Theresa May broke her word to call this election. After it, she will break her word on Brexit. But there is no Opposition to stop her. Whose fault is it?
Four years ago, I posted a piece about the then Culture (sic) Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. His sole response in the Commons, to damning evidence that he had abused his office to favour the Murdoch family, was “I have done nothing wrong”. Shortly after this, the then Prime Minister David Cameron denied that the favour involved (letting Newscorp grab BSkyB largely unhindered) had been discussed at a secret Boxing Day lunch with James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks. They’d just all had lunch in the strictest secrecy because they were pals. The way you do.
Two MPs I spoke to at the time (one Labour, one Conservative) said almost exactly the same thing: that things had got to a stage in the clique running the Tory Party where, after surviving that lot, they now believed they could get away with anything. The Conservative – a very nice and principled bloke with rather rich descriptive faculties – said, “To be honest, Cameron could fuck a pig in Newmarket’s main street in broad daylight now, and nobody would give a stuff”. In an astonishing switch whereby surreal fantasy became fact, it was revealed the following year that Cameron had given fellatio to a dead pig at some jolly gathering. Dave didn’t even bother to deny it.
So with an Election now rising over the blue horizon, let us summarise what the re-elected Tory Party has been up to since, and how events have variously unfolded and unravelled. It has knowingly misled the country (twice) on WASPI pension information between 1995 and 2012. It has committed a brazen act of embezzlement in hanging onto 40 years of the victims’ NI contributions. It has cut a swathe of such ferocity through disablement welfare, thousands of people are going to be without enough money or any transport from here on. It has created more jobs, but the number of hours being worked remains static, wage levels are going down, and low paid work is now almost completely without any security of tenure.
It made such a Horlicks of the EU referendum campaign, Cameron had to resign after the result. Despite all the crushing austerity, the national debt has doubled and the deficit reduction missed its target by 40%….so the Chancellor had to resign. Well actually, he was fired….by the Home Secretary who, given the task of cutting immigration to 10,000 a year, never got it below 130,000. And so she therefore had to….um, become Prime Minister.
Everything the Bullingdon Boys set out to do in 2010 now lies in tatters. The Murdoch family – caught red-handed carrying out illegal surveillance on ten of thousands of voters – is stronger than ever, and Brooks is back at the helm of Newscorp UK….or whatever the Digger has decided to call it this week. British manufacturing has shrunk by a further 18%, and the economy is even more biased to financial 3-card trick mumbo-jumbo than it ever was. And Brexit has happened…..allegedly.
But even on that last point, The Brexiteer Cup was snatched from the hands of the winners by the announcement of a May Cabinet consisting almost entirely of pro-EU Remainers – the same people like Fallon and Hammond who have given us the most cynically unethical foreign policy in even our ruthless Imperial history. Hammond – the new mendacious but at times quite amusing Chancellor – has spent every day since undermining the Brexit negotiating team, while privately ridiculing the bombastic incompetence of Boris Johnson our equally new (but dreadfully tarnished) Foreign Secretary.
Just to round off this cacophony of arrogant amateur night, as London Mayor, Johnson (you will remember) falsified emissions data to let his mate Tim Yeo get a whopping taxi contract, placed his capacious buttocks on the Elm House Tory Council child trafficking scandal, and tried to pervert the course of justice on Hackgate.
A motley crew of partners in crime, you may think: and you would, in my estimation, be right. But it was obvious from the opening salvos last year that May the reborn Brexiteer was chained every which way by Brussels idiocy, Tory backbench ire, and various Cabinet colleagues. (Labour would claim that she was also under pressure from the childish antics of the 48%, but that is palpable nonsense. Since the Love not Hate organised jumping up and down began in earnest, she has steadfastly ignored it….along with every evidenced entreaty from WASPI.
Thus, when Philip Hammond faced a debt-swamped Budget challenge six weeks ago – and tackled it by ignoring both debt and austerity victims in favour of sweeteners for any wavering smuggies – I predicted that a snap election was on the cards. And here it is.
Yet this crew of scurvy knaves now boarding the pirate ship Mayflower has every confidence that they’re about to singe the Corbyn’s beard and bury Blackabbott – and this is not faux confidence: even the New Statesman predicts Labour will lose up to 40 seats, and there is at the moment a general consensus that The Arse May** will end up with a 100-135 seat majority. No UK election favourite has ever started from that position and lost.
Before we get into the meat of this, however, there is the question of recent changes in electoral law regarding the amount of power she has to call an election at all – following the Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2011. Regrettably, like most “laws” the Coalition passed, the Devil is in the exceptions: Clause 2 still allows an election to be called after losing a vote of confidence or if two-thirds of Members vote in favour of a Cabinet recommendation to dissolve Parliament. So she is going to get her election: Labour Blairites will vote for it (the quicker to dump the Corbynistas) and activist Corbynites unable to contain their Bring it On delusions will do the same – although to be fair, were they not to welcome it, they would be open to charges of cowardice given their gobbiness in recent months.
Due to be held on Thursday June 8th, the Election promises to be (as Hobbes put it) “nasty, brutish and short”. Another certainty, I fancy, is that there will be clangers dropped on all sides….if only because we have never had so many born clanger-droppers in UK politics as we do today. And that brings me to the spine of my argument today.
After the last two by-elections, I posted a piece called ‘Where now for those of us who aren’t Conservatives?‘ Two months on, I see no reason to change any of it – other than point out the few areas in which the Opposition outlook is now even worse.
There is, still, nowhere for those of us who find the economic vandalism, national asset greed, serial mendacity and uncaring nature of neocon-infected Conservatism to go and vote with either pride or certainty. The astonishing thing about that (in my lifetime) unique situation is that we represent perhaps 1 in 5 of those who do vote regularly. We can all chuck blame about irresponsibly until the Bermuda Triangle aircrews come back; but the country’s Opposition forces having reached that place of near-zero attraction with mind-boggling consistency, every objective analyst must start with those involved in arriving there.
The Blairite Soros clones of 1997 tossed away the best chance to rebuild British society along fresh lines for 34 years through a cowardly combination of pc gesture politics and Tory-lite policies. Those who followed turned to Metro-pc drivel. Now we have a return to class war and crypto-collectivism locked in a death struggle with the Muswell Hillbilly pinhead dancers and sociopathic Campbellista spin-quacks.
None of it is attractive to me, and most of it is deemed risible by mainstream Britain: and mainstream Britain is not racist Little Englanders. Rather, it is a potentially unbeatable alliance of what I choose to call The Vulnerable: young aspiring professional families, cheated pensioners, the innocent disabled, older traditionalists, radical realists and desperate carers – nurses, young doctors and special needs/care home heroes.
It would not be that difficult to unite these groups. But Labour has gone out of its way to alienate them, ignore its core support, and continue an onanistic debate that has been going on for over 130 years.
The SNP? It is led by a chancer who disguises the reality that (a) she has yet to persuade anything near a majority of her compatriots to leave the UK, and (b) remains – like Labour – a supposedly radical fairness Party unable to discern the bullying, fascist nature of the EU….or recognise the unaccountable power of its unelected banking and administrative functionaries.
The Liberal Democrats? In a world sadly dominated by identity politics, they have lost their brand identity….and gained a leader whose identity is only in question on the dimension of whether he is an identity politician or a political nonentity. (I fear that he is both – an even worse form of electoral antimatter than the Corbyn-Blackabbott combo)
And last but by no means least, the post-Farage UKIP led by Paul Nuttall. UKIP also has two disadvantages: far too many voters think Brexit is a done deal, so voting UKIP is at best nostalgia; and Paul Nuttall. Many of those who admired “Sir” Nigel will go back to the Conservatives – and even if the unpleasant guttersnipe who has replaced him manages to grab a few more disgruntled former core Labour voters, there is no way our archaic FPTP voting system will allow any breakthrough for his Party.
The Conservatives are going to win….and in the aftermath of that, the Opposition crisis will (at least for a while) worsen. Unlike the Brexit Referendum, I see no reason at all to vote in this General Election. My only role – and even that one must be limited – will be to help Waspi pension victims focus action on those constituencies where there is a large, ageing population who increasingly distrust the Tories.
If Labour’s soi-disant activists want something useful to do – as opposed to attending brainless demonstrations – then they could do a lot worse than organise the bottom-end desperate to vote. In the last election, 34% of the entitled electorate didn’t cast a vote. Even persuading half of them to do so would sweep Jeremy Corbyn to victory.
But as with apolitical Waspis, such causes lack appeal for the Dave Sparts of this world. Not for them the unsung hero role. They’re more your spitting, obscene labelling, placard-carrying, Trot syntax sort of folks. And unfortunately, they’re the ones promoting the quantitative fantasy of Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.
** As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, The Arse May is an anagram of Theresa May. I intend to stick with it for the duration of the General Election.