Surely now, it must be also abundantly clear that we have a political party in government who are outright cowards. Everybody knows that the question Britain voted for in the EU referendum was inadequate and that presenting the country with a choice to leave the EU under the current circumstances was a gross act of negligence by the Tories. None of the issues campaigned on during the EU referendum had a shred of truth to them:
- Being a member did not cost Britain £350million a week and Britain will not be spending £350million a week extra on the NHS when we leave.
- EU membership has never, does not, and will never challenge Britain’s sovereign status.
- Lack of control of immigration is a failure of Britain’s government, not EU membership.
- Immigration is not pressuring public services, including the NHS, housing, or care.
- Immigration is not driving down wages.
- Britain will not be curbing immigration or freedom of movement.
- It was not EU membership that permitted Philip Green to rob BHS workers of their pensions, it was failure by the British government through weak legislation intended to be exploited.
- Britain will not be matching current EU spending within Britain (unless you are a Tory farmer who currently relies on heavy EU subsidies because your status as a Tory grandee, family, ‘donor’ guarantees you special treatment).
- Britain will not ‘take back’ its fishing grounds.
All of the things that Britain will not be doing in the wake of leaving the EU does rather highlight the nature of how the Leave campaign operated. While Remain focused on the big picture, Leave was promising communities that their specific problems would be solved by leaving the EU and those communities bought into it. If you were a fisherman or live in a community reliant on fishing, even historically, then it would sound reasonable that leaving the EU would return the British fishing industry to its glory days. It doesn’t matter that fishing rights will be bargaining chips in any Leave negotiation and that those communities who feel like they’ve been sacrificed for EU membership will be sacrificed for Britain leaving.
People in communities that have been screwed over or left behind in Britain’s membership of the EU have been sacrificed because Westminster value other communities more. All that those left-behind communities have of value now is their votes and they finally exercised them to Leave the EU. The Tories are gambling that they won’t use those votes to kick them out of government, just as long as they keep ploughing ahead with their disastrous ‘brexit’. It is complacency that permitted those communities to be left behind, not Britain’s membership of the EU. Now the country is being held to ransom by a Tory party too cowardly to face the electorate and too cowardly to do the right thing with ‘brexit’. So we have Theresa May sitting on the floor in the House of Lords, scowling forlornly about the chamber in the vague hope that being seen ‘marching brexit through’ will be enough to keep her in the prime minister seat. May has threatened the EU to give Britain a good Leave deal, she has threatened the Lords to not block her triggering Article 50, they should call her bluff.
If Theresa May follows through on her threat to stuff the Lords with Tory peers it will be the clearest sign that the Lords is past its use-by-date. The Lords is not intended to be a shadow show to usher through government whims, it is meant to act as oversight. May would countenance no amendments to her Article 50 bill in Westminster so the Lords should keep batting it back to Westminster until those amendments are secured. It is then up to May whether she wants to meet her trigger date. If she stuffs the Lords with Tory lickspittles then it will be the beginning of the end for the Lords as we know it. Theresa May will go down in history as the Prime Minister who oversaw the tear-down of the House of Lords and ushered through Scottish independence.
May is a calamity but her party is joined as one behind her … to remove her. The Euroskeptics want to assume the throne they believe is theirs by right of ‘brexit’ and Conservative MPs want to replace May with a figure, post triggering Article 50, that can present a Conservative face to Britain, finally sack Jeremy Hunt and idiots like Grayling, Johnson, Truss and Gove, to give the Conservatives a hope of re-election in 2020. Tories in the party want to remain in control and will make sweet noises in the ears of anyone they feel is likely to play well to the public whilst keeping them at the controls of power (and money).
What of Labour? Labour need to utilise its membership. New Labour’s model for winning power was to be not the Tories in 1997, to sell the soul of the party to Murdoch and billionaire ‘donors’, decimate the party membership that just got in the way and ripping out the heart of the grassroots support. It was a strategy that worked best in 1997 but had ever diminishing returns in the elections that proceeded it. By 2010 Britain had largely given up on New Labour. Having had its grassroots support torn out under New Labour, by 2015, Scotland had given up on Labour altogether.
Labour’s membership has been reinvigorated and encouraging that membership to be active in their communities will be key. As will the continued relationship between the membership and leadership. Labour still needs to clear house but it just doesn’t appear to have structures in place to do it. Take names, kick them out, get focused. If only it were that simple. The current leadership appear to be doing the best they can within the confines of current procedures and structures. We’ll have to wait and see. The leadership shouldn’t have to be wasting time with internal struggles when they should be focused on unseating the Tories.
Britain’s politics is a mess and needs to be overhauled to bring it up to date. We need political reform far more than we need a renewed Trident but a new Trident means the massive transfer of public wealth from taxpayers to chosen privateers, so that’s an easy consideration for MPs interested in stuffing their pockets to make.