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13 December 2019

2019 Election - Just Another Day at the Office

Well, for this Liberal Democrat, it was just another day at the office. A lifetime of disappointments and false dawns has hardened me. I do, however, stick with my basic social liberal democratic philosophy of life. Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Whilst the Liberal Democrats' vote went up in most constituencies, they didn't win many new seats, and lost some they already had, including the seat of Party Leader Jo Swinson!

Conservative Leader Boris Johnson (who marked his campaign by refusing an interview with one of Britain's most forensic political interviewers, pocketing an ITV journalist's phone, and hiding in a dairy company's fridge) romped home to victory by somehow persuading hardened lifetime Labour suporters in the industrial Midlands, North West and North East to risk the psychological trauma of actually voting Conservative.

As for the Labour Party, their performance was so bad that their number in Parliament roughly equates to the representation they had back in 1935. Their programme almost made Michael Foot's 1980s manifesto ("The longest suicide note in history") look reasonable. Whilst enthusiastic Labour activists, in particular, their 'Momentum' group appear to be enthralled by their Party being led by a couple of pseudo Marxists, it turns out that this enthusiasm for hard-left politics is not shared by the general population.

To end with what I started with, Jo Swinson's personal, and Party's disappointing performance is, I believe, entirely down to her. She made two massive strategic errors, which stretched some Party members' loyalty to breaking point. Firstly, she stood before the Liberal Democrats' Conference and announced herself as Candidate for next Prime Minister. It reminded me of Liberal Party Leader David Steel some years back, telling Conference to go back to their constituencies and "prepare for Government". That went well, didn't it?! Secondly, by announcing her intention to cancel Brexit unilaterally, without a second referendum, she effectively told 17 million people who'd voted to leave the EU to get stuffed. She appeared to have misunderstood the meaning of the second word in the title of her Party.

Both Labour and Liberal Democrats are now looking for new leaders.

Happy New Year! (We hope)

03 August 2019

Disunited Kingdom

When I last visited Sirmione in Italy I gained free access to a museum because I was an EU citizen. 

When I last visited Budapest in Hungary I was able to ride the city trams free of charge because I was a Senior Citizen of the EU.

In all of my frequent visits to Europe I knew that if I needed medical treatment I could get it without my bank balance being raided. 

I could also make phone calls on my mobile without the charges being ramped up.

I was able to cross from one country to another with no more bureacratic hindrance than crossing from England into Scotland.

When staying in hotels in my own country (UK) I've benefited from efficient and pleasant service from staff who were recruited from other EU countries.

When admitted to hospital I received superb attention from doctors, nurses, health care assistants, and cleaners, many of whom were from the EU (and beyond).

I eat vegetables that have been picked from fields (sometimes in freezing or wet conditions) by workers from other EU countries. Far from 'stealing our jobs' (we currently have low unemployment rates) they are doing work that many of those who are unemployed don't want to do.

The quality of our rivers, our coastal waters, and the air we breathe, the safety of our cars, and much else are controlled by EU regulations that we ourselves have helped to formulate.

Far from being a 'Vassal State' 'Shackled' to Brussels, and 'Dictated to by an unelected bureacracy', we have jointly participated in Europe's future with other elected leaders, and an elected parliament. We have been able to opt out of a single currency, and to opt out of the Schengen 'open borders' agreement.

We have benefited from cross-border policing, national security, medical and scientific co-operation and co-ordination.

We trade freely not only with millions of people on our doorstep, but with 70 other countries around the world via agreements made with the EU. So far, there are only provisional separate agreements with a dozen of them.

As for 'Unelected bureacrats', since when were Civil Servants ever elected, in any country?

And yet our nationalistic tub-thumping Brexiteering government expect us to replace all this with what? .. Turbo-boosted Optimism! WHY?! Because a slim majority of us voted for it after being fed dreams, aspirations, and lies instead of real facts. Some of those voters phone radio stations, and when asked to explain why, or what is it they could do outside the EU that they can't do now, they come up with garbage such as .. "I want to eat fish and chips out of newspaper again" (nothing to do with the EU), "I want to control our borders" (we already do), and "I want to buy curved bananas" (tabloid newpaper myth). Thankfully, nobody has yet said, "I want our money to return to £sd!" (Also nothing to do with the EU).

And now our new (undemocratically chosen) arm-waving blustering Prime Minister has a parliamentary majority of only ONE (and that's even counting the dubious support of Northern Ireland's DUP). There's only one solution now .. a General Election and an end to this madness.

16 March 2019

Atrocity in New Zealand

The monster who cold-bloodedly killed and injured over 50 innocent people in New Zealand the other day is a self-confessed Fascist and White Supremacist. I have skimmed through the 70-page manifesto that he posted online (or at least I've skimmed through as much as I could stomach). The man is totally unhinged and a ball of seething hatred and vitriol. Where does such vile rage come from? When and why did he lose his moral compass, (if he ever had one of course)?

During my speed-read of his stinking slurry of words, a couple of names jumped out of the page, one from the 1930s and one from right NOW. He professed admiration for the British Hitler-loving OSWALD MOSLEY, and he identified DONALD TRUMP as a "Symbol of White Identity and Common Purpose".

Let me be clear .. so-called White Supremacy has about as much place in a civilised society as Fundamental Islamic Jihadism, or Evangelical Christianity spreading the word of Jesus with firearms. It is all based on HATRED of anyone who differs from them in religious belief or cultural norms. If we wish to maintain anything vaguely resembling a peaceful liberal democracy, then we need to stamp on any kind of racial or religious supremacy movement wherever it raises its head. It is easy to be led by people who appeal to one's basest emotions, until you find yourselves sleep-walking into a tyrannical State where the only people who are happy are the haters and the fanatics.

You can find the seeds of this potential dystopia all over the place right now. You can find it in increasingly hate-filled discourse between people in Britain on either side of the European Union 'Brexit' debate. You can find it in Poland and Hungary with the increasing State control of newspapers, television and the legal systems. You can find it in the USA where the President regards journalists as the 'Enemy of the People' and puts forward the preposterous proposition that the Democratic Party is filled with people who not only believe in uncontrolled borders but are also in favour of crime.

We need to wake up and re-set our common moral compass, desensitise it against the magnetic pull of populist leaders, and appreciate that whether we are black, white or brown, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist, we are human beings who have evolved in pretty much the same way, and have the same basic needs, emotions, anxieties, health problems, humour and joy. We all bleed if we are cut, we weep when we lose loved ones, and we all have the capacity to achieve great things.