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Still not voting…

November 27, 2019 Leave a comment

GE2019

At the beginning of the Month, I wrote ‘No, I will not vote in an Election where there isn’t an option for change. Why would I?

With three weeks gone and two more to go until the Election on Thursday 12th December, I have to say that I feel very much the same.

It’s not that there hasn’t been any change. There has.

But the change that has happened has been peripheral or aesthetic at best.

The good that might come from the adjustments within the political landscape that have taken place within this Campaign will not have come about not by design or intention, but rather by default.

With 15 days to go, the biggest issue on everyone’s mind today, is the Interview that Jeremy Corbyn gave to Andrew Neil last night. It followed a day where Labour’s choreographed plan for a day focused on their ‘ambitious Race and Faith Manifesto’ was utterly destroyed by the article written by the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and published in yesterday’s Times, explaining exactly why people should redirect their vote.

The Interview itself simply evolved a terrible day into a complete nightmare for the Labour Leader as he effectively refused to apologise for the anti-Semitism within the Labour Party and what the Party has done in response.

The Tories are riding high. And with the latest polls now suggesting that the gap between the Conservatives and Labour is closing, the fall out from this debacle is almost certain to ensure that the polling will quickly start to go the other way.

Or at least that is until Boris sits in front of AF Neil himself whenever that might be agreed and then be.

The big problem is that the Conservatives are riding a wave that doesn’t have defining Public Policy as its root cause.

Labour’s downward trajectory and overkill with its great electoral giveaway of 2019 aside, the biggest boon to Boris Johnson’s position has been the decision from Nigel Farage to remove so many of the Brexit Party’s Candidates from competing against Tory Candidates in Seats where the Conservatives won in the 2017 Campaign.

On the face of it, Farage did this to avoid the risk of Jeremy Corbyn walking into No10.

Yet his hybrid approach of standing Brexit Party Candidates pretty much everywhere else does have the distinctive whiff of the whole effort the Brexit Party is making being not about Brexit itself, but about gaining at least a foothold of control.

The lie itself is given by Farage’s suggestion during the Press Conference at the time that Boris had done enough with the pledges he had made about Brexit in the video that had been released the day before.

To some, it will come as little surprise that recent days have brought stories to the fore, that Farage has no plans to go anywhere. That his next mission will be to rebrand the Brexit Party and transform it into a political vehicle that will drive political reform.

The problem for Farage with this is that apart from the reality he has to now face that as a figurehead and leader he is no longer likely to be trusted, any Party that can be identified as being about nothing else other than Leaving the EU itself is likely to be as divisive as Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats have been by rejecting the need to find a pathway that will bring all sides together and committing themselves to cancel Brexit and promise that under their influence the UK will categorically Remain.

To its credit, the Brexit Party has demonstrated that it is possible to bring people, politicians and pubic figures from all political backgrounds together to work as one.

But the ‘Contract’ that they have published instead of a manifesto for this General Election tells us that the leadership of the Party is still thinking about politics in exactly the same way as the leadership of all of the other Political Parties who have contributed to the political crisis that we are experiencing and not least of all the Brexit Divide.

We now look two weeks ahead to an Election Result where Boris is still likely one-way-or-another to be our PM.

But being PM with a majority that is likely to lead to a clean, no deal Brexit by default within 12 months is a lot different to the situation that Boris will face if he is returned as Prime Minister with similar numbers of MPs in Parliament to what we have experienced since 2017 – where the majority present is most likely to still be pushing for further delays, obfuscation and what they will only accept as being a very open form of Remain.

The chaos that follows any of the scenarios that appear to be likely and unfolding from this vantage point in time will not improve things. It is likely to only make things a whole lot worse.

Whilst I and many others would like to see reason for hope that any of the Political Parties we have today and running in this Election could become the catalyst for wide-ranging change, once we have brought everyone back together again by really getting Brexit done, I’m afraid that paying lip service to the change that the UK desperately now needs simply isn’t enough for me to vote for any Candidate or Political Party that is involved.

A General Strike will be little more than terrorism in a sanitised form

The saying ‘everything is relative’ is perhaps the most polite way to tell someone that they are being insular; focused only upon the impacts of a wider issue on themselves, or simply failing to grasp that each and every one of us has a different viewpoint and that they could perhaps do well to look at things a different way.

Whilst the possibility has been grumbling in the background for some time, this week has seen the first clear indication that the Unite Union is seeking to take a lead in initiating a General Strike, of the like this Country has not witnessed since 1926. But is this throw-back to an age when Unions may have still possessed some form of genuine purpose actually going to help anybody?

The excuse given for a level of action which is more likely to destroy support for Union Members rather than be of any benefit to it, is of course the measures of ‘austerity’ that the Coalition Government has apparently been taking. It is indeed no secret that these measures are resulting in the loss of jobs and Benefits; but it has also brought an end to the seemingly ceaseless momentum behind enhancement of conditions for professions which are most likely to yield Union Membership.

Even as a former business owner and politician elected on a Conservative ‘ticket’, I myself can see that there was a time when the rights and welfare of workers needed much greater consideration so that exploitation became the exception, rather than a rule in any sense at all.

But we live in very different times and the rights, conditions and systems of support which now exist at every level of business and Government for staff are already far beyond that which the Strikers of the Twenties would have ever dared to have imagined – even in their wildest dreams.

Few businesses would survive today for very long without paying wages that the market can sensibly sustain, or by providing conditions which do not genuinely reflect the value of any role within a business. Therefore, the question that we should now be asking is not whether business and Government should be forcefully coerced into paying more money in wages because of the threat of strike action from Unions, but rather if we as a Nation are already overburdened with Legislation affecting employers and their ability to create new jobs?

I consider myself as being fortunate to know and socialise with people from all walks of life and count many of them as friends. However, it has become increasingly clear that nobody has been insulated against the affects of our age of ‘austerity’, which itself has far more to do with the spiralling rises in the true cost of living for us all, rather than it does the efforts of a lacklustre Government tinkering around the edges of policy, covering cuts with band-aids when the breaks in our whole Society are so very much more profound.

Ironically, it is the very same failure on the part of Politicians to consider the full impact and self-serving nature of their actions (or lack of them) upon others and ultimately themselves that the Unions are now displaying – even by just talking-up the potential of a General Strike. Sadly, the similarities do not end there.

The horrible truth in all this is that neither the Government nor the Unions hold any genuine level of moral currency either in the way that our times of economic hardship have come into being, or by how either would act in their contributions to ultimately attempt to resolve it.

No group that is politically motivated, other than one which is truly and comprehensively people-centric will ever be ethically and morally sound. Until that time, the Unions would do well to remember that even the poorest of our Governments have been elected democratically and by majority votes.

However frustrated any of us feel, there are many more people suffering financial hardship beyond the realms of just those with Union Membership and there are far more appropriate and reasoned pathways to bring about the change that we all now need.

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