Gutted to see the invasion of a sovereign state start this morning, by the dictator of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

I honestly didn’t believe that he would invade. Well, a part of me was unsure, but I was 80/20 convinced that he wouldn’t invade.

Why didn’t I think he would invade? Well, I thought it was far too risky an operation. I didn’t see how the Russian people would support an invasion of a neighbouring country and the likely deaths of thousands of people – including from the Russian army. In 2014, there were protests in Russia from the mother’s of those in the Russian army who died. They didn’t support the war then. Why would they now?

Of course, in Russia, you cannot complain. Holding up a blank sheet of paper outside of the Russian parliament will get you a night in jail at a minimum. Investigating the depths of Putin’s corruption, will likely get you killed. So we could very well be in a situation where Russian people are angry about the invasion but daren’t do anything about it. Then again – what good does protesting do in Russia or in any other dictatorship?

Our leaders in the west will complain. We’ll hand down sanctions, but I doubt Putin will care. Putin cares about Putin, like most dictators do. Short of standing up to Putin militarily, I don’t see what we can do that will make a difference.

Maybe one day we will have to fight Putin. I’m wary of using Hitler as a comparison, but there are similarities – Putin doesn’t believe that Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, etc are sovereign states – Hitler had no issue with invading countries that he thought should be under Nazi control. Who in Germany would risk standing up to Hitler? How many years did western countries appease Hitler before realising that we had to stand up to him?

What will we do about it?

Nothing really.

What can we do about it?

Firstly we have to stand up militarily, before any other sovereign countries are invaded. We need to stop giving a fuck about what Putin wants – which is basically no troops in all the countries that he wants to invade. These are NATO allies (a defensive partnership, I remind you) and we need far more than little “tripwire” defences there, assuming said allies are happy to be defended.

We need to ensure those countries that are wavering between Russia and the west, such as Turkey, know that they cannot keep doing so. It really is time to choose alligience.

We need to invest further in defence – seriously. Especially at sea and air, but perhaps more importantly in cyber. We really have to throw resources at cyber defence, but be ready to fight back.

We need to start fracking immediately. Not just in the UK but across the whole of Europe. And take every opportunity to get what gas out of the North Sea we can. Yeah, I know, environment. But renewables are not going to fully power us until battery technology massively improves – Russian gas powers Putin’s invasions. The higher the world gas price is, the more money he has to afford invading European countries.

We might need to suck up to the Saudis and Qataris a bit more. They aren’t half going to be crucial to our economies over the next 5-10 years – if we want our standard of living to remain similar or improve, then I’m afraid we need excellent relations with them. Besides, they have made some improvements on human rights.

We also have to stand together as sovereign, democratic nations. Putin has already got some of his wishlist ticked off, such as Trump and Brexit – we cannot allow more victories for Putin.

And we need to switch off RT and block all Russian propaganda efforts in the UK. Oh by the way, if you are a Putin apologist, saying things like “well Ukraine got what they deserved”, then fuck off.

What can you do about it?

Use less gas. Use less gas and less petrol. Every time we use gas or petrol, even if it doesn’t come from Russia, this is helping finance Putin.

Sure, you are just one person, and in reality you don’t make any difference. But if everyone in Europe used less gas and petrol, then that might make a tiny bit of difference to the security calculations. Even boiling a kettle to parboil your roast potatoes, rather than using a gas hob throughout, uses a bit less energy. Plus it’s good for the environment.

Also remove yourself from Russian disinformation networks. Any Facebook group pushing pro-Putin crap this morning is basically a shill for Putin, and you should remove yourself from that crap. I might defriend anyone on Facebook who pushes such crap too.

Maybe someone has better ideas. Time to work soon so need to finish this off.

I do think back to the Iraq War, and how Iraqis must have felt when we invaded. It’s, of course, very different – we went to remove a dictator, Putin is going into Ukraine to install a dictator (probably himself but maybe some lacky).

I supported that war. I thought we were doing the right thing. Looking back, it was a heinous move. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will likely be similar. Will the Ukrainian people resist the occupation? Could it turn into another Iraq – or more potently for Russia, another Afghanistan? Will there be wider consequences? Could someone in Russia depose Putin? The looks on the faces of those near Putin the other day suggested little support for in his coterie for his war.

My thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine. And Russia for that matter – for the Russian people have to live with their dictator every day. Russian people are not the enemy here. Putin is.


Why I’d Prefer No Deal

I have this theory that us British like the idea of chaos. Maybe it isn’t unique to us Brits, but it comes across in a variety of ways, exemplified this year over the excitement of panic buying toilet roll, but also in the annual hope for “snowmaggedon” – in which some seem to be excited to see how we’d cope with 2 metres of snow falling. I profess to being in this group.

This isn’t why I am keen on no deal. I’m not really keen on no deal – I think it is a dreadful idea, a dreadful outcome – yet I believe that all outcomes from the Brexit vote are necessarily negative for the UK, especially economically.

However, we need to think long-term. At least us remoaners do need to think long-term, and the long-term goal for me is rejoining the European Union – as I’d like to think it is for most of those that voted remain.

Plus, democracy called – we do actually need to give Brexit a chance, and I want the opportunity to say “I fucking told you so”, repeatedly, just as I am relishing saying the same over the election of probably the most incompetent Prime Minister ever – at least since Anthony Eden anyway.

The unfortunate lack of definition of what Brexit actually is prior to the referendum makes it difficult to know how best it could be represented in reality, however I feel that a no-deal Brexit, and the dramatic severing from the European Union this entails and all the likely chaos, is the best way to represent Brexit.

Own it, Brexiters

No deal Brexit means that Brexiters have to own Brexit.

Any form of deal, and we will be listening to Brexiters moaning that “remoaners stole Brexit” or something along those lines as soon as the failure of Brexit is reported.

Brexiters need to be satisfied that Brexit is as Brexity as possible. Brexiters need to own this.

When the inevitable argument for re-joining the EU occurs in some future time, the argument needs to be between whether we re-join or not – if we have some form of Brexit deal, then the inevitable argument will be between re-joining or no-dealing.

Brexiters will argue that Brexit wasn’t fulfilled, if we give them opportunity.

Proof of failure

Also the economic cost of no deal Brexit will be greater, and more widely felt by more of the British public. The cost of going to Europe will be more expensive, travelling that little less smooth – this will be easier for people to feel and appreciate in a no deal scenario.

The “shock” of no deal means that people will notice price increases in at least imported food stuffs. They may notice other products not available, they may notice customs charges on what they buy directly from Europe.

News stories in January will focus on the chaos. In theory, it should be excellent publicity for the idea that Brexit might well be wrong, for at least some of those not yet persuaded.

I appreciate that I am wishing here for something that will negatively affect people – wishing for the option that makes people poorer than the other option.

I know there will be chaos. Our ports are already struggling under the weight of no-deal preparations – the extra time, paperwork and cost will inevitably lead to chaos at ports, at least for the first few months.

This is all part of the long game. I fully believe that Britain is far better off in the EU, but in 2016, not enough people agreed with me. So I’m looking ahead to when we can build an argument for re-joining the EU – or at a minimum re-joining the Single Market, which to be fair I’d accept.

I believe that Britain re-joining the EU will be the best outcome for Britain, but the case will need to be made. I want Britain to re-join the European Union as soon as democratically possible, and this will not happen until enough people are persuaded that Brexit was a mistake.

For me, no deal, and the chaos and economic damage that I expect it to bring, will be the quickest way to persuade a sufficient mass of the British public that we have made a mistake – and that re-joining the EU is best for Britain.

So, with reluctance and absolutely no joy at all, I hope for a no deal outcome. And get to watch a bit of chaos. You want a bit of chaos too, don’t you?


Post Covid Politics

I remember just after the financial crisis a decade or so ago, reading a sizable report in the economist about the expected political repercussions.

They suggested large-scale protests, a rise of populist leaders and possible government overthrows, all across the world. And this is what we had – from the Occupy protests, to the Arab Spring, to Trump, Brexit & Co, and so much more during the 2010’s – all either directly or indirectly, fully or partly, caused by the financial crisis.

Which leads me to wonder what this current major crisis will bring in the way of politics going forwards?

I think there will be 3 main threads – not all affecting the same countries and affecting different countries to different degrees, often depending on their current government; anti-China, anti-government and anti-populist/pro-expert.

Maybe we haven’t had quite enough of experts

Yes, I foresee an age where experts are once again valued, where we have not actually had quite enough of them.

Politics is often a reaction against perceived current failures or recent past failures, and those governments who have studiously ignored experts, hello Jair “A Little Flu” Bolsonaro, will surely struggle going forwards against politicians who are publicly backed by experts, hell, maybe are experts themselves.

Even if the politicians themselves are not experts at the more important subject matters of the day, having a calmness and a dullness could be an attribute post-covid – we could easily witness the rise of one of the most boring political party leaders ever here in the UK, Kier Starmer, who is dullness studiously defined. But he does have this air of competence about him.

Of course, those governments judged to have failed to look after the health of their citizens by ignoring expert advice, do have other options.

Everything Is China’s Fault

Let’s face it, there is quite a bit of blame for the Covid crisis that can be left at China’s door, from lying to the WHO about the outbreak, to spreading false information, stopping doctors from speaking out and if you believe some of the more “out-there” ideas, it could even have escaped from a lab in Wuhan.

The US-China trade war has been running for a while, protectionism is on the rise and there is a general fear in many countries across the world about Chinese interference in markets and politics, and theft of intellectual property.

You may not buy into the idea that China is doing anything wrong. But I’m pretty sure that you can buy into the idea that blaming China will make for very electable policy in the coming years.

The most obvious is Trump’s public China-bashing, but the democrats are arguably just as anti-China, and with their twinges of long-standing protectionism could even be argued to be more naturally anti-China. In the UK, we’ve now turned against using Huawei products for our 5G network – in some European countries China is to blame for dumping of steel on the markets, leading to the closure of steelworks in countries like France, as one example.

Their state capitalism model allows them to subsidise industries to take them towards monopoly positions as private western companies cannot compete. Not to mention the argument that many manufacturing jobs have gone to China since they were admitted to the WTO in 2001.

Again, you can pick and choose whichever of the above you agree with, and I have barely covered even the main accusations made towards China, so please do excuse my brevity. Yet the narrative is set, and there for politicians to be able to take advantage of.

Will those politicians who suffer from a lack of competence be able to take advantage of the growing backlash against China?

Or we could just blame the government

Covid-19 has not just badly struck countries with populist leaders, though there does seem to be a theme there, it has also impacted countries with left-wing governments like Spain or centrist governments like France.

In all countries there will be a desire by the public to blame the government for failings, perceived or real, in the handling of covid-19, and this may lead to some surprising election results.

You may find some countries such as Sweden hold their hands up to their failings regarding Covid-19, as they seem to be doing with respect to their very high figures of care home deaths. On the flip side, I’m fully expecting Boris Johnson to be blaming the EU for our care home deaths, hell he’ll be blaming a crocodile infestation in Botswana before he takes responsibility in public for any mistakes.

Yet governments of most countries will not escape the blame, and this pandemic has plenty of time to run – even countries which are currently judged to have had a “good crisis” will have plenty of opportunity to anger their citizens.

It could perhaps even see autocratic regimes fall – I’m sure Putin is aware of the danger, hence the alleged theft of vaccine ip and claims of the first vaccine.

You could argue that covid-19 led to the denied victory of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (I had to look up her second name!) in Belarus’ election recently, especially given the anger under the surface reported there in recent months, with the president suggesting drinking vodka and driving tractors as a cure for covid. And you thought Trump was dumb.

When, where and how?

I think the most difficult aspect to ascertain is the latter aspect, regarding anger over how governments have dealt with covid.

As we’ve seen in the UK, there was a “rally around the flag” feel at the beginning, and the Conservative Party ratings soared. Yet, bit by bit, the narrative has changed to one of incompetence. Opposition politicians in many countries have dampened their attacks during the crisis, but will find a pool of anger and discontentment to tap into.

When this will happen, is uncertain. Mass protests will likely be avoided in many countries until the pandemic is at an end, unless there is an urgency to seize the moment – and perhaps the incompetence will be forgotten about by time it is safe to protest in large numbers. Perhaps.

Also, not all of the three above-described outcomes will affect all countries, though often all will to one extent or another.

I guess the biggest question remains whether an increased desire for boring but sensible politicians could outweigh the ability of other politicians to blame China, and what shape any post-covid anger may take in the way of protests. The election in the US will be fascinating as a glimpse to see which movement has most power – anti-China or anti-populist?

For Britain? I’ll cover that in a future blog post. I feel there is quite a lot to say about the current state of British politics!


How Successful Is The Government’s Handling Of The Covid-19 Crisis?

I can hear you now, dear Brexit-voting, Boris-worshipping reader, about to go apoplectic over how I dare to even consider whether there should be some criticism for Saint Boris over this perfectly-handled response to the Covid-19 crisis?

Oh wait a minute, you’re actually a leftie and still mourning how the country were duped into not supporting a radical programme of democratic socialism – of course this is nothing less than a Tory Genocide.

It seems how you view Boris Johnson and the government’s handling of this crisis is rather closely related to how you voted in December 2019. Those that are outright criticising the government didn’t vote for Boris Johnson, those that are broadly supporting the government did vote for Boris Johnson.

So I’m in an odd position. I didn’t vote for Boris in 2019 – the first general election where I have not voted Conservative.

Yet I’ve found myself going from Brexit-related despair over almost everything the government does, to a modicum of support for the government – with antipathy towards left-wing arguments against the government, if not an especially strong defence of the government.

I guess it is possible that I have fallen back into being a Conservative now Brexit is no longer the political focus. However I expect it is partly due to “rally round the flag” phenomena, which almost all leaders across the world have experienced. You can see how Boris Johnson’s approval ratings shot up at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis.

I shall try to explain why I believe that the government has done broadly well in this crisis – though certainly not without criticism.

In Support

Trying to get my head back to where we were in early March is not easy, but I do remember getting on with life as normal – even going to visit family in Yorkshire on the weekend before lockdown began. There was certainly a sense of foreboding change and there were some hysterical warnings of crisis ahead, notably some on social media pointing to the near-collapse of the health service in northern Italy.

This was predicted here. We were told that the NHS would collapse, that there was nowhere near enough intensive care beds and nowhere near enough ventilators. And then there was a stream of stories about companies offering to make ventilators and how dare the government not respond to them.

Yet the NHS didn’t collapse. There were always enough intensive care beds and the emergency-built Nightingale hospitals were barely used. Ventilator capacity was not breached – there was a notable story about not requiring the Dyson ventilators.

This should be all be noted as successful organisation from the government, though as I’ll discuss later, arguably at cost.

Also the economic response from the Chancellor has been impressive – with the furlough scheme in particular hopefully saving many businesses and jobs that would not otherwise have been lost. Expensive, yes, though likely less expensive than just allowing the enforced, publicly-demanded economic collapse.

We were also told that the British public would not follow lockdown orders – yet a clear order from Boris Johnson explained the gravity of the situation (albeit it took two attempts) and there was, at least for the first few weeks, almost complete embracement of the order.

If you’d have asked me in January whether the British public with centuries of proud liberty behind them would support such draconian measures, I would have firmly disagreed.

In Criticism

Yet communication was not always clear. That first order on the Monday for people to stop going to pubs but pubs not to close was not ideal – and left me to wish that someone with the talent for clear communication was Prime Minister, instead of someone known more for slogans, waffling and being untrustworthy.

Some have argued that recent “Stay Alert” communication was not clear, though this only seems to have confused Boris Johnson’s opponents. I understood – I am sat in my bedroom on a Saturday evening writing this post.

Many seem now to argue that lockdown should have happened earlier, though that was a niche argument prior to the Monday where lockdown was (kind of) announced – I recall Rory Stewart making the argument though few others. I disagreed with him at the time, though in hindsight…maybe he was right.

Of course, the hindsight experts all say that they would have locked-down earlier had they been in charge, though I asked a couple of people that argued this during personal conversations what they were doing the weekend before lockdown – yep, they were out and about in pubs, shops, church, etc. Everyone is…or can be an expert in highsight.

PPE has clearly been a huge problem and I assume will have contributed towards our high death total. Yet this is a global issue – doctors in Germany were protesting over the lack of PPE – this a country whose response to the Covid-19 crisis has been widely praised. On the flip side, there seems to have been advice that the government should have had stockpiles of PPE, and arguably should have prepared more thoroughly for the mass use of PPE earlier in the crisis – though admittedly this was when China and the WHO were denying human-to-human transmission.

The real monster in the room to my judgement has been the volume of deaths in care homes. Whoever decided that patients should be discharged from hospital to care homes without a test for Covid-19 needs to be sacked…actually they probably need to be prosecuted, though that will never happen.

Whether that was the Prime Minister, Health Secretary, head of NHS England that ordered this – or perhaps whether these were decisions at local NHS trust level I have zero idea.

I wonder whether the care home issue would have been the same had social care not been politicised to the point where no government over the last few decades have attempted what would have been unpopular reforms – at least until Theresa May tried something in her 2017 election manifesto – and we saw a collapse in support from older voters there.

Also I recall Jeremy Hunt fighting to have social care included with his NHS portfolio at one point – alas, Brexit got the better of that idea and Jeremy Hunt in general.

Would either potential reform have been completed in time to affect the death rate in care homes? I have no idea.

Also I wonder if the intense media and particularly social media pressure over the warned-of collapse of the NHS led to poor decision making elsewhere? We won’t know that until the inquiry some years down the line.

In Summary

This is a lot more wordy than I planned or desired so I’ll try to bring it to a conclusion – yet I know I have barely scratched the surface on an assessment.

I stress that I’m not an expert on any policy area discussed here, so you can take my analysis and summary with as large a pinch of politicised salt as you prefer.

Were this a self-imposed crisis – like Brexit or the Iraq War, then I’d feel much more willing to criticise the government. We should remember that this is a rather virulent and deadly virus that has escaped from China to the most interconnected city – and country in the world.

The delayed onset of symptoms and total lack of them for many makes it a difficult virus to track and control.

This is an externally-enforced crisis like 9/11, for example. Sure we could have been better prepared – just like the US could have in 2001 given that they had prior warning with an attempted bombing of the World Trade Centre.

Mistakes have been made – in particular, at least in my view, the error in allowing untested hospital patients be moved to care homes.

Interestingly it seems other European governments have all had similar criticisms of their handling of the crisis – from their political opponents. Take the left-wing (partly hard-left) government in Spain, for example, who have been criticised over – yes a lack of PPE and a care homes crisis, amongst other things. You can find similar criticisms of the centrist government in France or populist right-wing government in Italy.

It seems to me that it is impossible to have a perfectly successful response to such a crisis – any crisis in fact.

Time will judge more fairly than in the heat of the Covid-19 crisis – there will be a multitude of inquires and there is plenty more scope for the government to make more mistakes on the way out of lockdown.

You can clearly conclude on how the government has handled the Covid-19 crisis however your personal politics takes you and perhaps I am too, though I try to be as objective as possible – I am far from wedded to a Boris Johnson government.

I currently side with the idea that they have handled the Covid-19 crisis broadly well, yet I say that very tentatively not knowing who is responsible for the decisions around social care which seem to have been especially deadly. And I do suspect that having a Prime Minister who was more detail-focused and serious, such as Jeremy Hunt or Rory Stewart, would have led to a less bad outcome. Perhaps going forwards, people might regain the preference for serious leaders rather than populists? Probably wishful thinking.

Given how polarised our politics seems to be, I’m sure everyone reading disagrees with me.

Thank you for reading – I had to get my thoughts into writing. I wish you all well, and my heart goes out to anyone who has been personally affected by the crisis.


What Next For “Remain”

Brexit is over. Brexit is done. I lost. You lost. We lost. (The last two IMHO).

Once the Brexit vote had happened there was no turning back. I argued for the hardest Brexit possible – whilst wanting to remain totally in opposition to Brexit.

Yet I wasn’t going to totally give up the fight whilst there was still a very tiny chance that the mass of public opinion could sway vehemently against leaving the EU.

Which is why I went on the marches and why I continued to argue as often as possible (too often, yeah) that we should not leave the EU. I knew it would almost certainly be fruitless, but I couldn’t stay by and watch what I see as the degradation of the United Kingdom in silence.

Sure, in poll after poll, more people said Brexit was wrong, than right, roughly 47% to 40% (the very most recent poll has seen 43% saying Brexit right – but one poll doesn’t make a trend, and that is still belong Brexit wrong at 46%).

However, I always felt unless this reached a critical mass, say 65% of people saying Brexit was wrong, then there was no legitimacy in a second referendum.

I did also have the vaguest hope that remainers might actually vote Liberal Democrat – the only party in favour of staying in the EU during the 2019 election.

I jumped from Conservative to Liberal Democrat, alas, few did make the required move – most believing in the socialist lies of Jeremy Corbyn, pro-Brexit Jeremy Corbyn, which really disappointed me.

My initial whelp of joy at the Conservative 80 seat majority after the election was mostly of relief that we avoided destructive socialism, but it was also partly a feeling of betrayal – that other remainers couldn’t make the jump away from their party to a remain party.

So, we are where we are. Both tiny chances of legitimately stopping Brexit were lost – though in all likelihood, even if it had been stopped, it would have happened at some point.

What now?

If Kier Starmer wins the Labour leadership election, circa an 85% chance currently according to the bookies, he will command the support of much of remain.

Not me. I cannot countenance supporting Labour – a party that has historically crashed the economy so many times, yet people still try to rewrite history, blaming a Global Economic Crisis in 2008 for Gordon Brown initiating a large budget deficit every year from 2002.

Yet Conservatives seem totally unable to counteract this argument (away from the increasingly small free-market bunch of them) – and further to that are probably going to increase the budget deficit by implementing unaffordable Labour-esque spending. This will end in tears, though perhaps it is time for Labour to clear up an economic mess, for a change. And I certainly cannot support this.

The danger for the Liberal Democrats is not only from Kier Starmer eating up all the left-wing side of them, but also could come from who the Liberal Democrats themselves elect as leader. They could also choose someone of more left-wing disposition, say Vera Hobhouse, but not be strong enough to compete with Labour – and lose Conservative liberals such as myself.

That would leave me totally politically homeless, not that I feel especially comfortable voting Liberal Democrat as it is.

Meanwhile for those of us wanting to oppose Brexit, it is all about biding our time and waiting patiently. No more second referendum appeals, no more large-scale protests.

Only when the public start to feel the failure of Brexit, the impact of borders, instability in Northern Ireland, passport queues at airports, higher prices, higher unemployment, car factories closing, etc, will public opinion on Brexit change dramatically. I’m not stating all of that will happen, it is unlikely all of that will happen – Brexit won’t happen in a vacuum and not everything can be predicted. Just like Labour do, you can be sure Brexiters will blame any forthcoming recession on everything but their own actions. I will say it as it is – whether it be Brexit-related or not.

And, of course, maybe we will really hit the sunlit uplands that we have been promised. Maybe we will reverse the £550m a week loss to the UK since the Brexit vote that is because of Brexit and end up with £350m extra a week.

Alas, I doubt it, and our continued lower growth and/or a Brexit-related recession I feel will eventually/suddenly lead to opposition to Brexit being much more pronounced. One report in 2019 suggested that Brexit had already cost £1,000 over 3 years to the average person (£550m a week to the UK). Maybe not huge sums for some – but I know I’d prefer that £1,000 to not having it.

Assuming this happens, that will when the argument for rejoining the EU will have more salience. Enough salience and enough public support? Who knows, but you wouldn’t win a referendum on having an invasion of Iraq now.

All about being patient, factual and respectful to those that voted Brexit. Our time will come. This can and hopefully will be reversed.


A Collection Of Post-Election Thoughts

1. I struggled to decide who to vote for on Thursday.  Really struggled – I expected some kind of support for Liberal Democrats from other remainers, but most plumped for socialism instead.  Boris’s behaviour and Brexit were why I turned away from the Conservative Party, but I felt myself coming back to the fold, the more I saw socialist thoughts and general arseholeness from entitled lefties.

2. In the end, I e-mailed both the local Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidate.  The Liberal Democrat candidate e-mailed me back – she was honest in her belief for campaigning against house-building that doesn’t have enough car parking spaces (like we need more cars???) but agreeable on other points I raised.  I appreciated her honestly.

3. Also she is German and, I think, a lesbian.  I would be a lesbian if I had a sex change, so I could identify.  She got my vote.

4. As was 99.5% likely, the Labour candidate won in my area.

5. I was super-nervous before the exit poll.  More nervous than I had been about anything in a long time.

6. I did let out a squeal of joy when I heard the result.  I was amused by the idea that the Conservatives do better the less that I want them to win.

7. I feel a bit more like a Conservative again.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps because of all the bullshit from those having a leftie meltdown.  I am particularly offended by people saying things like “all working class Tories are thick”.  Those are my people.  Fuck off you pretentious, self-absorbed twatts.

8. The Conservative Party trolling game is top-notch at the moment.  I laughed at the idea of them being the People’s Government (so Mao) and their “make no mistake – Get Berxit Done” was just class.

9. I despise them both, but kudos to Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson for their victory.  Get Brexit Done was even more effective than Take Back Control – or Yes We Can.  Very, very simple and very, very clever.  Begrudging respect – like when your local rival football team do something really damn good.

10. Corbyn should be toast.  All the polling suggests that by far he was the main reason that Labour lost the election.  Not Brexit – as the Momentum spin is trying to weave.

11. I cannot think of any other leader in recent British political history that has had such a disastrous defeat, yet has not immediately resigned.  Yet Corbyn is staying on so they can have a “period of reflection”.

12. I cannot think of any other socialist in the world that stepped down after any form of election victory.  Socialism always fails, and needs democracy to be undermined or outright destroyed to survive – socialism goes against natural human will.  Though Corbyn is staying on so they can have a “period of reflection”.

13. Labour are almost certainly toast next election too.  I don’t think any political party have ever overturned such a deficit.  I’d love to see another party become the opposition, but that ain’t going to happen under First Past The Post.

14. If Labour want to stand a chance of reducing the Conservative majority next time, they have to elect a centrist – someone with star power – and someone who is a reflection from Boris Johnson.  I’d suggest Jess Phillips is their best current chance – though hated by a good chunk of Corbynistas – and they have the power, especially because of the “period of reflection”.  However, she has matured in the last year or so from being a total gobshite, and I feel her personality could get under Boris Johnson’s skin.

15. Certainly they need someone to hold Boris Johnson to account.  He consistently avoids scrutiny and has done all his election-winning delivery-failing political career.  Someone who is a joke to everyone, or a total lightweight, will not do this.  All people, no matter their political persuasion should desire this. Corbyn was a disaster for all political life in this country.

16. Brexit is over.  It isn’t done – and won’t be for years, but the argument is over.  I’ve long severely disagreed with it, but I’ve also long accepted it – and argued for a hard Brexit so that its failure will be clear and proven.  And a possibility to rejoin in a “fuck we were actually wrong about invading Iraq” kind of way.

17. Despite not being able to vote Conservative, it feels like there is clarity.  It probably was a good idea to have a General Election – no matter how much I didn’t enjoy it.  It was the least worst plausible outcome for myself.

18. I don’t know what to hope for now.  Some kind of reconciliation?  Maybe there isn’t any hope – just acceptance that we have a way ahead.

19. And a huge fucking amount of relief that the British public, especially my dear fellow northerners, have rejected socialism.

20. I guess Maggie will be delighted about yet another defeat for socialism.  A shame we actually had to fight it in the first place – and unless we solve the housing crisis, I feel it will need fighting again.

2019 Election

A Collection Of Election Thoughts

This is an old blog – created when I was defiantly a Conservative.  Possibly the only one from Hull.  Hence the name.

Now there are more Conservatives in Hull.  And I am no longer a Conservative.

In my heart I am a Conservative – but as I’ve made clear over the past couple of years, the party has moved so far away from me that I struggle to recognise it at times.  I do want to vote Conservative and if I don’t vote for them this time, I want to feel able to in the future.

So this page is currently going through a transition from The Only Tory From Hull, to Exiled Tory Remoaner Scum.  I have only just started the rebrand, so please forgive.

1. I don’t want anyone to win.

2. Boris Johnson is spectacularly unfit to be Prime Minister.  However there is one person a whole universe ahead of him in unfitness to be Prime Minister.

3. Yes, that person is Jeremy Corbyn.  IRA, Venezuela, communism, anti-semitism – yadda yadda I am sure you have heard it all before.  He is a present and serious danger to the UK, both economically and in terms of defence – but especially economically.

4. Some people are voting tactically.  I would also like to vote tactically – to STOP CORBYN.

5. If I was in a swing Conservative/Labour seat, I would definitely vote Conservative, albeit whilst holding my nose.

6. Alas, I’m living in a seat where the Labour candidate got 60% of the vote last time, a share that keeps increasing every election since he was elected in 1997.  Someone called Gareth Thomas.  No, barely heard of him either.

7. So it doesn’t matter who I vote for – Labour will win my seat.

8. There is real social pressure in London not to vote Tory.

9. I’m sick of reading patronising and offensive shit like this on Twitter – calling all working class Tory voters indescribably thick.

10. This kind of thing makes me feel a sense of belonging towards the Conservatives.  This isn’t just a one-off – Twitter is plastered with leftie nastiness.  Who the fuck do these people think they are?

11. Boris Johnson is still a lying, cheating bastard.  And I respect him even less for ducking interviews.  I do feel that he is being controlled by the machine of Dominic Cummings though.

12. I am totally uninspired by Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

13. I assumed that I would vote Liberal Democrat at the start of the campaign.  I was 95% sure.  I’m probably 60/40 now towards voting for Liberal Democrat.

14. Normally I head out to vote first thing.  Normally I know who I am voting for.  I don’t think I will be able to.

15. I’d be very happy with low turnout – I stand to win £130 if it is under 60%.  Also had a smaller bet on 60-65%.

16. I’d also be very happy if some of the most Brexity types lost their seat – Redwood, Mogg, etc.  Yes I have some money on some of those too.

17. A hung parliament would amuse me – after all, Conservative members voted Boris because they thought he’d win an election.  No bet on this, but I did get 149-1 on a 2020 election – a good proxy bet for a hung parliament, possibly.

18. If the hung parliament led to a Corbyn government, then I would start looking at where else to live.  Not great timing though as I want to work in my current role for a minimum of 2 years – ideally longer.  I did do a search for software engineer roles in Spain the other day.  Alas, everything was in Spanish.

19. A Boris Johnson victory would also amuse me in that Twitter would go into meltdown – it pretty much already has and it would be hilarious.

20. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for.  Vote for what you feel is right for the country – or just for you and your family.  I always vote for what I feel is right for the country – I’ll get by whatever, even if I have to move to another country.  I refuse to chastise people for voting differently to me and I will try my hardest to respect your vote, even if I steadfastly disagree.

21. This election campaign has been shit.

Liberal Conservative

The Misery Of Being A Liberal Conservative

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted on The Only Tory From Hull much over the last year or two.  I couldn’t even remember how to log in the other day.

My interest in politics has by no means diminished and neither has my passion…the latter has been entrenched.

A lot of that has to do with simply being far too busy.

But I can always make time to write a blog post if I feel passionate enough about something.

The real reason, I feel, comes down to a mixture of confusion and misery.

I shall start with the confusion.

A while back, I announced that I was no longer a Conservative, though unless there was zero chance of a Corbyn government then I would still vote Conservative if an election was around the corner.  There was an election in 2017, and as soon as it became clear that there was a small chance of a Corbyn government, I voted Conservative – and took plenty of abuse on social media for it.

And I fell back into feeling a Conservative.  Somehow.  Though not because I supported that much of the “government” (I use that term lightly) policy.  And I certainly don’t feel any tribal loyalty.  More because of the attacks from the left-wing – those vile Momentum card-carrying Corbynites – which culminated in someone calling me a murderer for voting Tory, after Grenfell.  That people on the far-left could stoop so low, pushed me back into feeling somewhat more of a Conservative – to disassociate as far as possible.

Yet what does the current government stand for other than Brexit means Brexit?

I vociferously do not support Brexit.  Theresa May was useless (and called her out on this long before it was trendy to do so) and I’ve covered how abominable I find Boris Johnson’s government – especially his choice of unelected, powerful bureaucrats.

I disagree with many members of the Conservative Party who seem so ideologically obsessed with Brexit, some of whom are not that far from the vileness of Momentum.  There are few policies I can get behind.  The Brexit wing are in charge and they are ideologically and behaviourally far from what I feel is acceptable – note Nadine Dorries’ hypocritical stance that those voting against the government should be deselected…from a woman who has voted against the government 47 times.

I really do want to support the party of Margaret Thatcher, the party of David Cameron.  But the current and previous government seem so alien from those administrations right now.  It is almost as if the Conservative Party needs a spell in opposition for me to be able to support it once more…and it increasingly does seem to be heading that way.

And then there is the misery.

Not only that there is nobody prominent that represents my social and economic liberalism, at least in English politics.

Rory Stewart was inspiring during the leadership election, but I found him wanting when it comes to economic liberalism.  Many alleged Conservative members that I used to speak to would tell him to fuck off to the Liberal Democrats – as they used to do to me.

Yet the Liberal Democrats are no more than a good place to lend my vote.  I support lower government spending – I believe that we should celebrate the success of austerity in gaining control of our finances.  I want airports, rail and road to be expanded – I want the planning act abolished so people can actually build houses.  Do you hear the Liberal Democrats supporting any of those policies?

I don’t – so I don’t believe that I am a Liberal Democrat.  Then again I hear nothing from them except anti-Brexit – which is very much what I want to hear.

Those who might be economic liberals in the Conservative Party, such as Liz Truss, are either so far up the arse of Brexit or in charge of Project Doom itself.

The illiberal part of the Conservative Party is in charge, and there is no longer even a place for me there.

Despite being a student of Thatcher, the Conservative Party is so far removed from her ideals that I am politically homeless.  I am not the only one – for with the hard left’s capture of the Labour Party, there are many politically homeless people on the soft-left too.

The Conservative Party is not at all what is used to be.  The nutcases have taken over.

No true Conservative Party would rip up all the economic foundations that have ensured we have remained as stable and well-off as we have over recent decades – and replace it with some of the most economically illiterate babbling outside of Corbyn’s kitchen.

This is not the pragmatic pro-business party of Margaret Thatcher and those that followed her.  No-deal Brexit is a nationalist revolution – the opposite definition of to “conserve”.

I’m still a liberal Conservative – but I don’t have a political party to support or belong to now.

Boris Johnson

No No To BoJo

I used to be a huge fan of Boris Johnson.

Hell, even as recently as 2015, I said (and I cannot quite believe I wrote this), “But I do really want Boris as leader,  He would be an inspirational leader.  He would really take our country forward and I feel that he would be able to deliver a two-term Conservative majority.  He has that common touch.”.

After all, he supported immigration, he defended bankers, he attacked murderous bastards like Assad, he supported Britain being in the EU, and especially the Single Market.  Didn’t he?

He seemed a liberal Conservative, which is what I viewed myself as.

Yet, I always had one huge doubt in my mind – and that was his repeated infidelity.  His lack of trustworthiness gnawed away at my conscience.

Somehow, I would over-ride that, believing that he was on my side, believing that he was a liberal Conservative.  My thought process at the time was, “maybe that doesn’t matter”.  Rings a bell, doesn’t it?

Then, of course, he stabbed liberals such as myself (note the small ‘l’) in the front, with his declaration for Brexit.  Not that I particularly believed that he supported it at the time, and the images when the leave campaign won suggested that didn’t change.

What we do know is that Boris supports Boris.

I wasn’t the only person to believe that Boris supported Brexit because he thought it was his best chance of becoming Prime Minster – though with the expectation of being the losing (lying) hero of the Conservative Brexit masses.

I will only be cheated on once before I never trust someone again, so I have absolutely no time at all for Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

But he isn’t there to be my Prime Minister.  He is only Prime Minister for Brexiters – and given my previous support for him before I learnt not to trust him, I can understand why Brexiters are revelling in his bluster and bullshit.  He is their Prime Minister.  He is doing (or threatening/pretending) to do exactly as they wish.

Liberals such as myself no longer matter.  Those that care about the economy and business can get fucked.  The thoughts and concerns of remainers are totally irrelevant now.  It has been like we don’t exist over the last few years, and now it is set to get worse – with no attempt at balance within government.

We have Priti Patel who supports hanging as Home Secretary.  Yes, hanging.  We have Dominic “Close Down Parliament” Raab as Foreign Secretary.  Yes, he who didn’t know that Dover was an important port.  Liz “This Is A Disgrace” Truss who pretends to be a “no deal” Brexiter as Trade Secretary.

On the anniversary of the 1965 Murder Act, and the abolition of the Death Penalty, here is Priti Patel arguing for its reintroduction…

— Tides Of History (@labour_history) November 8, 2017

These are not people that I can support.  I can tolerate one or two of the more backwards Tories being in government – but this is top-heavy with bastards.  Not forgetting, the head of Vote Leave, Dominic Cummings who is now a powerful unelected bureaucrat.  Can anyone remind me if we support unelected bureaucrats?  I’ve forgotten.

I cannot see me voting Conservative in the next general election as things stand.  Even the threat of a communist government might not be enough to persuade me – after all, if Conservative MPs couldn’t give a fuck about the country and the economy, why should I?

Time to re-brand and get a new domain name, I guess.

Hard Brexit

Why Brexit Should Be As Hard & Dirty As Possible, By A Remainer

“I’m a remoaner”, as Destiny’s Child may or may not once have sung.  Yes proud Remainer here – I unequivocally did not want to leave the EU and still do not want to leave the EU.

But hey.  It’s happening.

I see most of my remainer compadres seem to prefer a soft Brexit, staying in the customs union, staying in the single market, or even the EEA.  Hell, even one or two prominent Brexiteers do too.

Sometimes, though, you have to play the long game, like the unaffectionately-known “bastards” of the 1990’s, Redwood et al, who spent 25 years agitating and attempting to bring down their own respective Conservative governments to bring about their dream of Brexit.

What is the long game for ardent remainers such as myself?

Rejoining the EU.

The optimal solution in the short-term, would be one of the versions of soft Brexit.  This should minimise economic impacts, minimise potential job losses, minimise the effects of increased barriers to trade with the EU.  And negate the Northern Ireland question, which contrary to Boris’ belief is not trivial.

Sadly, this relatively sensible compromise would still likely, in my assessment, lead to a lessening of economic output from what we experienced prior to the Brexit vote, and as much as remainers such as myself would use this as an argument to rejoin the EU – the nutbags would simultaneously then argue that Brexit hasn’t been done properly (you can already hear Farage and some others suggesting this), and we’ll end up in a situation of arguing whether to come out of the customs union/single market/EEA, etc.

Instead, as emotionally and economically painful as it may be, Redwood, Ress-Mogg and co must get their filthy, hard, dirty Brexit.  It must be as Brexity as possible, and they must be satisfied with it, they must agree with it, they must champion it.  They must be in love with it.

For when it falls down, when the vast failures become apparent to the general public, the economic damage is clearly obvious to all and the majority change their mind (which understandably can take some time, see for example the change in public support for the Iraq War years after the event) – and only when the public have changed their mind, can we rejoin the EU.

This may take 5 years, probably more likely 10, but we will rejoin the EU.

However, unless and until the public experience the full force of Brexit failure, there is no reversing Brexit – and certainly no stopping it.

Sadly we’ll have missed our opportunity to reform the EU in a more free-market way suited to British and Conservative instincts, but hey.

Of course, maybe a land of hard Brexit will be a utopia for all, but then again maybe a socialist UK run by Corbyn, Abbott et al would be a utopia too.