Brexit Deal – ‘celebrating’ abject political failure

Welcome to the UK at the end of a terrible 2020. Like everywhere else on earth we’re battling against Covid 19, but we’re also very troubled with our own self-destructive need to shoot ourselves in both feet. For years our politicians and our press have found ways to blame foreigners, the EU, the French indeed pretty much anyone outside of the UK for our own self-made troubles. The whole sorry mess has culminated in what looks to be a wretched Brexit Deal which is bound to be one of the greatest acts of self-harm this country has imposed on itself in living memory. Just look at the deal; it’s terrible:-

We often look to the right of politics to blame for our Brexit debacle but in reality the supposedly progressive parties have sadly had a big hand in this process as they’ve found themselves unable to effectively rise up and oppose it; an abject failure of leadership across the board.

The Tories found themselves being infiltrated by UKIP and latterly the Brexit Party in a far more successful way than Militant ever infiltrated Labour in the 1980’s. Many senior Tories acted like appeasers and they were rolled over and left politically dead. But not content with allowing narrow nationalism to take over their party they then elected as their leader the most unsuitable person just about ever to lead them and be Prime Minister. There can’t have been anyone within the Tory Party who was not aware of his flaws, indeed he’d changed his views over the EU from being a staunch backer of it to exactly the opposite and that can only have been for political power which could not have been gained otherwise. He’s proved to be the disaster that pretty much everyone thought he would be, but that’s of course no surprise at all.

But where has the official opposition been during this period of political turmoil? Labour under both Corbyn and Starmer have been fence sitting, hiding behind their Brexit sofa and trying not to be an opposition because too many Labour supporters on it’s right wing and even a few on its left wing are Brexiteers. Indeed, many of its white working class supporters helped to deliver Brexit by voting for Johnson’s Tories at the last election! Many of us progressives thought Starmer was having his wings clipped when he was Corbyn’s Brexit Spokesperson but sadly he’s hardly moved Labour from its ‘hide behind the Brexit sofa’ position at all as their new leader. He now even says Labour backs Johnson’s terrible deal!!!!!

And what of the pro-EU Lib Dems? Some false dawns prior to the last General Election came to nothing as they were unable to win the hearts and minds of voters even many who actually agreed with them! Suffering a lack of high profile leaders since the tragic loss of Charles Kennedy they’ve been unable to communicate with voters at all well of recent years. Like Labour they went for a safe pair of hands (Ed Davey*) after political trauma when their new leader desperately needed to be a Kennedy/Ashdown kind of communicator who voters would take notice of. Predictably, having gone for the safe pair of hands, the Libs have not been cutting through and frankly Starmer & Davey might as well be a firm of high street accountants for all the good they’ve done at Westminster. Both are worthy, both may well be steady Cabinet members but neither are leaders of women and men.

If you’ve got this far I’m guessing you’re not a Brexiteer and that you realise there’s nothing, literally nothing, to celebrate with our former ‘oven ready’ Brexit Deal. We’ve trashed our economy and our neighbour trading relationships because voters were convinced (in 2016) that most if not all of our ills were the fault of the EU which, despite its many faults, it rarely was/almost never had been. The power of our right wing press to get what it wants and implant its views in elector’s minds has indeed been proven.

And what next? I’m of the view that Scotland will probably leave the UK and re-join the EU at some point. I’m also of the view that what has gone on will have hastened a united Ireland. I’m supportive of both I might add. The thing which is bizarrely working in Brexiteers favour though is Covid 19 as the wrecking of our economy can at least be blamed on that with the Brexit effects being concealed. How bizarre is that? So be prepared for many more years of blame for our ills on ‘others’ as Brexiteers are not going to stop lying to you.

From my perspective as a Social Liberal of the left and a progressive politician by instinct we need credible leaders on the left who can communicate with voters. Blair was successful as he could communicate well. Yes I know, he went off the rails big style over Iraq etc. but I’m taking about a real communicator. Politicians like him and Ashdown and Kennedy and John Smith are few and far between these days but if Liberals, Social Democrats and the Socialists who aren’t Brexiteers want to rid UK politics of our nationalistic politicians they’ve got to find such leaders and when found they need to sitting on the sofa with electors not hiding behind it!

Click on the scans of the Brexit Deal graphics to enlarge them

* But I do give credit to him for saying he won’t support Johnson’s Brexit Deal

Labour – Distancing themselves from Corbyn & their leadership’s backing for Brexit

You know when a political party is struggling at a very local level due to the unpopular actions of their leader because they put out leaflets like the one above that has recently been circulated in a Derbyshire ward.

Of course we’ve been here before – Thatcher at her worst became a local elections liability for the Tories, likewise Blair (over Iraq) and indeed Brown at times for Labour and of course the Lib Dem’s Clegg following his Tuition Fees U-turn.

Cable – I’m really warming to him – Quite the old radical when I thought he would not be

www.independent.co.uk/voices/vince-cable-brexit-white-nigel-farage-nostalgia-lib-dem-ukip-immigration-racist-a8251966.html

The Independent has an interesting opinion piece on Vince Cable and his recent controversial but spot on analysis of many Brexit voters.

Cable certainly hit some raw nerves on the right and indeed on the right wing of the left too if you get my drift. That Bluekippers would get upset is a given but Cable also made some of what Labour calls its working class vote uncomfortable too. Many of Labour’s core voters are often right wingers in reality even though their tribal instinct is to vote Labour. What’s more many of them are Brexit supporters and as an old Labour Party member and trade union colleague of mine once said to me many years ago – there’s more racists in the Labour Party than there are in the Tory Party – or words to that effect. No wonder Cable’s commentary on the EU Referendum got a reaction!

On a wider perspective, I must say I am really warming to Cable. I feared he would be a moderate centrist but he’s hitting a lot of quite radical notes for me, not least in calling out Corbyn for his regressive approach to the EU and his backing of Brexit. This quote sums up Cable’s radical agenda:-

‘Corbyn lets down the people he claims to defend. You can’t speak up for the poor and be complicit in making us poorer, claim to love the NHS knowing that Brexit will starve it of cash, be an advocate for workers’ rights and stand by while we leave the EU, which protects workers.’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Brexit – May(hem) is determined to push the UK over the edge

Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron says “Now we know what Theresa May’s Brexit looks like and it’s not pretty.

The Government is pushing for a destructive hard Brexit with the UK leaving the single market. It will be a disaster for jobs, our economy and for public services.

The sad fact is, this speech could have been written by Peter Bone, delivered by Nigel Farage and will no doubt be cheered on by Jeremy Corbyn.

We – the Liberal Democrats are the only party that will oppose this Conservative Brexit Government.”

And here in The Guardian the Lib Dem Leader savages Mrs May(hem)

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/17/leave-remain-theresa-may-single-market-brexit-liberal-democrats

Tim is fast becoming a hate figure for the Tory/UKIP/Labour Alliance because he is standing up to them and their joint determination to push the UK economy over the edge. Come and join the Lib Dems as we fight the battle that Labour can’t be bothered to fight!

With thanks to Roy Connell for his contribution to this posting.

BBC – Labour’s week: Fear and loathing in SW1

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34878766

For those interested in how political parties work and clearly at times don’t work the link above takes you to a thoughtful piece by Iain Watson on the BBC web site.

Who is going to win the battle for Labour’s soul? The membership that backs overwhelmingly backs new Leader Jeremy Corbyn or the 90% of his MP’s who don’t back him. Ignoring my own anti-Labour bias this is a fascinating battle much of which is being played out day after day in broad day light. Just imagine what the exchanges are like behind the scenes!

Thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this story.

Women in politics – Jen Robertson checks out Caron Lindsay

On the subject of women in politics, which I am, there’s a Lib Dem who seems to be making very good sense – see link below to Lib Dem Voice:-

www.libdemvoice.org/its-the-tories-stoopid-47434.html

I read a few of her other blogs and she seems to have a better head on her shoulders than many far more well known politicians.

“When we disagree, and there’s plenty of potential for that when it comes to the economy and foreign affairs particularly, we should do so by highlighting our liberal values rather than demonising Corbyn.

The SNP needs to do more than get the popcorn & plan Indpendence referendum II, Labour needs to give up habit of a lifetime & quit the toxic factional in-fighting, sense of entitlement to power and tribal hatred of anyone who isn’t them.

As for the Liberal Democrats, we just need to make sure that we are authentically and instinctively liberal in our responses to things. We should not be painstakingly calculating which centimetres of space we should be inhabiting on the political spectrum. We should be boldly advancing a radical and reforming liberal agenda, tackling vested interests wherever we find them. If we can avoid phrases like the meaningless centre ground, then so much the better.”

Somebody put that woman on a policy panel!