Tag Archives: westminster

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.

Is there an end to this?

By this I mean Islamic terrorists killing innocent people? By innocent I of course mean in the eyes of everyone other than those who do the killing.

It is of course an extremely complicated subject, and one I have really yet to study, but as best as I can see there are two commonly quoted “justifications” for these attacks:

  • Reprisals for western involvement in wars against countries centered around the Islamic faith
  • Religious intolerance i.e. killing non-believers (those who don’t follow Islam)

Perhaps there is a solution to the first. However, I can’t see a solution to the second unless the entire world adopts a single faith – and that’s never going to happen. You would hope that in time there might be an increased tolerance of other ways of life and indeed of other faiths. However, I expect I may be both naive and optimistic in hoping this will happen.

It’s a sad, but undeniable truth, that we currently live in a world where hatred and intolerance is the new norm. Hate now counters hate. In such a climate the answer to the question posed in this blog post’s title is quite possibly “No”.

Thanks for reading.

Fear of Democracy

fearLately I’ve been limiting my thoughts on the General Election to a maximum of 140 characters. However, there are moments when the confines of a Tweet simply won’t do. Now, is one such moment.

For the last few weeks Electioneering, on both sides of the border (by Labour and Tory), has focused on the Scottish National Party. The line in Scotland from Labour is that if you vote SNP you’ll get a Tory government, which is a myth so easily debunked I’ll leave it to Google. Down south the Tories are saying Vote Labour and you’ll get the SNP in a coalition (formal or informal, vote by vote…whatever) enabling “the separatists” to influence UK wide decisions – a UK they would like to “break up”.

Fine. I get it. Political parties need to do what they have to do.

In Scotland Labour are in danger of a wipe-out at the hands of the SNP, so they attack them, paint a supposed nightmare scenario of another Tory government. Thing is to most Scots the difference between Red or Blue Tories in power is neither here nor there. What matters to Scots is to have MPs down on the green benches who will truly hold the government to account, irrespective of its colour. As we saw in the referendum, when push comes to shove Labour and Tory watch each other’s backs. The Scottish electorate is cannier than many perceive and they know the game now. They won’t be fooled again.

In England to play the SNP card, to raise the spectre of the Alex Salmond (even though he’s not even the leader) marching into Westminster, to casually wander into racist/xenophobic waters is the chosen Tory party, and supporting press route. We’ve had Alan Massie and his River Thames foaming red hysteria as well as Bruce Anderson suggesting parts of Scotland effectively being partitioned off if they vote NO in any future referendum. This morning we even had the unedifying sight of a Tory MP Anna Soubry admitting to being quite literally “terrified” at the prospect of the SNP having any influence at Westminster.

stay

Thing is, the UK begged Scotland to stay. “Don’t Go” they pleaded. “We love you” they cried. “Play your part in a United Kingdom” they said. “We’re Better Together” they repeated ad nauseum. Ok. So we stayed and as such we’re going to play a full part in the democratic process. If Scotland can be ruled by a Tory government with one single MP, the United Kingdom can surely have no complaints if 40-50 democratically elected SNP members have their say on UK matters now and again.

Let’s be clear, Unionist parties want Scotland, they’re just not to keen on the people in it. We can come to Westminster if we play the game according to their rules. Well, we Scots are bored of the old game, so we’re starting a new one. You want us, you’ve got us – warts and all. If you don’t like it then you know what to do i.e. let us go and get on with running our own country, and you yours.

Thanks for reading.

Rising From the Ashes of Despair

45Ok, perhaps despair is overdoing it, but I must admit to being somewhat crushed after my lifelong (adult life!) desire for Scottish independence came up short. However, from those smouldering ashes now comes a renewed energy and passion for blogging. I started this site a couple of years ago with all sorts of plans for regular articles on all sorts of subjects. Rather quickly this descended into a steady, if sometimes intermittent, stream of creative fiction – that will not stop;however, it’s time to get back  to you reading and me writing about the other stuff* in my head.

*’Stuff‘ gets stuck in my brain, I talk to myself a lot and I’ve decided one solution to heal this endless internal waffle is to write it down. Hopefully you’ll find enough of it interesting to hang around.

Why 45? Well, 45% is what the ‘YES’ vote garnered in Thursday’s referendum. Rather than sit around moping (which we did for a few hours) those who backed independence have declared their intention to keep campaigning for greater Scottish democracy. If you’re not one of the 45%, don’t worry – moving forward what you did in the past is irrelevant – this is now about the future. The support for an independent Scotland rose from 25% to 45% in the last two years. Think about that for a moment. Then factor in a changing demographic, more undoubted disappointment and betrayal from Westminster parties, and a growing self belief and positive vision for our country will only see that support base rise. In my view, when the day comes independence needs to be ushered in on a tidal wave of support i.e. we need a large majority in favour. That way it will feel like it’s been won, rather than earned by default. We can do that, and I believe we will – but be patient!

Talking of betrayal from Westminster parties, I present the following official campaign poster produced by the ‘NO’ group:

vow2

During the last week of the campaign the ‘NO’ team produced the above. Step one was as outlined i.e. publish a motion for further powers before the UK parliament on 19/09. Well, today is now 20/09 and it still hasn’t happened. Furthermore there is no imminent sign of it happening as the Westminster parties can, surprise, surprise, not agree on a way forward. In other words the Scottish electorate (YES and NO) have been sold a pup. The Westminster parties had no intention of ushering in a raft of new powers for Scotland. It was a desperate ruse to secure votes. It won, we lost, they lied. The Scottish electorate are already waking up to this deceit and Scottish Labour, in particular, are likely to hemorrhage support in the coming days, weeks and months. Yet, I don’t think they truly care. They sold their souls to save the Union and knew there would be a price to pay. I’m sure their expectation will be met.

Ah well, that’s all for now. I promise not to make all my non-creative fiction blogs political. It’s just that after such a long time living within the referendum bubble it will take a few days of talking, writing and thinking about it before I can truly move on. Please bear with me.

Thanks for reading.