A good time to take a break

I suppose you could say that the Labour Party had a good week in the sense that they didn’t do anywhere near as badly as the media predicted they would in the local council elections and their man, Sadiq Khan did amazingly well in the City of London Mayoral contest [ he trounced the opposition ]. However, once again Scotland put the boot in and spoiled what would otherwise have been a brilliant week for Jeremy Corbyn and his team. It’s not hard to imagine why Scottish voters have turned against Labour now that the Scottish National Party [SNP] is infused with youth and invigorated by the dynamic Nicola Sturgeon. However, the real mystery is why so many of them voted Conservative? There was a time, not so long ago, when a Scottish Tory was almost as elusive as the legendary Loch Ness Monster and by all accounts, even more scary. Anyway, what’s done is done and I fully expect that the only way Labour will ever return to government is if, as they could have done at the last general election, they agree to share power with the SNP. I can’t see Corbyn agreeing to such a partnership although, to be frank, I doubt he will be in a position to make that decision when the time comes.

For now the Parliamentary Labour Party [PLP] can ride upon the coat-tails of Sadiq Kahn’s success but what about the rest of us who vote Labour? Unless you live in London, Mr Kahn’s success means nothing. He seems like a good person and I’m really impressed with those Londoners who ignored the negative campaigning  deployed against Kahn and gave him such a resounding victory. However, the fact remains that Labour’s success in London will do little to improve its’ position elsewhere in the country. On a more positive note, there have been a lot of good things coming out of the Labour Party recently, especially from John McDonnell, which under normal circumstances would attract votes. However, unless the party gets behind Jeremy Corbyn in defiance of our Right-Wing Media, David Cameron et al, then no one is ever going to accept that  Jeremy in his quiet, calm, controlled way, may well have the answers to many of this country’s problems. Personally, I feel that for whatever reasons, the talent within the PLP is being suppressed when it should be attacking this government for what it is doing to the NHS, The Justice System, Schools and Social Services.  However, it might be too late for the PLP to unite as an effective opposition after all, who is going to forget the damage inflicted on Corbyn’s leadership by Hilary Benn or how heartily Andy Burnham and other Labour back-benchers laugh along with those Tories who make fun at Jeremy’s expense during PMQ?

With all the excitement of last week out of the way I’m not surprised to hear that Jeremy has decided to take a holiday and why not, he deserves one. However, no sooner is he out of the way when that blundering, former PM, Gordon Brown re-emerges from wherever he’s been hiding since the 2015 Scottish Referendum campaign to intervene on behalf of the “Stay” team. I’m not sure why Gordon feels he needs to do this especially as the PLP are united, allegedly, in their efforts to nudge the public vote towards remaining in the EU. What really surprised me however,  was his allusion to Britain’s “Churchillian spirit” and it’s “irrepressible spirit of internationalism” as a way of rallying the troops in support of the “Remain” campaign. Surely, if we adopted Churchill’s approach towards Europe we would be defending our borders and vowing never to surrender Britain’s sovereignty? If you read the history books on Churchill you will also discover that he wasn’t particularly fond of Europe, much preferring to “break bread” with his American cousins. One of the reasons why Churchill disliked Europe was because it was the home of “International Socialism” and both he and his American friends would have no truck with that.

Personally, I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why we should stay in, or indeed, come out of the EU. However, the arguments put forward by the remain groups are largely ridiculous. For example, the assumption that membership of the EU somehow makes us safer. It does not and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to swat up on post-1945 International Developments. If anything, the EU has made each of its’ member states less safe by the simple fact that their border controls are being transgressed by all manner of criminal gangs including people-traffickers, drug-smugglers and terrorists. I’m not suggesting that the EU is responsible for the growth in these forms of criminal activity but there is no denying that the policy of open borders has made it easier for these criminal gangs to operate. The other much quoted, claim regarding the potential loss to UK businesses if we leave the EU is highly contentious and ignores the fact that the majority of  homegrown, small to medium sized enterprises [SMEs] would welcome the split from Europe. Multi-nationals on the other hand, may wish for the UK to remain in the EU but you can bet that it’s not for the benefit of British families or the UK economy.

The last time Britain held a referendum on EU membership was in 1975 when the late Harold Wilson was both, leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister. Feelings were very much the same then as they are now with even Wilson swinging between both camps prior to his re-election as PM in 1974 before finally deciding that it was in our best interests to remain in the EU.  However, the situation was very different forty years ago and had Wilson been PM today then I doubt that he would be in favour of remaining in the EU. One of  his most able ministers, Denis Healey, noted in 1989, that developments within the EU had produced a Community totally different from what had been intended by its’ founding fathers in 1958.  Britain was refused entry to the EU or Common Market as it was then called for almost two decades but we managed okay without it. In fact, there are those who would cite the period 1958 to 1972 as Britain’s “golden age”.  But whatever you choose to believe, the institution has definitely changed since Wilson was PM and not for the better. There were only six member states originally which by 1992 had grown to twelve and today there are twenty-eight with more wanting to join. Britain has changed considerably too, largely due to another Eurosceptic, Margaret Thatcher who I also suspect would not be in favour of us remaining a part of the EU. So whether you share Wilson and Healey’s left of center politics or Thatcher’s brand of political authoritarianism the chances are that you will share the same view on Britain’s EU membership.


About hovisb

Retired socialworker specialising in substance misuse and mental health (Dual Diagnosis). Previously worked in management. Enjoys culture, especially music, literature and art. Animal lover.
This entry was posted in Quietly contemplating. and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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