after a month’s absence we find that the British political map has been
redrawn. Now many of the changes were widely predicted – or at least
hoped for – but perhaps few thought that so many would be realised so
Labour Party were shown to have fallen for their own spin that the
traditionally industrial regions would always vote for them no matter
how little notice had been taken of their opinions. In the real world
seats like Bolsover were full of voters fed up with the Islington
doctrines. One typical result being that Dennis Skinner was ousted after
49 years of being the MP for this rock-solid labour constituency.
many of those MPs that had pushed their own agendas, rather than serve
the people that they were elected to represent, got what they deserved.
They wont be amongst those being sworn in to the new parliament next
the Brexit Party failed to get any of their candidates past the post in
first place. This is not what many had hoped for – yet their effect on
the result was far greater than either Labour or Conservative supporters
– and the BBC – would admit.
our own constituency. The Conservative vote was up by less than 1.5% yet
the well-liked sitting Labour candidate had a vote fall-off of almost
18%. Why? Because the Brexit Party took almost 14% of the vote. Not
enough to do better than third overall but enough to sink Labour. So
much for people who voted to leave the EU in 2016 having changed their
mind, having died off or having been replaced by more intelligent first time Labour / Remain voters.
What next? A Conservative government with 162 more MPs than a leaderless Labour opposition certainly changes the game plan – especially after replacing dissident Conservative MPs with loyal party supporters and getting a new Speaker. Changes that should remove many of the obstacles to progress. And ones that will have already been noted by our European partners.
treaty with the EU is far from ideal – or even being desirable – but in
practice the WTO option for leaving looks as dead as remaining. So
neither side of the EU membership debate actually gets a clear victory.
The outcome is coloured neither blue nor red but a muddy brown shade of
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.