It’s 4 pm so nominations for candidates in next month’s general election have closed.
after a short delay a full list of potential members of parliament for
all 650 seats should be available to the voters. A list that should be
notable if only because of the number of changes since the last national
vote. Even without all the schemes for tactical voting – ie voting for
someone you don’t like so has to disadvantage someone you like even less
or just not fielding a candidate – there were around seventy seats
where the previous MP is not standing.
that there are also seats where the previous MP is standing but has
changed allegiance the total number of new MPs must be approaching a
hundred. And that does not allow for the fact that the Labour Party has
switched from – at best – neutral to firmly pro-EU. A move that that
will change voting patterns that have been in place for decades in some
the political turmoil of the past few years the 2019 result is going to
be hard to predict – but it is quite possible that Friday the 13th will
see the no end to the unrest …
This gang are apparently shaping the future of the country against the inclinations of its youth – according to guest speaker Ian McEwan at an anti-Brexit conference last week. He reportedly went on to further rubbish oldsters with – By 2019 the country could be in a receptive mood: 2.5 million over-18-year-olds, freshly franchised and mostly remainers; 1.5 million oldsters, mostly Brexiters, freshly in their graves. Charming.
Now this theory that lost referendum votes – Scotland leaving the UK and the UK remaining in the EU – will be reversed by waiting a few years for a change in the population profile has already been reviewed by impartial analysts and found to be completely false. People are not machines with fixed profiles rather they respond to events and learn from their mistakes.
Now if these views had come from a broad survey of youths they might have been more understandable – even if wrong. But coming from anyone in Ian McEwan’s age group suggests that they have failed to grasp the irony of their own situation. Mr McEwan will be 69 next month; so being eligible for angry old men gang membership himself – along with other old men of the same opinion. Certainly Bob Geldof (65), Ken Clarke (76), Richard Branson (66), Tony Blair (64) and even Alastair Campbell (60 this month) could all join him in any oldster gang. All they need is a suitably clever gang name … suggestions on a postcard to Gina Miller please.
Just a year ago we were in the build-up to a referendum vote on EU membership – with no prospect of a change of government until 2020 and a hope that the vote would clear the air.
Now the effects of the unexpected result have fired up activists for all sorts of causes and launched a range of political campaigns. So rather than just one dragon for St George to slay there are now dozens …
But at least with England’s national day falling on a Sunday this year we do get a chance to enjoy some historic re-enactments and grab a short break from the political upheavals around us.
The plans to launch an annual referendum festival for Scotland have been pushed back until May 2018.
However the inaugural festival will still be themed IndyRef2. And the promoters remain convinced that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will live up to her frequently repeated promise to fund a second independence referendum with the approval of the UK government.
A spokesperson for the promoters said that the main cause of the festival being delayed was the lack of meaningful progress towards implementing the result of the 2016 referendum on EU membership. It’s hard to kick-off a new referendum when the previous one is still being argued over said the spokesperson.
The hope is that by this time next year the situation will be that much clearer and the IndyRef2 campaign can start. However the second annual festival planned for 2018 – EuroRef2 – may now have to go back to 2020 thus making the event into a biennial promotion. The spokesperson confirmed that this was the most likely outcome given that referendum fatigue was in danger of reducing its appeal to both sponsors and the public. Also if the 2018 result was in favour of leaving the UK then 2019 would be a year taken up with implementing its consequences. The idea of linking the festival to a song contest that would select Scotland’s Eurovision entry was confirmed as dead in the water due to a total lack of support.
While most of our elected representatives have been on family holidays or important overseas study tours a few have been busy jostling for leadership of the Labour Party.
A contest that seems to have become a contest between old labour and even-older labour policies. In fact one of the few modern elements has been the repeat of Ed Milliband’s ill-fated strap line – Your Next Prime Minister. Otherwise it was the familiar messages about renationalisation, stopping privatisation and spending money that we don’t have.
But looking at the two candidates it is hard to imagine either of them ever being put in a position to implement any of their declared policies. One seemingly out of touch with anything outside his dogmatic bubble throughout the last forty years. [Who is Anton Deck? Was something on in Rio?] While the other is apparently unaware that it was strongly Labour constituencies – including his own – that were most in favour of Brexit and who is now calling for delays and a second referendum.
So once this contest is over the Labour Party will have gained many more activist members – but in Parliament it will still be lacking the influence its numbers should command. So then we are left hoping that the Conservative Party takes decisions that meet the voters’ mandate and protect the nation’s interests; while resisting the vested interests of lobbyists with deep pockets.
With Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, still stating that another vote on Scottish independence is highly likely the team behind an annual referendum festival has been encouraged to press ahead.
When the plan was announced some four weeks ago many thought that it was simply a spontaneous reaction against the UK-wide vote to leave the European Union. One that would rapidly fade after the shock result sank in.
But calls for an IndyRef2 – as soon as 2017 – have not gone away. Only yesterday several thousand pro-independence marchers – organised by the All Under One Banner group – demonstrated their support in Glasgow. So a RefFest there in May next year looks to have some guaranteed support. However the festival organisers have yet to find any firm financial backers. And plans for a national song contest and satellite RefFests for supporters outside Scotland are on hold.
In response to the large scale public involvement generated by IndyRef 2014 and EuroRef 2016 plans are being prepared for Scotland to have a national referendum festival as a regular fixture in its cultural calendar.
A spokesperson said .. The increase in political activity and public meetings that a referendum brings has major financial spin-offs and benefits in many areas; with flag sales, beer sales and banner printing services showing particularly large increases. The introduction of our annual Referendum Festival (RefFest) could give Scotland the same level of benefits as the Oktoberfest brings not just to Munich but to the whole of Bavaria.
Their provisional festival timetable calls for IndyRef2 to be held in Glasgow during May 2017 with EuroRef2 planned for Edinburgh during May 2018. The subject for the 2019 referendum is much less clear at this stage but the sale of Shetland to Norway, Orkney to Iceland and the Restoration of the Kingdom of Fife are the most likely contenders.
However the organisers have admitted that they will need much more funding before they can take their plans any further. They hope to supplement their current crowd-funding efforts with grants from Tourism Scotland, loans from Deutschland Uber Alles and sales of whiskey to the EU Commission.