Archive for November, 2019

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.