As someone who grew up on the island of Ireland the DUP are well known to me as indeed are Sinn Féin. I find it saddening that the more centrist parties: the SDLP, Alliance and the UUP captured no seats in GE 2017. All we are left with is two parties with significant links to paramilitary groups but with very different politics. Apart from the obvious (that SF are Nationalist and the DUP unionist), SF are in politics a socialist modern party but the DUP are ultra conservative with a 17th century mindset considerably to the right of the Tea Party in the US. They are Protestant fundamentalists if not supremacists. It is not however difficult, looking through their various manifestos and policy statements, to get an idea of their likely bargaining position and there is a list which has been compiled here.
We haven’t yet succesfully committed suicide but we’ve had a good try simply by voting for Brexit and yet more Tory government austerity. It isn’t yet fatal but it is certainly self inflicted harm that makes living much more difficult.
I was in Dublin at the weekend; nothing unusual about that, it is my hometown and I go back regularly. On this occasion it was the 40th reunion of my UCD class of ’77. I know that I move in circles where everyone is both successful and well educated so their opinions may not represent a true cross-section of the Irish population however a few things were evident:
There is no time to waste when you’re a real alternative government – and that is what Labour has now become.
But they need to sort out their EU strategy. They already seem to have said that they want to have the same benefits outside the customs union as inside it (which seems a tad unlikley) but they too, seem to have bought the meme that free movement of people is a problem. Immigration may have been on Nigel Farage’s infamous poster but it wasn’t on the ballot paper. So the idea that the Brexiteers were all voting against immigration is purely speculative.
It used to be said that there are two sorts of Tory voter: the millionaires and the misguided. Now we must add a third to that – the Hard Brexiteer, though some of them are definitely in the misguided category too. It is sad that this bizarre combination is capable of winning elections but it is.
So after Labour’s encourging but still losing result in the 2017 election it is apparent that progressive campaigners are left with two tasks that require prompt attention, especially when another election within a year is certainly possible.
1.Get the voting and constitutional system changed to more accurately reflect the actual votes cast.
2.Teach MP’s, the media and the electorate where money comes from.
This is a very tall order so we have to prioritise. Whilst still a considerable challenge I’d say that money is the easier of the two.
So, we need to write to the mainstream media – I for one complain to the BBC whenever I can when they fail to challenge phrases such as ‘money is short’. I’ve already asked my MP to enquire of the Chancellor where money comes from. It took six months to get a reply and a Treasury minister replied saying I’d asked a question on monetary policy. Even my MP was unhappy at the response and said, if he was re-elected, he would ask again. (He has been, so I’m going to have another go!)
The central tenet of the Conservative campaign seems to be a beauty contest of personalities with Jeremy Corbyn as chief ogre.
The only Tory plan is austerity, which is largely uncosted. Otherwise there is hardly any plan – and certainly none for Brexit.
Unfortunately the beauty contest has been interrupted by bombings and murders.
Yet, still Police cuts are to stand. Terrorism will be solved with (costless) new legislation. There will be no additional investment in the health service or education. And, although there are less of them than before, 15% more of us are dying in fires – yet the fire service will be cut.
Any personal care at home that was free will now have to be paid for and houses will be commandeered by insurance companies for dementia patients.
And meanwhile, under Conservative economic management and unlike almost everywhere else, we have had an average wage reduction:
What an alluring litany of love and hope.
Who on earth wants any of this?
A Conservative vote can only be a vote for self-flagellation.
If by some mischance the Conservatives win, it must surely be proof of rampant Stockholm Syndrome among the electorate, brought about, presumably, by an uncritical and right wing media.
No sane individual could possibly consider the Conservative plans worthy of their support, could they?
But of course it is scandalous that Jeremy Corbyn speaks to crowds and doesn’t always wear a tie.