What’s that? It’s the sound of boots marching up Whitehall;
A ‘Cheap holiday in other people’s misery’ 1
And this is what we will end up with if we aren’t careful.
But before we consider this, let’s deal with the noise that the Brexit discussions have become.
The cross-party talks have come to nothing with both parties tripping over each other’s red lines. Quelle surprise!
The inevitable casualty of this is the PM who, much to no one’s surprise, failed to do the impossible, that is uniting the warring factions within are her party.
Result, the warring factions now go to war, otherwise known as a leadership contest. A number, including Boris Johnson, have put their names forwards; rather a motley crew comprising the ‘really?’ and the ‘surely not him/her!’
In a Conservative leadership contest, MPs hold a series of ballots, with the candidate gaining the fewest votes eliminated at each stage.
Once the field is reduced to two, the winner is chosen by a vote of party members. And this is where the problems will start, it’s the hardcore, No Deal mob, yearning to be back in the 1930s when the chattering classes knew their places.
What all of this now means is that next week’s European elections take on a greater degree of importance than many are saying. We aren’t just voting for our MEP, we are seeing the debut of a new and potential force in British politics, the Brexit Party. This will be the first UK party that can be described as ‘populist’, don’t be fooled, it could be a force going forward.
we are seeing the debut of a new and potential force in British politics
Why? It is expected that Tories will have a torrid time in next weeks elections, any success for the Brexit Party will make a right-wing Tory leader more likely, and empower him/her to push for a No Deal Brexit.
If this leads to a forthcoming election the Brexit party could well hold the balance of power, and they will only do a deal with one party, and that isn’t Labour.
New parties can succeed, look at the example of M. Macron and his party, La République En Marche! Though I do accept that he is more unpopular than popular. And don’t think that cranks and idiots can’t be elected, look at Trump in the US, and Italy governed by the alliance of Matteo Salvini’s League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) led by Luigi Di Maio
And the polls are showing that the Brexit Party can triumph in next week’s elections; the Opinium survey for the Observer places the Brexit party on 34%, Labour on 21% and the Conservatives on 11%.
Both parties are now in panic mode and recriminations are being bandied around as they attempt, somewhat belatedly, to ‘stop Farage’. May was accused by senior Conservatives of ‘fuelling populism’ with her indecision over the Brexit issue, while Labour politicians urged their backers to come out and vote despite the party’s mixed messages on Europe, which are depressing its support.
During all of this Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, goes around stirring up the populace with nationalistic comments referencing war; on Saturday, at a rally in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, he described the prime minister’s Brexit deal as ‘like a surrender document of a nation that has been defeated in war’.
Cue: Germany 1919 and the ‘stab in the back’ theory. Remember who became Chancellor in 1933?
Farage has succeeded in making Brexit about more than just leaving the EU, comments such as this are creating a debate about what it means to be British and how the country perceives itself vis a vis the rest of the world.
they will only do a deal with one party, and that isn’t Labour
Are we nationalists channelling some form of misguided and misunderstood Dunkirk spirit, standing alone, adopting an independent spirit in the misplaced conviction that we will be better off doing so?
Do we want a government that believes in strident nationalism, racial and sexual intolerance, with policies that enhance the already exaggerated wealth gap?
‘They put a hot wire to my head, ‘Cause of the things I did and said , They made these feelings go away, Model citizen in every way…’ 2
Or, are we open, outward-looking, and engaged with the rest of the world? A society that cares, a society that doesn’t support prejudice, and one that gives everyone an equal chance?
Because these are the very clear choices being laid before us next week as Farage was very forthcoming in an interview on BBCs Andrew Marr Show. Following are selected low points, there are no highlights when this man speaks:
- The shift from a Norway-type deal before the EU referendum to no-deal departure, was blamed on the PM ‘botching the process’
- He has complete policy control over his party, which has paid ‘supporters’ rather than members
- These supporters belong to ‘a company, not a political party’
- His party’s platform for the European elections was to leave without a deal – it would not have a formal manifesto, saying this had ‘a word association with ‘lie’’.
Editorial Comment: Lies are what I, and many others, associate with the Leave campaign
- He denied wanting to replace the NHS with private insurance but said insurers could ‘take the burden off the NHS’. He added: ‘If I was encouraged to opt out of the system, to relieve the burden on the health service, I would do so gleefully.’
Editorial Comment: this is nothing new we can all go private now if we can afford to
- When asked if he still thought measures to tackle global warming were ‘stupid’, he replied: ‘I believe that if we decide in this country to tax ourselves to the hilt, to put hundreds of thousands of people out of work in manufacturing industries, given that we produce less than 2% of global C02, that isn’t terribly intelligent.’
Editorial comment; my rich mates don’t want to pay so much tax, so sod global warming
- Farage also confirmed his belief that HIV-positive migrants should not be allowed to move to the UK
Editorial comment; that is just discrimination. Is the next step anti-abortion legislation like that passed in Alabama this week?
- He also defended the leave campaign’s anti-migrant posters in the run-up to the EU referendum, which showed a line of mainly non-white people with the slogan: ‘Breaking point.’
‘It was the truth, and if you think about that poster, it’s transformed European politics,’ Farage told Marr
Editorial comment; Back to the 1930s we go. Next up a march through the East End or 2019s equivalent
In summary, a series of revisionist and intolerant policies.
On the debacle that has been Brexit he laid the blame on the PM saying she ‘She chose to go for this close and special partnership’. By this he refers to the PMs Brexit deal.
‘Basically, right from the start she was happy for us to be kept very close to the customs union. So, where we are now, the only way the democratic will of the people can be delivered is to leave on a WTO [World Trade Organization] deal.’
While conceding he had praised the close deals with the EU that Norway and Switzerland have, Farage insisted he had always wanted the UK to exit on very different terms.
It is a vote for the Farage Brexit; or against it
Arguing May had ‘wilfully deceived us’, he said: ‘What she’s put to parliament three times isn’t a deal, it’s a new European treaty. I didn’t spend 25 years campaigning to leave the EU to sign up to a new treaty.’
As I have written before this election is too far gone for any sort of party loyalty now, its either Labour or the far-right. As Tony Blair said, ‘It is a vote for the Farage Brexit; or against it.’
For Labour to win out over the Brexit Party it needs to make a clear and unequivocal stand in support of a second referendum. It is only the electorate that can fix this mess, not politicians.
And, to any that say a second referendum places democracy at risk, I say this; Rubbish! Democracy is about freedom irrespective of race, religion, creed, or sexuality, it’s about choice, freedom of speech and association, and equality for all.
No pasarán! (!) should once again become the cry of the people.
‘We are part, Of a whole we call the earth, And I have to read the lies..’ 3
No pasarán! ‘They shall not pass’: during the siege of Madrid, in the Spanish Civil War, Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, a member of the Communist Party of Spain, said this in her famous ‘No pasarán’ speech on 18 July 1936. It was also used by British anti-fascists during the October 1936 Battle of Cable Street.
Another triple treat for lyric spotters this week – getting progressively more difficult.
1 We start with a little loosener from those bad boys the Sex Pistols and ‘Holidays in the Sun’ – there’s a lot of anger, and those jackboots seem to have come from nowhere; even better now that Sir Vince has endorsed Never Mind the Bollocks. Oh, by the way, it’s 42 years old.
2 Next up, we stick with the lovely Mr Lydon, but this time front PiL – the haunting ‘Rise’ was specifically about apartheid South Africa, but doesn’t seem out of place in a Britain of haves and have-nots.
3 Double bubble for anyone getting the final lyric – some strange boys from San Pedro – Minutemen with ‘King of the Hill’; they produced four albums and eight EPs in the five years before frontman D.Boons untimely demise in 1985, so plenty to explore. Enjoy!
Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s