I am not sure why I feel this way but I do have a feeling that the June 8th election may well see Theresa May lose her overall Westminster majority. At the same time I think the SNP will lose several seats in Scotland.
This will make an already chaotic situation even worse as it will put Brexit negotiations and the second Scottish independence vote into areas of even more uncertainty.
Mostly the media commentary about Brexit is conjecture. However as far as Scotland is concerned there is a fact that should not be ignored. The devolved government in Holyrood was set up by a UK Act of Parliament and could just as easily be done away by the MPs at Westminster as Pete Wishart MP writes. The Tories have a majority there and Theresa May could get rid of the thorn of the Scottish Parliament if she judged that to be in her interests vis a vis Brexit. That would leave Scotland unable to influence or decide its own future.
Brexit at the moment is all politics, nothing decided and all to play for so Nicola Sturgeon’s Brexit plan is part of the political chess game she is playing with the UK government. So are her visits to European leaders and to Dublin. By giving Scotland such a high profile on the Brexit scene she is hoping to make any foul play by Theresa May more difficult to carry out. To date her reasonable and practicable ideas and plans have found much favour and will be hard to ignore. What is more she is keeping alive the sense of destiny that grips many Scots at the present time.
Commentators saying she will not achieve what she would like are probably right but better to play for high stakes than tamely give in to a lifetime of Tory rule direct from Westminster.
For a very detailed look at the Scottish parliaments powers and the fact that in UN terms the UK is defined as two countries read the Grouse Beater.
I have not posted to my blog for months. Instead I have sat back appalled by events.
However It seems to me that those little Englanders who voted for us to leave the EU under the illusion that England could once again be Great Britannia have actually put the final nails in the coffin of that pipedream. They will find that while the UK could delude itself that it was somehow special while part of the European Union once on its own they will find that England has suddenly become part of a offshore island of little consequence to the giants of world finance. Having to renegotiate from a weak position all the EU treaties we presently take for granted will take years and will at every turn demonstrate how insignificant trade with England will have become. Perhaps at last the little Englander world view will be dead.
Meanwhile Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, who was a Remain supporter has capitulated to the extreme EU sceptics in her party. In a parliamentary democracy, there should be no such thing as a binding referendum, certainly not on something which has the potential to sweep away 300 years of history and leave England on its own in an increasingly hostile world. It should be parliament that decides the way ahead, taking into account the marginal majority of the referendum voters. Instead May has compounded the facile, lazy way in which Cameron brought about the referendum by cow towing to the vociferous hardliners in her party in a populist fashion worthy of all the worst populist parties in Europe. The Conservative party has become overnight virtually indistinguishable from UKIP.
The Poor Had No Lawyers by Andy Wightman and The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein catalogue the steady usurpation of power and wealth by the uber rich. I believe we are living through a particular explosion of that process. Klein highlights the method of taking advantage of crises by neo-liberals. The 2008 crisis gave a perfect opportunity to the Cameron-Osborne Tory government to do just that and to hasten the transference of power and state assets to the top 1%.
The continued existence of tax havens and the failure to catch tax dodging, the asset stripping and disruption of the NHS, TTIP, the privatising of the probation service and prisons are but a few examples of what is being done.
It is perhaps not surprising given the power and reach of the Neoliberal uber-rich that in the UK, the EU and USA Austerity has become the orthodoxy. In the UK it is taking on an extreme form in our political life. So much so that the neoliberal Tories are regarded by many voters as a centre party. They have been bamboozled by the idea that the finances of a country are best managed like a household budget. Margaret Thatcher famously started the idea but George Osborne and Cameron are the real practitioners. Prof Steve Keen in an interview explains the absurdity of such theories. It is not surprising that his views and similar views of other serious economists are hidden under a blizzard of spin and invective by the powerful uber-rich who stand to lose if austerity is abandoned.
This has resulted in Labour becoming a right of centre party also enamoured of austerity which they dare not refute. That is the case with all their leadership nominees apart from Jeremy Corbyn. He is being taken apart by the neoliberal main stream media, not surprising in view of who owns them, and there is a desperate campaign to stop his bid for the labour Party leadership.
However, there are growing signs of at least some of the electorate realising the fact that they have been hoodwinked. Jeremy Corbyn is the popular candidate of the grassroots of the party, Greece elected a left wing party, Syriza, and there are movements in Spain and Italy.
Prof Steen mentioned the economic policy of the SNP in Scotland as going in the right direction.
I am amazed at the shambles of the Labour Party. Surely losing Scotland should have been a wake-up call. However what is happening does probably fit a wider picture. Neoliberals have taken over the lunatic asylum. The Labour Party would do well to read Richard Murphy’s book the Courageous State which can be ordered through the blog. There is an alternative to Austerity. More and more respected economists and financial institutions including the IMF have come to that conclusion.
Jeremy Corbyn could win a general election. That is why the neoliberal elite have mounted such a fierce, violent and scurrilous attack, going to the extent of calling in Tony Blair. It smacks of Gordon Brown’s intervention in the Scottish referendum. Except that up to that point Gordon did at least have some credibility. The present anti-left campaign within the parliamentary Labour Party has the same provenance as the anti SNP campaign which incidentally shows no sign of abating. It is the deadly dread that the English electorate might wake from its slumbers as happened in Scotland and actually realise that, in spite of the rhetoric about the working people, the Tories are totally focused on furthering their neoliberal objectives. And it would seem there are enough fellow travellers in the parliamentary Labour ranks especially amongst the leadership contenders to make sure that no alternative economic plan is given credence.
The upshot is a parliament which is made up of two major neoliberal parties. In some countries both parties would be regarded as right wing. This leaves the SNP’s 56 MPs as the only substantial party with opposing views. And they will be vilified at every turn.
We are in five years of neoliberal mayhem and major negative campaigns against any alternatives.