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The impartial biases of the Electoral Commission: Is it the mine or the miner that will kill the canary?

People have a lot to distract them at the moment. But Covid, Euro 2020, the date of the end of lockdowns, a Lions Tour and a financial crisis that’s knocking on the door are not the only games in town.

Hidden in plain sight by the way that the media currently focuses its attention, The Electoral Commission has come into view not just once, but twice in recent weeks and in ways that really should be drawing a very big spotlight across everything they are in place to do.

First of all, we had the Prime Minister talking about a review of the Commissions powers. This followed a series of decisions The Electoral Commission has taken, such the prosecution of Darren Grimes following his input within the European Referendum Campaign and his relationship with Vote Leave in 2016.

Then, in recent days, we have seen newly appointed Commission Chair John Pullinger publicly state that the Electoral Commission could agree to SNP demands for an Independence Referendum without Boris Johnson’s approval first.

You really couldn’t write this stuff even if it was all made up. If ever there was the need to toss a coin to decide whether it was the mine or the miner that killed the canary, this must surely be it.

Despite the many troubling decisions that Boris Johnson and his government have made since the 2019 General Election, I have considerable sympathy with the suggestion that the Electoral Commission has been abusing its position. Anyone looking on with an objective eye will agree that the efforts made by The Electoral Commission against high profile Brexiteers following the Referendum, whiffed of sour grapes at best and looked maliciously partisan at its worst.

You might hope that the questions that the Commissions failure to secure the intended results raised would have resulted in some soul searching and reflective analysis about the role of its Board and Commissioners. Questions such as what they were appointed for. What they were expected to do. What The Electoral Commission really exists for.

This is what we might rightly expect. What we wouldn’t have expected however, would be for a new Chair to take over and then in what is probably their first public act, make a public declaration of possible action that through its very implementation would result in a range of consequences that would at their core reflect a politically biased result – whether intended or not.

Be under no illusion. Facilitating any kind of plebiscite that has not been legally sanctioned by the Government or by standing orders of any kind that relate directly to it would arguably be a deliberate and wilfully political act by those who make that decision or are responsible for it being made.

Nicola Sturgeons unilateral attempt at a demolition derby by extricating Scotland from the UK without fear of the consequences should not be aided and abetted by the establishment- no matter how worthy this impartially biased group of ‘we know besters’ might unwittingly believe the case for Scottish Independence might be.

Through not just one, but a series of decisions that bring the impartiality of the body which is supposed to endure the propriety of the UKs democratic Electoral Processes into serious question, the board of the Electoral Commission has demonstrated that it is not for purpose. Indeed, its actions demonstrate that it does not currently work in the best interests of the British Electorate – which it is there first and foremost to serve.

This problematic reality could not have hit the UK at a more inappropriate time, given the ongoing assault upon democracy that the Johnson Government and all of the political parties have been waging upon our democracy.

Whilst the Prime Ministers’ concerns may be overtly justified, there is significant danger for all of us if the work of The Electoral Commission should succumb to Boris’ self-serving buffoonery as a result of what is a wholly undemocratic and therefore suicidal cause on the part of its Board.

The question of how the problem should be addressed becomes interesting, as the Electoral Commission is far from being alone when it comes to suffering what is now an endemic problem with public appointments: Just like all of our political system today, there are simply too many of the wrong people in post.

Boris, his Government nor the majority of the MPs who are sitting today are themselves part of the problem.

Both the political and Public Appointments system is rotten and full of people who cannot differentiate between what is right for them and what is right for the people they were either elected or appointed to serve.

Like politics itself, The Electoral Commission simply has the wrong people leading it.

We need the Electoral Commission now more than ever. But we need The Electoral Commission to run impartially and free of any kind of political or malign influences.

It doesn’t matter if the cause of bias and improper decision making is overt and visible for all to see, or simply based upon the innate prejudices of people in positions of power who either lack the ability to be self-aware or know that they are favouring their own ideas above what’s good for others, simply because they can.

We must find a way to get the right people into all Public Appointments. Yet this cannot be achieved for as long as people who have a vested interest in the system continuing to run and perform in the same way that has been are left in charge of it or able to influence it in any meaningful way.

For as long as Sturgeon frames the agenda as Independence alone, London can only dictate the terms of Scotland’s return

I believe in the Union and the United Kingdom. But even I have found myself questioning just how long the Westminster Government can resist the call of the Scottish National Party for Indyref 2 or a second Independence Referendum.

Yes. The English media spoon feed us the stories that make us love to hate Nicola Sturgeon and everything about the Party she leads. And if you should ever find 40 minutes to watch Prime Ministers Questions on a Wednesday Lunchtime, you will quickly experience how the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford uses PMQ’s as nothing more than a weekly opportunity to get his face on camera to perform.

However. Like it or not, Sturgeon and her Westminster proxy are no different to any of the other politicians that we currently have leading us from Westminster. They are out for themselves and will do whatever it takes – often shamelessly – to further their own interests and ideas. Meanwhile, they tell everyone that they respect democracy and that doing what’s best for the people is their one and only cause.

OK. There are perhaps a few exceptions. But if so, they are incredibly rare.

Truly representative politics has not existed in the UK for a very long time – if it ever genuinely has.

The twist to this story is that Sturgeon may indeed be one of the most shrewd and adroit politicians of the current age. The SNP Leader may not use her skills for the right reasons. But she does a very good job of making the politicians who lead us look today like the wet-behind-the-ears students that so many historical pictures of them already portray.

The SNP Leader’s ability to turn any political situation or event into an excuse to call for another referendum on Scottish independence is phenomenal, if not an art in its own right. But the painful reality is that things should and could have never been this way – especially so, had localism and handing back power to local communities really been at the core of Devolution’s hollow heart.

The realities underpinning continued membership of the EU have been crudely exposed by the agility of post-Brexit UK Government to secure COVID Vaccinations, whilst the EU has suffered an exquisite failure to launch. Meanwhile, the destruction caused by devolution was itself the bastard child of the European monolith, simply repackaged and sold by Blair and New Labour as part of their unbridled ambition to win favour in Brussels and surrender to the assault of further integration of the UK, regardless of the real cost.

Indeed, the irony of Labour losing political control of Scotland both in Edinburgh and Westminster would be truly delicious, would it not have been for the harsh, stone cold reality that one group of inept and self-serving politicians had weaponised another to leverage power away from their own seat of power using the very same motives as their own, whilst the cost to voters and their communities continued to grow exponentially higher all of the time.

Devolution in the hands of Labour or the Conservatives has and never was about localism, bringing back or decentralising power to the people and the communities in which they live.

Had it been so, the platform of Nationalist debate in Wales, Scotland and to a different degree Northern Ireland would not have existed as it does today in any way – simply because power and decision making it facilitates would be undertaken as close to the people these choices effect as possible. That’s the place where power has always legitimately belonged, giving the real lie to everything upon which the SNPs policy of pursuing independence is formed.

It is troubling to say that the damage to the Union may already be irreparably done. For as long as Nicola sturgeon continues to frame the agenda of political debate and public interest in Scotland around Independence, this direction of travel is only going to lead to and end up with one thing and nothing more.

Yes, there is much excitement over the government now telling sturgeon ‘NO’, emboldened as they have been by the rise of a deceptively blue wall. However, the chances are that this will never be enough. And whilst we continue to have a political class that prizes the centralisation of power using pyrrhic political devices such as the creation of Metro Mayors and Police and Crime Commissioners to suggest otherwise, the power, control and level of responsibility that could and should be devolved will never be handed back to the tiers of government that already existed before the devolution shenanigans began.

The excuse that all priorities focus on our exit from the pandemic will soon wear thin with the Scottish Electorate. The call of Indyref2 will become irresistible, and especially so once the painful consequences of such excessive and profligate public spending used to underpin the flawed lockdown policies of the Westminster Government begin to become evident. The SNP will simply sell this as a London-based ‘English’ problem and not one of their own.

The debate over another Scottish referendum and Scottish Independence has to all intents and purposes already been won – aided by the ineptitude of successive Westminster Governments who like the SNP want everything to run their own way and have no time for any cause other than their own.

The self-wounding that Blair inflicted upon the Union on behalf of the EU has been allowed to fester for so long that amputation may be the counterintuitive key to reestablishing and then developing a healthy democratic relationship between london and all regions of the UK in the longer term.

The only question that London can ask about its relationship with Scotland, whilst Sturgeon continues to frame the debate, is under what terms the exiled Scots will be allowed and encouraged to return, once the SNPs destructive dalliance with power and their misuse of responsibility has hurt the very people they lead enough for more caring minds to finally reject their dangerous brand of Nationalism and seek Scotland’s Union return.

Sturgeon: Any path to Scottish Independence will do

These are strange times politically. The key players on the political scene that we do have are shining out. But the real news or the opportunity to flag it still sits very snugly under the cloak of Covid-19.

One of the political heavyweights that we should perhaps be paying a lot more attention to than we are is SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon who really does have to be flagged for how effortlessly she manages to turn every opportunity she is given to make it all about her.

When I say her, I of course mean making it all about Scottish ‘Independence’. Because frankly, that’s all the SNP Leader is about.

Whilst the viewing figures are now dictating the demise of the daily briefings from No10 – albeit only from air over the weekends, the public interest in the Lockdown and Social Distancing is clearly waning, it wasn’t always the same.

Indeed, it was notable from the start that once the SNP Leader had managed to create enough media attention to get a seat at meetings with Boris in No10, she then deliberately went out of her way to abuse the trust or protocol of the arrangement and make unilateral announcements that to the untrained eye looked like real leadership whilst she was deliberately making every attempt to show up the actual PM.

It would be a challenge for anyone to criticise Sturgeon for trying to big herself up into looking like a world statesman when that’s pretty much what all of the current political class does.

However, the track record of the SNP beyond their collective attempts to reflect any interest in their own unfolding legacy in Scotland by criticising everyone and anything else is something to behold.

Indeed, if the SNPs track record with leading the Devolved Administration was showing their form of Government as a beacon of integrity, diligence and putting public need first, we might all struggle to be critical of anything that they do.

All we see instead is the passing of the buck when there is a problem, without fail carefully placed in the vein of Westminster does it worse than we do or something along those lines. Whilst anything good that happens is immediately owned as if the Westminster Parliament’s signature on the UK Taxpayer’s Chequebook has zero to do with anything that the Scottish Parliament can do.

Devolution was of course the bastard child of the EU, regrettably administered, re-wrapped and rolled-out by Tony Blair and the 1997-2010 New Labour crew.

All this form of localisation achieved was to take more power away from the Scottish people and place it in the hands of yet another set of politicians who are in it for themselves.

Just like Blair and the Remain-obsessives who are doing all they can to make the Coronavirus Pandemic yet another re-run of the question of Brexit and Leaving the EU, the SNP see their best chances of glory being aligned not with the destiny of their own people, not even with Independence from the UK or anyone else, but with that of the EU.

 

 

 

The #Indyref2 question will only be a problem for Boris whilst Sturgeon continues to frame the debate

December 19, 2019 Leave a comment

Whatever misgivings you might have about Boris’ Premiership, a week on from the General Election with a whirlwind of policy announcements already made, the Prime Minister certainly appears to be pulling out all the stops to pay back Voters for the victory that he and his Conservatives have just won.

Whilst the realities that underpin Boris’ deal with the EU and the implications of a border down the middle of the Irish Sea remain to be seen, the fact is that what appears to be a full-frontal assault on so many areas of Public Policy in the first days of this new majority Government do indeed echo the Campaign mantra that this is a PM out to get things done.

In fact, so committed and with it so powerful does this new administration now appear to be, there is an inherent danger that the wheels of government being thrown into gear after years of stagnation at the hands of a hung Parliament might just propel Boris and his advisors into the trap of overlooking the devil that lies in all the details and with it, ignoring the herd of elephants which populate an already overcrowded policy changing room.

One of the problems that Boris really now needs to look in the eye, rather than pretend that his mandate gives him license to ignore it, is the question of Indyref2. A problem that under the stewardship of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s expansive presence at Westminster now shows little sign of going away.

Where the Indyref2 problem is concerned, it doesn’t matter to Sturgeon and the SNP what the People have already said. The experience of the past few years has shown that democracy doesn’t matter when power is in the hands of politicians who can only see roads ahead of them that lead to where they believe they will get their own way.

There is a certain truth to the idea that the flea which the SNP has become to Boris’ majority dog would certainly be prevented from jumping if more attention was to be paid by the media and government to how poor and arguably unfit the SNP is actually to govern now, at a time when they only hold certain powers in Scotland.

But killing this parasitic form of politics and replacing it with one that works symbiotically for Scotland as an important part of the UK and for us all will not be achieved whilst any sizable part of the electorate believes that a Scotland run independently from the rest of the UK is the only change possible that will look and feel like a better way.

What the SNP want for Scotland certainly won’t be good for it. But allowing the argument to be framed by the Scottish First Minister as it is, being about them vs. us, isn’t going to help anyone other than Sturgeon and the SNP. It certainly will not benefit the Scottish Voters who themselves only want to be valued in the same way that English, Northern Irish and Welsh Voters in the South do – which can be achieved only by approaching politics in this Country in a very different and arguably much bigger way.

On the face of it, devolution in Scotland and Wales appears to be a very fair thing.

Most people would agree with the sentiment that power should rest as close to the People as decision-making can appropriately be made.

But what most People don’t realise is that the hurry for devolution in the late nineties under the Blair Labour Government wasn’t anything to do with Blair and his charges being in power for and on behalf of the People.

Devolution and the concept of Regionalisation was a giant lie. A sop to gain favour with the EU, which itself always planned to break up Nation-states through regionalization and the supposed devolution of power to more localised administrations.

Its what you might otherwise recognise as a tried and tested system of divide and conquer – albeit presented in a very sanitised and legitimised form – which could very quickly bear some fruit for the EU if Sturgeon should be successful in getting her way.

Power crazed politicians don’t compromise. Neither do they back down when they believe that their power is growing and that by keeping going like a rabid dog, more will soon be coming their way.

The way to put an end to the political argument that Independence through Indyref2 is the only way that Scottish Voters can have more, is for the UK Government to give ALL UK Voters more power over the decisions that effect their daily lives.

And that means undercutting the Sturgeons and the Prices and giving real teeth to the lower tiers of Government and Local Authorities that already and have historically existed, rather than continuing under the misguided belief that any devolution of power needs the creation – and therefore the politicization – of even more.

If all Public Policy decisions were devolved to the lowest tier of Government or where it would be most appropriate for that decision to be made – and central Government were only to oversee a framework where cross-areas implications may need to be considered – People would very quickly start to become a lot more engaged with all forms of government and have a much bigger interest.

Such re-enfranchisement would require immediate political reform.

But as significant political reform still remains necessary to make Westminster Politics viable for the long term, it would not be any great shakes to look at how Party Politics and self interest needs to be handled differently or indeed flushed out from the top to bottom of our political system and cleaned out through and through.

You cannot fault Nicola Sturgeon for continually trying as she does. But her politics is very much of the old kind. It is about the consolidation and expansion of her own power base, rather than anything related to the genuine improvement of the lives and experiences of anyone who votes.

Boris could bring her Indyref2 arguments to a very quick close.

All he needs to do to succeed with this as with most of the things he’s looking at getting done is to consider the real questions that underpin them more deeply and then start doing politics a very different way.

None of you represent the People. That’s the problem – you represent yourselves

November 1, 2019 Leave a comment

01cd8f85-6c8f-4251-8967-adcc3ddea156One of the few things worthy of a good chuckle on the news streams this morning was the Cartoon drawn by Matt from the Telegraph.

Clearly referencing the hollow battle lines that are being drawn between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson over which of them can claim to represent the People, you can’t help but wonder if the point would be lost on either of them as things now stand.

The elephant in the room towering over not only them, but all of the existing MPs and Candidates lining up to stand in this General Election, is that People will vote on 12th December for one or the other of them and their Political Parties simply because there is no better choice.

People won’t be voting for Labour because Corbyn is promising wealth redistribution and the ascension of some modern day equivalent of the levellers.

People won’t be voting for the Liberal Democrats because Jo Swinson has tabled one giant fuck you too far at the People by promising to cancel and forget Brexit.

People won’t be voting for the Conservatives because Boris has succeeded where May hadn’t and has convinced most of his Party that Brexit will be whatever he says it is.

People won’t be voting for the Brexit Party because Nigel Farage is committed to a no deal Brexit and appears to be one of the few politicians who not only talks, but is prepared to do as he says he does.

People won’t be voting for the SNP because Nicola Sturgeon says that Scottish Independence is the only thing in Scotland that makes any sense.

People will vote for these Political Parties because there is nothing on offer in British Politics today that connects with People, respects People, communicates with People and above all, shouts loudly to the People that this politics that we have is broken and that there can be, is and will be a much better way to run this Country and do things with power in Government.

The politicians that we have today – whether they are elected and sitting in our Parliament or not – all represent a system that is completely broken.

It is a system that exists only to keep everything in government operating in exactly the same way.

That system’s one and only purpose is to look after itself, not the British People.

And the people who are allowed entry to this closed system have to swear blind obedience to its values and way of being.

They do so because thats how they have been taught they will get a name for themselves, to be successful. It’s how the ambitious in politics believe they must behave to get on.

This is why we have politicians in power who cannot think for themselves or the People that they are supposed to be representing right now, today.

It doesn’t and will not matter what policies any of these salesmen visiting our doorsteps over the coming weeks will be offering.

The outcomes for us will just be the same.

This political class is not interested in delivering anything meaningful or different. They will just tell you anything that will secure the surrender of your Vote.

And then once they have been elected, they will just resume business as usual and continue thinking only about the next election and what it will take them to get reelected, with lots of talk and the appearance of things happening, whilst the experience that we have of life and everything that Government touches will either be worse than before or just remain static and exactly the same.

The Politicians that we have do not represent any of us.

The Politicians we have just represent themselves.

And until we have changed the way that we lend our power to others, so that they can represent us and to act on our behalf, these charlatans will be able to continue peddling their dubious wares, making out that they are righteous and doing something meaningful, when they are the most selfish and self-serving of public representatives that the world might have seen.

When you consider on 12th December whether to vote or not, simply reflect on this suggestion and go to your Polling Station minded of ‘buyer beware’.

 

image thanks to Matt and telegraph.co.uk 

Small decisions have BIG consequences: How the outcome of the Brexit process could resemble nothing anyone intended or anything that has already been seen

October 19, 2018 1 comment

small decisions

One of the biggest items of fake news reaching our screens and pages right now, is the idea, suggestion and misconception that Brexit must now come back to the People in another Referendum or ‘Peoples Vote’ to somehow make it legitimate or fair.

On 23rd June 2016, the majority of Voters taking part in the European Referendum, a genuine ‘Peoples Vote’ instructed the UK Government that our collective and democratic decision was to Leave Membership of the European Union (EU).

Contrary to repeated suggestions by many parts of the Remain camp and actions such as making challenges in the Courts and distorting the facts underlining both the Leave and Remain Campaigns and what has taken place since, the Vote was fair. The Leave result was genuine. And yes, 17.4 Million members of the Electorate of this Country did know what leaving the EU means.

However, an outcome is rarely an event in itself.

An outcome is usually the sum total of a chain of many different events or decisions leading to them, which can result in the outcome itself looking, feeling or being nothing like what the original decision directed. The result could resemble something far from what was was intended, and what it should have meant, simply because of decisions, influences and actions that enter the chain in between.

In normal life, this evolutionary process is often natural, influenced by many factors added on the way along, which are not intended on the part of anyone involved. They sit completely outside of our control and often lead to outcomes very different to what had been at any point planned or intended, but the result is overlooked, because the non-contrived and unforeseen parts of life have been introduced to the picture as we have travelled through.

Where things go wrong, particularly where big, political decisions are made, is that when a clear outcome from a process is defined, somebody or many somebodies either deliberately, or indeed unintentionally attempt and perhaps succeed in exerting influence on the process leading to that outcome.

They take action which ultimately leads things to a very different place from where they should have by that point have been, whether part of the legitimate plan, or whatever was their own. Different, because whatever the intention, once an action has been undertaken, the consequences in such circumstances are often completely out of anyones control.

Brexit is one such outcome. An outcome which is likely to look very different to what was intended when people Voted for it and equally very different to what those who have been trying to frustrate it have been intending ever since.

Whilst we obsess about the future and what we think will happen, we habitually base our predictions on the snapshot of now. We overlook the events which contributed or created the pathway which brought us to this point in time right now, which with different decisions and influences could have already looked very different indeed.

We also overlook what pandering to the noisy fears of idealistic people without vision or responsibility could deliver in terms of the final destination, if the real priorities of our EU departure are not kept in mind and the direction of travel kept patently clear.

Brexit, and the decision which demands its delivery in its genuine sense, wasn’t simply created on that night when the Votes of the EU Referendum were counted in June 2016.

But just as the UK Leaving the EU as the result of a Referendum wasn’t foreseen in the days of Thatcher, it doesn’t now mean that there is a trouble-free license to interfere with, redirect or invalidate the will of the British people when it comes to delivering the Brexit process, by manipulating the pathway to delivery at every opportunity in between.

Looking back on the events since the UK joined what was the Common Market, it is worth considering since the last days of the Thatcher Government, how each event and small decision surrounding Government has resulted in the cumulative outcome which is Brexit today.

The Brexit result did not come about by design although many Leavers would now leverage the benefit of hindsight to say ‘We told you so’.

Yes, there was every reason to believe that the UK would ultimately exit the European Union through some kind of fracture like an economic crash or the destruction of the Euro. But nobody either within the Leave contingent or the Remain-led Establishment itself really thought it would be a democratic plebiscite which would drive a wholly different, yet legitimate wedge between the UK and Membership of the EU.

The point to consider, whether your bias is Leave or Remain, is that no matter the nature or motivation of your intention, when you interfere with a process or take a course of action where you are attempting to dictate the outcome, you can neither predict nor control what the final result or outcome will actually be.

These words of caution are aimed at anyone who is, has or will attempt to manipulate the pathway or destination of Brexit.

Brexit is a genie that is completely out of its bottle and the result of all the bad choices, deliberate deceptions and meddling is going to take the UK to a destination which has not been anticipated, cannot be controlled and will never again resemble a place in the World where even recently we may have been.

The first real divide which resembled what we now know as Leave and Remain found its genesis at the time of the Thatcher Government.

The fractures came about because of the way that what we now know as the EU has been constructed, how it operates and how so little about its modus operandi is understood.

The pathway, often littered with wholly pro-EU acts on the part of Prime Ministers and their Cabinet Colleagues who should have known better, ultimately led to the Brexit Vote result. An outcome that was never the Establishment’s intention.

If you want to give thought to how Brexit could now play out as a result of the fractures and differences in ideas between people who should now be focusing on what we have in common, rather than the temporary ideas that we do not, this is probably the best place to begin.

The European Referendum Vote was the opening of the door and the outcome of a chain of many different events.

It wasn’t an instruction for MP’s or other people with Establishment influence to try and negotiate the steps that we take to get out.

The Result was a call to action. The Vote was a command. The outcome was a clear instruction that we Leave and only then review what remains between the UK and the EU. We the Electorate had no reason to doubt that it would be delivered in a way which would be fair, transparent and above all would be diligently true to that instruction.

Here follows a look at the Chain of events which led to the European Referendum result; to May’s tenure, and to a future which is far from certain.

Just as the events discussed and speculated upon before the EU Referendum led to the requirement of a Brexit outcome, the impact and consequences of the events and outcomes that have followed leave us today in the position that we cannot be sure of what will come to pass. That is before anything else is decided or done, and the choices which lead to those decisions and actions may be small, or they may appear to be large.

PLEASE NOTE: The following has been written as a way of provoking thought about events and outcomes that have happened compared to what could have been if different decisions had been made and subsequent actions taken. It is not a suggestion that any of the circumstances outlined would definitely have happened if different choices had actually been made. It also doesn’t consider the impact of the many other options which those involved had, or the events and outcomes that did and could have influenced any one or indeed all of the events as they appear in this inexhaustive list.

 1990

Margaret Thatcher ‘Regicide’ by the Conservative Party Europhiles

‘No, No, No’ seems like ancient history now. But many of us overlook the key event to the creation of the schism between Conservatives who at any other time would be friends.

Like all of our new, ambitious and confident Prime Ministers since, Margaret Thatcher underestimated the resolve and deviousness of the EU to achieve their long-term aim of a European Superstate through a drip-drip-drip strategy built on ‘no-return’ for each and every power transferred to the Brussels based autocratic centre.

When the point came for Mrs Thatcher, when she knew things had already gone too far, many of her closest Cabinet Members had already gone ‘Euro-native’. They were committed to this supranational, undemocratic ideal and were unwilling to support the Prime Minister in doing anything to turn things around.

The key players in bringing down the last real Tory PM, such as the still vocal Michael (now Lord) Heseltine, didn’t themselves gain the Conservative Party Leadership as part of this first of many disengaging and disenfranchising processes with the public.

Instead, under the typical Europhile appearance of compromise, the post was given to one of the biggest pro-Europe Conservatives we have ever seen.

What if different decisions had been made: It is easy to look back and assume that things would have been different if Maggie had stayed. She may well have given us the Referendum that her successor never did before the Maastricht Treaty was signed and in 1991 or 1992. She could have easily secured the solid working majority Commons that Major was not destined to do. But after 11 years of Leadership including 3 General Election Wins, a war in the Falklands and many battles with the EU and domestically back home, we can only wonder if she had the energy and clout left to take the Conservatives into another Term. As any eurosceptic who was around at the time would honestly tell you, the public at large were not at that point really awake to the creeping control and danger presented by the then version of the EU, and it’s impact had not arrived in ways that put the issue firmly in people’s minds.

John Major ‘Crowned’ PM

In what seemed like an unexpected choice to those watching on from a distance, the open warfare in the Conservative Party following Margaret Thatcher’s ejection from Office led to the Election of what appeared to be a compromise candidate – John Major.

Coming immediately from the post of Chancellor, Major had just overseen the entry of the UK into the EU’s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), the precursor to the Single Currency or ‘Euro’.

What if different decisions had been made: Although a growing element of the Parliamentary Conservative Party was becoming increasingly suspicious of the direction of EU travel, few had the understanding that Thatcher had belatedly obtained. The appearance of a split in the philosophical framework of the Conservative Party made what was sold as compromise in the selection of a replacement for Margaret Thatcher all but inevitable. John Major had a track record at Cabinet level, what was at the time seen as being an essential qualification for the ‘top job’. Another Conservative Leader could have been Elected, but Thatcher was likely to have been the only Leader capable of taking on the EU at that time. She was not supported by the ‘big beasts’ to do so, so any new Leader who was in anyway Eurosceptic was going to have a very troubled time. 

1992

Maastricht Treaty

John Major’s ‘big moment’ was committing the UK to the Maastricht Treaty in early 1992.

What if different decisions had been made: The significance of Maastricht along the road to surrendering more and more power to the EU cannot be overstated. It is arguably true that this was a point when a Referendum on Membership should have been held.

We cannot be sure that a Vote at this point would have gone against remaining and therefore further committing to the EU or that the result would have instructed Major’s Government to Leave.

With three distinct groups present in the European Membership debate i.e. those who are blindly committed to the EU superstate, those who don’t care or aren’t really sure what any of it’s about and those who are against it, it is reasonably safe to argue that in 1992, the deck was still stacked to what we now know as ‘Remain’.

Members of the second group are always more likely to endorse the status quo, whatever direction that might be.

If Major had gone to the People, what question would he have asked? Was it even possible to ask a question which wouldn’t then have created a debate in which the ‘European Dream’ could not therefore last?

As it was, Major doubled down and used every trick in the politicians handbook to push greater commitment to the EU through, ironically outing the Euroscpetics as ‘Bastards’ for using the same methods that he was too.

General Election

Major’s Conservatives win an unexpected, but wafer thin majority.

What if different decisions had been made: Neil Kinnock, then Labour Leader and perhaps an even bigger Europhile than John Major would have made it into No.10. Significant tranches of EU assimilation policy such as Devolution/Regionalisation may well have made it onto the Statute book sooner. We may not have been taken out of the ERM, which in turn could have committed us to losing the Pound and gaining the single currency. Labour may never have had John Smith or Tony Blair as Leaders. We could have had a Tory Government again at the end of Kinnock’s first Term in 1996 or 1997. There is no certainty that we would have become involved in the Wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, if in turn they had happened.

John Smith becomes Labour Leader

With Neil Kinnock having failed to Lead the Labour Party back to power in either 1987 or 1992, it was time for him to step down.

John Smith, the respected Scottish Labour MP was elected Labour Leader and settled in to taking Labour in a new direction.

What if different decisions had been made: Had another Labour MP been Elected Opposition Leader at this point, there is a very good chance that they would have led Labour into the 1997 General Election rather than Tony Blair. This could have presented the Electorate with a very different choice and may have been the end of the New Labour project before it even began.

UK exit from the ERM

John Major’s most regrettable moment was the day that then Chancellor Norman (Now Lord) Lamont had to take the UK out of the ERM.

What if different decisions had been made:  Our economy could have been destroyed by staying within the harmonisation system, owing to the ERM requirement for the currencies of Members States to be very tightly synchronised. Up and coming politicians such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown might not have seen the obvious risks of adopting the Euro as a shared currency. John Major might have gone on to win the 1997 General Election, bearing in mind that it was events like this which allowed Major’s Conservative Party to be financially inept, when the truth was no such thing.

1994

Tony Blair becomes Labour Leader

Following the untimely death of John Smith, the Labour Party Leadership Contest that followed was a watershed moment for the Labour Party and was to become the point that the New Labour project as an electoral force was born.

What if different decisions had been made: Another Labour MP would have been their Leader. Gordon Brown may have taken the job. Labour may not have won the 1997 General Election. Labour May not have won three General Elections in a row. The Iraq War might never of happened or the UK might never have become involved. Labour’s 1997-2010 overspend and the 2010 onwards period of ‘Austerity’ might never have come into being.

1997

General Election

New Labour’s historic landslide victory decimated the Tory Party, destroyed Conservative confidence and committed the UK to the direction of a charismatic and equally ambitious Prime Minister who saw their career as being very much aligned towards a bigger ‘world’ stage.

What if different decisions had been made: John Major’s Conservatives may have won another Term. There may have been a hung parliament or coalition government. Devolution might never of happened. The Scottish Parliament might not exist. The Welsh Assembly might not exist. We might not have signed the Lisbon Treaty. We might never have entered the single market as it stands today. We might never have had a question over Free Movement and Immigration. We may never have been involved in Iraq of Afghanistan. We might never have had such a significant debt in 2010, that Austerity – even as an idea had been deemed necessary. We might already have been out of Europe.

William Hague becomes Tory Leader

20 Years after his famous Conservative Party Conference Speech as a 16 year old, William Hague is elected Leader of the Conservative Party.

Inheriting a Parliamentary group which felt itself destroyed by the Labour victory earlier that year, Hague effectively walked into a role where keeping the Conservative Party engine running was about all that he could reasonably do in the circumstances. His greatest unacknowledged success was likely to be preventing the Party from becoming the spent force that it could have been.

What if different decisions had been made: Conservative Party may never have returned to Government. Hague may have become Tory Leader later, and then even PM himself.

1997 onwards

Devolution

Probably one of the biggest fibs told by Blair, his Government and the Labour Party was the one about his idea for Devolution and the ‘devolved Assemblies’.

Always part of the ‘European Plan’ to break up National identities into smaller, controllable Regions that could never again seek to acquire or execute power in a national form, on his ascendency Blair immediately embraced Devolution to win favour with the heads of the EU. He actually sold it to the Public as being a process of bringing democracy closer to people.

The truth was that Devolution and Regionalisation was all part of a process of creating hollow forms of ‘localised’ Government with real power being taken away from the UK and deposited undemocratically in Brussels to be used in a very different and autocratic form.

The sprat to catch the mackerel was the things like big funding giveaways to local areas, all branded as being available only with European Funding. You’ve seen the signs telling you everywhere that it was European Money being spent on this project and that. But this was always British Taxpayers money, redistributed, rebranded and packaged as a way of promoting European generosity when it was quite another thing altogether. It was a bribe in its most basic form.

What if different decisions had been made: There might not have been a Scottish Parliament. The SNP might have never secured an Independence Vote. Nicola Sturgeon may never have been the Holyrood Lead. Ruth Davidson might already be an MP in the Westminster Parliament. The UK might not have been at significant risk of breakup as it is today.

1999

Establishment of Scottish Parliament

Following the Devolution process, the Scottish Parliament was first established in May 1999.

What if different decisions had been made: We may never have had the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. David Cameron may never have weaponised the SNP by making unnecessary concessions the morning after. The Conservatives might never have won a majority in the 2015 General Election. The 2016 European Referendum may never have happened. Brexit as a word could have never been invented. None of us would now be worrying what Leave might look like. Theresa May might never have been Prime Minister. We might now have Ed Milliband as Prime Minister, working his way towards a 2020 General Election. Jeremy Corbyn might never have become Labour Leader.

2001

General Election

Tony Blair’s New Labour win an almost identical result to the 1997 General Election, leaving the Conservative Party well and truly stumped.

What if different decisions had been made: William Hague might have been Prime Minister. There could have been a completely different Leader of the Labour Party soon after. We might have left Afghanistan earlier. We might never have been involved in the Iraq War. We might now have had a Labour Government led by a politician who we will now never know.

Iain Duncan Smith becomes Tory Leader

William Hague steps down and hands over the Opposition Leadership keys to Iain Duncan Smith (IDS).

The only real commonality between the two is being the butt of press ridicule and the hard reality that under both periods of Leadership, the Conservative Party appears to be going nowhere.

What if different decisions had been made: It’s quite possible that another Tory MP would have become Conservative Party Leader. The Tories might have won the 2005 General Election. We might never have been involved in Iraq.

You are beginning to get the picture.

2003

Michael Howard becomes Tory Leader

IDS accepts that he cannot lead the Conservative Party as it is. Michael (Now Lord) Howard has previous Government experience, is a ‘seasoned’ politician and is Elected Party Leader.

Howard’s arrival heralds the first real indications that the Conservative Party is ready to embrace change.

What if different decisions had been made: The Conservative Party might have not returned to Government in 2010. David Cameron may not have been Elected Tory Leader in 2005 and become Prime Minister in 2010. The SNP might not have bee given a Referendum. Brexit may never have happened….

Are you starting to picture the links?

2005

General Election

Tony Blair wins New Labour Election Victory No.3. The Tories pick up a few seats and there is a sense of small change, but in practical terms, at this stage at least, it resembles none.

What if different decisions had been made: Michael Howard would have been Prime Minister. Gordon Brown might never have become Labour Leader and in 2007, the PM. David Cameron may never have become Tory Leader. The Lisbon Treaty may never have been signed. The Immigration issue might never have materialised. The Scottish Referendum might never have happened. Brexit might not have been invented. We might now have another Labour Government with a PM who would have been….?

David Cameron becomes Tory Leader

Following the Tories third successive defeat to New Labour, Michael Howard knows that he has to do what is best for the direction of the Conservative Party which means only one thing.

Howard remains leader whilst a Tory Leadership Campaign takes shape, leaving contenders ‘2001 new boy David Cameron’ and ‘Europhile Big Beast Ken Clarke’ to fight it out for a Membership Vote Win.

David Cameron wins the Leadership race and becomes Tory Leader.

What if different decisions had been made: Ken Clarke might have become Prime Minister in 2010. We might now be more involved with the EU than ever before and Brexit would for many still be a hopeless dream. Gordon Brown might have won a Labour Majority in 2010, or at worst, been the leader of a Labour/Lib Dem Coalition, with the Tories perhaps broken, reforming as a new party or doing something else somewhere in between. The Milliband Brothers might still have been on a Labour Front Bench. Jeremy Corbyn could still be out of sight on the back benches.

2007

Gordon Brown ‘Crowned’ PM

Awaiting his moment noisily in No.11, Gordon Brown became Prime Minister on Tony Blair’s Resignation in June 2007.

Without the same skills and attributes of his immediate predecessor, Brown was unable to wow the crowds. The biggest moment of his tenure probably came with the event of the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis when his Government bailed out the privately owned Banks using Public Money, thereby sending the National Debt stratospheric from the point where after 10 years of Labour profligate spending already, it should never ever have already been.

What if different decisions had been made: We might have had a different Labour Prime Minister from 2007 until the next General Election which could have come in 2009 or 2010. Labour could have won a majority in 2010 or been the lead player in a hung parliament. David Cameron might never have been PM. Nick Clegg could still be in frontline Politics. The Lib Dems could now have been the third biggest Party in Parliament.

2010

General Election

The result of the General Election is hung.

Backroom deals are the flavour of the day, and whilst Brown sits it out in No.10 hoping for enough support to patch together a ‘Rainbow Coalition’ which keeps the Tories out of power, Nick Clegg does a deal with David Cameron which creates the Coalition Government with Cameron as PM and Clegg as Deputy PM.

As part of ‘the deal’, Cameron agrees to a Referendum on an Alternative Vote system. The two also agree to pass the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which technically secures a standard 5-year term for any Government, and removes the ability of a sitting PM to call a General Election without having to ‘work’ the Parliamentary system to do so.

A disproportionate number of Lib Dem MP’s secure Ministerial Office, causing significant upset within the Conservative Party.

Nick Clegg is forced to renege on his commitment to scrap Tuition Fees for Students.

Gordon Brown steps down as Labour Party Leader.

What if different decisions had been made: Gordon Brown could have remained PM and leader of a ‘Rainbow Coalition made up of Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP etc. David Cameron might have resigned. The Scottish Independence Referendum might have been held and Independence won. There might not have been an EU Referendum in 2016. There might have been a different Conservative Leader of the opposition fighting the 2015 General Election. David Milliband could have been the next Labour Leader.

Ed Milliband becomes Labour Leader

Now consigned to the memory of just a few, Gordon Brown’s departure left a vacancy which led to a fight between two ambitious politicians, but one of a family kind too.

Both David Milliband, who had ministerial experience, and his younger brother Ed, squared up to each other in a campaign which to this day has a cloud over it because of the way that the Labour Party attributed votes to this Leadership race.

Despite lacking the level of credibility of his older brother, Ed won the Labour Leadership.

What if different decisions had been made: David Milliband could have become Labour Leader and might now have been Prime Minister too. Jeremy Corbyn might never have become Labour Leader. Theresa May might never have become Prime Minister. Boris could still have been London Mayor.

2011

The Alternative Vote Referendum (AV)

Purely at the insistence of new Deputy PM Nick Clegg, and as one of the key ‘prices’ of 5 years support in Coalition for the Tory-led Government and David Cameron as PM, a Referendum was held in early May to consider replacing the First Past The Post electoral system with AV instead.

Based on Proportional Representation, the system favours small Political Parties and moves the emphasis from voting for a named representative to direct Party support.

Proportional Representation is a much less democratic system, focusing the shift towards supporting policy in a snapshot moment, which is always thereafter subject to change, in stead of providing the opportunity to select the best person to represent a constituency and be responsible in adapting to the changes during their elected term, but always doing so in respect of the common good.

The vote was lost by an overwhelming majority against the change of 67.9%.

What if different decisions had been made: It is likely that First Past the Post would now be dead, and all political offices would be elected using forms of proportional representation. We might never again have a majority Government sitting in the Westminster Parliament. Anything that the public now vote for might never again even have the chance to matter, because policy would always be decided between the Political Groups who make deals after each election to patch together a coalition, because none of them could achieve an outright win. We might never have had a European Referendum. David Cameron might have been the last ever Conservative PM. Jeremy Corbyn might never again have been elected as an MP.

2014

European Elections

I’ve included the European Parliamentary Elections in 2014, not because the European Parliament itself is influential. It is not.

The Parliament is little more than a patsy, created only to give the wider EU autocracy the appearance of being a democratic institution. It is not.

It is included because of the UK Result, which saw the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) win an additional 11 Seats, making them the biggest UK presence with 24 Seats in the European Parliament.

The result sent shockwaves through Westminster. UKIP was suddenly a real electoral threat to the Establishment ‘status quo’.

What if different decisions had been made: It is likely to have been the key deciding factor in David Cameron’s promise to hold a Referendum on EU Membership as part of his 2015 Manifesto for the General Election Campaign. It is likely that he thought the result would be another 5 years of Coalition with the Lib Dems at best, or at worst, a Vote he would have lost and seen Ed Milliband in No.10.

Would Cameron have promised the EU Referendum if he had been certain of electoral victory in 2015? We may never honestly know.

Scottish Independence Referendum

The result of the Referendum on the Question of Scottish Independence on 14th September 2014 was a majority against of 55.3% to yes of 44.7%.

The outcome itself may not have had any significant impact upon anything other than what the SNP would do next.

It was David Cameron’s decision to come out on to the steps of No.10 the following morning and make a range of commitments to the SNP, which was probably a lot more influential upon what was now in store.

What if different decisions had been made: Scotland might now be an independent Country. But the SNP might well have committed the Scots to Remaining within the EU at that time if the different chronology had given the EU a different view. That is of course if the 2015 General Election result had subsequently been the same.

2015

General Election

David Cameron’s Conservatives win an unexpected small, but nonetheless working majority in the Commons.

The Coalition is over. Cameron is committed to holding the European Referendum.

What if different decisions had been made: Ed Milliband would have been Prime Minister. The European Referendum would never have been held. We might ask the question what is Brexit? Jeremy Corbyn would never have become Labour Leader. Labour Momentum would never have existed.

Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour Leader

No. It was far from being a certainty. Yet Jeremy Corbyn cleaned up in the Labour Leadership Election following Ed Milliband’s post-General Election Resignation.

Corbyn was never taken seriously as a Candidate, and it is regrettably likely that at other times sensible Labour MP’s gave him their support to run, with the intent of causing disruption to the Campaigns of more credible participants. Those who did so were blind to the even the short-term realities of the outcome if Corbyn actually won.

Which he did.

What if different decisions had been made: Labour might have had a more credible, mainstream leader, who isn’t a Marxist at their core. Labour may well have won the 2017 General Election. The Brexit Negotiations might have now been in the hands of a Labour Leader. Theresa May might never have become Prime Minister. Boris might now be leader of the opposition.

2015-16

David Cameron’s EU ‘Renegotiation’

The Renegotiation of the relationship between the UK and EU that never was.

It is likely that following on from the many dubious wins against an unknowing pubic in which ambitious politicians had previously used manipulation, spin and complete bullshit to win before, Cameron had concluded that big theatrics and dramatics suggesting real effort resulting in something meaningful, would line him up for a Referendum Win.

The reality was that Cameron never achieved anything even remotely meaningful in his ‘renegotiations’, and the EU was already viewing the intrsigence of a Member State which had the audacity to question its future with the EU as being insubordinate and behaviour which must quickly be consigned to the bin.

So sure of success was Cameron and his closest allies such as then Chancellor George Osborne, that they never even began work on putting together the steps of a Contingency Plan, if their attempted stitch-up leading to a Remain Win in the EU Referendum was then denied.

What if different decisions had been made: In theory, Cameron could have really gone for the jugular when he squared up to ask the questions of the EU, from which real results could have given him a genuine Referendum Win.

In reality, the EU has made very clear that every nation which becomes a Member is restricted to the same rules and must therefore consider itself without any real means of having separate identity.

Once you are in, it doesn’t matter what bullshit you give to Voters (or sleeping politicians), you accept that EU Members States behave as one.

2016

European Referendum

The Leave or No Vote wins 51.9% to 48.1% (A difference of 1,269, 501 Votes with a 72.21% turnout of the Electorate).

Britain’s Exit – thereafter known as ‘Brexit’ is born.

What if different decisions had been made: David Cameron would probably have still been our PM. We may well have now been on the way to adopting the Euro. We might well have been up to our necks in surrendering what’s left of the armed services to the new ‘Euro Army’. There would probably have been an increase in European workers coming to the UK. The rate of Public Services crashing through lack of funding may well have increased substantially. The list of more and more powers being surrendered to Brussels would probably now have been much much longer. It is likely that the true designs of the EU to become the United States of Europe would now be in the open, either directly, but more likely through yet more manipulative PR management which is designed to make all of us think that everything is staying the same.

David Cameron Resigns

Probably one of the most notable ‘oh fuck’ moments of recent UK political history, would have come at around 25 minutes to 5 on the morning of 24th June 2016, to the then occupant of No.10.

We know that Cameron didn’t see the No Vote coming. We know he didn’t because the Establishment didn’t expect it. And there are a great many Leavers who despite voting NO, didn’t quite believe it was possible to win our Freedom through a democratic process too.

To be fair to David Cameron, he clearly never believed in Brexit. Although he had given the impression that he would lead the implementation of a No result, accepting that he could not deliver something that he didn’t himself want and that resigning was therefore the right thing, was almost certainly the most responsible thing for him to do in the circumstances. Unfortunately, it was a point missed by Remainers in the Cabinet who coveted the top job.

What if different decisions had been made: If Cameron had stayed, there may have been many similarities to the current Premiership of Theresa May, in that his heart would not have been in Brexit and instead of building a relationship between two separate entities, he would have likely focused all efforts on doing the absolute minimum that would be seen to qualify as ‘Leave’. 

Alternatively, he might well have embraced the instruction from the British People in the spirit that it was given, and done everything to get the best from a situation where nobody from either side could genuinely predict everything that could be achieved.

The big difference is likely to have been that Cameron is unlikely to have called the 2017 General Election, which would have in turn given him choices with a working majority, that Theresa May would by now never have.

Boris knifed

It was an open secret that Boris had returned to the Commons as an MP with the Leadership of the Tory Party in mind.

So when Cameron lit the fuse on the Leadership contest, few were under any illusion that Boris wouldn’t be one of the two final contenders when the Vote went out to Conservative Party Members.

That was until on the morning of Boris announcing his Candidacy, Michael Gove’s change of mind in supporting him as a Leadership Contender came fully into view.

Boris had nowhere to go. And whilst the true aim of Gove’s decision to pull the rug from under Boris’s Leadership chances may never be known, the intervention did nothing to help Gove’s own hopes of becoming Conservative Party Leader.

Before anyone had the chance to take a second breath, the contest was already down to just two.

What if different decisions had been made: Despite the many voices ranged against him, Boris Johnson was likely to have become PM, and was almost certain to have done so if the question had gone out to Conservative Party Members.

The talk of Boris being nothing but ambition rang true, not simply because Boris was and remains ambitious – he does. But because it is the same ambition that is rife amongst all the senior Members of the Conservative Party, who are desperate for their leadership hopes to come to fruition – no matter the real cost.

Boris may be to some no more than a lovable buffoon. But what he has which beyond the pure, unadulterated form of ambition which drives many of his Conservative colleagues, is the skill to read and often be a step ahead of the public mood, just in time to make decisions that can actually work out well for Voters too.

This ability is likely to have served him very well during negotiations with the EU, and in delivering a clean Brexit. Because Boris being loyal to Boris, he would have ensured that he was committed to delivering what the real public – that’s everyone beyond the bubble of Westminster – has demanded that the PM and Party of Government should actually achieve.

Boris’ moment may come again very soon. But the terrain is now much different and outcomes that could have easily been very different if different choices had been made, will now influence the outcomes of responding actions and outcomes to come, whether deliberate or otherwise.

Whether or not Boris would be good leading the UK in a crisis situation, like the wartime Leader Churchill who he wishes us to see his behaviour modelled upon is a different question altogether.

Like May being ‘Crowned’ in 2016 to ‘take care of Brexit’, we might soon step into a very different kind of Government Leadership which will not be about Leave or Remain, but responding simply to a very long list of unknowns.

Andrea Leadsom exits Tory Leadership contest

Leadsom seemed to appear from nowhere and as such, didn’t appear to have the baggage of the other final contestant in the Tory Leadership Campaigns – Theresa May.

But where May had made keeping her mouth shut during the European Referendum an art form, Leadsom’s inexperience with the Media regrettably led her into a mess over making comments relating to her understanding as a mother which was unavailable to Theresa May. From that moment, her time as a Candidate to become next Prime Minister was pretty much done.

What if different decisions had been made: Theresa May might not have been Prime Minister, as Leadsom may have been much more appealing to the Conservative Party Membership, once the Campaigning side of Theresa May which we only saw in the 2017 General Election Campaign had come into general view. The 2017 General Election might never have been called. The Conservatives might now have a working majority to push through a meaningful Brexit.

Theresa May ‘Crowned’ PM

With Andrea Leadsom stepping out of the Tory Leadership Contest, Theresa May become the de facto Conservative Leader Elect.

Cameron quickly went to the Queen and stepped aside.

May entered Downing Street giving everyone the impression that when it came to Brexit, she was now committed and very much on the UK side.

What if different decisions had been made: Pretty much what has been discussed under Boris and Andrea Leadsom above. But May wouldn’t have been PM and the chances are that one way or another, we would not be in such a terrible mess as we are today.

2017

Article 50 Triggered

At the end of March 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50, the device or ‘clause’ for a Member nation to Leave the EU.

This action started a 2-year countdown to 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019, when the UK would formally leave EU Membership.

What if different decisions had been made: Triggering Article 50 – assuming that the UK leaving the EU would always be conducted in relation to EU processes – was not a question of if, but was certainly a question of when.

May could have waited and overseen full preparation before doing so which would ideally have included a real understanding of what Brexit must achieve, therefore allowing the negotiations between Triggering Article 50 and Leaving to be meaningful in between.

Alternatively, May could have got on with triggering Artcile 50 much sooner, working on Brexit from the point of the UK being independent and then developing a new relationship with the EU for whatever would then happen for the future, rather than doing everything possible to Remain, whilst doing the absolute minimum to sell her efforts as a commitment to Leave.

General Election

It was so clear that Theresa May was sure of Victory and of winning an increased majority that would ensure her plans for Brexit were delivered.

Despite the Party machine not being ready, there already being a small but nonetheless working majority in the Commons in place, nor the fact her ability as a ‘street-fighting campaign leader’ had ever been tested, May listened to the Polls, went for the General Election, and assumed that like everything else, public support was no more than a question of applying process, and that her glowing future would soon be in the bag.

Things quickly began to unwind. Corbyn proved himself good on the stump, making hollow promises which appealed to aspirations without any respect for practicality, and the Lib Dems, still nowhere after the 2015 rejection, were not even in the middle and nowhere to be seen.

May couldn’t match Corbyn on the Campaign trail and was soon exposed as not being ‘natural’ with people, being far too scripted, meanwhile exhibiting all the behaviour which has made the label ‘Maybot’ stick – and in doing so seem very fair.

What if different decisions had been made: May could have had a working majority now BEFORE attempting to do deals to allow for the Conservative die-hard Remain faction. The Parliamentary pathway to where we are now might have been much smoother over recent months, giving the PM more room to play with as she dealt with the EU. Olly Robbins would probably not have been the Civil Servant leading the Brexit negotiations.

£1 Billion that could have been spent elsewhere on Public Services might not have been firehosed at Northern Ireland at the price of securing 10 DUP Votes for the duration of the Parliamentary Term.

2018

‘The Chequers Plan’

In the Summer of 2018, May’s true credentials as a Remainer Prime Minister and her Plan to welch on Brexit finally came into view.

Within days, David Davis, then Brexit Secretary and then Boris Johnson, then Foreign Secretary had resigned.

Yet all other Cabinet Ministers remained still and quiet, heralding yet more concessions on the part of the MP’s who had the real ability to stop this whole charade, and rescue Brexit from the mess it is now; the sell-out of democracy that in May’s hands, it is still likely to be.

What if different decisions had been made: More of the Cabinet could and arguably should have resigned.

The cumulative numbers of resignation at the top level would have soon made May’s continued Premiership untenable and a new Conservative Leader would have by now been crowned.

That there has only ever been talk of further Cabinet Resignations until now is a worrying sign.

For the Conservative Party, it may mean a bleak future. Culturally, the Cabinet incumbents are far more focused on lining themselves up ‘securely’ for a leadership bid, rather than doing for the Country all that is right. 

The thing that they all need to remember is that no matter what they do or choose, only one of the current crop of Conservative MP’s could replace May as Prime Minister, but the ridiculousness of their own ambition is now making even that option look very tough indeed.

In Summary & Ending

As I suggested earlier, these points are all a view of what has happened, set against just a few of the possibilities of what could have been if sometimes very small decisions had been made.

The point I am making is that from small decisions, BIG consequences are formed. And those consequences are rarely apparent in immediate view.

Consequences can be anticipated and accurately so. But they cannot be controlled and it is certainly true that every action will have a reaction, even when the person or persons taking that action are no longer involved.

Theresa May and the Establishment, along with the EU are currently doing everything that they can to manufacture a very different kind of Brexit to the one which the People intended, either deliberately or through acts of unintended stupidity.

These are actions that are not only going to impact on the true outcome of Brexit, but on many other things in both the UK and Europe which right now are out of sight, out of mind.

Because of their actions in trying to manipulate Brexit, they will ultimately deliver unintended consequences and outcomes which would otherwise unlikely to have ever been seen.

 

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The questions of Scottish Independence, English Devolution and voter disenfranchisement could be solved in a matter of months. But control freakery at the top will only pay lip service to genuine devolution and it would be far too simple for them to use a solution that already exists…

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Last Fridays meeting between David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon will surely prove to be yet another monumental milestone in the future of the Union.

Attempting to take the whole mile after they had been given Cameron’s proverbial inch may well have been Ms Sturgeons modus operandi all along, but the Prime Minister would do well to bear in mind that the momentum is all with the SNP at this moment in time, and especially so when it was the manipulated public awareness of that very fact that arguably put the Conservative Leader more comfortably back in No. 10.

The words of hollow statesmanship may be contrived to sound like the PM is being tough. But the word ‘no’ can all too quickly be overused and the only way that the Union may now be truly saved, will be for the Government to begin saying yes to the questions that the grassroots Scots have not even outwardly asked.

Devolving power only as far as the Scottish Parliament will do much to enhance and progress the march of the SNP towards the Independence which many of us no longer see as being any more than perhaps a few years away if things continue politically as they are. Scotland’s leaders will surely get closer and closer to attaining the level of power that they so badly crave but could never realise as long as they continue to be part of the UK.

But the people, the voters, the electors who have facilitated this Westminster-bound charge will see no real change in the lives that they live. Indeed, they may well find themselves much more poorly off and continuing to be just as disenfranchised, all because another set of politicians have sold them short as currency for their own personal and self-motivated gain.

The sweet irony of all this is that everyday people across the UK feel just the same and just as disenfranchised as the Scots, but do not experience the same kind of tribal feeling of belonging or commonality between people which has been supercharged in this instance by the promotion of Scotland’s national identity.

Nationalism in this sense truly has become far more of a danger to any semblance of a healthy basic standard of living or status quo than even austerity in time could prove to be, and the reality is that the Scottish Question could be solved in exactly the same act as any questions that have arisen about English, Welsh or even Cornish devolution.

So why exactly, are the politicians not pursuing what is arguably the most simple, straightforward and easy to implement solution. One which would connect people with decision making on their doorstep, whilst removing any need for side-stepping ruses like City Mayors. A change that could bring talk of independence to the immediate halt that anyone living in the real world knows is where it should actually be?

When you consider that this solution already exists right across the Country and would have the ability to administer the devolution of decisions that should be made locally, rather than by a Parliament that seems to many so very far away, any sensible person would be hard pressed not to ask the question.

So then; consider that below the tier of Westminster based government, there is not one; not two, but three tiers of localised government operating, with representatives in most cases already elected by the people, who could and no doubt happily would assume much more responsibility for the decisions which really matter to the localities in which they live, if the Government were to relinquish the appropriate powers and let them do so.

Parish and Town Councils are the most localised and arguably most accessible form of Government in the UK. Yet their responsibilities seldom extend beyond buying and locating dog bins or bus shelters and looking after community assets like small play areas, recreation fields and perhaps an historic Town Hall.

Next comes the District level authorities which harvest our council tax and assume responsibility for matters such as Planning, Licensing, Environmental Health and collecting our waste.

Then there are the County level authorities which look after the not-so-important roads, Education, Social Services and interact closely with services such as the Fire Brigades.

They all sound very administrative or bureaucratic and that’s because they are. People vote to elect the members or councillors that represent them on all of these authorities. But much of the responsibility many people understand them to have isn’t theirs at all. It actually reflects Laws and Policies which have been created by Westminster.

The wriggle room or space for decision making which is truly independent of the Westminster influence is scarce within local government. In reality, it is just sufficient enough that central Government can blame Councils or use them as a convenient scapegoat for political expediency. For instance, Westminster happily passes the buck over the true causes of cuts to local services whilst reducing the size of the bottom line they themselves have to account for in the drive for greater fiscal austerity.

The irony should not be lost on any of us that like most areas of government, local councils are being forced to change the way they work to save money, but the powers to instigate the changes that they really need are held back by a distant political elite which is obsessed with monetary cost rather than the real-life impact from a lack of meaningful reform.

As power is increasingly centralised towards London through the sharing of services and amalgamation of local authorities, power is being taken further away from people at every turn and it is this very act which is continually fanning the flames of discontent within an electorate that quietly knows its influence over even the most practical parts of their lives is becoming ever more remote.

The reality however, for those who have worked closely alongside all the lower tiers of government, is that when those rare moments arise when people sense there is a real chance to influence change, the presence of that opportunity can literally electrify interest in local administration and reconnect the electorate in a way that even the phoney wars which serve as our elections cannot do.

For those who have experienced this connection first hand, there can be little doubt that bringing real power back to street, neighbourhood, village and suburban level would quickly re-engage the electorate and have the potential to bring in a whole new generation of politicians from the grassroots level who didn’t simply join a political party one day because they thought they would be a pretty good prime minister.

The question is of course, why is Westminster not using the existing machinery of government to solve the bubbling crisis created by the SNP leaders and the mishandling of the issue of devolved power, when every thread of common sense and voter-centric thinking says that is exactly what they should do.

Indeed, we might also ask why the promise of City Mayors and the creation of yet more tiers of government and the political stooges that will inhabit these roles is necessary, when many councillors are already in place across the UK, who have distinct connections to our localities that focussing power on just one person at a greater distance could never achieve?

For those who have swam around the political goldfish bowl with their eyes open the answer is regrettably simple.

Its all about control, and despite the political system being infested with the self-serving at every turn, you could quite easily say that there are no greater control freaks at work right now than the occupant of no. 10 and the leader of the SNP.

Both stand to gain personally by concentrating as much power as they can within the realms and reach of their particular roles.

To one, devolving real power to potentially thousands of others who they cannot control politically makes absolutely no sense at all. To the other, giving credence to the idea that power should be focused as near to people as it is possible to do so would instantly destroy the dream of becoming the player on the international stage that British politics is otherwise currently only able to allow of the leader of one of the two main Political Parties.

Some would quickly argue that the lower tiers of government are not equipped to deal with real decisions; but that is exactly what they have been elected to do.

Others would say that responsibility needs to be taken by the people who are most capable of using it with the hint of blind acceptance that MP’s should automatically be assumed to be ‘the right people’ to govern our lives. But we might rather ask, who is better qualified to choose those representatives than the people themselves, when Westminster is now constructed of people who did no more than tick all the right boxes for their political parties and thereafter, did not do a great deal more than sign a series of forms. Can we really say that career politicians with no experience of the world outside are really the people we should entrust with the decisions that affect us all in every way?

The danger of Cameron playing power games with another political leader who is arguably far more awake and attuned to the realities of playing the public song than he could ever do so, is potentially very severe indeed.

Empowering existing councils and creating new ones where they don’t exist could potentially remove the need for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly in one swift stroke. It would undoubtedly answer the question of voter disenfranchisement across England too. But it would also require true statesmanship of a kind that many of us have simply never seen.

The very regrettable and destructive alternative is the continuing empowerment of a different kind. That of Scottish, then Welsh and then potentially even English Regional or County Independence with a widow’s web of bureaucracy and additional cost that simply doesn’t bear thinking about. A concept which may play very well into the federalist plans of a politically united Europe, but would ultimately leave the real power for issues that matter to real people in their everyday lives, lying in the hands of a majority of non-elected bureaucrats and foreign politicians who were neither born here, nor have nor ever will live anywhere within our great and currently unified land.

 Top image thanks to http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk 

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