A question of balance

Rookwood, Going Postal
Long-Bailey at the 2016 Labour Party Conference
Rwendland [CC BY-SA]

Many will look upon the recent result of the 2019 election, if not with outright joy, but with a certain degree of self disciplined satisfaction. Some will look upon the unrestrained rout of the Labour party as a colossal injustice, a clear indication of the hardness of heart that anyone who is not “Progressive” must possess. After all, the clear majority that the Conservatives now have at their disposal make them a formidable force in the House of Commons. Few re-elected back-benchers, and certainly none of the newer intake of MP’s, would dare defy the whip hand of the newly elected PM. Boris Johnson has displayed a level of ruthlessness and indeed stoicism, by purging his party of dissent shortly before this election. The red welts of corporal punishment, be they literal or conceptual, will serve as a gruesome reminder to those that wish to stray too far from the party line for a long time to come.

As to Labour, there are none so divided, disgusted or indeed deranged, as those who believe an inheritance which is rightly theirs, has been violently snatched from their grasp by means foul. While such a suggestion in reality is quite frankly preposterous, those that lack introspection or a token degree of humility will be convinced with the passion of the religious zealot that, for whatever reason, the latest humiliation of Labour and the Liberal Democrats is the fault of everyone and everything else. Such is the level of self deception that “Being right” offers those who have not had the life changing experience of realising that in comparison to complexity of our universe, as individuals, we are but a speck of inconsequential dust.

I am not going to explore too deeply where this victory for the Conservatives will take us, or indeed the nation. If I knew that, voting last week would have been a considerably easier task for me, and indeed everyone I know. Nor do I know where we we will end up with Brexit, although I believe that we will end up with a Brexit in name only, with a very dense layer of glitter disguising the well rolled and compacted turd beneath. Paradoxically, the majority that Mr Johnson has achieved is sufficient to allow him every option from a weak to a strong Brexit, and to be able to declare, without so much as the slightest blink of an eye, or indeed embarrassment, that this is the will of the people. As to the Brexit or Reform party, the most they can achieve is ineffectual guerrilla warfare over the next few years. They might pick off the occasional MP who has been caught out with their hands in the till, or indeed has shuffled off this mortal coil a little too prematurely. How they can politically leverage any control over the Brexit process without representation in Parliament, effectively consigns them to fighting a nuclear war with water pistols. Should Boris continue in the same vein as his predecessor, while they may comfort themselves with their battalion of MEP’s, being able to inflict any real damage is just not strategically possible.

Now I am not being deliberately defeatist here, like millions of others I experienced a large sigh of relief when the result of the election was confirmed. I dread to think what would have happened to this nation of ours should the current incarnation of the Labour party have gained political power. I do have a number of very valid questions though, and I do not see these being answered with any degree of lucidity or clarity any time soon. Maybe, as this parliament and the media progresses through time, these will be answered. Maybe not. These questions do demand answers though, and while the majority of folk will now focus on Christmas and a January Brexit, like a forming scab on a wound, I cannot help but pick around the itching edge.

Question one is built upon a simple premise that I cannot get my head around. Unless totally deluded, why did the Liberal Democrats and Labour, to use a well hackneyed phrase suitable for the current turkey annihilation season, vote for Christmas? I can understand the electorate rejecting the immodest declaration of the leader of the former, laying claim that the Liberal Democrats were a party suitable for Government. A secular humanist, with a first class BSc in management, one would expect the Swinson leadership to at least tug a forelock in the direction of risk management, but no. While the Liberal Democrats are to be applauded for nailing their colours to the mast with such conviction, and indeed gay abandon, this was a high-risk strategy indeed, especially as the majority of UK citizens, to use BJ’s immortal words, “Just want to get Brexit done”. One suspects that they hoped to penetrate the hard core SNP following North of the border, picking up those disaffected SNP, former Labour and Conservative voters who really don’t want a “SNP style” independence, rather a closer union with the EU state and the UK. After all, the Independence referendum did not give the Scottish Parliament sufficient permission to go it alone. Like the Remain side of the Brexit debate, there will always be political capital to be made when one divides to conquer. As to Jeremy Corbyn, a more exemplary modern-day example of Janus one could not expect to find. By walking the tightrope of appearing to want to remain and leave at the same time, he hoped to appeal to constituencies both North and South. The British public are not keen on such brazen political duplicity, and by talking out of both sides of his mouth simultaneously, was clearly a message too rich for many. Both these leaders were seasoned and experienced politicians, so why did they commit political seppuku or harakiri now? What deals were done with the Conservative party, or what higher authority demanded they place not only their leadership, but their party, on the burning altar of political suicide? To suggest this failure was down to policy alone misses the point, as I am in no doubt that both leaders truly believed they had the right balance for their particular audience, and more importantly, that these policies, however misguided and focus grouped to death, were right for the nation. Both Swinson and Corbyn believed their own political spin, and we would be the first to ridicule any politician who didn’t. We must, as a bare minimum, give them that credit, no matter how repugnant we may look upon the policies they represent. So why the sudden volte face after months of determined rebuttal and stubbornness in refusing a general election? This question may not be answered any time soon, to go by the number of years it has taken for Heath’s traitorous FCO document to come to light. Nor do I believe this will be fully answered in the predictable biographies soon to hit the bookshops, either. To quote another well worn phrase, “There are no accidents in politics”. And as we well know, the “accidents” of state have a nasty habit of being buried with full honours, a bit like their victims.

My second question, although less specific, is more troubling. When are we going to get a decent opposition to counterbalance the carte blanche that the Conservatives currently have? Like our legal system, our Parliamentary democracy is an adversarial one, and it is crucial that both sides are finely and equally tuned, like the balance wheel and spring of a mechanical watch. This is not just to prevent the excesses of power that a political majority may bring, but it allows a certain degree of freedom in repealing acts legislated by previous governments. Or to put it another way, no government may put into law something that cannot be overturned or amended by another. So in theory, Boris could tear up both the Withdrawal and Political agreements and have them completely redrafted if he so wished. By pushing through the dogs dinner vomited up in the last Parliament, it is clear that while he fully intends to “Get Brexit done”, the exact temperature of what comes out the Brexit oven will be decidedly tepid. A clever game has been played insofar as the intransigence of the last two parliaments have been used to water down the letter and the spirit of the 2016 referendum, and now that the “Opposition” has outlived their usefulness, they have been consigned to history. Or to put this another way, the extremely talented and effective defence barristers versus a weak prosecution, have been replaced with a weak defence and a strong prosecution. No jury will decide this case, as our role was to pick the legal team. And before anyone starts suggesting the SNP are an effective opposition, they will be cut loose soon enough under the guise of devolution and independence. For the whole narrative, Brexit or no Brexit, leads only to one conclusion – a “United” Ireland and an “Independent” Scotland. As to Wales, I suspect they will clamour for the EU mammary glands sooner or later, once they see the great “Benefits” offered to those that choose to turn their back on the union. There is no reason either, why a future government after a suitable period of mourning and public display of hair shirt, could not go cap in hand and request that we are accepted back into the EU fold. Which is why I always feel decidedly uncomfortable the softer the Brexit that is promoted. Harsh divorces rarely make for warming reunions.

My final observation will probably take the breath away from a few who are not conversant with the deeper implications of politics, or indeed the roots of our modern political system. Tony Blair lit the blue touch paper of devolution via referendum, and the divisive results has resulted in a political amalgam that few will have heard of. It is the Legislative Grand Committee, and its function is to ensure that legislation which applies to each of the devolved sections of the UK can only be enacted with the consent of MP’s representing those constituencies. And guess which Prime Minister pushed through this legislation? Wrong. It was David Cameron in response to the troubling “West Lothian” question. And guess who decides what part of a parliamentary bill or statute is referred to the LGC? None other than the Speaker. So it is no surprise then that the previous incumbent, a gentleman of renown independence of thought, impartiality and diplomacy, was so warmly enshrouded in the fat, welcoming arms of the globalist establishment upon ceasing office. I will not be surprised in the slightest then, if over time, Boris, now in full possession of a licence to drive a coach and horses through a weakened and deliberately unbalanced parliament, quietly forgets about the last two, embarrassing, words in the Tory’s full political title. They are, of course, the Conservative and Unionist Party.

© Rookwood 2020

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