Good morning all. I failed in my meagre efforts to sleep yesterday morning following my all nighter on election night. I slept like a baby last night but woke at 9 am as I had to drop Penny off at the station, think I might have slept a few more hours otherwise.
The success of sleeping through the night wasn’t matched by the success of the Labour Party in becoming the government. Close. But second is still second even if the vote did go up by 10% (to 40%) from 2015. But the Tories at least lost their majority and are reliant on others to get their progeramme through Parliament. My prediction that Teresa May will be gone by 1 pm yesterday didn’t occur. I think I got the facts correct but not the timing. Although not defeated she was wounded by the result. How long it is till she exits out of Downing Street will depend on what happens in the next few months. There are Conservative MP’s who are out of work due to her. And there are plenty of others who hung on to theirs by a small margin and will now be worried about what might happen next time. And next time may not be so far away.
May’s decision to trigger Article 50 at the end of March followed by her decision to call a General Election is still something that for me shows me something about her character. If I can give you an analogy, it’s like telling the referee you’re ready to kick off. The ref then blows his whistle and you and the rest of your team sit down to do your laces, hitch up your shorts and ask each other if you’re bum looks big in the shorts you’re wearing.
For 7 and a half minutes.
And while you’re doing that the opposition have been playing and are winning six nil.
Because this is what’s been going on in the European Union since the end of March. There’s no telling the ref to re-start the match.
If they were just screwing up their own 11 a side, first team versus reserves. It would be funny.
But it’s the rest of us that are now going to be affected by the decision they made to call the General Election and waste two months.
She said voting Labour was going to result in a coalition of chaos.
But she now is going to preside over one.
If you are feeling down about the result I will explain why you need to get up from the floor and be ready to continue the challenge of achieving progress.
Politics is not like a meal in a restaurant. You have not finished the dessert and paid the bill. Politics is an endless feast. Ok, maybe ‘feast’ is stretching it but you know what I mean. The Tories don’t have a majority and they are vulnerable. Even some Tories won’t vote through some of their most unpopular measures. Let’s see what’s going to happen about the removal of free school meals. And the dementia tax is dead. What replaces it I don’t know. But I’ll be ready to examine the governments proposals and if I sniff that they’re trying to punish the already unfortunate I’ll be going after them. And I won’t be alone. Feel welcome to join me.
The Tories needed 326 to have a majority. They have 318. And soon one of them is going to court on charges of fiddling the books in the 2015 General Election. And if he is jailed he may have to resign his seat. And there will be other Conservative’s who will be enticed to earn huge sums of money elsewhere and resign their seats, creating a bye-election. Every bye-election between now and the next General Election will be an opportunity for the public to tell the Government what they think of it. And they will. And not in a good way. And when will the next General Election be? Who knows. Any time between now and 2022. And some Tories have already speculated that it will be sooner. Let’s hope.
It’s a fact of politics that the longer you’re in office the more enemies you generate. Teresa May has already sacked people when she became Prime Minister last year. And she will be announcing her cabinet over the next few days. Which means more MP’s will be losing their jobs in government. The Democratic Unionists won’t be supporting everything she does. They are answerable to their working class Protestant constituents. And you can bet the Tory government will be proposing some measures that will be attacking their standard of living and quality of life. And they are not the only party available to protestants in northern Ireland.
So lets be ready for battle. To switch from football to boxing Teresa May is not down but she’s on the ropes. It’s a matter of time. Let’s do all we can to make the bell ring a little sooner.
I want to turn now to the performance of the Labour Party and it’s leader Jeremy Corbyn. And I want all his opponents within the party to reflect on the fact that Labour did better than last time and polled 12.8 million votes. That’s not just more than last time. It’s more than Gordon Brown in 2010. And more than Tony Blair in 2005 and 2001. Labour polled 800,000 less than the Tories this time. That’s 800,000 people the Tories need to keep happy. I suspect they won’t manage it. There are 30 more Labour MPs than there were before. More in England, more in Scotland and more in Wales. There is a platform to build on.
Corbyn proved to his opponents in the party (and remember 80% said they had no confidence in him last year) that there is an appetite for socially progressive policies which redistribute wealth and power back to people. It’s not stealing if you’re getting back what was robbed from you in the first place. The right to be born in the best hospitals. Be educated in the best schools. To have the opportunity to work and support a family. And have time to rest and play too. To be able to retire in dignity. This is not greed. The denial of a good health service, decent education and opportunities for good employment and dignity in old age (including good quality social care – not 15 minute visits from care workers) is maintained by this government. And they will continue to try and attack your standard of living. Because they are serving the interests of others – corporate interests – not yours.
And I have something to say to Corbyn’s opponents in the party. Those that rushed to Laura Kuennsberg and John Pienarr to whisper gossip for the last two years. I don’t blame Laura and John. They are doing their jobs reporting to you what they’ve heard. These MP’s have to consider what role they want to play in the Labour Party and as members of an opposition to a minority Tory government over the next couple of days and the coming weeks, months and years. Already Chuka Umunna, the member for Streatham in south London, has declared he is ready to serve in the Shadow Cabinet. I welcome that and hope he is not alone in wanting to serve the party and the people that voted for him. But Chuka and others shouldn’t be shoehorned into jobs. They have to earn the right to serve in the shadow cabinet. Corbyn should remember and reward the loyalty of those that stuck by him through thick and thin. And it’s been mostly thin. The Labour Party has to continue to be as united in this coming period of opposition as it has been since the election was called in early April. That doesn’t mean that policies don’t get debated and opinions are ignored. We need every voice to participate so that the next Labour manifesto is even more popular with the public than the one which gained the votes of over 12 million people.
Finally I would like to applaud the performance of Solomon Curtis,
the Labour candidate in Brighton Pavilion who had the tough job of trying to unseat Caroline Lucas, the sole successful Green Party candidate. I like Caroline Lucas and don’t begrudge her success. But I would like her more if she was in the Labour Party.
Solomon is a 20 year old politics student at Sussex University. But he has a past. When he was a boy he attended Woodcraft Folk activities in Hastings along with his older brothers. And along with my two boys, Jafer and Kenan. For those that don’t know the Woodcraft Folk are an alternative to the scouts. Founded in 1925 it is committed to
”issues of social justice, pacifism and the principles of cooperation”
and is without the militaristic nonsense of the boy scouts. I wish him well for the future and hope to see and hear more of him.
Things I don’t recommend; thinking of politics as a three course meal. It’s a feast and we’re not leaving the restaurant.
Things I recommend; Lean on Me by The Redskins.
”Success come to the strong
The struggle’s hard & the struggle’s long
Lean on me & I will pull you through”