I was in a local shop a couple of days ago and the chap in front of me asked, when he got to the front of the queue, whether he should be wearing a mask (he did have one on) in that particular shop. The answer was that whilst the Government says you don’t have to we really do want all our customers to wear masks to help protect each other and the staff. The chap agreed but then went on to make a more general comment. He said that he could not get his head around government messaging on the subject as it seemed all over the place to him.
That comment made me think back to something I’d seen or heard, only a few days prior, on a media platform (can’t recall which) where a journalist had been tracking what differing Ministers had been saying about Covid and the ‘freedoms’ we were supposed to be getting. The conclusion was that the messaging was in fact all over the place and Ministers were in effect contradicting each other by giving out sometimes significantly different information/opinions. When you add into that the deliberate misinformation that can be circulated on social media, is there any wonder folks struggle to know what the powers that be are actually saying to us?
On many matters, the bad information, the misinformation, and even the deliberate lies don’t actually cost lives but with Covid they do! So why can’t our leaders at least sing from the same hymn sheet? To me, the answer is that Government Ministers don’t actually have an agreed message to give out; they really are just doing their own thing, giving personal opinions, or pieces of propaganda based on what their own political sect thinks. It’s like Brexit all over again but this time people’s lives are at stake! I really am beginning to wonder if the Conservative Party is slowly but surely turning itself into a political force akin to the US Republican Party where real facts mean nothing but opinion, no matter how ill-informed or off the wall, is treaded as fact.
I really can’t think of a previous UK Government, of any colour, that would have treated this Covid crisis as the present one has been doing. I would go so far as to suggest that incoherent chaos has been dominating Government thinking. Can you seriously imagine Tony Blair, John Major, Ted Heath, or Harold Wilson running a government so badly through such a massive national crisis? No, neither can I especially when you look at the more sober and considered messaging coming out of the Welsh and Scottish Governments. I might not personally agree with the Welsh or Scots leaders but I can credit them with being pretty consistent and clear in what they have been doing and saying during this crisis.
The Guardian has this interesting piece on its web site.
That Labour is ‘suffering’ another period of entryism akin to that it had ‘trouble’ with in the 1980’s (Militant) is a given. But entryism and the radical changing of direction of political parties is nothing new although Labour in particular does seem have periods where what it believed in yesterday is no longer what it believes in today more often than other parties. It’s social democrat and hard left wings seem to be in continual battles to be top dog you might say.
But if you look at the Tories now they are nothing like the political party of Heath or even Major. Often now referred to as ‘Bluekip’ and at times leaning worryingly towards fascism is it not reasonable to look upon all those UKIP supporters and activists joining and voting Tory as entyists too?
And then there was the Clegg period running the Lib Dems. Apart from that period being an utter disaster for the Party there were what seemed to be very genuine fears amongst the party membership and indeed the electorate that what had been a genuine party of the center left under say Kennedy, Grimmond etc. had been hauled over to the right, certainly in economic policy areas. Not quite entryism but a significant and truly unwise experiment which may well take years to ‘wear off’ with left leaning liberal voters.
Momentum gathering Labour
So policy lurches in political parties are nothing new as there are other examples across all the main political parties if you delve into their pasts. However, is what is happening within Labour of far greater significance? I ask as the process within the party under Momentum does seem to be much more far reaching. Not so much Labour gathering Momentum but Momentum gathering Labour.
But is there anything fundamentally wrong with Momentum, if they are the dominant creed within Labour these days (and we assume they are), demanding loyalty to their policy agenda before Labour candidates are selected/reselected to fight elections for the party? There seems to be a logic to that argument to me, although it does significantly change what Labour have often referred to as their ‘broad church’ where once they tolerated and even celebrated a membership with vastly differing views.
The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above
I find myself now agreeing with a Tory politician following agreeing with a former Labour one on the same issue – Brexit.
This time John Major is in effect attacking the nutters in his party, UKIP and indeed Labour who seem to think all will be rosy in the Brexit garden. He is right to say that the impression being given by Brexiters, that all will be great, is utter rubbish and that everything is likely to be very far from wonderful.
But as I took in the thoughtful comments of John Major I was also watching the BBC evening regional news programme who, for reasons best know to themselves, had taken a caravan to Blackpool to hear the views of their Brexit lovers. And what did we hear but that ridiculous and utterly untrue story about bananas! Give me strength and give the BBC some idea about how to conduct a meaningful regional news item!
The BBC has the story, see link above
I begin to wonder what the rabid right wing press and the Brexiters think they are doing. They seem to want Brexit to happen straight away, under any circumstances and at whatever cost!
I am sure that many of those who voted for Brexit did not vote for it at any cost. Some yes, I accept that but many? No, that’s just unbelievable.
It becomes clearer by the day that Brexit is going to hurt our economy greatly and it is going to cost us all a great deal. So what’s wrong with putting such facts before the people and saying ‘is this really what you want to do?’ If the majority say yes we do want out of the EU no matter how badly it affects us personally and our economy, then fine the UK goes to jump off that cliff.
I am hardly one to support a Tory politician like John Major but the man is talking sense just like Tim Farron and some Labour MP’s who have been brave enough to speak out.
PS. Old Clegg still manages to gets things wrong though when he says “Brexit yes, but not this very hard ideological Brexit that they seem determined to pursue.” Sorry Cleggy its actually Brexit NO.
And to follow my recent posting about the EU Referendum and the views of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown here are the views – via the link above – of another former Prime Minister – John Major. I particularly liked his rubbishing of the Brexit campaigners claims that 88m Turks are coming to live here. He is right this is utter rubbish.
With thanks to my research assistant Roy Connell.