Swinson – Time to stay strong as Brexit heats up

Now let me say this first, Swinson was not my preferred candidate to become Lib Dem Leader, but as my preferred candidate did not stand I voted for her over Ed Davy. Secondly, it’s a little early to say how she will do in the post which she won with a pretty huge majority. Best to say I’m a disloyal (I always see myself as being disloyal to my party by the way*) sceptic of her leadership but one who will applaud her if she becomes a good leader.

So what to make of the Swinson/Lucas/Corbyn tussle over how a government of national unity can be put together to defeat Johnson and No Deal Brexit. I think a fair assessment of the present position is to say that Corbyn will get involved if he can be the head of such a government and that the Green Leader agrees with Corbyn. Swinson however holds the view that Corbyn’s a too divisive a figure to be the at the head of such a movement and that she thinks a more widely accepted figure should do the job. She wants either Harriet Harman and/or Ken Clarke to do the leadership role.

A government of national unity to stop a No Deal Brexit will need dissident Tory MP’s to back it and whilst this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, based on the House of Commons arithmetic, it is also the key to why the potential leader of such a government should surely to be a widely accepted and trusted figure i.e. not a present opposition party leader.

I understand that Jeremy C wants to be PM just as Lucas and Swinson do too; why else would they be political leaders? However, the present Brexit crisis faced by the UK is not one where individual political ambitions are the most important thing. Indeed, the imminent danger of a No Deal Brexit is what needs to be stopped and clearly a non/less-contentious leader of a short-term government of national unity is required to do that.

Once you put a political leader up to do that job politicians will take sides especially if that person is seen to hold views way to the left of right of the center of UK politics. So telling Jeremy that he’s not the person for the job is a matter of political pragmatism for me because he’s not a man who politicians from differing political backgrounds can coalesce around. And if they can’t coalesce around him by implication his government is highly unlikely to commend a majority in our fractured House of Commons.

Sadly Lucas has misjudged this issue just as she did a few days ago when bizarrely she suggested an all women Cabinet to run the UK. Now don’t get me wrong, I do accept that women make better leaders than men because they are generally less likely to be politically tribal etc. But to suggest, as Caroline sadly did, that no men can be trusted to take on senior government positions is just not sensible or practical politics. Politics is the art of the possible, what Caroline was suggesting was clearly highly improbable.

The other problem with Jeremy is his political baggage associated with Brexit. Across the political spectrum people say he’s not had a good Brexit and has not handled the matter at all well. Significantly, this is often said by Labour Party members and supporters so it’s not just a opposition view of Jez. It also has to be remembered that Jez is at heart a Brexiteer and he wants what he calls a ‘Labour Brexit’, whatever that may mean. And there’s the rub because he’s not going to get the chance to negotiate a Labour Brexit until he wins a General Election and Labour winning such an election seems at best slight if present opinion polls are anything to go by.

Will Labour now sit back and say it’s our way or no way over a government of national unity or will they back off on their wish to crown Jeremy as PM for this interim emergency government?

For what my view is worth I think Swinson’s stance is right and that figures such as Clarke and/or Harman are best placed to try to put a Commons majority together to defeat a No Deal Brexit. I say this simply because her position is more logical, more likely to work and it’s the art of the possible rather than the improbable. And to balance my view of Swinson I remain highly sceptical of her seemingly strident anti-SNP views. I get that she’s a not a nationalist and is in favour of the Union but we need the SNP onside over Brexit, so poking them in the political eye regularly is not helpful.

But above all this the real elephant trap is that a Government of national unity which gets rid of No Deal Brexit could also be used as a platform to promote a Brexit Deal! If Swinson was involved in that it would finish her and the Lib Dems. Think about it, there are quite a few Labour and Tory MP’s out there who want to get rid of No Deal but who would be happy to get out of the EU with some form of a deal. They would probably be happy with Corbyn at the head of a Government as he’s on their side. Any Government temporary or otherwise which tries to negotiate a deal to leave the EU will end up in the same appalling mess that Teresa may found herself in. Swinson needs to be very cautious and ignore the Corbynite ritualistic tribal abuse presently being aimed at her. If she weakens she could easily end up enabling a Brexit deal of whatever kind and frankly no one will have any sympathy for her then.

Political tribalism has blighted UK politics for far too long. Of course other political parties have good ideas which should gain wide support but our tribal system teaches our politicians to slag off ideas from opposition politicians just because they are not ‘one of ours’. It’s time to do the right thing to save the UK from the mad idea that a No Deal Brexit will be fine. It won’t be – our public services will suffer, tax revenues will fall, exports will dry up, unemployment will rise, living standards will fall, workers rights will be chucked away, environmental and food regulations will be ripped up. Only the rich and powerful will benefit from a No Deal Brexit. And let’s not forget that any form of Brexit, with a deal or not, will cause all of these disaster scenarios to come into play to some extent – the best deal the UK has is the one it has now with the EU. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

* If you don’t get my disloyalty, it’s associated with my view that we should trust no one with power. Our job is to hold those who hold power to account, not to idolise them.

Universal Basic Income (UBI)

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/uk-brink-swapping-universal-credit-16250463

Outside of Social Liberals this has been an economic/welfare policy which the two larger political parties have shown little if any real interest in to my knowledge to date.

It’s matter that I have blogged about before – see links below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/05/26/a-low-wage-culture-well-yes-if-you-live-outside-the-economically-overheated-south-east/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/06/20/moderation-bugger-that-for-a-lark-im-too-angry-about-whats-happening-to-the-uk/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/04/02/its-about-time-that-the-liberal-democrats-really-did-propose-radical-solutions-to-poverty/

My most recent recollection about UBI is that one of the Canadian Provinces (could be Alberta) is considering trying to bring in a form of Universal Basic Income via it’s Liberal Government.

If this social welfare approach really is moving into mainstream political debate in the UK then we should welcome the move. Having said that the irony of this obviously progressive policy being looked at at a time when the UK is suffering from the worst kind of regressive government (with a regressive Brexit supporting Official Opposition too) is not lost on me. So to hear that the Brexit supporting Labour leadership are backing a type universal income is more than a bit bizarre.

The poorest in our society can be helped by UBI but if you back Brexit which will make the poor poorer, as Labour does, then they are actually backing complete opposites!

Another example of Labour trying to face both ways at once?

Labour – How about stopping Brexit instead of whinging about talks to deliver it!

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48165373

Yes I know, the Labour leadership has made their party firmly a Brexit backing one but hey the vast majority of Labour’s members and supporters are actually Remainers! But never mind what your supporters think Mr Corbyn just jump in bed with the Tories to help them deliver a job loss, NHS busting Brexit whilst hoping those same supporters continue backing Labour even though you’re bailing the Tories out.

Final count from the local elections last Thursday – Lab & Con leaders think it signalled a move by the electorate to back Brexit!

If these results mean what May and Corbyn seem to think they mean (get on with Brexit) then they are even further out of touch than any of us have ever realised.

Brexit Parties (Con, Lab & UKIP) lost 1561 seats

Remain Parties Lib Dems & Greens gained 897 seats

Actually Jez and Teresa the results mean the exact opposite of your positions i.e. STOP BREXIT

So why are Labour members & supporters letting their party leadership back Brexit?

Labour voters stack up like this over Brexit:-

And just look how badly Jez Corbyn is doing in terms of the most recent approval rating:-

Just 17% Approve of him – 72% Disapprove – That’s a score of minus 55!

The two have to be linked, don’t you think? Yes, we all understand that Corbyn is a life-long anti-EU person because he thinks it’s some kind of capitalist conspiracy yet by enabling Brexit he is actually helping the far-right to get their way and trash our economy, living standards, employment rights and much else.

The big question is why are Labour members & supporters letting their leadership get away with doing the exact opposite of what they believe to be right?

I understand that loyalty to The Party is everything in the Labour Party and that it goes back all the way to the trade unionists who founded it but Brexit is putting at great risk many of the advances that the trade union movement has fought for and won! Sitting back and letting the present Labour leadership have its way is akin to Labour members and supporters voting for UKIP and far-right Tories for goodness sake.

What’s the point of being loyal to The Party if all you are doing is helping the far-right?

As a life-long trade unionist and someone who considers themselves to be well to left on the spectrum of UK politics I despair, I really do.

Please click on the graphic above to enlarge it