The People
I have no doubt that everyone will be aware of recent events in British politics that have resulted in the temporary closure of the Parliament, a process known as ‘Proroguing’.
This is not something you hear about every day, though it has happened before. Here is a definition.
What does proroguing parliament mean?
The act of proroguing parliament brings to an end the current parliamentary “session”. This leads to a short break before a new session begins.
Parliament runs in “sessions” that generally last for around one year, although the length can vary.
A session opens with a “Queen’s speech” where the government sets out the laws it wants to pass over the coming session. Parliament must then approve the speech by voting in favour of it. Parliamentary business which hasn’t been completed by the end of a session is normally brought to an end (meaning it can’t be picked up at the start of the next session).
If that doesn’t mean much to you, then join the club.
In plain speech, the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, along with his Right-wing rich boy cronies, was unable to get agreement for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit on the 31st of October. Parliament was blocking him, and his majority is too slim to ever give him hope of winning a no-deal vote. As well as his opposition, many of those in his own Conservative Party rebelled against him, with the Scottish politicians even going to their High Court to have the suspension of parliament declared illegal.
Ironically, many of those opposing the no-deal departure from the EU represent constituencies that voted heavily in favour of Leave. But they think they know better of course. After all, the voters are mere dull-witted ‘plebs’, giving them a well-paid job with lavish expenses that will last at least until the next election.
So Boris took the rather drastic option of closing down Parliament, preventing those trying to stop a no-deal option getting through. It is likely that when it reconvenes, there will not be enough time to debate any issues further, and we may well leave on the 31st with no arrangements with the EU.
But everyone forgets that this is what the majority voted for, in 2016. Much is said now about people not wanting no deal, and not being sensible enough to realise what they were voting for. Even more is said about the fact that 48% of the voters opted to remain. But we live under a political system where the majority vote in a referendum is the winning vote. Even if that was one vote, let alone 1,269,501.
I cannot stand Boris Johnson and his sickening hangers-on. I hold no brief for the Scottish Nationalists that want to stay in the EU, or those in Northern Ireland that want to do the same. I am neither xenophobic, nor racist, and do not associate myself with any of the right-wing or nationalist groups in England clamouring their support for the Prime Minister.
But I did vote to leave the EU, more than three years ago. Ever since, the will of the people has been trampled on, sneered at, and attempts made to overthrow it.
It’s time to leave. Deal or not, Boris or not. Otherwise, we have to face the truth.
We do not live in a Democracy.
Who Blinks First?
So the EU has refused all further negotiations. Donald Tusk has made his landmark comment about that ‘special place in Hell’, and we have a stalemate.
Well I am ‘old-school’. When I used to play cards, I didn’t blink. And faced with the possibility of the inevitable, I went ‘all in’.
So my message to Tusk is simple, if you will please forgive the expletive. “Donald, you can go and f**** yourself, and the horse you rode in on too”.
Forgive the repetition, but the UK is by far the largest trading customer of the EU. We buy more goods from them, than any other 19 nations combined. They have it all to lose, not us. But we sent a worm to do a lion’s job, so Mrs May will come back cap-in-hand, and whimper.
Let’s roll the dice. A no-deal Brexit, with a hard border with Ireland, the country that has caused all the problems. Slap on some tariffs, and watch Ireland squeal. Without the EU, that country would have collapsed long ago, little more than a banana republic. They sell us Guinness, and Irish Whiskey, also some butter. Just ban those imports, and listen to the crying.
It’s time to finally play ‘hard-ball’, something we should have been doing in July 2016.
A ‘No Deal’ Deal
Current mainstream opinion has it that everyone is no so tired of Brexit, that most people would just vote to stay in the EU, given the option again. I am not so sure about that, but I do appreciate how the constant bickering and endless reporting of ‘non-news’ about our departure has made Mr and Mrs Average sick and tired of the whole debacle.
Now Mrs May has come back with a deal that sounds as if it was dictated to her by the EU negotiators. As well as not really getting anything we asked for, we are told we will be be paying close to £60 BILLION for the privilege of not actually being allowed to leave on any of our own terms. I can remember this figure being closer to £15 billion back in 2016, so it seems inflation is worse than I thought.
And then there is Parliament. They are unlikely to vote to accept Mrs May’s (read the EU’s) deal, as nobody on either side of the argument thinks it has even the slightest merit. That leaves us with a leaving date, and a deal that is unacceptable to all parties, especially those of us that wanted to just leave with no negotiations in the first place. They say this could bring down the government, possibly forcing a leadership challenge for the Conservatives, perhaps even a snap General Election. Neither of those possibilities will solve anything, as a new prime minister, or a new party in power, would both still be facing the prospect of that ‘no-deal’ withdrawal next year.
The Hard Right still want a Hard Brexit. At the other end of the political spectrum, the Hard Left also want a Hard Brexit. Everyone in between just wants it all to go away, and to never hear the awful made-up word Brexit again, for as long as they live. Theresa May has broken her promises, and shown obvious cowardice in the face of the EU. (For EU, read France and Germany) She reminds me of one of those ‘gentlemen’ who pays a dominatrix to cane them on the bum, whilst saying “More please, Mistress”.
But I had an idea. This could all contribute to the resurgence of a long-standing British theatrical tradition, The Farce.
I will be starting work on my new play, ‘Brexit: Too many bedroom doors’ forthwith.
Chequers, Brexit, and The Mess
When we voted to leave the EU, my preferred choice would have been to leave at midnight that same day. Just leave. Pull all the people out of Brussels and Strasbourg, turn our back on all the rules and regulations, and politely inform the EU that if they expected us to pay any penalties, they had better engage the services of some very tough bailiffs. We could have spent the next six months unravelling all the red tape, sorting out who could stay and go, and what would happen to the ex-pats in Europe. Bring in some ‘soft’ checkpoints in Northern Ireland, tighten up customs controls at Dover, impose a bundle of random tariffs, and allow any outstanding contracts to run their course.
Why did I think that, and why would I want such a drastic step?
Because I knew full well what would happen.
Negotiations. Backlash from Remain voters. Waffle from the weakest Conservative government in living memory. Court action to try to overturn the democratic decision of the people. Staying in, in all but name, just a watered-down version of what we had before, with less influence than the little we already had. We might as well have sent the French and Germans a note, saying something like this.
‘OH DEAR. WE DIDN’T EXPECT THAT.
BUT NEVER FEAR, WE WON’T LET IT REALLY HAPPEN.
SOMETHING WILL TURN UP.
PLEASE DON’T HATE US!’
Since 2016, the so-called negotiations have proved to be the most one-sided in the history of that word. They consist of us asking for something, and the EU replying “NON!” Even the man tasked with fighting our corner, David Davis, resigned from his job when he realised he had to do it with his hands and feet tied together, and tape over his mouth.
Once the various actions designed to keep us in and overturn the vote had failed, tactics changed. We were then told the horrors awaiting the dreaded ‘No Deal Brexit’. Big business threw in the heavy guns, threatening to leave these shores if the unthinkable no deal was on the horizon. Most recently, the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign has been agitating for a vote on the outcome of the non-existent negotiations, expecting a resounding decision to Remain, after that second ballot. I wonder what they would do if we voted Leave again? Go for a third try? Then the much lauded Chequers agreement was presented by Theresa May, a leader hanging on by a thread.
The EU laughed in her face, with a resounding “NON”.
Much fear is spreading (apparently) over the prospect of a ‘No Deal’ deal. It is second only to the end of life as we know it, according to the harbingers of doom. They are obviously not old enough to remember a time before 1975, when we were not in the EU. I am, and I can tell you, it wasn’t that bad.
But trendies in Chiswick and Islington are fainting at the thought of life without being able to grate their own Parmesan, or having to pay too much for Prosciutto. They want to be able to enjoy weekends in achingly trendy European locations without bothering too much about passport control. And if all the foreigners get fed up and go home, who is going to be driving the Uber cabs? All good reasons for voting Remain, I am sure you can see that.
So, back to the beginning. I knew this would happen. We are unlikely to get any ‘deal’ worth its name, and will probably just leave with nothing, in six months time.
We might just as well have done that in 2016, and saved over two years of grief and expense.
The Brexit Betrayal
Ever since this country voted to leave the EU in 2016, the issue has consumed the news media, as well as being a source of heated debate among the population, with the great division caused by the vote. Even though I voted to leave, I never had much confidence in any government actually taking us out, in the spirit of the referendum. Sadly, it seems that I have been proved right.
The people who wanted to remain, so lost the vote, have waged a relentless campaign ever since. This has taken the form of court actions, public protests, outright insults against those who voted to leave, and the non-stop pressure for a second referendum, hoping to get the result they wanted in 2016. Despite her famous cry, “Brexit means Brexit” it has been obvious to anyone with half a brain that Theresa May never really intended to leave the EU, in anything but ‘name only’. The failed discussions, the intransigence of the EU negotiators, and behind the scenes deals with the German leader Merkel were all visible signs that she would return with a suggestion of a revised Brexit, that was much the same as remaining in the EU.
Foreign companies are queuing up to announce that they will pull the plug on their UK operations, if we leave without the deals offered by the French and Germans. Many of those industrial giants (including car companies, and drug companies) are run and owned by Germans. Fishing quotas are also in dispute, and many of the EU fisherman demanding access to UK waters after Brexit just happen to be French. Like anything in this world, all we have to do is to ‘follow the money’. The EU is run by Germany and France for their own ends, and everyone else either falls into line, or faces threats and financial sanctions.
Today, the minister responsible for negotiating Brexit from the start has resigned. A meeting of the government last weekend resulted in a decision to carry on with talks for a totally watered-down Brexit that would still leave this country inextricably tied to Europe. Theresa May told the German leader of that decision before announcing it to Parliament, or the British people. The referendum has therefore been proved to be meaningless. The voters who thought they had succeeded in their desire to leave the EU completely have been betrayed, and with them the whole idea of any fair and free elections in this country. If they don’t like the result, they won’t implement it, simple as that.
Before all those who see this as a ‘victory’ of sorts start to celebrate, they might want to think about what it means in the wider scheme of things. No election or referendum will ever really mean anything anymore. Democracy in Britain, such as it was, is now just a memory.
New Year, new politics
This is usually a quiet time on the world political scene. The lull between Christmas and New Year also seems to operate in international affairs. But look closely, and there is a lot going on.
Street protests and rioting in Iran. Not something we have seen much of since the days of the Ayatollahs, but strangely coincidental to recent murmurings regarding North Korea, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. One minute the US is condemning Iran for aiding North Korea, and the anti-Saudi forces in Yemen, the next they have a ‘popular uprising’ on the streets. Come on, pull the other one. Rarely have I seen such a blatantly obvious CIA/Mossad inspired operation. If they can’t get them by going through the front door, they go round the back. Treating Iran as if it is some kind of hopeless principality in the middle of nowhere is sure to backfire on those involved. That country has a population of more than 80 million, and a well-equipped military too. And it is 640,000 square miles in size, so not Grenada.
North Korea is having talks with the South Korean government for the first time in a long while. Mr Trump has claimed the credit for this happening. That’s worth a belly laugh. Anyone with the tiniest understanding of those countries will be aware that each side views the other as neighbours and relatives, and not as enemies. They have always wanted to talk, but outside pressures have constantly interfered.
If you believe the news, Europe is all about the Brexit issue, and the UK leaving. But behind the headlines, parts of Europe are very worried about elections of anti-EU politicians in their countries. The Czech Republic has elections this year, and in Italy, some right-wing parties are forecast to do very well too. The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, is set to gain a second term in 2018, and that country also has its share of far-right, anti EU politicians. Even in peaceful Sweden, the right-wing Sweden Democrats look set to increase their influence in the coming year.The Polish government has been defying EU laws, and will no doubt continue to clash with them throughout 2018. The real truth is that the EU is on the verge of collapse, at least in its current form, as the stranglehold of France and Germany is resisted by more and more of the member nations. They have a lot more than Brexit to worry about, that’s for sure.
And let’s not forget Russia. Most of it may not be in Europe, but its influence is widespread, and Vladimir Putin looks like he will get another overwhelming majority in the elections this March.
So when the news reports ‘not much happening’, you can be sure that there is.
Brexit: The new Civil War
It seems my country is being consumed by the debate over the referendum result. Friends are falling out, families are divided, and the polarisation of opinion has rarely been seen in my lifetime. This is more than falling out over a vote. Much more than ‘agreeing to disagree’ about a point of view. There is a bitterness behind it all; a burning resentment, often bordering on hatred.
The sides have been chosen, the lines drawn in so many sands, and nobody will be shaken from their beliefs. Not since 1642 has this country felt such division, though this time the weapons are words, rather than swords and guns. There was a vote, and 48% of those who voted did not get the result they wanted, or perhaps more accurately, expected. Ever since, through the mainstream media, in parliament, on blogs, and in any way that they can, that 48% (and those who didn’t even bother to vote) have been trying to overturn the referendum. Meanwhile, they have stalled it, protested against it in the streets, and campaigned against it in every single way possible.
That is their right of course, in a democratic society that provided the referendum they lost.
But what if it had gone the other way, the way they wanted? Would these Remain advocates have tolerated such vociferous opposition from those who had voted to Leave, but lost? I suggest not.
Leave voters like myself are made to feel as if we are simply stupid, or much worse. Insults flow thick and fast.
We are racist.
We are xenophobes,
We are uneducated.
We are not politically aware.
We are not ‘travellers’.
We are overweight. (Yes, one study looked at average weight)
We live in places where foreigners are hated.
We are not urbane.
We have no sophistication.
We have no world view.
We are all Right-Wing supporters, little better than Nazis.
We yearn for Empire, so are imperialists at heart.
Even those who don’t insult us directly do so by default.
We were duped.
We were fooled.
We are mere pawns of big business.
We are sheep for the use of capitalists.
We didn’t understand the implications.
We couldn’t comprehend those big words.
It was our poor education that made us vote the ‘wrong way’.
We took too much notice of propaganda.
We believed everything we were told.
We couldn’t be expected to be bright enough to have made up our own minds.
The latest cry is that ‘Its not too late”. Well, for those of us who voted to Leave, it is too late. We voted to Leave, and that’s what we should be doing. If the referendum is overturned, it will be too late for the democratic process we supposedly live by, that’s for sure.
Of course, the Remain voters contained a higher percentage of university graduates. They were all free-thinkers, many of them urbane city-dwellers with the ‘correct attitude’. They are mulitculturalists at heart; well read, well travelled, and up to date on world events. They are the intelligentsia of this nation, the keepers of morals, and the libertarian ideals. The best of the best, undoubtedly.
But it is unlikely that 48% of the population here fit those criteria. Any more than the other 52% are what they are constantly accused of being. They lost that vote, and it is unlikely that they will ever forgive the people who voted the other way. The bitterness is tangible now, and set to last for a generation, or longer.
This new civil war is not over. It has a long way to go yet.
The Independence Game
We are hearing a lot about independence these days. Britain seeking independence from the EU, Scotland seeking another try at independence from the United Kingdom, and a lot of people in Northern Ireland seeking to join the republic of Ireland, and gain independence from Westminster.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Scottish people had their chance to leave the United Kingdom. They had a referendum in 2014, but chose to stay in, by a majority of 55% to 45%. We didn’t hear any rumblings from Northern Ireland either, not until the decision to leave the EU last year. Now the republican Sinn Fein party has had surprising success in local elections there, with its stated objectives of becoming part of Ireland, and remaining in the EU. They are calling for their own referendum to leave, just as the Scottish Nationalists are also demanding to be allowed a ‘second go’ themselves.
It is no secret that both these regions benefit greatly from being part of the EU. Huge grants and subsidies keep them going, and these are unlikely to be matched once Britain formally leaves the EU, in a few years from now. Pundits cry about the break-up of the United Kingdom, and the end of the Britain we have known for centuries. But I have a suggestion.
Just give them independence. Don’t waste money on elections and referenda, pick a date, and tell them from that moment that they are independent. If they want, they can try to become members of the EU in their own right. In Northern Ireland this will be easy, as Ireland is already a member. But let’s see how Scotland manages with the Euro as their currency, and a foreign country (England) along their southern border. Let’s see if Ireland is happy to pay the benefits for the 5.5% of unemployed people in the six northern counties, and to police the sectarian troubles that will flare up once all this happens. Let’s see if Scotland can get the EU to fund its own 5.3% unemployed, and manage to pay a membership contribution at the same time.
They would do well to look at some modern examples of ‘Independence’. All those Balkan countries who sought independence from Yugoslavia. The Baltic States who wanted to regain sovereignty from the Soviet Union, and so many more. Their people are now picking crops for less than minimum wage in Britain and other European countries. Living four to a room, and being exploited by gang-masters. Their young women are being trafficked into prostitution in Europe, to cater for the sexual appetites of Germans and Britons, as well as others. Talk to them about the wonders of independence.
It would not bother me if Northern Ireland became part of Ireland, or Scotland became an independent country. England may no longer be that ‘green and pleasant land’ immortalised in the hymn. It has its own problems to sort out, but I am pretty sure we can manage to do that without Scotland, or Ulster.