Tuesday, 10 December 2019

The Barnet Eye Election commentary - final edition

Let me start by stating, for transparency, that I am a member of the Lib Dems and I stood as a candidate for them in Mill Hill last year. However, in writing this I speak for no one apart from myself. This is only my view.

This whole election has been the most demoralising and disheartening of modern times. In the early Autumn, I had hopes that the fact that the opposition parties and even sane Tories were working together to prevent a hard #Brexit might mean that the national interest might take precedence over tribalism. I had hoped that this experience, demonstrating that working together might deliver results that could not be achieved by digging a hole and standing in it shouting at the world couldn't. I was right, but sadly not in the way I hoped for, or even expected. The party that learned the lesson was the Brexit Party. Sadly it seems that what they wanted to achieve was peerages and plum jobs for themselves, standing down against the Tories. Although this may only account for 3-4% of the vote in some seats, that could be decisive. This should have caused a period of reflection within the other parties. Being fair to the Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru, they did. Deals were done to stand aside in seats where one of the parties had a realistic chance. Sadly, the Labour party has decided it wants nothing to do with sensible deals and pacts. Their logic is that the Lib Dems got into bed with the Tories in 2010, so they will have nothing to do with them. Ever. Furthermore, they have decided that every single policy of the Tories between 2010-2015 is entirely the fault of Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson. This message has been tweeted and facebook'd relentlessly.

What has always disgusted me about this strategy is that it is totally dishonest. Swinson was a junior member of a junior coalition partner. All parties operate whip systems and if you look at all of the things that many Labour MP's voted for under Blair, there are far worse. Labour took us into an illegal war. Whilst many solely blame Blair, he was chosen by the party and his policies embraced by the Labour NEC. A majority of Labour MP's would have him back tomorrow if it was a choice between him and Jeremy Corbyn. They tried to deselect Corbyn twice. Labour gave us the Iraq war. Labour raised tuition fees. Labour brought privatisation to the health service with PPI. I could go on, but is it really helpful? We are now living in 2019 and we have a massive crisis facing us.

The truth is that since 2017, we have had a Tory/DUP alliance that hss been completely dysfunctional.  A vaguely competent Labour party machine would have had them 20 points ahead in the polls. This does not necessarily mean Blairism. It means having a party that is capable of dealing with its own members who are openly anti semitic. It means putting up effective spokespersons when the Tories fib. Under John Major, Blair had John Prescott as Transport Shadow. He worked the press relentlessly and constantly kept the Tories on the back foot. The Tories have a terrible story on the NHS, but do you even know who the Shadow health secretary is (it's Jonathan Ashworth, MP for Labour South FYI). He should be the most high profile of all Shadow ministers.

My personal view is that Labour and The Lib Dems should have each stood aside in the 30 most winnable seats for each party, where it was not an obvious three way marginal. Sure it might have put the Lib Dems back into coalition with the Tories, but it would have stopped Boris and his plans for a hard Brexit in its tracks. If you are a Labour diehard, this may stick in the throat, but for the vast majority of sane and rational people, who simply want a well run government that is not too extreme, this surely is a 'less worse' scenario than a Boris landslide.

There is no doubt at all that Boris wants a hard Brexit and a trade deal with Donald Trump. That will undoubtedly mean opening up the NHS to US corporations. Is that not something that should be stopped by any means? Today we hear that Boris wants to abolish the BBC because he's fed up with Andrew Neil. This is what 'abolishing the licence fee' means. The BBC has a huge archive and is worth billions as a privatised, broken up entity. Free marketeers hate successful state run corporations. Isn't that worth saving?

That is why I ask you to do three things on Thursday. These are

1. Check the opinion polls for your constituency.
2. See which candidate, on current data  and polling data (not from the last election as things have changed) is most likely to stop Boris's candidate winning
3. Vote for them.

In Finchley and Golders Green this is  Luciana Berger, The Liberal Democrat Candidate. The Lib Dems have gone up 2% in the last month. With tactical voting this seat is winnable.

In Chipping Barnet, the polls show Labour as neck and neck with the Tories. As to Hendon, the Tories are showing as on 51%. I find this to be totally at odds with what we've seen polling and talking to people. Many people have told me that they would vote Lib Dem if they thought there was a possibility that they could win. They have said they will not vote Labour or Tory. If you genuinely can't vote for Tory or Labour, please do not stay at home. Get out and vote and you might get a pleasant surprise. If you don't vote, then you definitely wont.

When it comes down to it, if you fight when the odds are against you, you may lose, but you have a chance. If you don't  fight, you've no chance at all. Whatever you do, vote. If you don't, then when the number crunchers look, they draw the conclusion that no one shares your viewpoint. It is highly likely that in Hendon the largest group of all will be didn't vote. People are talking of a record low turnout, due to apathy with the Johnson/Corbyn choice. If you prove them wrong, you might get a very nice and very unexpected surprise on Friday morning. That is my hope.

That's it for me until after the election on Politics.

1 comment:

DaveO said...

Rog, though I consider you as one of my best friends we’d better leave politics aside this new year!

But before then.....I’ll make two points.

The excuse that Swinson and co were junior partners in the coalition does not wash. If you are a Lib Dem you are familiar with the Orange Book and it may as well have been written by Cameron. The NHS reforms voted through by the Lib Dem’s are causing mayhem in the NHS and they didn’t have to vote them through at all but then they didn’t object either. They were in keeping with the Orange Book notion private companies have a huge role in the provision of public services. They didn’t vote them through because they had to but because they agreed with them. This is also true of many other policies.

The other point I’ll make is is on Swinson and so called cooperation between parties. She is a lunatic. She came out all anti-Corbyn cooperation from the get go. She made it impossible by more or less saying the official opposition ditched their leader. This was nuts.

She then compounded this by coming out with the revoke A50 without a vote nonsense. Immediately alienated about 30% of the electorate plus a good proportion of Remainers to boot who thought the stance anti democratic.

She is not the leader your party needs and neither is it’s Orange Book stance. I have a dream for Thursday which is counter to all predictions Labour at least gets more MP’s than the Tories as that is the only possible way Brexit can be legitimately stopped (via a vote) but at the same time Johnson gets booted out of Uxbridge and the SNP beat Swinson.