Tag Archives: David Cameron

Everyone is terrified, Vote Leave’s on fire

Things are not good. Just four days after Britain took its biggest post-war decision, a vote to leave the European Union, the country is indeed at breaking point – perhaps Nigel Farage was right. The consequences of Brexit were always going to be massive. The Remainers feared them and us Leavers were wary of them, but are least our new de facto leaders had a plan.

Or so we thought.

As of 28 June 2016, there is no plan to take the United Kingdom out of the EU. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would begin a two-year process to extricate the country, is yet to be invoked, despite David Cameron saying it would be immediately if a Leave vote was returned. After all, why should he “do the hard shit”? No reason, except for that bit where you said you would, Dave.

We are witness to an ill-prepared Vote Leave, who are suffering a pyrrhic victory, and a government digging its heels in to delay or deny the will of the British people. Westminster’s bigwigs evidently do not approve of the peasants’ revolt which has taken place. Tottenham MP and anti-democrat, Labour’s David Lammy, has already made the risible pledge to “stop this madness” and ignore the referendum result. Some much-needed comedic relief, at least.

Meanwhile, the rightfully forgotten Liberal Democrats (ha!) have confirmed that they will stand on a platform to flip the 52 percent off and keep Britain in the EU should they be in government – they won’t, but this is 2016 and nothing can be ruled out completely. Okay, perhaps this can. However, these two moves did neatly clarify that our issue with authoritarians does not begin and end in Brussels.

“But we have a parliamentary democracy! The referendum was only advisory!” cry the diminishing yet pesky Remainers in denial. That’s very true, parliament is under no legal obligation to follow through with the plebiscite. But it is also true that parliament should be representative of the electorate. It is now apparent that with 479 out of 650 MPs publicly voicing their support for remaining within the EU, that parliament is out of touch with the public on the biggest constitutional issue the country faces. For that reason alone, an imminent general election is required, with current and prospective MPs displaying their EU stance. But not before Article 50 – the slippery establishment cannot be allowed off the hook it’s taken decades to get them on.

Until the already notorious Article 50 is triggered, nothing happens. The UK remains a fully paid up member of a union which wants us out pronto. Once started, the process is irreversible, hence the delay. The official word is to strengthen Britain’s negotiations with the EU, but the murmurs from grandees of a second referendum, and the declared intention of some to ignore the nation’s choice means the electorate must be extra vigilant.

We are now seeing exactly why allowing the Conservatives to control both sides of the debate was a serious mistake. However much these careerists-turned-statesmen told you they cared, ultimately, party was always going to become before country. As far as they are concerned, finding a new leader and grabbing a stronger hold of the House of Commons is their priority – an easy task thanks to Labour’s implosion.

In fact, it’s not far-fetched to suggest Vote Leave’s virtual leader and part-time Eurosceptic Boris Johnson would have preferred a narrow loss, so not to damage himself and skirt this Brexit nuisance altogether.

To lead Britain out of the EU will be political suicide for whoever has to do it. The implications are undeniable. A period of economic trouble and the likely departure of Scotland from the union are two events no prime minister could survive. However, paying no heed to the 17.4 million who opted for Leave, or performing a stitch up which effectively sees us stay in is also unworkable.

Scotland’s second plea for independence was always going to happen, but leaving the economy teetering without stability was an avoidable scenario, had Johnson, Michael Gove and the other official Brexiteers decided on a destination for their ship.

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. So many promises were made from so many people – in truth, they probably had to be to form a winning coalition – that it’s impossible to deliver on all of them. The cake Johnson is after is not, and will likely never be on the menu. Staying in the single market, not contributing to the EU budget and ending free movement is a fantasy. If the EU did grant it, petrol would be added to the Eurosceptic fires roaring in France, the Netherlands and others. Thus, the end of “ever-closer union”. That won’t be in the #junckerplan.

It seems as if the likely Tory government would settle on Britain joining the European Economic Area (EEA) – the Norway model – if they cannot get the caveats they desire. Vote Leave representatives have already been keen to stick with the single market, while some are keen on the free movement of people continuing. The EEA may now the best hope now for economic stability, but there’s no denying that this isn’t the Brexit many Leave voters would have had in mind. The UK would remain in the single market and crucially, have to accept the free movement of people.

Such a move would be considered by many as another establishment betrayal and not what they voted for. Out was supposed to be out. If such a play was made, unprecedented discontent and a surge in support for UKIP would be inevitable. If disregarding the vote entirely is the worst course of action, politically, this would be a firm second. Our steeliest Eurosceptic Farage will push, and he’s been pretty successful doing that so far. In such an uncertain political climate, who knows what gains his party could make in the short and long-term future?

However, there’s no guarantee that Britain will even get EEA. Hath no fury like an EU scorned – we are not the most popular folk on the continent right now. That they refuse to even engage in informal discussions before Article 50 is invoked is proof enough of that.

Talk of an associate membership akin to Georgia’s has been mooted, while it’s not inconceivable that there will be no deal at all, if they really set out to punish us. To view it from their perspective, stopping other brewing dissent from manifesting into further referenda is a priority. They may think that giving the UK a raw deal is the best way to do that.

Brexit has plunged the country into the unknown – no surprise in itself. But the thoroughly incompetent Vote Leave clan has made things 10 times worse. They won, but refuse to “take control”. Don’t expect them to do so anytime soon either with the Tory leadership contest about to get into full swing.  Four days on, the British public has no idea what sort of Brexit to expect, if it can even expect one at all.

Leaving the European Union should be a time of hope and opportunity – Australia and New Zealand are already in search of a trade deal – but for now, we are plunging into the abyss that Project Fear predicted.

We need Brexit leadership, and fast.

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Eurosceptic hope glimmers on a sad night for democracy

I’ve been a conservative for as long as I can remember. For much of that time I was a Conservative too – the two are now so intrinsically different. The former believes in low taxes and personal liberty while the latter would rather appeal to floating voters by rushing through gay marriage (an issue that could have been sorted in due course) instead of clearing the deficit and tackling the debt.

It filled me with no joy to see David Cameron, a man who has betrayed trust and broken promises waltz back in to 10 Downing Street under a party banner he has never shown much commitment to. The Polly Toynbees of this world may liken him to Thatcher but Dave is no Maggie. I’m not sure anyone really knows what he believes in, barring his out-and-proud fetish for the European Union.

We hear of cuts. But where have the cuts come? Foreign aid is still costing £1bn a month, our EU membership continues to rape the tax-payers wallet to the tune of £60m a day and the supposed bonfire of the quangos – something that was proposed first time around – has not come to fruition. While I support a limited welfare state I most certainly do not endorse cuts anywhere until these such measures have been taken first. And quite why the general public have not latched onto the concept that huge quantities of money could be saved here I have no answer. Such a strategy would surely leave more expenditure for the public services this country romanticises over?

But that will not happen. Cuts to the most vulnerable will be made without reducing the substantial tax burden significantly. Indeed, if the state stops providing then what reason do they have to take such rates of tax? None.

Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party chickened out of offering a libertarian alternative to the British people but I was desperately sad not to see him elected in South Thanet. A shoddy, but vitriolic campaign was fought against him and eventually the people of Kent succumbed to fear and lies. The Scottish National Party proved to be the Tories greatest weapon to claw voters back from the purple, while others were misled that Farage was either a banker, a racist or both.

Farage has championed the EU exit cause for two decades, the past few years has finally seen him, and his party, rise to national attention. Perhaps he should have contested the Eastleigh by-election in 2013. Perhaps the party should have pushed harder in the Heywood and Middleton by-election last year. And perhaps focus shouldn’t have been so intense on immigration. They have got things wrong, and a solitary seat would have shocked many considering the wave of momentum they held when Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless were returned to the green benches as UKIP MPs last autumn. But one seat for almost four million votes is not a true reflection of the party’s growth across the country. If we were in Sweden, we would currently be left either euphoric or in turmoil at the fact UKIP had become the third-largest party in the House of Commons, as the Sweden Democrats – their EU-allies – did in the Riksdag in 2014.

For now, Farage has stepped down as leader of the party. He may – and I hope sincerely that he does – have a significant role to play in UKIP and in a potential EU referendum over the coming parliament. No Eurosceptic can truly trust Cameron on the Brussels question. It is clear that he will never campaign to leave under any circumstances, like Blair, he is far too invested into it. Renegotiation on core issues such as freedom of movement are impossible, and a fudged question would not come as a shock either. While UKIP MPs cannot hold the PM’s “feet to the fire” his pro-exit backbenchers can and must. With such a slender majority another Major-esque “back me or sack me” play may come about; they have got to be prepared to sack him.

On electoral reform, UKIP and the Greens – the two biggest sufferers of First Past The Post – need to form an uncomfortable alliance, to exert pressure from Left and Right. Under Proportional Representation, the combined five million votes would have translated into over 100 seats. Instead, they were left with two. The insurgent parties must accept that reform has to be at the top of their respective agendas, for they cannot make any real impact without it.

That Cameron’s majority is so wafer-thin gives hope that the rebellious in is clan can cause him nightmares and leave him no option but to make Euroscepticism a part of party ideology once more. However, I, and the other four million who voted UKIP, were in search of something far more promising than that.

Unless radically reformed, the NHS is headed towards oblivion

Let’s be frank. Like too many things in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service is in dire straits. Gorging on taxpayers money similar to how a fat person does cakes, the once “envy of the world” has become something of a laughing stock.

And we let it carry on without reproach. There is something of a stigma that comes with attacking the NHS which has allowed this omnishambles to carry on unchallenged. Any effort to make the case a £108.9 billion a year budget for this “service” is perhaps a huge waste of our money is almost instantaneously shut down.  The fear of privatisation has suffocated any intelligent debate on how best healthcare can be offered, with the most efficient utilisation of resources.

What is clear is that we cannot continue as we are. Despite the funding, patients are still subject to waiting lists that can stretch months, and in areas criminally substandard care. A case can be made for immigration putting an unsustainable strain on the system and of course it is important that the NHS remains a national service than an international one. But ultimately, the immigration argument is just a scapegoat for much deeper problems. Bureaucracy has led to an ever-thickening band of middle management, which on the whole, is simply unrequired. Obscene salaries going to people whose jobs shouldn’t even exist is sapping the life out of the system. Such wastage is greatly impacting the end product, and if such issues aren’t addressed soon, the NHS will not survive.

Almost certain to be the heartbeat of the general election, the political parties are all doing their best to get the jump on the other, as the electioneering begins to heat up.

The Labour party continue to believe they own the NHS and are forging an election campaign on being the arch-defenders of it, conveniently forgetting they have been responsible for some of the privatisation that has taken place, through Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs). Ed Miliband has pledged an extra £2 billion if he’s elected next year, with a new ‘mansion tax’ in order to fund it. A naive policy for a naive electorate. The idea that £2 billion added to a budget of 109 will solve the problem is a delusion of Keynesian proportions.wil

Prime Minister David Cameron used his well documented personal circumstances as leverage to show his support for the NHS at this autumn’s Conservative party conference. Promising to protect the budget, the Tories showed that whilst they don’t seem keen to throw money around like confetti, they have few ideas of reform. Indeed, they will spend most of the next five months convincing voters that they won’t privatise it further.

The UK Independence Party had the opportunity to offer a new alternative but have missed the boat in order to win over potential Old Labour voters. Footage recently emerged of Nigel Farage mooting an insurance-based system back in 2012, which the media proceeded to wrongly interpret, claiming the UKIP leader was in favour of Americanising healthcare. The party recently confirmed they will keep the NHS free at the point of delivery. They did however propose to reduce the bureaucracy within the system, in order to produce a more efficient end product.

Unsurprisingly, none are offering any real radical alternatives. Threatening to make any substantial changes to the way our healthcare system operates would be political suicide.

We have developed such a loathing of the free market that we have bogged ourselves down with an NHS which we are prepared to accept, despite stark under performance. The concept of liberty is so dead in this country that there is no choice for people to opt-out and receive a tax rebate, in order to seek their own healthcare. We must all struggle along together, give our money up, and allow it to be squandered in the most disgraceful manner.

Whilst parties pander to the voters every time election season rolls around, unaffordable and irresponsible policies will continue to rule the roost. The fact is, the NHS in its current state will soon cease to exist unless it undergoes serious reform. We need to decide what we want. If intent on keeping the service free, which we appear to be, we have to be realistic, serious cuts are needed. That doesn’t mean firing doctors and nurses it means stripping out the bureaucracy and looking at how to make the system more efficient. If that requires some business nous, then so be it. I haven’t heard a better option.

Anything would be better than what we have currently. The taxpayer has been mugged off for far too long, and if it wasn’t the NHS, more would challenge it. They don’t, for fear of change. Provided it remain “free at the point of use”, people are happy for the government to steal more and more of our incomes to pay for it.

Which makes me think, it isn’t really free at all.