Archive for the ‘Malcolm Blair Robinson’ Category

Election 2019: At Last There Is A Real Choice

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Regular readers will know how much I disapprove of centre politics, which I regard as a quagmire of self interest, lack of vision and kicking the can down the road on almost everything which demands more than a sound bite or a quick fix. There must be a dynamic left and a reactionary right. Either can govern and both have to move towards the centre in government, because in the end a degree of public consensus is needed to achieve anything that lasts.

But the centre is not where the drivers are. For far too long this country has been in the grip of an appalling political inertia which has allowed the development of a grotesquely misshapen economy, in which the rich grow ever richer and the poor grow poorer. A vast new class of just managing has arrived where work is undervalued and assets are overvalued. Asset inflation partners wage stagnation. It has to stop.

And for far too long the ordinary people of our country, on whom every facet of civilised life and care relies, have had no choice, because in the end, apart from a different tribal T shirt, there was precious little difference between the offers of the political parties. Until yesterday.

The Labour Manifesto offers a totally different vision of quite different future, based on different values, bigger ambitions, the rebuilding of all public services shattered by years of outsourcing and cuts and the biggest investment programme in everything we need to expand our economy for many generations. It is a transformative offer. Not a renovation, but a rebuild. No longer can anyone excuse not voting with a dismissive ‘they are all the same.’

When I published my dissertation Turn Left To Power in May 1916, prior to the Brexit referendum the conclusion seemed to most fanciful.

‘An economic settlement which gives  the top one per cent as much as the other ninety-nine percent combined, cannot sustain and is not acceptable. Almost everything which has happened since Thatcher has favoured capital over labour. Yet without labour, capital is nothing. The Labour Party must live up to its name, stop dancing on a sixpence in the political centre, rediscover its reforming zeal and show that it has a radical programme which will restore the balance.’

At last the Labour Party has done just that. The people must decide if they want to take up the offer.

Election 2019: TV Debate

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Boris Johnson is way ahead in the polls and the popular sentiment among much of the press and all Tories for Corbyn is derision. So Johnson should have wiped the floor with Corbyn in their TV debate. But he didn’t. He scored on the debating points, but descended into bluster on the issues. The YouGov poll afterwards gave a narrow win to Johnson 51% to Corbyn 49%. That should worry Tories. But the next bit should really scare them. Among undecided voters the same poll found Corbyn 59%  Johnson 41%.

The coming three weeks to polling day will be politically very interesting. Today is the launch of the Labour and Tory manifestos. Expect more from this blog when we have had a chance to gauge the reaction to them.

Trump And Impeachment

Friday, November 15th, 2019

This Blog is not persuaded that the Democrats are doing the right thing here. I have no doubt that Trump messes with foreign policy and operates outside the norms of the way things are supposed to be done. But it is because he is a maverick that he was elected. Shake everything up and drain the swamp.

So what was Obama’s VP actually doing with the Ukraine brief and why was his son a director of a company in the most corrupt country in Europe? And why did Biden want the prosecutor investigating his son’s company to be fired? There may be good answers to these questions, but they do not at once spring to mind.

The Democrats as far as I can make out brush aside the Biden questions and instead concentrate on the conditionality attached to US aid for Ukraine, by Trump in a phone call. I agree that call is mega dodgy by conventional standards, but to Trump standards is just a bit whiffy. It surely does not  reach the very high bar required for impeachment and even if the House voted for it, the Senate would never convict.

What is clear is that Biden’s bid for the presidency is over. If he did get nominated Trump would destroy him in the debates. If he survived and won, his presidency would be a failure. The democrats must get a modern candidate who can offer renewal to a polarised America and set about resolving the multitude of internal problems piling up. The Old White Men era is over. If it isn’t, America will stick with Trump.

Election 2019: TURN LEFT TO POWER: From .99p

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

As many regular readers know I am a writer and blogger who has been a keen political observer for more than sixty years. Born a Tory, I became a founder member of the SDP, before gradually migrating left. In 2014 I published my idea  Dynamic Quantitative Easing, which aroused some interest in high places. This forms a core element of Turn Left To Power, a powerful and compact analysis of Labour’s opportunity to regain power, published in 2016, before the leftward swing of the political conversation had become established. The idea then persisted that government from the centre, which had become a stale quagmire bereft of new ideas, was best.

Frank and at a times brutal, Turn Left To Power offers a collection of fundamental reforms which amount to a political revolution. By all accounts much of it will be similar to Labour’s 2019 Manifesto. But you may find the reasoning and analysis in my little book absorbing and if you are an activist, helpful in your campaigning. I am dismayed by the unfairness of the current economic model, but driven by the hope of a better future for the rising generation. 

Election 2019: Intelligence Report: What Are They Hiding?

Monday, November 11th, 2019

For those of you who are following the controversy surrounding the government’s decision not to publish the Select Committee’s report on Russian interference in our democracy and public life, here is a conspiracy theory for you to enjoy over coffee.

Suppose the report shows a sufficient degree of Russian social media bot accounts and opaque campaign funding in support of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum as to cast doubt on the integrity of the outcome?

Basically the Leave campaign runs Downing Street now. Such a disclosure would blow their Brexit driven general election platform to bits. Wow. No wonder they will not release it.

Enjoy your coffee.

Election 2019: Opinion Polls: Beware The Headlines

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

The election campaign is now underway and headlines about opinion polls are beginning to appear, depending on the political leaning of the paper or media outlet, purporting to show a trend or tell a story. The words collapse and surge will be used often. Crumble is another favourite. Several such polls have made comparisons with the 2017 general election, which is pointless, because in that election  the Tories and Labour took over 80% of the votes between them. In other words in England and Wales it was a two party race.

This time around there are four main parties in play. Obviously Tory and Labour, but also the Lib Dems and Scot Nats, both of which can seriously affect the outcome. Minor parties, the Greens, Plaid Cymru, the Brexit Party and the DUP may impact the margin but will be unlikely, or indeed cannot, win very many seats with our current electoral system or because of their regional identity. But since tactical voting will be common, opinion pollsters will have a real challenge. Moreover there are different key issues in different parts of the country. Leaving the EU no matter what as soon as possible, stopping Brexit altogether, rebooting the economy with massive spending and investment, the Union above everything in Northern Ireland, independence in Scotland.

My key themes remain broadly true. The election will be decided during the final three weeks of the campaign. If completing Brexit is the number one issue, the Tories will be the largest party, maybe even with a majority. But if ending austerity, remodeling the economy and improving public services take hold as the priorities on the doorstep, it will be a government led by Corbyn.

Election 2019: So How Is It Going?

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

The answer is, with this unusual election, it is impossible to predict. Once again here are the key points.

If the key issue which drives voters is completing Brexit and moving on (even if only to months and years of more negotiations), Boris and the Tories will come out on top, although not necessarily with a working majority.

If changing the economic balance in favour of the many with huge government investment in services and infrastructure, plus curbing fat cats and dodgy landlords, to transform the country to the agenda of the rising generation, Corbyn will win, but again not with a majority. The SNP will be easy partners even if not formally in coalition.

There are five parties in the election, each fighting a different battle. In addition to the two main parties, the Brexit  Party wants a crash out of the EU, the Lib Dems want to stay in the EU and crash out of Brexit, the Greens say it must be all about Climate Change and the SNP are driven by Scottish Independence. All of them, bar Farage, are against Brexit. The impact of  any or all of them is hard to read. They can affect how people vote in each area, depending on giving priority to a core issue, over normal party loyalty or economic preference. They could end up with over a hundred seats between them and have a huge impact on what would then be a hung parliament. Only Farage would potentially give a lifeline to Boris short of seats to govern, but all of the others might well keep a Corbyn government afloat. Potentially therefore Boris needs more seats than Corbyn to win.

As the campaign develops one of the main parties could begin a surge. Only if that happens will we get a government, either Labour or Tory, which can actually govern old style. Otherwise it is back to another hung parliament, with very little changed by all the effort. It is possible, even likely, that the new Speaker will impose a more rigid interpretation of the rules, which might force a more positive voting pattern. The dissolved parliament was united and strident about what it was against, but was unable to discover what it was for. Maybe that will change.

Finally, will shock resignations and foot in the mouth comments, now making headlines, affect the final results? The answer is No if they stop now. But it could change to a Yes if it becomes a pattern. Both big parties are vulnerable to indiscipline, so the road ahead for both may be strewn with rocks and banana skins.

Once the Manifestos are published and we can see in detail what each main party proposes and how the public react to the offers, especially on the doorstep, it will be possible to think about predicting a potential outcome, rather than a somewhat confusing list of possibilities and pitfalls.


Election 2019: Sobering Numbers

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

In 2010 Cameron gained 96 seats for the Tories on 10.7 million votes.

In 2017 May lost 13 seats and her majority on 13.6 million votes

In 2015 Milliband lost almost every seat in Scotland with a net loss of 26 seats overall on 9.6 million votes

In 2017 Corbyn gained 30 seats for Labour and a record surge in Labour votes to 12.8 million, although he began the campaign with the Tories showing opinion poll leads of up to 20+.

Message. Do not underestimate Corbyn. Unpopular in Westminster but in the country there is no other politician who can pull such crowds, with such enthusiasm. And he advanced in the last campaign more than any other leader in any party on record.


The Christmas Election

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

In normal elections there is a general feel at the start which way they are likely to go. This time no commentator would dare to predict the outcome. But as a starter post of what are likely to be many, let me leave you with some themes.

In England and Wales, if the election is dominated by the single issue of Brexit, the Tories believe they will not only win, but win a majority. But if the election comes to be dominated by the state of ordinary people’s lives, austerity, public services, fat cats, climate change and growing inequality in society, Labour believe they will win. And they almost certainly will. If Brexit dominates, but in a negatives sense, in other words people have had enough of it and want out from the apparently irreconcilable Brexit arguments, then the Liberal Democrats will cause havoc in the two main parties. If the Lib Dems win a significant number of seats, they will make Brexit near impossible to deliver.

In Scotland the drive will be independence, with the evil of Brexit the issue to resolve by backing the SNP, who are likely to win back many of the seats they lost in 2017. In Northern Ireland it will not be about basic Brexit, it is a  Remain nation, but about the all Ireland economy and way of life. There will be a likely tilt towards Irish unity and away from old style unionism.

But the most likely element of Election 2019 will be the unexpected. In other words anything can happen and for sure it will.


Brexit Chaos: Now A Three Way Political Duel

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Boris wants an election, but does not have the votes. Even some Tories are scared. Labour as usual says Yes but No. Yes it wants an election but not till no deal is ‘off the table’. It will wait to see what the EU decides about an extension. The EU says Yes to an extension but not for how long. They will decide that when things in Westminster become ‘clearer’. They may have to wait quite a while. We have been waiting over three years.

What happens next?

I have absolutely no idea.