28 June 2016
The current distasteful spectacle of the Parliamentary Labour Party tearing itself apart is the best illustration that I can see of the gulf between Westminster and the rest of the country.
Jeremy Corbyn was elected to lead the Labour Party and by a huge margin of the Labour Party membership. However, it was immediately apparent that, whilst Jeremy won the popular vote, the Parliamentary Party were clearly not on his side. Today, 9 months after his election, Corbyn faces a vote of no confidence within the Parliamentary Labour Party, a vote which he will inevitably lose and which will then trigger a leadership election which will probably go exactly the way the last one went leading to Corbyn, again, being re-elected as party leader. And this process is likely to be repeated, ad infinitum, until everyone dies of boredom.
What is clear is that the PLP are out of touch with their constituents, probably to a greater degree than Tory MPs, but out of touch none-the-less and they need to address that issue. But, like the Tory party, MPs are selected by institutional organisations which exist within the Westminster bubble and that is the problem for every political aspirant in this country.
Until the Westminster bubble is burst (along with the Square Mile bubble and the M25 bubble) business will continue as usual with carping, whining, mud slinging and the promotion of the interests well able to look after themselves.
Our Parliamentary Democracy was meant to represent the interests of the whole of the country not just the interests of those lucky enough to have access to and influence within those three bubbles.
Posted by niall connolly at 10:22
27 June 2016
26 June 2016
I have just watched Douglas Carswell talking to Evan Davis on BBC2 on the subject of 'Where do we go after BREXIT?' and his views, if I understood them correctly, suggested that he thinks that we have had an change of government.
When Evan Davis asked him what part the House of Commons would play in the negotiations he seemed to suggest that ALL MPs must follow the party line which would be instructed by the 'Leave' campaign. This position would propose that the referendum has, in fact, created an unelected government, the 'Leave' campaign, and that ALL MPS must follow instructions issued by 'Leave', even where they might represent constituencies which voted 'Stay'.
Carswell went on to explain that the negotiations with the EU must be undertaken only by 'Leave' MPs, i.e. Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and, I would assume, Carswell himself. So, the referendum has been hijacked to serve the interests of the ultra Right and, if anyone thought that leaving the EU was going to make things better, they had better prepare themselves for a shock - its actually going to get worse, much worse.
Posted by niall connolly at 00:10
25 June 2016
14 June 2016
Who am I? Who do I identify with? What nation am I part of? Which community to I belong to?
Speaking personally, the upcoming referendum raises interesting questions about identity, both personal and national and, whatever the outcome, the referendum is not going to resolve the political issues. The politicians will just have one less thing to argue about and they'll soon invent more.
But, if I were faced with a questionnaire asking me about how I see myself, with regard to national identity, I would say that I am Scottish, a citizen of the United Kingdom (even if it isn't 'united'), and, finally, a European. These are aspects of my character and identity traits that I am comfortable with and which, in my own view, are confirmed by where I was born, grew up and the relationship of those places with the rest of the world. If the referendum produces a vote to 'leave' the EU, I will feel sad and, to a certain extent, dislocated.
What I don't know is how my relationship will be changed with the rest of the EU because, in the event of a vote to 'leave', irrespective of my vote, how will the rest of the EU see me? In the even of a vote to 'leave', I will become a citizen of a country which turns its back on Europe, certainly with regard to issues of self-interest. I will be lumped together with the 'leavers', irrespective of what I believe and desire.
Should the vote be to 'leave', what will happen in Scotland? Depending on the way the Scots vote (possibly 'stay') that will probably trigger another referendum seeking independence and, should that be the case and, should that vote be for independence, I will probably apply for a Scottish passport. So, leaving the EU may well trigger the break-up of the United Kingdom and that will be doubly sad.
But all of this lies in the future, as do the consequences of the upcoming referendum. Sadly for me, it is perfectly clear that, whatever the outcome, the 'leavers' will continue to argue. 'Austerity' will continue to play its part because, if the NHS, welfare budgets and Local Authority budgets were properly funded, the populace would feel better about their situation. As it is, the continued 'austerity' only undermines people's feelings of well being and encourages a search for someone to blame - an entirely negative influence which supports the antipathy towards 'immigration'.
I'm hoping that the referendum will confirm the fact that is confirmed by any map - that the United Kingdom is part of Europe, only physically separated by the Channel. But I have no confidence that the evidence of any map will be sufficient to overcome nationalistic and political prejudices.
Posted by niall connolly at 10:32
12 June 2016
The Guardian carries an interesting piece about a limited expansion of 'Right to Buy' covering the private sector. Now that is an idea that I really like and one that might rein in the stupidity of the UK's property market. But I doubt that it will ever see the light of day, beyond the Guardian's article - far too many vested interests in the current stupidity.
Posted by niall connolly at 09:35
27 April 2016
With the publication of the Inquest Report into the deaths of 96 football fans at Hillsborough in 1989, it is possible, yet again, to see the power of the Establishment when it seeks to protect its own.
It has taken 27 years to produce a comprehensive report which comprehensively debunks the version of events that was peddled at the time and since by SouthYorkshire Police and their media connections.
It is also worth considering the connections already made between the police cover-up after Hillsborough and similar activities relating to the Miner's Strike in 1984/5, particularly with regard to the 'Battle of Orgreave' and the subsequent malicious prosecution of miners by the Police.
The Establishment need the apparatus of the State to maintain order and no one is going to suggest that 'Law & Order' are't good for society in general. Similarly, legislation to regulate society's activities is also a good thing, but only when these mechanisms are applied equally to all. Something that doesn't happen here in the United Kingdom.
As a result of the Hillsborough Inquest, heads are beginning to roll and the first of these is that of SYP Chief Constable David Crompton but if you have a look at this website Hillsborough Disaster | unProfessional Standards Department | West Yorkshire Police you'll find that David Crompton is not alone with regard to Hillsborough. And if you read through www.upsd.co.uk you'll find that Hillsborough isn't the only case where Yorkshire Police Forces are under scrutiny.
The sad fact is that the Police, because of their position as an arm of the Establishment, are not accountable and the statement made by South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings hints at that fact. Today he said that he suspended Crompton "with a heavy heart" and as a result of the erosion of the public's trust in the Police and also because of the vocal criticisms made of the Police in Parliament today. Maybe Dr Billings should adopt a more enquiring approach to his position rather than being a puppet.
Posted by niall connolly at 18:28