Tag Archives: Theresa May

Corbyn

Always felt that even the best of hands can be overplayed. Perhaps it’s just me but I can’t help but feel that “Corbynmania” is in danger of being overplayed. Jeremy is a decent lad. A real old school Labour leftie. Nothing wrong in that, nothing at all. While his party’s policy positions on areas such as Scottish Independence, Brexit and retention of Trident are at odds with mine and many in Scotland, there are still areas of common ground. However, Scotland isn’t really his issue. To win a General Election you need to win in England and at the moment I’m honestly struggling to see how this actually happens – I’d like it to, but I don’t see how.

While Labour are indeed ahead in the latest batch of opinion polls, and PM Theresa May is about as popular as a dose of the runs, the fact is we’ve just had a General Election (the second in two years) and the Tories “won” it. The Tories are unlikely to even contemplate another test of public opinion unless they are confident of winning again. While the Tories tend to have a solid core who back them in all weathers, the Corbyn factor undoubtedly has them worried. And so I don’t see another election any time soon. If and when that day does come though, I still have one major nagging concern with Corbyn and UK Labour in general.

Corbyn does not support Nuclear weapons BUT his party does.  For me it’s inconceivable that the leader can have a different opinion to their party on such a key issue. Based on some of the recent General Election TV output, the big problem appears to be that many, particularly in England, do support a nuclear deterrent. To not support one is to risk being portrayed as unwilling to “defend the realm” from invading hordes who would presumably swarm our Nuclear free shores. As mad as this may seem, it’s clearly something which plays with those in the key seats Labour needs to win i.e. traditional Tory shires. If Corbyn could get Labour into step with his CND roots AND win an election then we really would be in new ground. Can that happen? I don’t think so.

My feeling is that Corbyn will always be at the mercy of an establishment backing media who will portray him as being weak on defence and soft on terror. Jeremy’s biggest strength is also his biggest weakness – he’s different, and different while luring in some, frightens off others. In time, Corbyn’s legacy will likely have been to say there is another way to do politics. There is an electorate out there waiting to be engaged. However, in presenting something different you also need to ensure those who are afraid of change go with you. This is something the Scottish Independence movement continues to wrestle with. I think Labour will perhaps eventually return slightly more to the centre ground, but certainly not back to the days of Blair and Brown. The way the electorate are in this country you can’t simply win from the margins, unless it’s the right.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements

Grenfell Tower

Refurbished Tower

In the early hours of Wednesday morning a fire broke out and eventually engulfed Grenfell Tower in the Royal London Borough of Kensingston and Chelsea. For more on what actually happened I will refer you to the Wikipedia page. In this piece I just want to jot down some general thoughts on events as they have unfolded.

Like everybody else I watched on helplessly as the flames reduced most of the 24 story building to a charred, smoking monolith. Latest estimates seem to suggest 55-60 residents have perished. However, information has been very hard to come by, much to the distress, and in many cases raw anger of relatives and other residents.  Often a tragedy like this is followed by a quiet, solemn period as people come to terms with loss. However, many affected still can’t truly begin to grieve as there has been no formal word on missing loved ones. Perhaps because of this vacuum and perhaps because of the fears residents had over the refurbishment and general condition of the Tower what we have seen instead is a massive outpouring of justifiable anger and frustration.

One act above all has riled both locals as well as people watching from around the UK – the actions of the Prime Minister, Theresa May. In an act of crass insensitivity the PM visited the scene within hours to speak to members of the emergency services. All well and good, but there was one group of people she chose to ignore – the local people. While others such as Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan, Andrea Leadsom and even the Queen herself faced the front line, the country’s leading politician chose to stay away. Security reasons were quoted. To me this is an insult to the people who would have been there to meet her. Theresa May was roundly ridiculed for her increasingly stilted, evasive  and robotic performances during the recent General Election. She was also extremely loathed to interact with members of the public, instead preferring to keep appearances confined to back-street warehouses filled with party activists. There was also her refusal to take part in face-to-face debates with fellow politicians. It all added up to a picture of a person who is literally scared of the public, and people – not something any politician can be, especially one who is meant to be a leader.

Local kid adds to the sea of tributes

The Prime Minister belatedly visited the some of the victims in hospital. However, the moment had passed. In life, sometimes you only get one chance to do the right thing. Sadly for Mrs May when that moment came on Wednesday she woefully misjudged the mood of the local people as well as a shocked nation. From that there can be no comeback. She must resign.

Back in the Borough, anger is still the prevalent emotion. The actions of the Prime Minister aside, there is a feeling that once again the lowest in society have paid a high price at the hands of those looking to make a quick buck. The cladding added to the Tower may have pleased the eyes of the millionaires in their penthouses, but a material which was clearly not fit for purpose has created a highly visual and public tragedy which will scar London, and beyond, for many years to come. Hopefully answers will be swift and retributions appropriate. It’s no less than the people of Grenfell Tower deserve.

Thanks for reading.

General Election 2017 – Final Analysis

For the second time in two years the votes are counted and the result of another UK General Election is in the history books. Truth is most people and pundits felt this was a completely unnecessary election called simply to take advantage of Conservative positioning in opinion polls i.e. 20+ points clear of Labour. The idea was clearly to bury any possible opposition under a hugely increased Tory majority. Another interpretation was that it was run to give the Tories a mandate to clean up a mess of their own making – Brexit.

Prior to voting on Thursday the Government had a slim majority, but a majority none the less with a total of 330 seats. Once the final result had been counted and lodged the party tallies were as follows:

  • Conservatives: 317
  • Labour: 262
  • SNP: 35
  • LibDems: 12
  • DUP: 10
  • Sinn Fein: 7
  • Plaid Cymru: 4
  • Greens: 1
  • Independent: 1 
  • Speaker: 1

With 650 members, the UK parliament requires one party to have 326 (nominally 322 after you remove Sinn Fein, who don’t attend Westminster, and the speaker) seats to form a Government. As you can see this didn’t happen as the incumbent Tories actually lost seats instead of gaining, which had been the whole purpose of them calling the election.

What does this mean?

Well look down that list and you’ll see a party called the “DUP” with 10 seats. Who are the DUP and why are they important? Well, the DUP are the Democratic Unionist Party who are a Northern Ireland based party. You can read more about them here, and here.

DUP leader Arlene Foster with new Govt “partner”, Theresa May. Photo credit: Charles McQuillan/PA Wire

As of me writing this post nothing seems to have been agreed. There is talk of a formal coalition as well as of a looser (but still binding at key moments) “supply and confidence” agreement. However, things are ultimately defined the bottom line is that the Conservatives are having to rely on another party to keep them in power. Also worth pointing out that the leader of the DUP sits in the Northern Ireland assembly. This is something May had previously derided as untenable when Labour and SNP were being talked of in coalition. How times change when needs must.

The vultures are now well and truly circling for Mrs May. It would seem unlikely she’ll survive to see the damage that her deal with the DUP might cause. There are already calls for another election. Whether the British people have the stomach for that, I’m not sure. Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party are now already ahead in the latest polls – perhaps another reason why we won’t be seeing another election any time soon. Either way politics could be interesting over the coming months, more interesting than Theresa and the Tories would have bargained for in their worst nightmares.

Thanks for reading.

Power At Any Cost

Last night the UK fell victim to its third terrorist attack in as many months, the second in two weeks. Not surprisingly this drew a strong response from the United Kingdom Government. As expected a speech was given by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, outside No. 10 Downing Street. All well and good you may think. So what is my issue you might be asking?

Well, my problem is that her speech included the announcement that all national campaigning would be suspended for the day. Now, you can argue long and weary whether the democratic process should ever be put on hold, but that’s for another day. The Prime Minister then proceeded to read a speech which was as overtly political as you could possibly imagine.

To clarify. The current Government is only the Government until Wednesday. On Thursday the country goes to the polls to elect a new Government. Therefore any response to recent tragic events will lie with whoever wins Thursday’s election. In all likelihood that will be Tories. However, nothing is set in stone. Yet, this morning the PM read out a list of actions which would be taken (need to be taken) to escalate the war against terror. These were in effect policy commitments on behalf of the current Conservative Government i.e. it was blatant politicking. Maybe I’m being naive, but I would have expected a strong, heartfelt, respectful and unified message – perhaps even reference the other party leaders. Instead we got electoral commitments. To stand there and say national campaigning was suspended and then launch into national campaigning was frankly staggering.

Look, I’ll not hide my views. I don’t like the Conservative party, for a whole host of moral, ethical and political reasons. However, to see them take such brazen advantage of a tragedy is sickening. More over it’s utterly hypocritical. I’ve always thought it, but today proved it. The Tories would do anything to hang onto power.

Thanks for reading.