#labour

Mulligan Brexit again

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Rebel Tory MP Justine Greening is calling for a second referendum on Brexit to end a parliamentary deadlock. There was never any doubt that ‘leavers’ wanted OUT of the EU. It was pretty clear cut. “Leave the European Union ✅ or ❌” Not half in or any other form of compromise. At what point will politicians get it through their thick skulls that constituents do not want mulligan politics? If some don’t like the outcome, just keep swinging until can deliver the minority the result they wanted? Best of three? Why not conduct parliamentary elections this way? Swing and a miss!

UK PM Theresa May has shown utter incompetence in executing Brexit. She stupidly called an election which cost her a majority forcing her to side with the DUP just to hold onto power. She couldn’t read that the electorate was sick of voting as CM pointed out at the time. She was punished for it, despite the massive lead in the polls she had. One might almost think it was deliberate given the soft stance she has taken on Brexit and the total disregard for the referendum.

Despite jawboning last week there would be no negotiation post the resignations of David Davis & Boris Johnson she has had to cave in to hard line Brexiters (305 vs 302) on the Customs Bill. A narrow 303-300 vote to exit the EU’s VAT scheme post-Brexit was also reached. Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd said, “it took two years for the Prime Minister to reach her Chequers deal, but only two days for it to fall apart.” He is not wrong. May has bungled it so poorly one wonders if it isn’t deliberate.

What should be seen here is that politicians (from any party) voting against what their constituents put forward will be political suicide over this.  There is a genuine sense in the House of Commons that all of this will somehow wash over like politics has for decades.  While many might see the ructions inside the Tories as a godsend for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn (to an extent it is), even he has to realise that almost 40% of his party’s voters wanted to leave, meaning the members from those areas that expressed their intent leaves mixed messaging for the party as a whole. Watch for a resurgence in UKIP.

In any event May needs to go. She should resign. It is unlikely that she will. She is even thinking of bringing summer recess forwards to reduce the chances of a no confidence motion although both Labour & Tory members have quashed the idea of this. 48 members must write letters to the 1922 backbench committee to call a no confidence motion and Theresa May would need to win over half the 316 seats held.

Yet we only need to look at drunkard EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and ask why any UK politician thinks there is merit in negotiating with an unelected mob that can’t walk in a straight line even when sober? Keep calm and Brexit hard.

Corbyn hits 100 front bench resignations

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How dysfunctional a leader does Jeremy Corbyn have to be to suffer his 103rd front bench resignation since he took power as Labour leader in Sep 2015? On average he is losing them at one every 10.5 days. PM Theresa May is dreadful but Corbyn’s blithering incompetence puts her in the shade. While 60 of the 103 were part of the internal coup in 2016, this is hardly a century any Brit could be proud of.

Mulligan democracy?

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One disturbing development in politics is the promotion of mulligans. The idea of ‘that is the shot I would have played if I had another chance’. Sadly some people think that is fair game and even worse, democratic. The lead up to the Brexit referendum almost a year ago saw “leave” and “remain” go at it. Months of campaigning, panel discussions and other forums were largely irrelevant. Both sides accused each other of lying and spreading falsehoods but ask yourself in the history of politics – if you believed everything that came out of a politician’s mouth you’d be lying to yourself. To host a second referendum would basically say ignore democracy until you get the result you want. Maybe like a modern day prep school sports event – everyone is a winner at St. Barnabus’.

People were well aware of the issues of Brexit going in. The idea of people being too gullible is frankly condescending in the extreme. Many long standing Labour voters went for “Leave”. They weren’t voting Tory by stealth. They took a view. It wasn’t just about immigration. They were feeling pain in real time, the valid threat of their future economic security. The higher unemployment rates and withering opportunities aren’t scare stories from politicians but here and now. For example the people of the Midlands didn’t need stats, Farage or Boris to sway them. Just like those that voted Trump – they were feeling the pressure of harsh economic realities that weren’t reflected in rosy government stats that were waved in their face as a testament to their superior leadership skills.

While Remainers can whine about ‘fake’ figures of how much the EU takes every week from the UK, immigration or the number of regulations that affected Brits, financial markets proved over the 12 months since the vote that the ‘Leave’ outcome didn’t crash the economy or skewer asset prices. In fact the idea of a potential Corbyn Prime Ministership sent the pound and markets into panic. If he was to get in then Macron will get his wish of a financial center in Paris. Investment money would vanish out of the UK. It isn’t an idle threat but a reality. Capital is global.

Some argue that had the people who thought ‘remain’ would be a foregone conclusion bothered to vote then the UK would have stayed in the EU. Maybe. They were given a democratic opportunity to exercise a choice and they didn’t. Many of the 1,000,000 new voters who signed up since Theresa May called the snap election who didn’t do so before the referendum had a choice a year ago. Do we give them a free hit? How do we truly instill the realities of a true democracy if we have to attach L-plates to beginners? It doesn’t matter one jot if there were enough dormant or eligible voters to defeat the referendum if they don’t show up on game day. Is the Premier League football FA Cup given to the team that won the most games til the final but doesn’t show up because of their for and against stats?

It is an important question because the lesson should always be that people must take their vote seriously every time. Even John Cleese is understanding this. If they can’t be bothered when they have a chance to vote then  that is self inflicted and we should have no sympathy.

Theresa May gave voters a democratic chance to give her a mandate and she got thumped. There were two parts to this. Some young voters were surely lured by the offer of free education and a chance to reject Brexit by the back door. Theresa May was too arrogant to think the population would roll over and give her carte blanche to carry out her plans along with a biting austerity budget for good measure. A refusal to do a debate vs Corbyn, a slapdash manifesto and dreadful performances when she appeared sealed her fate. Corbyn came across as the warmer candidate and simply campaigned better. Still an election and a referendum are two different beasts. Just because more voted for Labour than expected doesn’t mean they want an end to Brexit. They did it to send a message to May.

Still the idea we propose a second referendum is a bad idea for democracy. Unlike elections, referendums are yes or no.

Don’t buy the argument that people were sold a pup. That the elderly are bigots, racists and have no concern for their kids or the youth. That the youth should have twice the vote of the elderly because they’re on the planet for longer or the elderly should have their voting rights cut. Saying people are stupid is not a valid answer. Why not have an IQ test for voters to determine voting rights??  If lessons aren’t learnt through bitter experience then why bother holding elections or referendums at all. If anything this election showed through the higher turnout (68.7%) that the lesson is being learnt and the electorate has told politicians they won’t be taken for mugs.

The referendum was held, Article 50 was passed as an Act of Parliament and our Dear John letter was handed to President Tusk. The UK would be a total laughing stock to divorce and then ask to remarry again. Corbyn will undoubtedly have a much stronger say in negotiations and has a vested interest to ruin what little legitimacy May has left. She is left with a divided party created by her unwillingness to listen. The Tories are toast with her at the helm and the DUP alliance smacks of desperation. A Diet Coke Brexit is pointless. We’re in or we’re out.

The Conservatives won the popular vote despite the shambolic display although Labour took 60% of the votes from UKIP. What we can say is that politics is not like it used to be. The electorate is fickle. Loyalty is no longer a given and abandoning core party principles will see politicians punished at the polls. May must step down for the sake of the Tories. as the HMS Tory takes on water under Captain May, more will seek to abandon ship until she walks the plank.

This miscalculation by May will go down as one of history’s biggest political failures. Do not be surprised if we do get a second referendum but be very worried about the precedent it sets for the future. Democracy is at stake and even arguing that it is in the interest of the people to take a mulligan on this issue is effectively saying their votes don’t matter. That referendums have no meaning. Of course the Remainers will cite opinion polls that give them the answer they want to hear but as we all know polls are useless these days. May had the biggest lead and highest popularity in living memory yet got this result.

TM is no MT

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Theresa May (TM) is no Margaret Thatcher (MT). The fact their initials are the opposite of each other is almost as eerie. Some look at the second ever female UK PM as a sort of MT Mk.II. TM isn’t. In fact her total lack of judgement to host this election is made even worse by the fact she isn’t resigning her position. Is she was the CEO of a multinational and presented a strategy that caused such damage to the brand as this election has she’d resign. Period. TM channeled the wrong MT (Malcolm Turnbull) in the election campaign who also suffers from the same belief of thinking he is more popular than he really is.

TM sold this election as a victory for her party yesterday. Her lack of humility was telling. Apparently she will “provide certainty’. Losing 12 seats while her arch enemy won an extra 29 doesn’t ring “mandate” from the people. Enlisting Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to make up the numbers is patchwork and she knows it. This sign suggests that they can push hard on policy positions.

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The DUP want a soft border with the Republic of Ireland effectively diluting a hard Brexit, no change to same sex marriage or abortion laws, immunity for British soldiers in legacy cases, no border poll and a bump in its share of budget appropriations to offset a drop after Brexit. A mixed bag for May to negotiate.

While the election was interesting in the decimation of UKIP and the drubbing of the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon (who also sold it as a win), this was May’s Stalingrad. She thought she’d crush the Comrade Corbyn but didn’t bet on the resilience, resolve or resurgence in those who wanted to have a second shot at ‘Remain’. Now she leaves the Tories in a winter of discontent.

TM, you’ve lost your legitimacy – time to go.  MT would tell you the same.

Paddy Power. Once bitten, twice shy?

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The table above highlights the betting odds from Paddy Power on the upcoming UK election. It has May & the Conservatives comfortable winners. I wonder how much influence the early Hillary Clinton pay out has been on Paddy Power’s stance on June 8th? Looking at Twitter, Theresa May has had a surge of around 220,000 followers since she called the election and Corbyn around 350,000. Having said that as a percentage May’s has more than doubled vs Corbyn’s 50% hike. That is to say Corbyn had more followers to begin with and May was never really an active social media baroness. I personally think this election will be closer than many think. With 1 million signing up since the election was called this vote will also be a quasi- Brexit referendum Mk.II. The Tories have made a Horlicks of the manifesto and it smacked of over confidence in the lead it held over Labour at the time the election was called. The gap narrows. As awful as Corbyn and co are, the Tories have not exactly looked like the championship winning team it thought it was. It could be that the Tories just win in the PK shoot out as long as Boris isn’t in goal.

1,000,000 under age of 25 have registered to vote since snap election called by May

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More than a million people under the age of 25 applied for a vote in the general election in the five weeks after the snap poll was called. With the Corbyn free goodies bag and many of the youth against Brexit one wonders again whether Theresa May’s political gamble will backfire. The total number of UK parliamentary electors in December 2016 was 45,766,000, an increase of 2.3%, around 1 million, from December 2015. The gap of 12.2% would still still seem comfortable enough and the tragic Manchester terrorist suicide bombing will shift focus away from May’s muddled manifesto. This race maybe much closer than markets are betting especially as UKIP, The Greens and the LibDems slide into the abyss.

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The politics of envy

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Here is the Facebook page of the U.K. Labour Party. Notice that it preys on the politics of envy. To think that Corbyn and his dysfunctional party totally misread their heartland voter during Brexit choose to target those evil superrich Tories rather than look introspectively at their inability to have sustainable party, policy or platform.  Now that Lib Dem’s Tim Farron has alienated a chunk of his voter base just today, SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon likely to lose many seats in Scotland and more Labour MPs are declining to run this election the politics of envy won’t carry the day. Even The Guardian wrote this election will be good for Labour as they’ll have to boot Corbyn and come up with policies that are realistic.