Friday, 13 December 2019

General Election 2019 - The Barnet Eye analysis

I hate to say we told you so, but we did. On June 27th, before Boris was even elected as Leader of the Tories, I told you of his plans. Once the election campaign got under way, it was 100% clear to me that the opposition parties were intent on committing Hari Kiri. Nowhere was this more clear than in the London Borough of Barnet. There are three constituencies. All were winnable for the opposition parties, but it was clear that this would only happen in the event of a pact between them. But tribal loyalties always trump common sense in Barnet. Despite the fact that it was clear to all that Luciana Berger was the only candidate who could beat Mike Freer, Labour still were putting out "Only Labour can win round here" propaganda. Well done guys. The Lib Dems did exactly the same in Chipping Barnet, ensuring that Theresa Villiers scraped home. Under the first past the post system, the Tories are ruthlessly capable of exploiting such splits. I have been saying this all along, but sadly other bloggers, local tweeters and the party machines don't want to engage with reality. I have started to believe that many actually wanted a Boris victory, so that they could spend the next five years moaning about him. There is an extraordinary British affliction of many, that we are never happier than when we are moaning. Fortunately for me, I don't have that gene. My Dad was Australian and hated moaning, he was an engineer and raised me to always look for the solution, rather than complaining. The solution is 100% clear. A pact amongst opposition parties and a commitment to PR. That will deliver sensible sane government that represents the majority and is not extreme. The next election will be in a post Brexit Britain. We need to fix our politics. Only PR can do that.

So what can we expect from Boris? Well first of all he has a stonking majority, so he can say "stuff the ERG" and deliver the soft Brexit that he has deep down always wanted. On Wednesday I had a beer with a mate who is a Tory. He told me that he was deeply uneasy with Boris. He said that if the Tories had Rory Stewart, they'd have won a 200 seat majority, but with Boris people were holding their noses to vote. He recognised the issues of trust. But he accurately predicted a 50+ majority. We all know that Boris will get his deal through, that is the easy bit. The next part is to get all of the trade deals. Boris knows this is hard, but he's in no way stupid. He knows that the Tories are in hock to big business and they want stability in trade. Boris also knows that immigration is good for the economy, but highly unpopular with his core. What we will get are words that stroke his core voters and the policies that satisfy the monied backers. The second problem for Boris is Scotland. The SNP are now rampant. It appears on first sight that Boris has a problem, but I believe he'll see it as an opportunity. When he looks at the electoral map, he knows that the biggest threat to a Tory majority in 2024 is the SNP. If Scotland is no longer part of the UK, he's virtually got a shoe in. Scotland gets billions under
the Barnett formula. It would be no surprise to me if Boris told the SNP they can have their referendum and if they win, they will lose the cash and the pound. That will put the Nicola Sturgeon in a very difficult position. She is anything but stupid. I think that the Barnett cash is the only thing that can save the Union.

As for the Lib Dems. Jo Swinson has gone. As a Lib Dem, I can honestly say she's been a massive disappointment. I believe that the Revoke Article 50 policy was a massive own goal. The Lib Dems should have gone for a peoples vote. Her 'no coalition' stance also displayed a lack of realism. What is the point of voting for a party who don't want power. Last week I thought the Lib Dems would get 25+ seats. This should have been a shoe in, but the sheer lack of credibility of Swinson and her decision making undermined her.  I am gutted for Luciana Berger in Finchley and Golders Green, she deserved to win and would have made a great MP for the constituency. I hope that she gets back into Parliament soon. The Lib Dems have a platform in Finchley and Golders Green, the challenge now is to build on it. in 2024, the Lib Dems will not have Brexit. They need a new mission. I think that will be a good and a positive thing. We need sensible politics in the UK and the Lib Dems can be a big part of that.

Then we have Labour. It is clear to me that whilst there are a core of Labour activists and supporters who love Jeremy Corbyn and his policies, they are not appealing to enough people to ever win a majority. It is also clear that the Labour party has a major problem with how it manages anti semitism. Alasdair Campbell was slung out of Labour within 48 hours when he said he'd vote Lib Dem. The fact that people who are openly anti semitic are still in after months or years after complaints were made is a terrible indictment. Such behaviour disgusts ordinary voters. The only saving grace for Labour is that they have five years to sort themselves out. It is clear to me that Labour as a party needs to become far more professional and to understand that its only function is to win elections and deliver policies that benefit the poorest and most marginalised people in the UK. If there was one example as to how they got this wrong it was the "British Broadband" proposal. There was no clamour from the deprived people, those on the breadline for this, but it would cost billions. I am no fan of Blair, but they were ruthless in identifying issues that appealed to a broad swathe of the population. One of the things Labour fail to realise is that the British people do not hate the rich. In London, anyone with their own home is technically rich. Many who work in the service industries know they rely on the wealthy members of society for work. Clobbering them might actually put us out of work. What we need is policies that address child poverty, bad schools, NHS underfunding, climate change and inequality. British Broadband was recognised as an ill thought out distraction.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, back in June I was given a briefing on what Boris would do to secure Brexit. This has happened, with a few bumps, exactly to plan. My last conversation with my source was illuminating. I was told something that I was not going to blog, but it may prove to be the key factor. They said "from your perspective, a huge Boris majority will be far better than a narrow working majority". The reason is that Boris isn't a Thatcherite Tory. He's more in the One Nation Heseltine mode. But if he was a prisoner of the ERG he wouldn't be able to run a regime with that complexion. With a big majority, he can be his own man. What does that mean? It means a business friendly, pragmatic regime. This may sound warm and cuddly. If you are middle class and doing alright and have no social conscience, it is. If however you care about the NHS, families in poverty, homelessness, bad schools,etc it is horrific.

And you may ask, where does it leave me? What is the point of my blogging anymore? We have five years of Boris and two and a half years of Tories in the Town Hall. The sad truth is that we need people to write blogs like this more than ever. We need people to get engaged. We have another five years in Hendon of an absentee MP. If we are going to do anything to save our local area, it will be driven by blogs like this. Anyone who believes that under a Tory Council and a Tory MP, anything good will happen in our locality is deluded. Their record in Council is one of total failure. Matthew Offord will now disappear until the next election. As a community we now need to come together and put these divisions behind us.

Please join us for a beer later at the Midland Hotel for the Barnet Eye community awards. Whilst many in the local Conservative party will be out celebrating their victory, we will be recognising those in our community who have made a real difference. 


The Midland Hotel in Hendon is under threat. Developers want to knock it down and convert it into luxury flats, join the campaign to resist this!

Please join us on Friday 13th December at 8pm at The Midland Hotel, Hendon, for the Barnet Eye Community awards and annual Xmas party. We are also looking for nominations for our community awards, click here for details. Free admission

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