Brexit – the trouble is it means many differing things to the Brexiters

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37872899

The BBC has the story of the latest Tory MP to resign over Brexit – see link above.

The trouble is the Brexiters did not and still do not have anything like a common platform via which they can pursue their many, varied and indeed conflicting objectives.

Of course our Prime Minister has told us that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, which is about all she has had to say on the matter in public. She does that because she understands that it means massively differing things but wants to keep all Brexiters on board. However, that’s like trying to keep the supporters of 100 different football teams supporting football generally when the majority of them are actually going to see their beloved team relegated whether it plays well or not.

And what of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, well they half heartedly supported staying in the EU and now seem to half heartedly support leaving it! Personally I think Corbyn has had a bad press but the poor fellow does not seem to have any idea which way he wants Labour to go with the EU.

So what does Brexit mean? Well that’s like trying to define infinity!

A Brexit Nation – Just what have we become?

As our NHS crumbles before our very eyes, as social care for the old and the vulnerable crumbles with it, as our world gets dangerously more warm by the day, the national debate (as presented to us by the press) often seems to be about far, far less pressing issues.

The colour of our next passport, whether we should recommission the Royal Yacht Britannia, the troubles of TV’s Bake Off and how we can keep out anyone from the UK particularly if they have anything but white skin and can’t speak the Queen’s English.

Without doubt the UK is taking leave of it senses and its priorities seem utterly bizarre.

The Tories will see off the NHS (which depends heavily on doctors and nurses from across the world simply to function) soon just by starving it of the funds and staff it so desperately needs. They will push the costs of health care by default (and social care for the elderly and vulnerable in particular) onto families. This is happening now, it will be worse tomorrow and next week, etc. etc. Is this not a pressing crisis?

Our world is getting dangerously warm whilst we fiddle around the edges not really getting to grips with what needs to be done to save our plant for future generations. Is this not a major crisis?

It really is about time we sobered up. Our all but racist society is shameful, our sitting back and watching as millions of refugees die is a national disgrace and the unwillingness to fund health and social care properly is utterly bizarre because we are quite literally shooting ourselves in the foot and we know it!

When was the last time we had a Prime Minister we could have any collective confidence in? There was a spectacularly false dawn in this regard when Tony Blair got elected because even those of us who did not vote for him thought he was about to bring about the kind of serious change the UK needed. He had his moments of course but then involved us in illegal wars that have brought terrorism to the streets of the UK. His appalling legacy far out-ways the good things he did.

But can you think of another PM of recent times that folks had any kind of collective confidence in? Wilson possibly in his early years?

Without doubt the UK is facing many a major crisis at present:-

Funding the NHS
Paying for Social Care
An over heated and dysfunctional housing market
Deeply worrying energy supply problems
Global warming
An inability to defend the Country
Racial intolerance
An aging population

And the colour of our next passport and whether the Royal Yacht Britannia is recommissioned etc. are supposedly big issues to us? How low will this once proud, caring and open-minded Country have to go before we take notice of the real troubles that are all around us?

Brexit – A wish for the death penalty and harking back to the past?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36803544

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

This is interesting and it fits with my thoughts as I have tried to get my head around why many folks voted for Brexit. This particular quote from the piece is telling about Brexit voters:-

“They tended to value things like order, stability and safety against things like openness, modernity and other social-liberal values that were more popular among Remain voters. Often it’s about harking back to the past – sometimes a feeling that they don’t belong to the present.”

I had thought that wanting to almost go back in time, as their rose tinted spectacles were saying to them it was better in the old days, was a factor but the link to capital punishment is chilling indeed.

I suppose Cameron exposed, in his ill judged referendum, that we are now two very different sets of people in the UK and frankly you can’t see much possibility of reconciliation between the two opposing views. It may, to use a Northern Ireland type analogy, have to wait until there are less of us living in the past and more living for the present and future for the situation to be overturned. I hope I live to see that day.

PS. I am often accused of living in the past due to my love of steam locomotives and 1970’s soul music but, even though I clearly have my own pair of rose tinted spectacles, I was in no way persuaded to vote for Brexit.

14 months of playing the Tories games

Who living today will forget the appalling EU Referendum campaign with all its lies, exaggerations and misleading information. And who will ever forget the leadership crisis it precipitated in the Tory, Labour, Green and UKIP Parties.

We got the world’s attention alright and then made utter fools of ourselves and our democratic and tolerant values right in front of it. We could not have damaged the UK’s reputation any more if we had sent Cameron to the sea to hold it back or even appointed Boris to be say Foreign Secretary. We have sadly become the fool of the western world.

But we have in reality simply been playing a Tory Game of Thrones throughout this appalling debacle. Just look at the events.

Cameron only promised an EU referendum because he thought he would be in Coalition again and that the Lib Dems would block it. He was right about the latter but totally misjudged the former, as did many others. Can you imagine his disbelief and angst at the General Election result in 2015. He was now going to have to deliver on that promise he had made to keep his troops quiet, never actually thinking he would have to implement it! Oh dear what to do now, it had all been set up not to happen with the Lib Dems carrying the can for blocking it. The pollsters and electorate (assisted by our warped electoral system) had played a cruel trick on him and it will be a trick that will probably sink us all.

It was of course a terrible gamble that Cameron felt he had been forced to play because so many of this troops were on the verge of tripping over to UKIP. It was a punt that will ruin any credibility that he thought he would leave office with. The man who gambled every last chip at the poker table to save his Party but who lost the nations shirt (and pretty much the rest of our clothes) when his chips were down.

But he had made his bed and he thought he could lie down in it and win the referendum. He was very wrong as the Tory Party ripped itself to shreds and deepened its its already cavernous EU divisions. He has, of course, had to walk away and has done so a man in utter disgrace despite all the platitudes and goodbye smiles.

But it also transpired that Labour’s divisions were about to be exposed big time as well as their right wing (sometimes called Red Tories) decided to use what it said was Jeremy Corbyn’s lacklustre performance during the EU Referendum as a stick to beat him with. In fact that allegation seems not to stand up to close scrutiny as despite the press and ‘Red Tories’ saying Corbyn did not make the effort the facts look to be just the opposite. I am no apologist for the Labour leadership but the very best you can say about the attacks on Corbyn’s EU performance is that it was nowhere near as bad as his detractors have said it was.

So Labour fell apart too thanks to Cameron’s referendum, although this was probably his only personal bright spot this year!

And then Tory rats who had been sailing the good ship UK into high Brexit seas all decided to jump ship when they had filled the UK electorate with utter nonsense and won! They knew what they had done (you could see it in their let’s get out quick faces) and they were not about to stay around to help clean up the mess; even the UKIP leader ran off with them. But bizarrely May has brought Boris back for more punishment in a high profile job he could not resist!

So Tories, Labour and UKIP have all gone for a new leader, well Labour’s Red Tories want one but the left does not. We presently only know the result of the Tory selection as it was no election. It had more drop-outs than a poor university course!

Don’t you think it was odd that Johnson backed out of the Tory leadership race and was it not even more odd that Loathsome also backed out at the last minute? It’s it the case that the Tory 1922 Committee realised that a public election campaign between Loathsome and May would again tear the Tories apart so Loathsome was advised to back out? May therefore has been crowned without being exposed to the unpredictable and some Tories would say barmy Tory Party membership. But of course she has no mandate and no legitimacy.

So the whole charade since May 2015 has been about the Tory Party with us the poor bloody electorate being manipulated at every turn. Yes of course the process has also exposed fatal flaws in the Labour Party but that rematch has been on the cards ever since Neil Kinnock and then Tony Blair managed to chase socialists out of what was meant to be socialist party. The referendum result simply precipitated another attack by punch drunk Red Tories on Corbyn but it would have happened anyway.

But you know the Tories having manipulated themselves and us into a bloody awful mess expect to be able to rise up again and all will be OK with the Party that usually governs the UK. But will it?

Scotland having rid itself of a tired authoritarian Labour Party is surely going to go for independence again and who would bet against them getting it, deserving it and needing it? Sadly there are now few credible arguments for the Scots to stay in the UK and I say that as one who hoped they would stay in the first independence referendum.

And Northern Ireland, what will they do having voted to stay in the EU with Scotland. Clearly things are not so clear cut there with the Protestant community still wanting to cling on to being a part of the UK. But you know a united Ireland must be more on the cards now than it has ever been since separation because the Irish Republic is strongly supportive of the EU.

But then there’s the Remain voters in England and Wales who are clearly and thankfully (from my point of view) not going to take Brexit and all the potential trouble that comes with it lying down. Brexit voters may continue to tell us to ‘deal with it’, ‘shut up’, ‘move on’ but they must be on something if they think such advice will be listened to.

And finally (for now) there’s the huge question of what happens next. Clearly the Brexiters had no plan and had no intention of coming up with one. Is that why May has put them in Cabinet positions where they have no choice? When you ask them, as I have, you get awkward smiles, ‘it’ll all be OK’ type remarks and a change of subject. Some of them wanted Brexit at any cost so don’t seem to give a damn what happens next, although you can be sure they will pointing the finger of blame at everyone but themselves if and when the wheels do come off.

So Mrs. May you have a lot on your plate and no plan other than to say it will all work out well, or words that effect. Why you can see her sat down with Sir Humphrey now:-

Prime Minister – Your advice Sir Humphrey?

Sir Humphrey – Please read the transcript of the advice I gave to Mr Cameron Prime Minister.

Prime Minister – What good will that do?

Sir Humphrey – Well he ignored all the advice I gave him and he therefore created the hole that you are now sat deeply in Prime Minister.

Prime Minister – Oh bugger Cameron Humpy you know that advice was given to him so that he would ignore it – It was wasn’t it?

Sir Humphrey – No Prime Minister it was not. Time to Kiss your backside goodbye Prime Minister, I am off to advise the Scottish Government. But do not worry Prime Minister Mr Trump may be coming over the pond to give you the benefit of his advice, I am sure you will get on famously!

Ian Hislop says it like is about Brexit

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36742691

The BBC has the video on its web site – see link above

Don’t you just know that us Remainers will be making our points for years to come no matter how often we are told ‘shut up’, ‘move on’ or the ‘people have spoken’ by Brexiters. They can’t make the most ridiculous public policy decision in a generation and more, have all their leaders run away after the vote and then think that the 48% of us who know the decision was barking will just sit back on the sofa with them and watch the catastrophe unfold.

My thanks to Jen Robertson and Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

The Lib Dems are the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe

While the national emergency grows Labour and the Tory Party are pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job.

The look of wide-eyed, guilty panic in the eyes of Boris Johnston and Michael Gove on Friday morning hinted at what was later confirmed: the Brexiteers who had schemed for this moment all their political lives had absolutely no plan for life after Thursday.

But those of us who argued passionately that Britain should remain in Europe should also concede that there is little consensus among progressives now Britain has voted “out” – either how we will improve the lives of those who felt so left behind that they voted to Leave, or to build a winning coalition to rescue disadvantaged people from the clutches of right-wing escapism.

The Conservative Party has just crashed the economy, left Britain more alone than at any point I can ever remember, and betrayed the hopes of a generation – and while the national emergency grows, our governing party is pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job. Yet progressives must recognise that the reason we could face an early general election is because the Tories still think they can win one, despite putting a bomb under their much-vaunted reputation for economic competence.

And the basis for that frankly sickening Tory confidence is clear. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man, but he never even enjoyed the confidence of Labour MPs to lose.

I fought a positive campaign, working with others, setting out an optimistic, open vision of Britain. But sometimes Labour seemed keener to give a bloody nose to David Cameron [or Jeremy Corbyn – Ed] than to keep us in Europe, even though membership of the European Union is way more important.

For a Liberal Democrat, this is visceral. I am an internationalist, who believes we must work across borders to face the great challenges such as the world’s largest ever movement of people, climate change, the rising power of multi-nationals and terrorism, along with the arrival in the international labour market of a billion Chinese workers which has depressed wages across the western world. A progressive political settlement needs international co-operation, and it has been the EU that has guaranteed worker rights, consumer protection and environmental safeguards.

But if you are a progressive, pro-European who recognises that you need a successful economy to deliver social justice, I just don’t see a future for you in Labour. Even if Labour MPs achieve their “Jexit”, might not Labour members simply elect someone equally extreme – leaving the path clear for a Tory Party to beat up on the poor?

And this makes me furious. The IPPR has shown that the poorest will be hit twice as hard as the richest by new inflation caused by sterling’s slide. The pound is at its lowest in 30 years. There is now a £900bn hole in the pension funds.

Low-paid workers are worried sick today about their jobs, with Tata Steel now at risk. Some leftists might enjoy seeing trading in banks being temporarily suspended, but the reduction in the value of the state’s share in RBS has already cost taxpayers £7.3bn. And as with the last recession, it will be the poorest who pay.

But there is a rallying point for progressives who refuse to settle for a future of glowering across the White Cliffs of Dover. That rallying point is the Liberal Democrats. Since I announced that we would go into the next election as the only party calling for Britain to remain in the EU, thousands have joined our party, at the rate of one a minute.

By yesterday, almost 7,000 had joined, and the number’s rising.

We must be the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe. Young people – 73 per cent of whom voted to Remain – are determined to keep opportunities to travel, work and study abroad. More than that, these new members want to demonstrate that Britain remains an internationalist, open and optimistic country.

But as a progressive I am just as concerned about the 52 per cent who voted to leave. Many, understandably, feel marginalised, with stagnating wages, insufficient training to gain better jobs, a housing shortage and struggling NHS. Ironically, the vote was less a rejection of Europe as a rejection of a Westminster that seems disinterested in the problems of people it purports to represent.

It is the disadvantaged whose modest living standards face a further assault thanks to “Brex-trick”.

My number one priority has always been to transform education and training, better housing and healthcare to give real life chances. The British are naturally welcoming, and many concerns that have been attributed to immigration are actually about the disgraceful lack of opportunity to move into better jobs, to get a house, or a school space for your child. These are challenges that I am determined to fight for.

Liberalism is about championing the individual against the powerful. That means standing firm for our Human Rights Act, against internet surveillance and illiberal extremism orders. But it’s also about protecting individuals from those giant evils that rob people of their freedom: poverty, poor housing and inequality. This is my pitch – to centrist and centre-left voters.

I believe in four core principles. Freedom – the right of people to live as they see fit; the second is democracy – a state that supports freedom has to be democratic, with power dispersed, which is why we fought to democratise Europe.

Tim Farron – Lib Dem Leader wrote this piece for the Independent on-line newspaper