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Strong & Stable by Derek Wyatt

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Strong and Stable by Derek Wyatt

(Published in CKWTODAY May 2017: penned end of April/updated at the last! hence block capitals)

I have had a sneak preview of the General Election results on 8th June 2017.

Out of 650 seats, the Tories will win 413 seats, Labour 166 and the Lib Dems 12 that leaves 59 to be shared by SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the Irish parties. UKIP's vote will be wiped out.

If you had just woken up on 8th June 2001 and checked the overnight results of the General Election results (659 seats) you might have been surprised by the result: Labour won 413 seats with the Tories on 166.

In this always-on society, it sometimes pays to just recall the past. The headline writers had a field day. You can almost imagine them: "Tories melt down", "Hague to stand down" and "Blair stands supreme." It was ever thus.

On 9th June 2017, the media will reflect for a nanosecond, dust down their headlines and respond thus: "Labour's May Day", "Labour wiped out" and "Corbyn decides not to resign". They might also add "SS (Strong and Stable) May cruises to Success". It was ever thus.

At this moment in time, I have no confidence that Labour could ever win again. The leaked manifesto was the final straw. The idea that you can spend public money nationalising INDUSTRIES THAT WERE DYSFUNCTIONAL IS BLIND IDEOLOGY. CORBYN SHOULD HAVE CAMPAIGNED ON: REMAINING IN EUROPE, A SECOND REFERENDUM ON THE OUTCOME, A CONSTITUTIONAL SETTLEMENT AND A NATIONAL EDUCATION SYSTEM FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE.

NOTWITHSTANDING THE MANIFESTO, there is a fault line between Corbyn's team and the rest of his MPs. HE CAMPAIGNED ONLY IN SAFE SEATS. MPS IN MARGINAL SEATS WERE LEFT OUT TO DRY. MANY of them will have lost their seats. Labour could be left with a rump whereby Corbyn remains unchallenged and still leader of his party. This would devastate centre politics in THE COUNTRY AND the Labour Party.

It was holding the centre which caused LABOUR to win three consecutive elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005 - a first for this party. Indeed though it is over one hundred years old, it has only been in power 1924 (briefly), 1929-1931, 1945-1951, 1964-1970 and 1974-1979. In total, just 23 years in the twentieth century.

The problem is our democracy is supremely dysfunctional. We have no written constitution and we dine out on it - well Westminster does - as though it was such a magnificent idea.

We now have three different voting systems for mayors, for MEPs and for MPs. The mega-mayors sit outside the Westminster system and their powers are uncertain. No wonder so few voted for them. MEPs never sat inside our Parliamentary system and so we knew nothing about what they did as they were not accountable to us. Extraordinary.

No political party cares about our constitution. It is as though it has served us well so far, so be it. We have Scotland wanting a second referendum which they are likely to be granted. But like Brexit, there is no work going on anywhere on what an independent Scotland would do to the rest of the Kingdom.

Brexit will definitely bring a renewed demand to unite Ireland. How are the muppets in Whitehall reacting to this? Silence. We have an unelected Upper House which is moving towards a thousand members. Viewed from the moon, martians might think we were ever so slightly bonkers.

Of course, Prime Minister May will have the majority she wanted. She can either walk away from Europe or make her peace. The jury is still out. Her own European ministerial teams are weak and arguing amongst themselves. She should merge them. For a while, it would not hurt if there was a Secretary of State for Europe outside of the existing Foreign Office. It is not too late.



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