Tory Party Leadership Contest: A Proper Food Fight

I was half-listening to an informal TV interview held with a group of Tory Party members of the public this afternoon about their views on the two opponents in the current Tory Leadership contest, when one woman said something that caught my attention and really made me smile.

She commented that Boris Johnson was a bit like the sugar rush of an ice cream sundae, all frothy and fun while it lasts; but Jeremy Hunt was more like a boring cheese sandwich – dull but with far more long-term nutritional substance (or words to that effect!) 🙂

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Teflon Trump

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks:

‘Do you believe that Donald Trump is an effective American President who should remain in office despite having accepted aid from a foreign adversary (Russia) and having committed obstruction of justice into the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential elections? Do you believe that Trump should or should not be impeached for his actions? Why?’

Ooohhh, interesting question, and most definitely provocative… perhaps you should prepare for a bit of a rant… Being a Brit – and a proud Scot at that – I’m so excrutiatingly embarrassed to think that Donald Trump has any Scottish genes running through his blood. You could say I’m black-affronted by his behaviour, and fair scunnered by his sense of superciliousness…

Even taking only the very first opening phrase of Fandango’s question, personally I don’t think Trump is an effective American President at all, regardless of any alleged complicity in proven Russian interference in the last Presidential election process. The man’s a bloody nightmare of a President no matter what, psychologically insecure with an obvious inferiority complex as long as his ridiculous tie and then some. And to be honest at this point I couldn’t care less if he’s impeached or not – as long as he’s not re-elected to a second term.

He says whatever he likes, whenever he likes, however racist or misogynist his particular opinion of the moment may be, then either avoids answering, contradicts himself or flatly denies it when someone calls him out on it. His behaviour is curiously childish and churlish, he yearns for constant attention but can’t accept criticism of any kind. He pretends to be a ‘man of the people’ by bad-mouthing whatever is the standard American version of ‘the establishment’ but in reality he is also as far removed from your average American as any other spoiled-brat dad-made millionaire.

His narcissistic, nationalistic plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ seemingly at the expense of undermining America’s previously secure standing on an increasingly growing international stage is, to my mind, worryingly misjudged and myopic. Trump clearly admires autocratic rule rather than democratic leadership – he schmoozes sycophantically with Putin and Kim Jong Un, smugly salivating at what he seems to see as their singular success.

And as far as pulling the US out of both the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal with such pompous political posturing – well, that may well backfire spectacularly in the long-run, speaking more of braggadocio bully-boy big-mouthed bluster and badly-judged brinkmanship than deft diplomatic discussion and decision-making.

Meanwhile his public picking of a pathetic playground fight with China over trade tarrifs is unashamedly ramped-up with more of the same social media spewing he rallies round and relies on so consistently. I’ve heard of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, but to many of us across the globe this off-the-scale level of divide-and-rule deliberate world order disruption is tipping dangerously close into megalomania.

Running a country is a very different beast from running a company – not that he’s necessarily got a good track record on that front, either. After all Trump is not CEO of USA plc – so when he inevitably screws up this time he can’t just let the country file for bankruptcy, pass on the losses to the poverty-stricken bulk of the population and walk away without a second glance, Teflon-coated to ensure nothing looking remotely like failure (financial or otherwise) ever sticks to him personally.

OK, I’m done…

Take Your Pick!

So far we have had at least ten Tories throw their hat into the ring for potential new Leader of the Conservative and Unionist party – and if further potential candidates follow suit as suggested in the news tonight, there could be a good dozen or more vying for the spotlight! A cast of confident, ambitious politicians all warming up, practicing their lines ahead of auditioning to be Prime Minister in the midst of this theatrical drama of a Brexistential crisis…

And of course there in the background biding his time lurks Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, deluded enough to think that if, regardless of a promising new actor in the lead role, the Tory Government collapses in a critical no-confidence General Election and is forced to exit dramatically stage right, he’ll be waiting in the wings ready to enter stage left into the limelight to become the star performer instead of the underdog understudy…

Er… no, Jeremy, in your dreams… Sadly, when it comes to taking part in the Brexit plot-line you’ve done far too little far too late – in this ‘oh-yes-he-is, oh-no-he-isn’t’ pantomime political farce of your fervent fence-sitting, carrying on with your non-descript ‘noises off’ is the best bit-part you’ll get… So, who will it be, our next Prime Minister? Plenty to choose from, and none of them get my vote, so take your pick… 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Pick

From the Common Market to an Uncommon Mess

I remember so clearly when the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in January 1973, which we all referred to colloquially as the Common Market, and I also remember the referendum in 1975 when the UK chose still to remain within the EEC. I remember particularly because we did an EEC research project at school at the time, politically simplistic perhaps in the grander scheme of things but my first real awareness of the longterm consequences of political choices and decisions.

It’s where in particular I learned all about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which for me, growing up in Scotland’s rural agricultural/ fishing/ forestry community was probably the topic of most relevance to me at the time, and was certainly the most pertinent political issue in my pre-teen world that has stuck the longest in my middle-aged brain. I was suddenly keenly aware of the whole geographical context of being in Scotland, of being within the UK, and then of being within Europe and how that works within the context of the rest of the world.

And now here I am in my mid-fifties and the UK is currently in the process of extricating itself existentially from what is now the more modern version of the European Union (EU) in what feels like a far less dignified manner than the accepted concensus with which we first entered into the original legally binding relationship. And like any other divorce after 40-odd years of marriage, it’s messy and manipulative as each side inevitably seems to want to have its cake and eat it too when negotiating such a complex divorce settlement.

Except it’s not even as simple as that one-on-one duality because the UK is effectively divorcing itself from 26 other disgruntled partners, not just one. And its the UK alone that wants to dissolve the partnership, so to all intents and purposes it is the multi-national EU who is the injured party, and the UK who is playing the arrogant aggressor in this complete disintegration of economic and national security alliances, so surely we have to accept we can’t have everything our own way? Especially as we can’t even agree as a country as to what we want out of it.

In my mind here in the UK we’ve gone from the Common Market to an Uncommon Mess, and I’m sick to death of the stupidity of still squabbling inwardly over it all. The way I see it we now have three stark choices – walk away self-righteously alone with nothing but our ‘freedom’, accept the already negotiated but vastly compromised settlement on offer and get on with it, or just give up on our divorce proceedings altogether and stay married for the forseeable future. But we need to decide soon, because the clock’s ticking down while we waste our time picking faults and prevaricating over perfection…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Common

Goodbye Mrs May

We’ve just watched Theresa May give a live statement saying she will stand down as Prime Minister early next month – she gave a very good speech, with her voice only cracking at the very end. She turned on her heels blinking back tears and walked back into No 10 with her head held high… All I can say is I hope someone gave her a big hug when she got back inside…

Scapegoat

Incase any of you hadn’t noticed, Britain is currently in a bit of a mess over Brexit. And just so you know in advance of reading this post, I don’t have a Tory bone in my body and have never voted Conservative in my life.

So suffice to say I’m not a natural supporter of Theresa May, and to be blunt, I think she’s made a bit of a hash of things all the way down the line. She’s basically tried to negotiate what amounts to a private deal (within Cabinet, entirely outside of Parliament) one hundred percent along party lines, maintaining a strict political division when the whole question of Brexit has never been neatly divided strictly down party lines. And having had the initial early General Election? Big mistake… huge error of judgement there…

I do feel it was a bad call on her part not to prioritise being inclusive and starting to try to heal the huge post-referendum rent in the country right from the start. A serious split pretty much straight down the middle of the population meant they needed careful bringing back together, not cack-handedly left to their own devices in growing discontent and disillusionment. But honestly, to be fair Theresa May definitely inherited a poisoned chalice in having to sort out such a major political issue not initially of her own making.

The person I blame fairly and squarely for this current political civil war is our previous Prime Minister David Cameron, who has pretty much disappeared off the face of the earth politically since stepping down and out of the parliamentary arena. He originally called that damned referendum as a gambling play to bring his recalcitrant back-benchers into line, then when the country actually called his bluff and voted out, he turned tail and ran.

There was never a proper political plan previously in place for leaving the EU, because there was never any intention in David Cameron’s mind of Britain choosing to leave, so in that sense whoever had the misfortune to take over from him didn’t ever really have a hope in hell of doing well with their Prime-Ministership. In this particular case, to my mind failure was always the only option.

So however much I deplore her defective decision-making and insular negotiating stance, I can’t help but accept that in many ways, Theresa May has been a bit of a scapegoat in all of this mess. Granted she’s not necessarily handled it well from the start, but it’s a situation that in my mind should never have been needing to be handled in the first place. Not in the way it initially came about, anyway.

If there was to be a genuine choice put to the people of leaving the EU or remaining then ALL political options and consequences should have been properly discussed openly and candidly BEFORE the vote went anywhere near the public. Realistically set out on spreadsheets and flow charts in advance, not reliant on the emotionally-charged, diametrically opposed sensationalist spin of unkeepable pie-in-the-sky promises versus project fear doom-mongering, but laid out logically with proper factual planning and belt-and-braces preparation.

Anyway, as to date we are still currently a full member of the EU, today here in the UK we are all voting for our next tranche of MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) even if they never actually need to take up their posts – these elections were arranged at very short notice but I must admit we’ve had plenty of leaflets through the door from pretty much everyone except the Tories, so no lack of information issues there. (Even if in our household the UKIP leaftlet went straight in the bin!)

A selection of leaflets arrived through our door…

By the way our polling station here in Leytonstone is in our local library, and I really liked the way the coloured lights caught my eye as they gave a soft sheen to the polished stonework at the entrance. Personally our votes have now been cast, so no doubt we’ll start to see tomorrow what the overall results are like across the country. Although at this rate, with the upheaval in Parliament it seems it’s all effectively going to turn into a practice run for a General Election soon enough… What a bloody mess! 😦

Our local polling station entrance…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Scapegoat

Is the End of May the End of May?

Is the end of May the end of May?

The headline on yesterday’s Evening Standard (free London newspaper) reported that Theresa May’s last chance (fourth) attempt at getting her ill-fated Brexit deal voted through Parliament may be off altogether. According to this morning’s news, if she refuses to give up on her clearly unsupported deal there may now be a second no-confidence vote in her leadership of the Conservative party in the offing to prevent her vote from taking place… And to add insult to injury for Mrs May, Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom has now resigned from the Government, saying she cannot bring to the House a paper she cannot agree with… It all feels a bit deja vu, the demise of Maggie Thatcher’s Prime Ministerial reign all over again… Which leads to my one-liner question, is the end of May the end of May?

One Liner Wednesday