Saturday, 25 May 2019
So, ding-dong Theresa’s gone? But, as she made clear, her successor isn’t going to find it any form of picnic and rebuilding the Conservative Party is a task beyond Boris Johnson’s thus far unimpressive diplomatic talents. Yes he will draw the crowds and yes he will pick up the sort of voters Mrs May could never reach, but he will lose sufficient numbers of the sitting MPs to make it impossible to carry the government through to the next scheduled election. What, with May’s disastrous 2017 snap election and the inevitability that Boris will piss off the DUP it is almost as if the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act had never happened
But who would want the job anyway? As Groucho Marx said, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member”. Why would you want to be the leader of only a half of a club while the other half loathe you and will plot against? So the undignified jostling for position that we are going to see in the next few weeks will just be a series of side events in the continued demise of our oldest political party.
Compromise, uniting both sides, finding consensus, bringing people together? Tosh; utter, unmitigated twaddle. If the Tories can’t themselves see that there are at least three parties in that unhappy marriage then they are doomed. Leavers, Remainers and fence-sitters seeking their next patronage make unhappy bedfellows. Maybe, in the past, Conservatism united patriotic people of many persuasions in the common good, a love of country has recently been decreed verboten.
Juncker called nationalists stupid. Verhofstadt regularly demands that national sovereignty be surrendered on the EU altar and metaphorical blood sacrifices are made to the holy edifice via the medium of political assassination... especially in the UK Tory Party. If anybody believes there is any form of settlement available at any time soon they are deluding themselves. And if anybody thinks that we can come to some form of amicable arrangement with the EU as long as we are part of it has obviously not been watching.
A Labour government is, of course, untenable. A disastrous combination of grievance politics, identity issues, perpetual class war and a bizarre belief that borrowing money to piss away is really investment, Labour doesn’t even have a cohesive vision, let alone a single realistic policy where it matters. Like Bill and Ted, all they have is ‘be excellent to one another’... ‘but not them’. If you want a party of division, the Labour amoeba is a natural home for you.
What of the Brexit Party, you ask? What indeed? From late tomorrow we will find out just how soundly they have scythed through the Conservative vote and when they take their seats in Europarl, they must surely become such a thorn in the EU’s side that the pressure to let us leave – and sod the ‘deal’ – will become irresistible. But then they will have achieved their only aim. But they could never become a cohesive party and Nigel Farage will surely never become an MP because, when it comes down to it, we still need a viable government and pretty much nobody will work with Mr Brexit.
At least there's no scandal...
So, where does all this leave us? Despite all the obvious evidence that the Tories ought to be finished, they are probably the only hope we have of ever getting out of the EU intact. And given that everybody has blotted their Latin grammar at some point during the interminable wrangling of the last three years they are going to have to be led by the least worst, rather than the best candidate. Somebody who doesn’t pose too much of a threat to the old guard but who can also appeal to the naifs. Somebody who the public can be persuaded is tolerable, for now; somebody they don’t all want to stab. For better or for worse, it’s going to have to be Boris, isn’t it?
Friday, 24 May 2019
Theresa May has at last resigned, but at least she has finally secured a lasting legacy - and one which will be celebrated for generations. By the Labour Party. The total breakdown of the Conservative and Unionists over the issue of Brexit has been spectacular, nail-biting and at times simply farcical stuff. But if Labour supporters are cheering this on they might also want to take time out to consider their own precarious legacy, for it is movements of the left, for whom Labour wants to fly all the flags, which have connived to altogether destroy the credibility of the press, Parliament and almost anybody in public life.
To say that leftists have double standards is to make hypocrisy sound as harmless as having a favourite flavour of milkshake. Of course, we all cry foul when our side is attacked and retaliation in kind is rarely the answer, but this past week has seen the ability to overcome cognitive dissonance being stretched to breaking point in some quarters. When Jeremy Corbyn was egged they were furious, yet when similar happened to Nigel Farage (or as the bien pensants now have it, just ‘Farage’) they cheered to the rafters.
Having spent the three years AC (After Cox) frenetically ranting about the rise of the right and politically motivated violence they barely flinch when charged with encouraging the same thing. In fact they openly mocked those who were conflating dairy-based assault with something worse, even as people like Tommy Robinson(NHRN) were facing down screaming, baying, brick-throwing mobs issuing death threats. What did police do? Not much; they have a right to counter protest, one silver commander opined.
While the left have reacted like hysterical children to every imaged slight, every slogan, every banner, every campaign talking point from those they label ‘the far right’, said far right has largely got on with the job and tried to peacefully make their point. And what has been the result? When a pensioner in Aldershot was milkshaked for supporting the Brexit Party they doubled down. Not only was this his just desserts[sic] it was obviously a fake.
Oh yes, Alastair Campbell, Emma Kennedy, Mike Stuchberry and others implied, suggested or downright insisted that this was staged by the ‘far right’ to stir up division and hate. It is only a couple of steps down Conspiracy Street and they will be imagining that we invented Nazism just so that a century later we could accuse the Labour Party of anti-Semitism. Talk about judging somebody by your own poor standards – if the right are as stupid as they insist we should barely be capable of spelling conspiracy, let alone plotting one.
But further, they insist that eligible voters have been turned away from polling stations. And no doubt, once the results are called, they will denounce every electoral official in the land for collusion with Russia. When you consider that they have been demanding a second referendum all along you would think they would have welcomed this, albeit accidental, opportunity to have their voice heard again. But the voice is week and wheezy, so they resort to what they do best – imagining that they really won, but were cheated.
When purple-faced, throbbing veined, distorted-featured, shrieking malcontents throw bottles and bricks and repeatedly close down debate, sabotage peaceful events, threaten physical violence and even death, yet imagine that it is not they who are the Nazis you know that all reason has been lost. One day, it is to be hoped, they may look at their badges, their masks, their paraphernalia, their slogans; they may take stock of the atrocities they have committed and the lies they have told; they might just wake up and see the illusions they constructed and ask themselves – were we the baddies?
Sunday, 19 May 2019
Once again the Eurovision Song Contest was political and once again the UK’s place in the political pecking order in Europe was established. Nul points; last again. Just as in realpolitik the substance doesn’t matter; we could have had the best act in the competition but still we would have been judged on our level of buy-in to the project. In truth we know that Eurovision is a camp little exercise in frivolity, vacuity and daftness and we have always been rather too earnest about it all.
But the timing could not have been better. As inconsequential as success in Eurovision is to the wider and rather more serious issue of the EU, coming last in the run-up to the real Euro elections will have done nothing to dampen enthusiasm for Nigel Farage’s insurgent Brexit Party. Hopes run high for the BP, come Thursday, but I have to caution that for many people their optimism runs a risk of tipping over into fantasy. Yes, the Faragistas have a real chance of dominating the poll this week, but beyond that I fear it will be somewhat less ‘earthquakey’ than many will wish for.
In short, Nigel Farage is not becoming Prime Minister in any decade of this century, if only because the forces he rightly rails against have far more power than we, the people, can possibly muster. Yes, he will make a dent – he will certainly, I feel, fatally damage the Conservative Party – and yes, people will begin to disbelieve what they are told when the evidence they see goes against it, but I fear we will have to endure the setback of a decade of Labour wrecking before sense prevails again. I wish it were otherwise; I truly do, but...
The first step for a bona fide non-violent full scale Political Revolution is trust. And whereas people no longer place much trust in the old party system, the establishment has inflicted deadly wounds on the corpus of Farage himself. Fake tweets, accusations of dark money, the Russians! But worse than that, for a movement that seeks to attract and mobilise the disenfranchised, the seedy notion that somehow Nigel is getting rich out of it. It is true that every attack piece increases the determination of supporters but it also damages the chance that the undecided will come on-board. This is exactly how the ‘Democrats’ in the USA go for Trump.
And it matters not how popular Farage is with the crowd; what matters is how that translates into power and influence; this is the real problem. We rejected an alternative to our first-past-the-post system in 2011 and the electoral game strongly favours entrenched, if outmoded parties, almost regardless of who they put up for office. Brexit will take a few Tory seats but they will almost certainly run second to Labour, even in places where the new party is gaining huge support for the EU elections. Most people simply don’t turn out to elect MEPs and come a general election old habits die hard.
At best the Brexit Party might – might – get to be potential king-makers to a minority Labour Party, a role they cannot possibly accept as it means certain death to Brexit. As a new party they have undoubtedly hooked into the zeitgeist and the appetite to fight the same old politics is clear. But they now have to settle into the long war, build a real party, unite hugely disparate ideologies among their candidates and future MPs and develop policy which has a chance of appealing across the board.
Propping up the same old dinosaurs...
As much as I want change and as much as I heartily endorse our withdrawal from the EU, this alone is not enough. We need to tackle the enormous departure of our society as a whole from what once made us the model for democracy the world over; but the forces that caused our current national distress are deeply entrenched and will take generations to overcome. Tony Blair may have accelerated the decline, but he didn’t start it. And the Brexit Party are going to have to be even more influential than he was before any tectonic shift will begin. I’m not investing in any earthquake defences just yet.
Thursday, 16 May 2019
They are coming for Tommy Robinson [NHRN] again. Of course they are; they are terrified that despite the serial no-platforming he still has purchase, he still has resonance and on a level playing field he has a real chance of being elected as an MEP. The reaction of the establishment, instinctively left-wing in structure, is to frantically ban, block, obstruct and smear. In fact hysteria is the constant feature of the loony left’s schtick; everything is portrayed in apocalyptic terms: last chance to: save the NHS, last chance to save the planet, last chance to resist the rise of the far-right..
The shrieking, keyboard-bashing, Guardianista-style commentators have it wrong – and they are so hostage to confirmation bias that they simply can’t see it - pursuing the far right fox as if it was real and not just a figment of their imagination. David Lammy, as a flag-bearer for the most extreme of wolf-criers, daily exceeds even his own propensity for hyperbole and regularly, if tacitly, urges direct action against the imaginary lupine hordes. John McDonnell is less subtle. Thuggish behaviour exists on both sides, but if you kill for animal rights you are a saint, while holding a Brexit banner makes you a Nazi, apparently. And Nazis deserve to be punched, right? When this is the narrative Tommy Robinson [NHRN] being ‘milkshaked’ becomes the act of a freedom fighter
The referendum was an act of direct democracy and certain people didn’t like it. Indeed the EU’s emptiest vessels have openly and loudly decried such blatant exercises of ‘populism’. “Let the people decide? Are you mad?” they cry. We have to decide if democracy is what we want because if we do want it we are inevitably going to get people voting in a way the elected heads disapprove. Trying to stifle the voices, shut down the debate, ban certain views, criminalise certain thoughts is expressly not democracy, it is totalitarianism and yes, this is exactly where socialism leads. If Tommy Robinson is the 'literally Hitler', then socialism is the direct road to full communism; a one-world open borders, ungovernable, chaotic, lowest common denominator planet, where a tiny minority rule over a vast human herd.
How about– and yes I’m going to say it – you just calm down dears. If somebody in a dead-end life in a boarded up street feels the local muslim community is taking over maybe they have a point? When four-year olds are being asked what gender they would like to be; when people think they are being abused and manipulated, marginalised and forgotten, maybe they have a point? When the British taxpayer, squeezed to buggery, wants to resist the too-rapid imposition of a fuel system which does not work for the majority and don’t want to pay yet more tax so that – once again – the better off benefit, maybe they have a point.
It's the same old question,
but neither side really has the answer.
And when we say that the far right is nothing of the sort; when we point out that raising the spectre of Nazism is a hysterical propaganda move; when we recognise that the millions of working people voting to leave the grand socialist project are peacefully using their vote to express their dissatisfaction and reject the perpetual whining and impositions of the establishment and its leftist institutions... maybe we, too, have a point?
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
While the great Brexit betrayal continues, with Theresa May apparently willing to collude with anybody who will help to avert Brexit while the toothless and very likely incontinent 1922 Committee look on impotent silence, I turn my thoughts to a parallel possible consequence of this whole sorry saga; a future Labour government. Never mind that they have yet to announce any coherent policy regarding the enacting of something called for by 17.4 million people, they still imagine they possess an ounce of credibility on economic matters.
Last week, for instance, they announced a policy to raise the minimum wage for the under 18s from £4.35 to £10. At a stroke, presumably, which is what employers will likely have. Given that the current minimum wage is £8.21 for over-25s, everybody will get the sugar. Oh, except for all those young people who will have become instantly unemployable. And all those slightly older but still less experienced workers who will be laid off.
How will Labour counteract this? I expect they will resort to their knee-jerk response of compulsion. After all, if their minimum wage plan is such a good idea, why not force employers to take on trainees regardless of the value they bring to the business and make it illegal to make people redundant. Then if the business starts to falter, will the red government also make it against the law to go bust? This is about as economically competent as Jeremy Corbyn’s assertion that getting money from a bank, then paying it back with interest isn’t borrowing.
And then just the week before, Labour were floating the Citizens Basic Income bollocks without any real clue as to what they were proposing. Of course we could have universal welfare; it still has to be paid for. But the CBI is fundamentally flawed on so many levels. Where is the socialist logic of paying rich people a basic income, out of the taxes they pay in order to give exactly the same basic income to poorer people? This is like those on the left who believe that taxes collected from those paid from the public purse is some form of income instead of a mere rebate on wages paid.
Welfare, workfare, charity, price-capping, job-guaranteeing, minimum standard of living, citizen’s basic income; these are all, on the surface, laudable societal corrections for those of low opportunity, aspiration or ability, but the principle objection remains - who pays for it? Oh, the rich? I see. And in Labour Land ‘the rich’ is anybody who pays more in tax already than they take out in a share of public services. I’m in that group; is there no end to our largesse? Is there no bottom to our pockets?
I want to like socialism – it should be likeable – but the opportunistic mammal that is man does not respond well to conformity. Yes, we are a herd animal and like leadership – man, we LOVE leadership – but we also have aspirations and ambitions of our own and are fiercely protective of our brood. So don’t pit my brood against yours; the natural winners will always win and the natural losers will rely on our charity. This may sound harsh but life isn’t fair and humans are not equal, no matter how much burden you place on the backs of the more able.
Forget Brexit and our frustrating battle against the pro-EU establishment. Forget the Remainer-Leaver antagonism. If you really want to pit half the population against the rest, all you will need to do is vote for Labour in the next general election; it will make Theresa May’s duplicitous, cack-handed premiership look like the good old days.