A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

Labour have 3 key problems heading into this general election; and none of them are its leader. But there is a more important issue at stake: the prospect of ‘hard’ Brexit.

The Labour Party has three main difficulties confronting it, this general election:

1) Brexit put them in an impossible position. However they responded to the EU referendum, it would alienate many voters. This situation was borne-out when a number of loyal Shadow Cabinet Ministers had to step down over the Article 50 vote.

2) The coup/leadership-challenge of last year damaged the party badly in terms of wider public confidence.

3) Ukip’s dissipation has led to a significant number of voters boosting the Conservatives.
Contrary to the media narrative about Ukip’s electorate being former Labour-supporters, who became disaffected with Labour because it wasn’t sufficiently hostile towards migrants; the bulwark of Ukip’s vote-base were ex-conservatives.

A fourth point could be added to this list: namely, the way that the issue of Independence-Unionism has distorted the political landscape in Scotland; a former stronghold of Labour’s. Labour suffered heavy losses in the recent council elections – and predictably, it was cast as being Jeremy Corbyn’s fault. This demonstrates a particularly woeful misunderstanding – if not a willful one – of the political situation which currently applies in Scotland.

There is a simple question that could have been asked by any commentator venturing their tuppence-worth here: why did Labour lose so many seats to the Conservatives, rather than to the SNP? Or, for that matter, to Ukip – the supposed beneficiaries of disaffection among Labour voters; who were themselves wiped out in Scotland. Why did the much-vaunted ‘Lib Dem revival’ fail to materialise? Because it’s the same journalists and publications who have pushed these three narratives persistently during recent years, who suddenly decided that actually none of it applied. No, it was all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault. Presumably it was also his fault that Labour’s MPs were wiped out in Scotland during the General Election of 2015? He must also have been the cause of Scottish Labour losing its governing majority in 2007.

Either Labour have been in long-term continuous decline within Scotland, for over a decade; or their problems only materialised the moment Corbyn was elected to lead them – and began travelling back through time to wreak his havoc. It cannot be had both ways. It is fairly clear which reading is supported by evidence; and which one is not. Perhaps when people feel like being honest about any of this, they might begin to offer some constructive input into remedying it.

There is another issue which requires more immediate attention, however. Journalists have spent the past fortnight bemoaning an inability to ask questions of the Prime Minister; but they could question her nonetheless, by asking why we are having a General Election now, rather than in 2020. They could also ask why the Conservative Party’s election campaign is so idiosyncratic – why is it being advertised as ‘Theresa May’s team’? Why are the press events so tightly-controlled? Why do the public seminars exclude members of the general public?

The fulcrum of May’s campaign – which is being so circumspectly avoided via the choreographed electioneering – is that she intends to commit Britain to a position of ‘hard’ Brexit. Her administration lost two court cases in an attempt at preventing Article 50 being put before Parliament. When forced to do so by law, May again tried to ratify the most extreme version of Brexit – and failed once more; due to the amendments that Parliament secured. Sufficient evidence indicates that this is precisely what May intends to undertake – and it will require a strong Parliamentary majority to deliver it: not merely to overcome external opposition, but to override any internal rebellions. This course will not end well for Britain.

Brexit is not the only issue which matters in this General Election – but it will affect every area of public life and social policy; and thereby determine the future of our country for many years to come. It is important for honesty, now, about where we are headed, and why.

Somebody was rude to me on the internet!

Somebody was rude to me on the internet! One moment, I had published a trenchant critique of established wisdom, explaining how the popular consensus was wrong about a certain novel; and the next, I received a barrage of disrespectful replies from common members of the hoi polloi.

“Before reading Mr Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels,” I began, “I’d held strong suspicions that the travels would prove to be more fantasy than fact; and I am afraid to say my doubts were swiftly confirmed”. I thus continued: “I have to say that I was appalled by the author’s lack of citations. It was impossible to check whether or not this so-called ‘work of satire’ represents a fair commentary on the social attitudes of its author’s day. In fact, I would be tempted to conclude that Mr Swift was simply making the whole thing up. Nobody I know would ever be sufficiently petty as to divide an entire nation over something so trivial as the best way to crack a boiled egg”. And there the matter rested. Or so I thought.

To my surprise – in fact, disgust – the response I received can at best be described as dismissive; if not impertinent in every conceivable particular. Having read a number of comments to the effect that it was I – rather than Mr Swift – who had the problem, it reached a point where the effrontery simply went too far. One young ‘gentleman’ even had the audacity to suggest that I read the novel again – as if I hadn’t understood it properly the first time!

Consequently I contacted – in quick succession – the local council, social services (the office was closed, typically), the central library, and the local newspaper; before finally coming to my senses and dialing 999. I consider it my civic duty to remark that the inability of these respective offices to grasp the urgency of the situation offers irrefutable proof that they must be privatised forthwith. I would add that by contrast to all of the above, the sympathy I received when mentioning this outrage to neighbours was beyond reproach.

Far too many people are under the wholly false impression that this sort of thing exists only in the fervid minds of tabloid journalists, or the wilder elements of popular imagination; but my experience proves that it is only too real. In fact, this entire episode demonstrates everything that is wrong with our country, these days.

Prospects during the General Election (2017).

People may have noticed that the fairly despondent recent post about the General Election was removed – it was written mainly off the back of emotion, rather than reason; and after a short period of reflection, didn’t seem especially constructive.

Looking at the matter more objectively, what I expect to happen as a consequence of this election is not greater cause for optimism, unfortunately; but I think it’s important to be honest.

Labour will probably suffer heavy losses. Voter-intention is one issue, but turnout is another. This is not about Corbyn, or Labour themselves, however; it’s a consequence of Brexit. Labour were left in a uniquely difficult position by the EU referendum – whether they accepted or repudiated the outcome, they stood to alienate many of their supporters, either way.

The factor at issue is ‘depressed voter syndrome’ – namely dejection among many of its supporters about the prospect of overseeing Brexit. I don’t personally want them to win this election if it means presiding over the upcoming economic disaster that Brexit will almost certainly induce. This purview is liable to be shared by many people; and result in a desultory showing of votes. By contrast, enthusiasm for Brexit among its supporters remains high; and evidently favours the government.

Labour will be the first casualty of Brexit. They will not be its last, however; and hopefully, they will be the first to recover.

George Osborne resigned as an MP, heading into a general election which his party are expected to win comfortably. This specific circumstance seems to be unprecedented. There are two primary reasons why MPs resign from Parliament – one, a personal scandal is set to become public; two, their parties are in serious trouble. Osborne is not that interesting. So, the second of these is the more plausible motive.

If the Conservatives are in government until 2022, then they will preside over the full period that Britain is outside the single European market; which is expected to prove economically calamitous. If this does occur, then there will probably be a vote of no confidence in the government before 2022.

However, a strong majority for the Conservatives in Parliament will mean two years with weak opposition – and thereby free-reign over policy; until the reality of Brexit hits home in 2019. Two years can be a long time in politics for those on the receiving end; but it can also be a short time when a dreadful prospect looms.

A strong Tory majority precludes independence for Scotland any time soon. The SNP can present a bill requesting a second independence referendum; but it would simply be voted down.

There will almost certainly not be a vaunted ‘lifetime of Tory government’, no matter what the current prospects may indicate – if the Conservatives themselves believed otherwise, then we would not be having a general election now, instead of in 2020; when they would have benefited from the boundary review changes.

Labour’s members evidently remain committed to the party’s future – even with a bleak immediate outlook. After the election is over, they will have to decide whether they want to continue the good work that was done prior to the EU referendum, as there will be strong calls for a lurch to the hard-right, especially on the issue of free-movement/migration. Public opinion and political expedience will probably undergo a marked change from 2019 onwards, however.

The left is not forgiven its failures the way the right is. Corbyn is liable to lead Labour to dire results – it is obvious that he will be blamed personally; as he was for the outcome of the EU referendum, despite campaigning against it. This will not be valid.

Corbyn kept Labour intact and functioning during the coup which followed the EU referendum. He also steered it through Article 50 – both of these issues could have caused the party to implode. All of the other leadership candidates he faced stated after the referendum that they would end free-movement, which would have committed Labour to support for ‘hard’ Brexit. This would probably have seen the party decimated during the upcoming election; as even many supporters of Brexit do not want the worst version possible to apply.

As it stands, Labour are still liable to suffer heavy losses as a consequence of the EU referendum’s outcome; but hopefully, it will not prove as devastating as it would have done under any other leader. There is at least the possibility that Labour will have a future once the damage of this election has been overcome. Political parties can recover surprisingly quickly from heavy defeats; particularly given a change of circumstance.

This general election represents a lose-lose scenario for Labour – either suffer heavy losses; or enter government, and be responsible for overseeing the disaster of Brexit. One of these outcomes is recoverable. While Labour will suffer the consequences of Brexit this election, the Conservatives will suffer it the next.

Brexit cannot be made to work in actuality. The outcome of this election will primarily reflect public opinion on the issue; which is currently devoid of basis in reason. Reality will intrude at some point down the line, and sanity will eventually be restored; but until then, there is cause for severe pessimism about the future.

The upcoming years will be difficult ones for our country and its people.

The Right-Minded Review – Nigel Farage’s ‘The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything’ (4th anniversary edition)

 

I was given this trenchant tome as a gift, by somebody who had purchased it in error; and it did not disappoint.

Throughout its pages, Farage addresses important questions such as:

‘Why do young people these days lack the moral fibre of the previous generation?’ (a good war would stiffen their resolve, in Farage’s purview).
‘Why are 97% of scientists wrong about Global Warming?’ (Farage has an interesting explanation).
‘How many of the world’s problems are simply the result of the British no longer being in charge?’ (most – if not all – is the short answer).
And ‘were all of Hitler’s ideas bad?’ (the answer may surprise you).

Throughout its opening pages, Farage’s autobiography addresses the pressing political issues of the day. For example, whether it’s time to close the English channel, and how this might be achieved; and the probable reasons why crime is no longer illegal. This section of the book confirmed to me that most of my opinions were already correct.

Arguably of more interest to the casual reader, however, is the author’s – at times, inspiring – life story. Unlike liberal elites, educated at exclusive comprehensive schools – or prestigious secondary moderns – Farage set out in life at the humble confines of Dulwich prepper; before working hard, and earning a seat on the ladder of prosperity. He then went from being a successful City trader, to become the most successfully unelected Parliamentarian in British history. On a more poignant note, however, Farage documents his personal health battles with a characteristic candour – such as the anxiety disorder which overcomes him whenever he sees two people of the same sex holding hands; or when any woman in his vicinity is engaged in breastfeeding.

Anyone who wants to know what the European Union is, or where it is located, will learn a great deal from this book. With regard to affairs of the European Parliament, future historians may focus on the author’s imperious record of non-attendance; but I suspect that members of the public will favour the more light-hearted anecdotes – such as the misunderstanding which arose between several senior Ukip MEPs in one of Brussels’ many gentlemens’ saunas (it all ended humorously; with minds duly broadened).

Closer to home, Farage reflects on the political earthquake he generated – which simply defied the richter scale: namely, the general election of May 2015; which resulted in Ukip ending the day with no fewer than one Member of Parliament (I am not an expert, thankfully; but why 4 million votes for Ukip didn’t translate into 4 million MPs is beyond me).

The special fourth anniversary edition also comes with an audio CD, read by Farage himself; which narrates the legendary fight between two Ukip politicians in the European Parliament, during October 2016. I was very impressed. Step by step, Farage walks listeners through the weeks and days leading up to the affray. The tension builds as the two politicians approach each other, and battle commences. The action is graphically narrated – and may be unsuitable for younger listeners in parts; but it allows the attentive listener to visualise the action, and understand the key moments of the melee.

In sum, this is a book which is frank and surprising in equal measure. I give it the four stars, rather than the full five, as it would have benefited from a glossary of words which you can no longer say in public, due to political correctness.

The Right-Minded View: Tony Blair dispenses wisdom to the grateful tribes-people of Remainia.

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And Lo, Moses came down from Mount Sinai, slightly the worse for wear; clutching several stone tablets, engraved with Divine Inspiration. The tribes-people gathered in hushed awe – awaiting their commandments.

“Behold,” Moses began; “all ye need know on earth is this: Tony Blair won three elections”.

The crowd gasped, unanimously. “Tony Blair won three elections?” asked a lowly tribesman. “Can it be true?”. “That’s correct” replied Moses, with a sweep of his arm. “Tony Blair won three elections – therefore he is omniscient”.

Hearing this, Tony Blair modestly clambered atop an austere rock; with a look of benign magnanimity upon his noble brow. The tribesfolk put their newly-minted golden calf aside, and beheld this new idol with reverence. “Ask me anything” Tony Blair declared “and I will answer truthfully”.

“What’s two plus two?” shouted a rambunctious millennial; with a look of Trotsky Entryism about their demeanor. “Why, the answer is five” Tony Blair replied – gracefully blowing dust off his finger nails as he did so. The crowd burst into applause. “Next question, please” Tony Blair demurred.

“Wait a minute,” interpolated an elderly fellow at the back of the crowd, “that’s not true”. “Of course it’s true!” snapped Moses. “Tony Blair says it’s true, and he won three elections! It is therefore irrefutable”. “Yes, but, no…” the old man continued. “You can count it out on your own fingers, and see for yourself it’s demonstrably untrue. Look – one, two; three, four. The answer is four. Two plus two, equals four”.

The crowd began to murmur fractiously. The atmosphere soured. “Can it be true?” asked a tribes-woman. “Could Tony Blair be wrong about something? Does he not have all the answers to life’s questions, after all?”.

Anxiety filled the air – until finally Moses restored sense. “Two plus two can’t be four” Moses explained; “because Tony Blair says it isn’t, and he won three elections”. The tribesmen and women cheered as one; showering Tony Blair with the Sinai’s very finest grains of sand.

The following day, Moses followed Tony Blair’s advice, and led his tribe into the desert – where they would walk around in a circle for 40 years; while Tony Blair took up his allotted position as Pharaoh’s PR advisor, helping to restore the Egyptian public’s faith in his tactical acumen after the whole Red Sea thing.

The end.

 

p.s. things haven’t been going so well lately, so I will be taking some time off from writing. Keep well.

The Right-Minded View: PMQs – January 2017.

There are two broad purviews on Prime Minister’s Questions. Many people contend that it is largely a waste of everybody’s time – a shoulder-shruggathon, if you will; whereby gossipy-snips write about Parliamentary affairs as if the whole matter was a particularly underwhelming soap opera: superimposing whatever narrative happens to be convenient to their own personal inclinations and ego. Moreover, some even go so far as to suggest that this comprehensively fails the public interest, and undermines the whole purpose of journalism – to the detriment of us all – at one stroke.

Others look at it a different way, however; and conclude that it is the best thing since the sliced proverbial; or at least, since the cup-holder umbrella. I, for one, favour the second view; because of reasons, and stuff.

It therefore behooves me to commend an outstanding performance throughout this week’s bout from the Prime Minister: responding to even the least robust of questions with a truly awe-inspiring evasiveness; while expertly handling a variety of styles. From quick fire gangsta rap exchanges; to death metal panache – replete with cookie monster vocals.

For example, the Parliamentary Leader of the Scottish National Party asked if the Prime Minister would agree that the recent bout of cold weather throughout Britain demonstrates the need for an independent Scotland – prompting Ms May to spend a moment praising the Dark Lord, before growling “cookie, cookie, cookie”, and then sacrificing a paper clip to appease his satanic majesty. This is the sort of thing that young people go in for, I hear.

Then the Leader of the Liberal Democrats asked for a guarantee that Britain would retain access to the single European Market. Channeling the inner thug, the Prime Minister replied: “there is ghon be no attempts ta stay within tha European Union. Tha playaz of Britain voted fo’ Brexit – we is all Brexitas now, nahmeean?”; before presenting a thugged-out document to the House of Commons. The Prime Minister then explained that “da Posse whoz ass want Britain ta stay up in tha EU single market” needed a “realitizzle check” and “ta stop behavin’ as though you livin’ up in a gangbangin’ fantasy ghetto”.

Then we come to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Corbyn – asking impertinent questions, about trifling matters, in an unelectable manner. I mean, are we supposed to fixate on something as trivial as Britain’s future export markets, while there is a burnt-toast crisis facing our country? I rather think not. Pull yourself together, people – it’s a question of priorities.

By contrast, PM May was seriosity personified – emitting aplomb from every orifice. In a word – runcible. Concerned with only the most pressing matters – such as Britain’s future export markets.

To conclude proceedings, Theresa May then patriotically passed around a plate of the all-British-ingredient equivalents of Ferrero Rocher. “Prime Minister, with these marmite-encrusted scotch eggs you are really spoiling us” announced one Tory MP, to the delight of all.

And with that, Prime Minister’s Questions was won – fo’ shizzle.

 

The Right-Minded View: The Positives Of Global Warming

According to the Daily Mail, 97% of scientists are wrong about global warming. A damning statistic in its own right, you may think. Worse still, however, is the evident bias at work in media coverage on the issue.

3% of statistics should not be dismissed so lightly, I say – good things might come from global warming. Warmer weather is obvious. There are many positives which spring less immediately to mind, however.

For one thing, it will lead to an opening of sea routes through places like Birmingham, and most of Wales. For another – and on much the same tack – any house which is currently 50 or so miles inland will become waterfront property. Just think about the increased property values.

Should that fail to convince, then simply consider the following examples – by no means intended to be exhaustive:

  • Underwater archaeology will thrive.
  • The jobs-market in manufacturing air-conditioners will boom.
  • Farmers will be able to grow oranges in the northern-most points of Scotland.
  • People will be able to go scuba-diving along what used to be Regent Street; or snorkeling through the abandoned corridors of Heathrow airport.
  • All the malaria mosquitoes a naturalist could hope to find in breeding-grounds as far afield as Cornwall and Yorkshire.
  • Geologists need travel to the Sahara no more – they will be free to collect an array of sands from the deserts of Scunthorpe and Widnes instead.
  • On a similar note, Death Valley will finally be opened up to a bit of competition over which is the least inhabited location on earth – a boon for any area which takes the title; be it Manchester, or Oslo.
  • Museums will be able to display innumerable galleries of newly extinct species – such as bees, and polar bears. Just think of how popular dodo exhibits are – ticket sales will soar when the tarantula goes.
  • Moats will receive a new lease of life in the average family garden.
  • Have an aversion to travelling through mountain ranges? Then worry no further – as water rises, even the humblest of ferries will be able to sail gracefully over their very summit.
  • Global shortages of basic foodstuffs will end Britain and America’s respective obesity crises, forthwith. You can’t say fairer than that.
  • And finally, we all know that scientists love to examine the remains of civilizations which perished in natural disasters. Usually their efforts are limited to relics, many thousands of years old. Well, not anymore.

Hopefully, these prospects will have changed a few minds. So far as I can tell, this account of matters is 100% factual; and backed by all the science known to science.

The Right-Minded View: Opposites Attract

Donald Trump was a man – Theresa May was a woman. It seemed as if they were just too different to get along.

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He wanted to build walls – she wanted to salt the earth with the tears of widows and orphans.

But she looked past the fake-tan, and saw the insecure tyrant within. He saw through the vacuous materialism – and gazing into her abyss, her abyss gazed into him.

Together, they combined the timelessness of a nylon rug with the kind of moxy that built the pyramids.

But would she sell him her nation’s health service – or her soul?

Opposites Attract: A Love Story – available at all good horror movie outlets now.

The Right-Minded View: The NHS Crisis.

While it may be true that the NHS currently faces the worst crisis since the last time Conservatives were in government, for reasons which defy any obvious explanation; I say let us not be too hasty with our conclusions.

All that health-treatment does is cure illness; it certainly doesn’t teach people the virtues of self-reliance. Instead of tackling the root cause of broken legs, dependence on medicine teaches the contrary: that it is okay to fall down a flight of stairs, because hospitals will take care of the problem for you.

Rather than spend money on patient care, therefore, I believe that the free-market offers a potential solution here. For instance, why should bacteria have its aspirations inhibited by the red-tape of inoculations, and the like; instead of being free to achieve its ambitions? Let illness and injury compete on a level playing field, I say.

Sure, some people will fall by the wayside, and – to use the emotive idiom favoured by the Left – die; but a bit of fatality never did anyone any harm in the long-run. On the contrary, it represents a success story, in the market of pathogens.

Far worse in my view, however, is the sight of GPs complaining about working a seven-day week. Well, I say it is simply not enough. Nevermind a seven-day week, I used to work a seven-week day; and it never did me any harm.

If doctors are unwilling to take a leaf out of my book, however, then they might at least follow the good example set by our country’s virtuous government ministers – who do so much for the benefit of the land. You never hear them bemoan being overworked or underpaid. That is because they simply have better manners than to do so. Besides, when they are a bit short, they don’t complain; they merely award themselves a pay-rise instead. A better example of conscientious probity I have yet to witness.

And is it really beyond the pale to ask whether we actually need doctors and nurses in the first place? Or to suggest that people who are unwell – perhaps a bit gangrenous in certain parts (don’t ask, don’t tell is the watchword here) – simply take half an aspirin, and find a quiet corner to lie down in; so as not to inconvenience the rest of us? Is there any good reason to invest large sums of money in expensive hospital beds, and pricey wards, when a flattened-cardboard box in the middle of a street serves much the same purpose? I would wager not.

What’s more, British people can be their own medical experts, these days. Not only would it save on the public purse if people eschew visiting surgeries, and seek advice from a local newsagent instead; but it would mean that the £350 million per week, previously pledged to the NHS, could be devoted to a more worthwhile endeavour – like increased subsidies for private providers, operating within the National Health Service.

No, I say steady the course, PM May. This bold policy of creating a doctor-free health service is a marvel for all to behold.

The Right-Minded View: The Prime Minister’s vision of a Shared Society.

Now when Prime Minister May saw the crowds of journalists, she went up on a podium and she began to teach them:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is a redefined definition of poverty.

Blessed are those who hunger, for they shall be satisfied by the local foodbank.

Blessed are the meek, for those who know their place, and play by the rules, shall benefit from a cut to inheritance tax.

Blessed are you when you make handsome, if discreet, donations; rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in the House of Lords.

Blessed are the hedge fund managers, for they shall reap what others sow.

Blessed are the healers, who are willing to work seven days a week, for five-days’ worth salary.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, this only breeds dependency. It’s high-time that your neighbours learned to stand on their own two legs, and pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.

Ask for a handout, and it will no longer be given. Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? All of you should, if you want to impart a valuable life-lesson in self-sufficiency.

Ensure that you practice your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have a reward from your admirers in the press.

Do not think that I have come to uphold the Laws; I have not come to fulfill, but to abolish them. Specifically those concerning human rights.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, sometimes it’s expedient to be creative with the truth. Let what you say be simply ‘it means what it means’, or ‘I do not accept that'”.

And when the Prime Minister finished these sayings, the journalists were astonished, for she was teaching them as one who had a teleprompter, and had not just replicated her predecessor’s pabulum on the same theme. Then the sick and the lame were brought to her, and put through a work capability assessment; consequently they were declared fit and healthy once more.

Afterwards, the Prime Minister entered a temple, and congratulated the wealth-creators within for their free enterprise – praising their aspirations. The high rates of usury, and the absence of red-tape – which the Prime Minister had guaranteed – ensured that they would not take their business elsewhere.