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Election Truth

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suze
1338743.  Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:04 pm Reply with quote

This is that serious post that I wanted to make. It explores the question of what Mr Johnson should actually do now that he leads a government which is (should be) capable of doing things. Sorry, it's rather long - and for that reason, the bits in bold are the key points and not some coded message to aliens.

This government is going to be a very different animal from the last few Conservative administrations. For the first time in living memory, a Conservative government has not been elected solely by the rural rich. It holds a decent number of seats in the north which have more often voted Labour, while the Conservative vote share in London and the south east is actually down on the last election.

Mr Johnson makes it very plain that the first task is to sort out the increasingly boring business of leaving the EU. So it must be, much as I have a sneaking feeling that after all that has gone on he would actually prefer not to do it. But not doing it is not now a realistic option, so let us step forward to the beginning of February and assume that he's ticked that off his list.

Today he has used the phrase "one nation conservatism". That phrase goes right back to Disraeli, who genuinely wanted an end to the stark division between rich and poor which had existed hitherto. It is the duty of the wealthy man to give employment to the artisan, as Hilaire Belloc (who was himself a Liberal MP when he wasn't busy writing humorous verse) put it.

That was the guiding philosophy of the Conservative Party for a century, but Margaret Thatcher rejected it. Her version was more like "The wealthy man can do as he pleases, and screw the poor man because he didn't vote for us". That has been Republican Party thinking in the US for a long time, but had not really been seen in Britain before Mrs Thatcher.

David Cameron claimed to seek a return to one nation conservatism, but it didn't really happen - and it didn't need to happen, because his government was supported mainly by the rural rich. Theresa May's government, even more so.

But in this new look House of Commons, it does need to happen. If Mr Johnson allows his government to be dominated, as the last couple have been dominated, by Old Etonians and city millionaires it will very soon become extremely unpopular in some of the places that elected it.

Mr Johnson has made a respectable start on this. He noted in the manifesto that he did not seek to reintroduce fox hunting, which both Mr Cameron and Mrs May did seek to do. That will play well in the big cities - and as a Londoner himself he will know that - although it may play less well in places like West Harptree. And speaking of West Harptree, the noises from Mr Johnson's office are that there will be no room in the Cabinet for Jacob Rees-Mogg. TBH, that will play well almost everywhere except West Harptree.

But will he follow through, or will he soon be back to cronyism, Old Etonians, and city millionaires? If you were to ask him that I'm sure he would say it was the former, and I'm willing to accept that right now he believes it. But will the Party let him?

What happens when some rural pressure group says it wants fox hunting, and Jacob Rees-Mogg supports it? What happens when Mr Johnson says he will support the domestic violence Bill which should be Theresa May's legacy before she retires from public life, but Sir Christopher Chope objects? What happens when he seeks to cut taxes at the bottom end rather than the top end, but Peter Bone says that's communist? (A Howard, I would be particularly interested to hear your opinion on this paragraph.)

Mr Johnson has one shot at this. My opinion of him is almost the diametric opposite of my opinion of Farage; I suspect that I would dislike him intensely, but there is much (not all, I've not had a Damascene conversion over 24 hours) within his manifesto with which I can agree. What I think I'm saying here is, please don't fuck it up.

 
barbados
1338761.  Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:59 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:


This government is going to be a very different animal from the last few Conservative administrations. For the first time in living memory, a Conservative government has not been elected solely by the rural rich. It holds a decent number of seats in the north which have more often voted Labour, while the Conservative vote share in London and the south east is actually down on the last election.

That it certainly is, and out of the entire HOC, Boris is probably the only person that would be able to carry it off.
suze wrote:

Mr Johnson makes it very plain that the first task is to sort out the increasingly boring business of leaving the EU. So it must be, much as I have a sneaking feeling that after all that has gone on he would actually prefer not to do it. But not doing it is not now a realistic option, so let us step forward to the beginning of February and assume that he's ticked that off his list.

This was discussed quite a bit yesterday by his former "chief of staff" at city hall, and he suggested that with the size of the majority Johnson has the biggest asset he has now is time - and all the time he is making progress he will not attract pressure from the disruptive elements from the party that you assert run the party. Something that Theresa May attempted - but failed.
suze wrote:

Today he has used the phrase "one nation conservatism". That phrase goes right back to Disraeli, who genuinely wanted an end to the stark division between rich and poor which had existed hitherto. It is the duty of the wealthy man to give employment to the artisan, as Hilaire Belloc (who was himself a Liberal MP when he wasn't busy writing humorous verse) put it.
That was the guiding philosophy of the Conservative Party for a century, but Margaret Thatcher rejected it. Her version was more like "The wealthy man can do as he pleases, and screw the poor man because he didn't vote for us". That has been Republican Party thinking in the US for a long time, but had not really been seen in Britain before Mrs Thatcher.

David Cameron claimed to seek a return to one nation conservatism, but it didn't really happen - and it didn't need to happen, because his government was supported mainly by the rural rich. Theresa May's government, even more so.

The one thing that Johnson has going for him is he will use all of the resources available to him - that's not to suggest that David Lammy will form part of his cabinet, however when it comes to connecting with the young black citizens, he will listen to him, and when connecting with teachers, he will keep Michael Gove in the background. It is the way he has in the past done things, he doesn't hold a grudge, and if he thinks you are the best person for the job, he will use your expertise.
suze wrote:

But in this new look House of Commons, it does need to happen. If Mr Johnson allows his government to be dominated, as the last couple have been dominated, by Old Etonians and city millionaires it will very soon become extremely unpopular in some of the places that elected it.

Mr Johnson has made a respectable start on this. He noted in the manifesto that he did not seek to reintroduce fox hunting, which both Mr Cameron and Mrs May did seek to do. That will play well in the big cities - and as a Londoner himself he will know that - although it may play less well in places like West Harptree. And speaking of West Harptree, the noises from Mr Johnson's office are that there will be no room in the Cabinet for Jacob Rees-Mogg. TBH, that will play well almost everywhere except West Harptree.

But will he follow through, or will he soon be back to cronyism, Old Etonians, and city millionaires? If you were to ask him that I'm sure he would say it was the former, and I'm willing to accept that right now he believes it. But will the Party let him?

What happens when some rural pressure group says it wants fox hunting, and Jacob Rees-Mogg supports it? What happens when Mr Johnson says he will support the domestic violence Bill which should be Theresa May's legacy before she retires from public life, but Sir Christopher Chope objects? What happens when he seeks to cut taxes at the bottom end rather than the top end, but Peter Bone says that's communist? (A Howard, I would be particularly interested to hear your opinion on this paragraph.)

See above, he has form in deploying cross party assistance, to get things done - his cronies are only "old etonians" because that is how Parliament is made up, but he will not restrict his team based on that, if you are the best person for the job and you went to school in Thanet you'll be the person for the job
suze wrote:

Mr Johnson has one shot at this. My opinion of him is almost the diametric opposite of my opinion of Farage; I suspect that I would dislike him intensely, but there is much (not all, I've not had a Damascene conversion over 24 hours) within his manifesto with which I can agree. What I think I'm saying here is, please don't fuck it up.

I guess we will see what happens - but my suspicion is that come this time next year we will be extending the transition period, because while he won't get bullied into accepting a on sided arrangement in trade, he knows that it is important to make trade as easy as possible - so we won't be having checks in the north sea - because it will make it difficult for both sides, we also won't be seeing the break up of the UK for the sasme reason. He will also bring people together.

 
Jenny
1338766.  Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:18 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:

I guess we will see what happens - but my suspicion is that come this time next year we will be extending the transition period, because while he won't get bullied into accepting a one-sided arrangement in trade, he knows that it is important to make trade as easy as possible - so we won't be having checks in the north sea - because it will make it difficult for both sides, we also won't be seeing the break up of the UK for the same reason. He will also bring people together.


Well from your keyboard to God's monitor, barbados, but forgive me if I feel dubious. The potential break-up of the UK isn't entirely up to Johnson and Westminster - don't you think the Scots and Northern Irish would have a say?

Historically the Northern Irish Protestants had a set of excellent reasons from their point of view for preferring to be part of the UK rather than part of a united Ireland. However, that was then and this is now. Ireland is now a country where a gay man is Taoiseach and abortion is legal, and the firm grip of the Catholic church has relaxed somewhat. Moreover, Ireland is still part of the EU. I think if a referendum were to be held now in Northern Ireland around the issue of becoming part of a united Ireland, the outcome might be different.

The SNP have already made it clear they would like to hold another referendum on Scottish independence, and again I think the outcome might be different, especially if it were to be made clear that an independent Scotland would seek EU membership on its own behalf, bearing in mind that Scotland voted pretty overwhelmingly to Remain.

As for trade deals - I certainly wouldn't trust Trump not to screw us over, and I wouldn't trust any Tory party to protect the NHS from the predations of the American healthcare industry.

 
barbados
1338768.  Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:49 pm Reply with quote

What exactly can the SNP do about it? Westminster have legislative control over Scotland, so they can have themselves any referendum they jolly well like - but all that will do is ask the question of Westminster, and should Westminster answer no, then that's the answer to the independance question - and with a healthy majority there is little chance of anything being pushed through that that government do not see as "on the agenda".
On the question of the NHS - who would you trust? the Labour Party? - the ones that told us the NHS is not for sale, having spent 13 years selling it off on the quiet - even to US healthcare providers (in Stoke and Derbyshire)?
Still even if there is a trade deal with the US - Something that will not happen until the EU trade arrangement has been resolved, the USA is not Trump, even if he get's in for a second term. What will happen is there will be providers from across Europe and the US competing for access to the marketplace (at the moment this is not the case) and you suggest that will increase prices? What "business" buys the most expensive option?

 
suze
1338779.  Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:59 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
All the time he is making progress he will not attract pressure from the disruptive elements from the party that you assert run the party. Something that Theresa May attempted - but failed.


Only time will tell, but I hope you are right.

The party of government always has a few eccentric MPs who fall out with the leadership on a regular basis. When Tony Blair led the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn was one such MP - but he didn't actually matter, because he didn't have the ear of those who kept the party in funds.

Jacob Rees-Mogg probably does have the ear of some of those who bankroll the Conservative Party, so he matters slightly more. Only Lord Ashcroft knows what Lord Ashcroft's red lines are, but it must be a bit of a concern to Mr Johnson that the Belizean zillionaire still wants No Deal.


barbados wrote:
When connecting with teachers, he will keep Michael Gove in the background.


He certainly needs to do that! There are very conflicting media reports on what Mr Johnson has planned for Michael Gove. i thinks that he might get Foreign Secretary, while the Daily Telegraph thinks that he's returning to the back benches. We'll probably find out on Monday.


barbados wrote:
What exactly can the SNP do about it?


The nuclear option would be for the SNP to go all Ian Smith on us and make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. At this time that idea belongs in the realms of fantasy fiction, but there is a disturbing possibility that doesn't.

If Mr Johnson does indeed say "Absolutely not, end of conversation" when Ms Sturgeon puts the question to him, can we rule out the emergence of paramilitary freedom fighters?

You may have giggled at that idea, but please don't. There is a non-zero number of Welsh organisations of that kind. Yes, most of those which claim to exist are in reality one man and his laptop, but there were a handful of bombings in the 80s.

Peter Dow is still alive and is not in prison.

 
crissdee
1338781.  Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:20 pm Reply with quote

And remember, I am now a Welshman..............

Also remember what Welsh bowmen did at Agincourt........

 
barbados
1338784.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:44 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Only time will tell, but I hope you are right

Yep youíre correct, historically though the odds are stacked in our favour, so itís looking better than some suggest.
Quote:
The party of government always has a few eccentric MPs who fall out with the leadership on a regular basis. When Tony Blair led the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn was one such MP - but he didn't actually matter, because he didn't have the ear of those who kept the party in funds.

Jacob Rees-Mogg probably does have the ear of some of those who bankroll the Conservative Party, so he matters slightly more. Only Lord Ashcroft knows what Lord Ashcroft's red lines are, but it must be a bit of a concern to Mr Johnson that the Belizean zillionaire still wants No Deal.

Even Thatcher had her dessenters, but the one thing that governments who cope with that are the ones that have a healthy majority - that is something that has been afforded to Johnson.
And while we do know of any red lines that Lord Ashworth has, we also donít know where he actually stands - it wasnít six months ago that everyone was sugeesting the Johnson was only interested in a no deal hard brexit - they were wrong about that as well werenít they?
But we do know he is a successful businessman, and he will know the importance of the trading partners - so what makes you think he would rather have no deal than a trading agreement? Bearing in mind that you were under the impression (along with a lot of others) who thought the same was true of Johnson - itís worth noting that prior to 2016 David Cameron called Johnsonís stance on the EU, it has been echoed here by someone, but has often been derided by others.
Quote:
The nuclear option would be for the SNP to go all Ian Smith on us and make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. At this time that idea belongs in the realms of fantasy fiction, but there is a disturbing possibility that doesn't.

If Mr Johnson does indeed say "Absolutely not, end of conversation" when Ms Sturgeon puts the question to him, can we rule out the emergence of paramilitary freedom fighters?

I can only assume that you had just returned from you schoolís christmas party! Itís ok I have experience of such events, and Iím aware that they can get a bit messy. You must have been extremely ďtired and emotionalĒ - either that or you are plain daft (which I donít believe)
However, lets take a little trip down that road.
Consider that the economy of the City of London falls just under the whole UK - that would suggest that Scotland donít quite have the muscle to forge their way on their own, so how would they cope?
Rejoin the EU I hear you say? Besides the fact that will take a while to jump through the hoops needed to meet the criteria needed to be considered, each member state has the power of veto - can you imagine what would happen in Barcelona should the Spanish opt to allow membership? And that lot do have history of the activities you suggest might be the outcome.

 
Leith
1338792.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:36 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Consider that the economy of the City of London falls just under the whole UK - that would suggest that Scotland donít quite have the muscle to forge their way on their own, so how would they cope?

Ask Denmark, Norway, Finland or Ireland - all similarly sized countries to Scotland, all currently with comparable or better standards of living and GDP per capita than the UK.
Of similarly sized European countries, only Slovakia, still recovering from communist rule, fares worse.

barbados wrote:
Rejoin the EU I hear you say? Besides the fact that will take a while to jump through the hoops needed to meet the criteria needed to be considered, each member state has the power of veto - can you imagine what would happen in Barcelona should the Spanish opt to allow membership? And that lot do have history of the activities you suggest might be the outcome.

The Spanish government have stated quite clearly that they don't oppose Scottish EU membership, if Scottish independence is achieved through a legitimate democratic referendum. Reuters source

Even Mariano Rajoy made a point of stressing that he saw Scotland's independence situation as very different to Catalonia's.

EU countries with secessionist concerns can use EU membership as a means to maintain solidarity with each other to protect their national integrity.
As a country outside the EU, the UK can expect no such expression of common interest, especially not from Spain, which remains at odds with Westminster over Gibraltar.

Even in the now unlikely event of a threatened veto impeding EU membership, I don't see any comparable obstacles to Scotland joining EFTA as a stepping stone.

 
barbados
1338793.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:49 am Reply with quote

Remind me again what suzeís suggestion was?
Perhaps you should reconsider that last bit?

 
suze
1338794.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:52 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
I can only assume that you had just returned from you schoolís christmas party! Itís ok I have experience of such events, and Iím aware that they can get a bit messy. You must have been extremely ďtired and emotionalĒ - either that or you are plain daft (which I donít believe)
However, lets take a little trip down that road.


As I said at the time, you may have giggled at that idea, but please don't.

The Welsh group which called itself Meibion Glyndŵr sent a dozen letter bombs and carried out several hundred arson attacks. That activity ceased when one man got sent to prison for quite a long time. Was it only ever that one man? No one who will talk about it really knows, but for a few years it was a serious enough issue that Conservative MPs visiting Wales took extra security precautions.

People in Wales who genuinely want an independent Wales, and who want English people prevented from buying up properties that they can't afford, are really rather few in number. People in Scotland with the analogous aspirations are more numerous. You won't ever hear Sir Tom Jones go on the wireless and tell us that when the Six Nations comes around he supports whoever England are playing, but Sir Andrew Murray did once say that.

Mr Johnson is not stupid, so he will be very well aware that a Scotland that overwhelmingly didn't vote for him is going to be a problem. Yes, a Scottish UDI remains a preposterous idea and is highly unlikely to happen. But the election results suggest that nearly half of the Scottish population supports independence, and that is hugely higher than the proportion in Wales who do, or indeed the proportion in the Northern Ireland of the 1970s who wanted a transfer.

Peter Dow asserts that he intends to challenge Nicola Sturgeon for the leadership of the SNP. He probably won't actually do it, and he won't win even if he does, but is he the only Scot who advocates a socialist revolution and the assassination of the Queen? Probably not.

 
Leith
1338796.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:27 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Remind me again what suzeís suggestion was?
Perhaps you should reconsider that last bit?

If you're only responding to the idea of a unilateral declaration of independence, then fair enough - I agree Spanish, and other EU, opposition is certainly plausible, and perhaps likely.
But in the more credible scenario of Scotland gaining independence through democratic means, the circumstance would be quite different.

 
PDR
1338797.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:28 am Reply with quote

In the 1970s there was a BBC drama about a paramilitary Scottish separatist movement which I vaguely remember made people uneasy because the author hinted that it was based on the intentions of an internal "provisional wing" of the SNP.

In principle the power to authorise or prohibit a referendum lies in Westminster. But the Scottish assembly oversees things like the Scottish local elections. But people are governed by consent - if Ms Fishy decides to print an extra question on all the local government ballot papers with a simple "UK - leave or remain?" question who is going to stop her? If she gets a "leave" vote greater than 50% of the electorate can we really just front it out with a "it wasn't a legal ballot because we didn't grant permission" thing? After all we are signatories to the UN Charter and Article 1 is kinda strong on the principle of self determination.

This is not a battle that can be won on legal niceties IMHO - but it could be lost through them.

PDR

 
PDR
1338800.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:38 am Reply with quote

Leith wrote:
Ask Denmark, Norway, Finland or Ireland - all similarly sized countries to Scotland, all currently with comparable or better standards of living and GDP per capita than the UK.


I take your point, but I also remember that when Alec Salmond put together his economic prospectus for IndyRef1 it was based on an international oil price of something like $130/barrel. This was optimistic even then, and over the intervening years a natural level for the oil price seems to settle around $60-$70, which would have given Scotchville a significant budget deficit problem. He also had some strange ideas that England would continue building RN ships in a foreign country, and would want to relocate her surface fleet to Scottish ports to make up the revenue lost when he kicked the submarines out.

I accept that there may well be a viable economic model for an independent Scotland, but I have yet to see it laid out, and I'd be surprised if it could afford headline features like free degrees and prescriptions.

PDR

 
Leith
1338801.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:38 am Reply with quote

Re Post 1338797

I think in that circumstance, Westminster could simply advise unionists to boycott the vote, rendering any result meaningless in terms of democratic mandate, if it achieved anything less than a majority of the entire Scottish electorate - see Catalonia.

For me the question now is "do the SNP have any means of forcing another UK-sanctioned vote". With Johnson's majority now significantly larger than the entire SNP bloc, it's not immediately clear to me what means they might have.

[Edit: sorry I missed that you had actually specified 50% of the whole electorate as a condition- I agree in that case, though I'm not sure support for independence is that strong at present]

 
barbados
1338802.  Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:17 pm Reply with quote

Leith wrote:
barbados wrote:
Remind me again what suzeís suggestion was?
Perhaps you should reconsider that last bit?

If you're only responding to the idea of a unilateral declaration of independence, then fair enough - I agree Spanish, and other EU, opposition is certainly plausible, and perhaps likely.
But in the more credible scenario of Scotland gaining independence through democratic means, the circumstance would be quite different.

Did you only read the one post?
Obviously were there to be a legitimate vote, then things may be different.
The fact is with a big majority in Westminster there is no requirement to do such a thing, and the only action open to the SNP is to become abstentions' which will serve the cause extremely well.
My thoughts would be a response along the lines of ďwait and see how things pan outĒ rather than a firm yes or no, but we shall wait and see,

 

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