A guest post by Samuel Miller
So what is this upcoming general election all about? Why are we having one at all?
Well if you’re a Tory politician, they’ll tell you it’s all about Brexit and a strong mandate to carry it through. Yeah, seeing a bit of a logic gap there myself.
Now to be absolutely clear on the Brexit vote, democracy is democracy and much as I disagree with the result of Brexit UK, it’s what the majority, (however slim), voted for. It’s been debated in both houses within Westminster parliament, (Commons and Lords), voted upon, passed and as we are all aware by this point, Article 50 has been triggered.
In short, IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! (Shouting for the folks at the back there)
Near as I can tell, the Conservative explanation for their snap GE simply doesn’t add up on the face of it. This is a done deal and Brexit is on its way. Given the nature of the negotiation stances of both the UK government and the EU even the nature of the Brexit isn’t up for much discussion. Under our current electoral system and Conservative majority in parliament, it’s not as if they need any greater mandate to finalize exit negotiations and carry forward a programme of government either.
Unless… unless they themselves believe the ramifications of their decades long EU narrative, their massively damaging leadership struggle and their penchant for the politics of blame and scapegoating are going to have catastrophic consequences for the populations of the UK and the UK state far beyond their worst nightmare. Unless the Conservative government have been less than honest with the UK’s electorate?
No. No I don’t think it’s about Brexit. It may, however, be about what lies beyond Brexit.
Now if you were a cynical sod, then you’d perhaps suspect a sitting government, fearing the worst, would need a massively expanded majority and extended tenure in office. They’d absolutely need the ability to enact drastic emergency legislation with a minimum of parliamentary debate or scrutiny. Makes pushing through a Great Repeal Bill, a Bill of British rights and such so much easier, yes? Last but by no means least, they’d need to put these measures in place before the clock ticks down on exit from the EU and Brexit impact becomes both unavoidable and undeniable. If you were a cynical sod.
Just a feelin’ like, but at this point you’re left with the impression that the more extreme Brexiteers in government don’t appear to have any idea of the economic boorach that’s about to break over them or the population. Would they even care if they did? Mind you, whatever happens, there’s always some other demographic to blame and some awfy helpful chums in the media apparently.
For people to try to grasp what the impact may be on a daily and personal level, a couple of things to consider. Take the weekly shop as an example. How much fresh produce and lifestyle goods comes from the continent? The fresh fruit and veg you buy, meat, pastas, sweets and choccies, beauty care products, shaving foams, toothpastes and a whole host of pretty familiar named brands folks pick up on a week in, week out basis. With tariffs, if we still trade at all with the EU, these may rise in cost as much as 10-20% across the board. ALL onto your weekly shopping bill. Just for starters mind.
In my opinion, I don’t think people have been in any way prepared for the impact on continental relations, or what that means for them on an ‘in your living room’ level. The shear breadth of how this is going to affect the lives of every person living in the UK on the economic, societal and political levels is literally beyond calculation at this point.
Import/Export administration costs at every port of exit/entry, the creation of whole new rafts of customs procedures and administrative infrastructure. Who do they think will pay for all this? Who do they think it will affect most? Airports alone may become the stuff of nightmare as both goods and people bottleneck.
Holidays! Back to the good old days of visa applications for every single overseas destination. No more nipping across to France, Holland or… SPAIN for mad weekends on a citybreak whim.
Come to think of it… Spain might be a little problematic this year (cough).
Then we get to it, don’t we? Wider international relations and profile. Just how will UK nationals travelling abroad be viewed and received on the continent? You think Joe Public on the continent doesn’t feel? Doesn’t take it personally? Doesn’t have a hurt national pride of their own? It’s one thing to reject a system of government at odds with your democracy and need to express your body politic, quite another to reject a multi national trade and peace oriented union seemingly on the basis of… FOREIGNERS!
Because whether people like it or not. Whether they rationalized otherwise or not. That is exactly the predominant message sent out by the campaign which resulted in 52% of the UK who voted for a blind, hard Brexit. A UK wide ballot whose leave campaign detail couldn’t fill an A4 sheet of paper… (single sided) and widely recognized as one of the most appalling and negative campaigns in the UK’s post war political history.
Anyone searching for evidence of this need only look at the rise in hate crime over the past year. They need only listen to any statement by Mr Davis on Brexit deals, Ms May on ‘unity’ or Bojo on diplomacy. Voting to leave the EU was one thing. Agree with it or don’t as the reader will. Voting to leave on the back of that particular campaign will leave an image with our near neighbours that every nation of the UK will have to live with for a long time to come. Or maybe, in one particular case, not? That case is yet to be decided and lessons can be learned by the Scottish government, the YES movement and the wider electorate with a little patience and an open mind.
Those very few issues alone merely scrape the surface on the aftermath of Brexit.
Given the political uphevals initiated by Westminster politics over the past couple of years, this most recent twist is shaping up to be an omnishambles of biblical proportions. In my opinion its effects WILL be far reaching and ongoing. I’d also imagine it would leave a nasty mark on UK international relations for many, many years to come. On the bright side though, at least some folk got EXACTLY what they voted for, right? I mean, they did realise, didn’t they?
Personally (and I am a fairly cynical sod), I’d say this general election is ALL about the Tories consolidating a power base and grip of England’s electorate for the upcoming Brexit aftermath. Basic arithmetic determines they really don’t require the vote, or permissions, of the rest of the UK’s populations (shocking, but true). It’s about removing their nearest opposition in parliament as a viable alternative for the foreseeable future and finally it’s about giving cabinet and PM the powers to enact any emergency legislation they feel necessary without parliamentary oversight.
Mind you, the difference between what a Conservative government feels is a necessary action and what you or I may feel?
Well that could probably fill volumes.