Archive

Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

The political class still doesn’t understand the reasons for Brexit, and until it does, we Remain at risk

January 8, 2018 Leave a comment

imagesThe background of the Government reshuffle today lends itself well to many different explanations. Depending on which publications you read, listen to or just review, you are bound to get at least a slightly different take on someone else’s interpretation of what will one way or another end up as doom and gloom.

How Brexit is or will be handled continues to be the topic of choice even where new jobs for Cabinet Members are concerned. It seems the most controversial possibility which comes with Theresa May’s changes, is that of the creation of a Minister focusing on the realities of an outcome which will be know universally as ‘No Deal’.

Yes, it all sounds very scary. In no small part due to the continuing noise emanating from the Remain camp, with high profile figures such as Tony Blair making it known that it has now become their latest life’s work to overturn this travesty that nobody who voted for it democratically could possibly understand.

It would be easy just to veer off and have a rant about Remainers ignoring the will of the people. Yet, the Leave brigade are no better. And if we look closely at what each side says, it becomes ever apparent that none of these speakers really understand the reasons that millions of anonymous people walked into a polling station on 23rd June 2016, and against the flow of what even the most ardent Brexiteers at the time believed, looked at a future remaining in Europe and simply said ‘NO’.

Finding evidence to say everyone is now a lapsed Brexiteer or more in favour of leaving the Union than ever is not really all that hard.

Polls continue to be presented and taken as read, even though their true validity has been brought seriously into question during recent political campaigns. Even those of us who rarely feel inclined to question the overuse of statistics are now looking at them with the same level of faith as a TV weather forecast; instead choosing to take a quick walk and a look at the conditions outside.

The biggest error that politicians, pollsters and journalists are all making about Brexit, is in attempting to explain it all in terms which are culturally acceptable, rational and what we equate with being the ‘norm’.

Such an approach does not lend itself well to the human condition. It overlooks our propensity to place our own truths in the mouths of others, and neglect anything that sits outside our accepted or documented level of understanding. It bypasses everything else that simple human behaviour hides.

Brexit was about far too many different things to mention. Yet all of our leaders and opinion makers continue trying to distill a highly complex decision down into basic questions, which can then be answered with solutions or arguments which cannot ever be so simply or intelligently defined.

Getting caught up in the cases of for and against immigration, sovereignty, trade, our place in Europe and much more besides, is an elephant trap of gargantuan proportions. One that only adds fuel to the fire of dissention, disaffection and disenfranchisement that everyone feels beyond Westminster – from whichever side.

Brexit represented so much more than any of these tangible areas of policy – even though they are real to us all, but for each of us in very different ways.

Brexit happened because it was an opportunity for so many of us to say no to everything that is wrong with politics. The chance to speak and be heard without fear of reprisal and without fear of enabling just another set of politicians to gain influence over our lives in ways that could make our already difficult set of experiences much, much worse.

The privacy of the ballot box enabled a rebellion of a kind which nobody really believed possible. The irony being that it was devised and brought into being by politicians being caught out by their lack of care for others and having overconfident faith in the reasons for creating their lines.

That none of the political establishment are getting it right now is no great surprise. But the fact that they aren’t also leaves the door open to even greater mistakes being made. Mistakes that will only serve to over amplify the real problems – the ones that both the Government and the opposition are still through lack of awareness and understanding – continually attempting to hide.

 

image thanks to unknown

 

Even if the Government has ‘reports’ on the UK’s future after Brexit, it would remain foolish to rely on expert opinion about an event which hasn’t already taken place

December 27, 2017 Leave a comment

download (9)Brexit has been created by a phenomenon, the elements of which many of us are still failing to understand. For non-decision makers, this is just a social problem between people who are usually friends. But for our politicians it has now become an elaborate game of pin the tail on the donkey which risks much more than a simple prick to the finger if they get their blindfolded judgement wrong.

The exquisite mix of having a government led by people who do not believe in what they are doing, trying to deliver working solutions to problems that they do not understand would in any other situation be recognised for what it is. But politics has regrettably moved on from an age when it really was in some way chivalrous – if it ever really was, and power being all, is all it has now become.

This insidious environment does not lend itself well to the power of original thinking. Trust has become as interchangeable with myth as proof has become with fiction, and unrelated history has become the benchmark of reliability against the future that we can also not personally see.

Measuring the possible impact and consequences of Brexit against such a backdrop is therefore down to either fortune telling – which is at best no more than ‘an educated guess’, or of relying upon economic viewpoints and philosophies which have been developed on the basis of events that have already passed, rather than what will actually happen in the future.

Put simply, nothing like Brexit has happened before and nor will it happen again, as even the smallest difference – perhaps down to the outlook of just one of the key players involved, could deliver an outcome which we could never imagine.

That the Government and Ministers responsible for any part of the Brexit process may or may not choose to rely upon reports which have been devised in this way and within this unique set of circumstances, is perhaps more about their own take on the opinion of others, rather than anything we could really label as setting out to deceive.

Whether they be Specialists, Experts, Economists or not, it is little more than opinion that they actually give and we would all do well to remember that even then, nobody has the ability to offer such ‘expert analysis’ of an event which has not already taken place.

Yes, we all have concerns about what is to come as a result of Brexit. But staying within Europe would not in any way have meant that a stable future of any kind was assured. And it remains worthy of note that whilst Brexit may prove to be temporarily challenging for us, for the UK to have remained a member of the EU may in time have proven to be truly catastrophic.

 

image thanks to fortune.com

‘Out means out’ is the clear message that would give certainty to the Brexit Process

August 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Unspoken words illustrated by actions, almost always speak more loudly than the words which accompany them. The approach which has been taken by Theresa May’s Government towards Brexit is certainly no different.

Management of expectation should be fluent practice for the politicians who have reached the heights of having a seat at the top table in the land. So it would be reasonable to conclude that the jumping off point for the Brexit Negotiations provides us with an accurate picture of the priorities of the Government for delivering our exit process.

Begin-with-the-end-in-mind.

It is of no great surprise that many people are concerned, given that Brexit looks like an unholy mess. One which is playing into the hands of ardent Remainers such as Vince Cable, given that the whole approach to the process has been in many ways portrayed as being about doing the minimum necessary to qualify the UK as no longer being an EU Member.

The current approach could more accurately be framed as over-promising with the quiet or unintended expectation that they will ‘be given no choice’ but to under deliver. The alternative would be the more robust and arguably honest approach of being clear from the start with us all by stating that we are now going to be completely out of European Union Membership once the Article 50 Notice Period is complete, and that anything we gain in our interests thereafter will be a benefit.

What could then accurately be called an under-promise leading to what anyone who sees our true relationship with our European Partners will know will be a significant lessening of expectations in terms of what the Government will then assuredly over-deliver.

While more than a year may now have passed since the EU Referendum with Negotiations in Brussels now appearing to be underway, it is far from too late to adopt this approach.

Yes, giving this level of clarity to the overall message would draw criticism from Remainers who continue to be convinced that they can influence the Negotiation Process to a degree where Brexit would occur in name only. But it would also provide a distinct level of certainty within what for us all will remain a fluid situation for a long time to come, where stepping off now with the worst case scenario providing a basis for our negotiating position going forward being a far more productive place to begin.

To continue managing the public perception of the Brexit process in the way that it is, the Government appears to be either attempting to be all things to all people – which even when well intended is unlikely to work; or is playing the rather dangerous game of planning for the UK to remain technically tied to Membership of the European Union via a relationship which the majority of British people do not want.

Yes, there are very big interests with equally big voices making very loud predictions of doom and gloom, openly threatening to leave the UK if their needs aren’t prioritised.

A perfectly sensible question in response would be to ask them why they are here anyway if the European Market is that much more important than our own.

The reality however, is that these self-serving overtures are really nothing more than a plea to a political class to keep everything which works profitably for those interests basically the very same.

These businesses have had influence and power over Government for a very long time due to the role that money is seen to play in just about everything. Yet in terms of Brexit, Money has now come into direct conflict with democracy and the will of the People. Nobody should be in any doubt about the interests which will benefit most if the UK should in any way now Remain.

The message is clear. Things can never be the same as they were before 23rd June 2016. Obstructive as these other interests may be, they also deserve to receive a clear message from the Government about the direction of travel, so that they can work with their own worst case scenarios. Scenarios which you can be assured will prove to be a lot better when we have formally left the EU, than they would willingly have us all suppose now.

The damage being done daily with the current lacklustre approach in terms of the relationship between Westminster all British People – who have an evolving distrust of the establishment, has the potential to be far reaching, particularly if the Negotiation Process should ultimately result in an avoidable fudge.

Whilst no British voter has knowingly endorsed the process of ‘ever closer union’ which successive British Governments undertook to create an increasingly closer and subservient political union with the EU, it would be utterly foolish for political strategists to believe that they can somehow delay or prevent the distinct and clinical reversal of that unsanctioned action, when the democratic instruction given by the Referendum Vote was very clear.

Of course, any ardent Remainer reading these words can and will pick holes in an argument like this by using their own view of Brexit and the Referendum itself to justify alternative reasoning. Democracy does after all only work for some when they are getting the results that they themselves want.

As a supporter of leaving the European Union from a time long before it ever became politically fashionable to be so, I can nonetheless say that I did not feel comfortable with the polarity delivered by the Referendum Campaign. Yet it has become ridiculous that a follow-up debate about ‘what Brexit will look like’ should then have been allowed to develop by the establishment and then framed as an optional change which can come in a choice of shades, wrapped up as either a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit.

Accepting that we are leaving – as most Political Parties now at least indicate that they do, would sound much more sincere, convincing and less like they were paying mere lip service to this inevitable change if all were to adopt a more definite tone such as ‘out means out’, rather than ‘Brexit means Brexit’. One which not only makes clear but endorses the otherwise universally held understanding that you cannot remain attached and at the same time be genuinely separate or no longer a part of something – as the British Electorate have commanded that we must now be.

In my last blog, I discussed the reality and impact of ideas or ideologies in politics rather than management according to all the facts. Brexit has regrettably come to fall under the same umbrella of ideas. It should be clear that our perspective of the process and creation of policy right at this moment in time and how things will actually work when we arrive at March 2019 will not then be the same as now or at any point thereafter.

The only certainty is that we are leaving and that is why it would be far more productive to talk in terms of the relationship that the UK then aims to have with the EU as being an aspiration, instead of a fixed relationship that we the or they in some way have the power to guarantee.

Acceptance that all sides of UK Politics have something to bring to this debate is essential and must replace the virtue signalling and disingenuous assumption of moral authority adopted by some, who fail to understand the expectations of everyone with views and feelings from outside their own bubbles. Especially so, as they refuse to work with those who do or have an alternative view to their own.

Just as if we were destined to travel to the top of a hill, it would be generally accepted as inevitable that there would be a climb involved in getting there. There may of course be different routes, choices of gradients or even helicopter rides to assist us to ascend. But one way or the other, we know that we will have to have reached the top of the hill itself before we ourselves know and everyone else will fully accept that we have got there.

In terms of our exit from European Union, complete UK Sovereignty is the top of that hill.

Regaining the power for our Westminster Parliament to determine all rules, laws and the obligations under which we live and operate as a Nation must be the red line above which nothing is acceptable in terms of influence from any other European Nation, combination thereof or indeed any foreign power.

To allow this key component of honouring its obligation the British Electorate to appear in some way negotiable – depending upon whether we can secure ‘agreement’ over certain things such as access to the Free Market, the need for a ‘Customs Union’ or the method under which we ‘can’ allow people to move across our Borders – The Government has perhaps unwittingly embarked upon a game of high stakes chess with the sanctity of the democratic relationship between it and the People.

To the Government, to the Opposition and to the other Political Parties with seats in Westminster beyond, it is the agenda of the British people which must be prioritised, first and foremost before any of their own, or indeed the very specific and self-serving interests which all too often support and therefore have influence over them.

All the Government really needs to do is change, make clear and evangelise the core message to one which reflects ‘out means out’ and then the support and understanding of how we can all work with and benefit from Brexit will soon begin to appear.

Whilst the siren calls of public figures such as the Archbishop of Canterbury may suggest that the devil is in the detail, the real challenge for those across Government is to now genuinely commit to the journey. They will then find that the seemingly impossible level of technicalities to consider as part of the Brexit process will be much simpler to decide – even within the significant volumes that they will come.

 

 

 

Brexit and the influence of Corporate Business: Money talks and the rest of the business community walks

Brexit 2The result of the European Referendum was a surprise to many, and that includes a substantial part of the leave side itself. Yet over a year on, with Article 50 Triggered over 3 Months ago and David Davies now participating in regular sessions of ‘negotiation’ with the European elite, nobody seems to know what impact Brexit will have on any of the key issues, and whether any of what are being considered as the obvious problems which led to the ‘No’ Vote will really have been resolved.

With Brexit constituting a polysemic reference point which in the imaginations of everyone will look as different as the number of people you might ask, it is perhaps no wonder that there really is as much confusion as there appears to be about the whole process.

Some do of course interpret what is already the natural anxiety which is accompanying these early stages of our departure from the European Union as change in the minds of the majority that initiated this whole process. Yet they would do well to remember that none of the reasons which prompted that significant choice on the part of so many have as yet been resolved, and especially so in the case of the many more beyond those generally accepted and not least of all the spectre of corporate and political self interest.

It should really be of little surprise that things have looked like such a mess in these circumstances and genuinely forgivable given the lack of pre-Referendum preparation for its outcome and the chain of events including a change of Prime Minister and an arguably unexpected General Election which has distributed power in peculiar directions.

What is less easy to overlook, and perhaps should be of great concern to us all, is the readiness of former remain-backing politicians to focus upon the opinion and input of sources from the corporate world who also sought the same outcome when considering what will or wont work for business-full-stop, when what they appear to hope will be an indefinite period of transition commences in March 2019 and we formally leave the Union.

Input of organisations such as the CBI, whilst important in its capacity as a member-based industry voice, is nonetheless representative only of the executives and companies for whom they work, and therefore the highly subjective and specifically profit-led interests that they all have in conjunction with their own trading arrangements with Europe – rather than what is objectively in the better interests of us all.

Whilst it may be to some degree inevitable that UK-European trade will come at a greater cost to all businesses in the future, these changes will in real or financial terms be no different than the changes in costs of manufacturing, supply and service provision which have accompanied change after change after change which have been instigated by a continual flow of new European Laws and Directives when they hit relevant businesses. In fact, it is only the fact that this is an industry-wide phenomenon, rather than just another hitting one sector or another, which really marks leaving the European Union itself as being markedly different from changes that to real business, would really be ‘just one of those things’.

It would be disingenuous to suggest that the Government is listening to the wrong people, but it certainly does not appear to be taking into account the realities facing the complete range of the right ones either, and when the views of Remain-lite big business are put into their true perspective, the news is arguably far from as bad as the comparatively few companies which are big enough to swim in the pool with the CBI and have influence on its own Policy would like us and the Government to think.

Motivation is regrettably key, and whilst it is considered normal to talk about the individuals who give voice to CBI membership and the corporate business community as being representative of the ‘business view’, very few, if indeed any of the people who have reached the top of these large Companies will have really cut their teeth in the furnace of SME business start-ups, development and management. It is here where you ultimately have no choice but to accept, get on and work with legislatory change, or get out of the market and let someone else have a go if you can no longer make it work.

Small business, which suggested by Federation of Small Business (FSB) figures makes up at least 60% of industry, thrives on being adaptable and embracing each and every change that it will face, which for most will come to them pretty much on almost daily basis. What it doesn’t have – even with membership organisations like the FSB  – which are again only technically representative of the views of their members with a voice – is a seat, or what should be a significant number of seats around the ‘top table’ when it comes to getting the ear of Ministers and indeed our Government.

This is a travesty, as the business environment which they inhabit is the real engine room of our economy, and the place where industry feedback is most open and reflective of the concerns and realities which really do face all businesses.

SME’s are the business equivalent of the electoral grassroots and the only place to go if Government really wants to establish the priorities of British Business to inform our negotiations with the EU as we transition through Brexit to what may then prove to be a much more productive world for the British economy beyond.

 

image thanks to news.sky.com 

 

 

 

MPs who voted against triggering Article 50 contradicted the will of the relevant constituency

February 4, 2017 Leave a comment

brexit-voteWhilst the realities of our Legal system have allowed the wishes of a group of individuals to delay the implementation of the democratic choice of the British people, any individual seeking to bolster the strength of their own argument against Brexit on the basis of this ‘technical truth’ will certainly not be putting the interests of the wider community before their own. Regrettably, those MP’s who have sought to thwart or destroy the process of Brexit in all but name are effectively misusing their responsibilities to the point where they may well bring their own incumbency into question.

Remainers persist in arguing that leaving the EU can mean that we don’t actually leave, or suggest that the Electorate will change its mind simply because the Remain Campaign was the only one telling the truth.

They argue that these reasons justify their refusal to accept a democratic mandate, but they risk shattering what is left of the already fragile status quo in which the disenfranchised majority has made clear they do not wish things to simply continue as the are.

Democracy isn’t perfect because it inevitably leaves those who have not achieved the result they were supporting feeling let down and disappointed if they fail to get their way.

Were democracy to be perfect, it would render itself obsolete simply because everyone would agree upon everything already and therefore have no need to engage in any such process.

The downside of democracy not being a perfect system is that those who disagree with a result will always look for leverage to dispute a result, just because they may have perceived that in some way they have been robbed.

To be fair, close results in elections – where perhaps just a handful of votes stand between one candidate and another – have been turned on their head just on the basis of a recount alone. But these instances are rare, and when they occur, are more likely to do so where a result has been drawn within an electorate of a very low number.

The smallest constituencies are the most likely to experience such events with the likelihood reducing as elections range from the wards of a parish councils, through those of a district level authority to the divisions of a county council and then the parliamentary constituencies themselves. Even then however, one seat ultimately being decided upon the flip of a coin is unlikely to effect the fortune or result from similar elections held on the same day within 649 others.

What all these constituencies have in common, is that no matter how small or how big, they all represent the majority view of the people who live within a specific geographical area. The result or election of an individual or individuals to represent that particular area are based on the votes of the people in that specific area alone.

Because of the current nature of British politics, it is easy to forget that even in a General Election, we all vote for an individual to represent us locally, rather than the political party they belong to.

Voters can hardly be blamed for this when the party which gains the most seats forms the government, and the leader of that group then becomes Prime Minister.

We might not even notice when our chosen candidate is not elected, simply because it can still be the case that our choice of Party for Government does. However, only one person can ever fill one seat and this means that at least one and possibly many more will not.

The practical realities of administering government require that district level authorities are responsible for the mechanics of elections. It doesn’t matter what the election and what the boundary of its constituency may be, the chances are that you will always go to the same place to vote. Other than being given one or a number of voting slips which have to then go in different ballot boxes when different elections coincide, very few of us have to think about much more besides, as the local monitoring officer manages the process which leads to the conclusion of each and every local electoral result that our individual vote contributes towards, to decide.

However, in the case of European Elections, which are decided on a Regional basis and require many different district level authorities to feed in their own locally harvested results which contribute to a much larger area, a strong result for one or more parties in that area may not be reflected in the Regional result itself, because the majority of people in other areas have within their own constituencies voted for another party or parties.

A National referendum is similarly no different, taking the process one step further to a point where every single vote counts directly towards the national result, with the relevant constituency being the entire UK.

The familiarity of the Electoral System lends itself to significant misunderstanding, particularly as many people are simply unaware of the different tiers of government which operate and certainly have no greater awareness of the geographical differences or enclosures which exist between any number of the different authorities or individual politicians who are elected by them in the same way.

This administrative anomaly works well in terms of operating a practical and effective non-digitised election management system. But it also allows data collected for specific areas such as that of a Parliamentary Constituency to be interpreted in terms of relevance just to the area in which those votes were counted alone, rather than against the backdrop of the wider, or indeed narrower area. However, in elections where a candidate or multiple of candidates is selected for a particular ‘seat’, a conflicting result for a parish ward would not allow or facilitate the election of a ‘part-candidate’ when the results of all others would provide a majority for a county council candidate and thereby ensure that individuals election.

Whilst many of the 114 MP’s have used the excuse that their own constituency voted to Remain as the logical reason for voting against triggering Article 50 in Parliament this last week, the fact that the European Referendum was itself never about the individual result or interpretation of votes from any specific Parliamentary Constituency, but rather the combined will of the nation itself, arguably renders this interpretation completely void.

The same can be said of the Scottish Constituencies too. What is more, whilst the SNP can argue that they have a distinguishable mandate, the result of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum has made the position of the Scottish region clear in terms of its relationship within and as part of the rest of the UK and would as such be no different than any other single parliamentary constituency seeking to Remain in Europe, when the Referendum was only ever about the relationship between Europe and the UK entire.

It would be ridiculous to completely overlook the alternative reasoning of these MP’s as from a certain point of view, it is arguably true. However, it is based on a subjective and arguably self-serving view, rather than the more objective one which has been adopted by many more on all sides of the political divide. One which respects the nature of the Referendum Vote and the specific constituency within which it was held.

Had the democratic view been accepted by all in the first place, the will of the majority of the British people would have already been respected. No MP would have found themselves facing a dilemma of whether or not to support their own Party, or alternatively risk the potential of being black-balled, all because to a few, democracy can only work when they believe that they alone are winning.

 

image thanks to thesun.co.uk

 

 

Using money to thwart democracy is dictatorship wearing different clothes

January 26, 2017 1 comment

gina-millerInequality is a current and far reaching issue in the UK today. The difference between rich and poor, the educated elite and those with ‘poor education’ or the 1% and the rest are topics which are never far from the news, even if they are presented in an indirect but nonetheless similar way.

Whilst it would now be easy to challenge any portrayal of imbalance within ‘normal’ life across in the media, the fact remains that wealth, education, housing, employment, healthcare and the opportunities to access just about every method of support which can make a difference to any one persons quality or experience of life is not available to each and every one of us in exactly the same way. The same opportunities are not given to everyone, and however unacceptable or unpalatable this may seem, it remains an almost universal fact.

The social disparity which people experience today is sadly just an evolution of a problem which has been consistent throughout history, albeit at varying levels and presented in terms which have been contemporary for the times.

Beyond birth and death, our shared reality offers no genuine equality between any two people.

Whilst the rights lobby and so-called ‘progressives’ are unlikely to agree, human experience and free will render the possibility of true equality obsolete.

Democracy and the process of giving everyone within a community the same choices – even within the framework of restrictions which is imposed, is likely to be one of the most equal of opportunities which are the same for everyone. Whatever somebody’s background, address, bank balance or work status, they equate to the very same thing when it comes to placing a voting slip in the ballot box. We are conditioned to expect the same of the Law in this Country too.

The relationship between democracy and Law is all too easily overlooked. This has been alarmingly well illustrated by the decision on triggering Article 50 by the Supreme Court.

In the UK today, democracy franchises the Law. Yet the Law has now inadvertently been used to franchise an alternative to democracy; one which is being facilitated by money, which has been supplied by just a few people who have the financial means to manipulate a process which places emphasis upon technical truths, in order to promote and deliver upon their own view.

Dress it up in whichever way you like, by challenging the instruction which the result of the European Referendum provided, those who funded the Court action against the Government have used independent means to frustrate democratic process. They have successfully played the process of Law against the very people it is there to consider, to support and intended to represent above any private interest.

In this light, we can clearly observe the relationship between wealth and influence. Money is power and the injustice that befalls far too many everyday people, simply because the views of the few who have sufficient wealth to facilitate a decision which frustrates the will of the many is very frightening indeed.

At best, it appears that money can now be openly used to manipulate the result of a democratic process which will effect the lives and future of everyone in the Country.

If such ignorance of the majority view were to be as blatantly replicated by a handful of politicians or the prime minister who leads our Government by misusing their power – no matter how valid they believe their own argument to be, we would be justified in using terms to describe such behaviour as being akin to dictatorship.

The question we should all perhaps now be asking is what is the difference here and perhaps where else is this approach being used?

 

image thanks to telegraph.co.uk

Trident-tongued Theresa……..Maybe?

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

may-marr-tridentLeading the UK right now is a role that few would be envious of if they took the responsibilities of being our Prime Minister seriously. Even within lucid non-partisan moments, many of us would struggle with the implications of a juggling act which can at its worst require the incumbant to knowingly sacrifice the lives of others in order to deliver a result which is focused upon a much greater good.

As a people, we are culturally and unwittingly trusting of our political leaders. There being some kind of unwritten understanding or expectation that those which have been elevated to the greatest office in the land will have the integrity, set of values and robustness of character to fulfil a role which has been occupied by titans of history such as Winston Churchill.

However, we have also become deeply suspicious of the political elite and quietly look for that moment when the true colours of any new occupant of 10 Downing Street are shown in the open, perhaps confirming our hope-against-hope based fears.

We should make no mistake that leadership does require information to be held back from a wider audience, and sometimes in ways with which we might not automatically agree. But whilst good strategic management might require a government not to tell us everything – even because it might give credence to a counterproductive argument which could have serious implications as a result, it doesn’t necessarily follow that when challenged about such an event, it is ok for a Prime Minister to lie as a result.

The Trident question does indeed have all the hallmarks of Theresa May’s watershed moment. Not because she kept quiet about the June misfire of a £17 Million weapon. But because she has now deliberately ducked the question about the incident when challenged by a respected journalist on National TV.

Some will be jumping up and down, demanding to know why the story didn’t surface in June. But others will appreciate that the vote on Trident renewal which followed soon afterwards in the Commons, would almost certainly have suffered the same fate as the missile had it done so.

Yes, it may well sound like a suitable conclusion in the circumstances. But it would not account for the many successful previous tests of Trident Missiles from our Nuclear Submarine Fleet, the excessive costs of testing them each time we do, nor the fact that as everyone knows, machines of every kind break down or ‘go wrong’ at the most inconvenient times.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but on balance, the Prime Minister was indeed right to sit that incident out, purely on the basis that renewal of the Nuclear Deterrent had been delayed already for far too long, and hollow arguments do not account for the true responsibilities of government – even if they make exceptionally good headlines.

That as they say, should really have been that. Theresa May was fortunate that the story didn’t leak before now and the Government – quite rightly – achieved a good majority vote in Parliament to drive the Trident Renewal Policy forward and ensure that our would-be enemies will continue to have to be minded of our existential threat.

Politics is however a game, and it does as such have rules. Sooner or later, the Trident story was always going to break, and it was inevitable that the way which the Prime Minister handled it would shine a clear light upon the quality of leadership therein.

When Theresa May was challenged not just once, but four times by Andrew Marr on Sunday, an honest and comprehensive response could have easily justified the action of not publicising this now historic event.

Members of the public are much more attuned to the credibility of the baseless arguments that many politicians employ than those MP’s grandstanding to the media might like to think. Yet the public would also have valued an honest and genuine response which demonstrates that the Government and the Politicians who are part of it, thoughtfully but nonetheless respectfully take the burden of quiet responsibility when needed, in order to prevent stupidity and political point-scoring from becoming a tangible risk to the safety of us all.

Instead, Mrs May has now brought the whole process into question and will have to accept that she will be responsible for any whirlwind that comes from the seeds which not in June, but on Sunday morning were almost certainly sewn.

 

image thanks to standard.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: