And so this is ChristmasDate: December 15th, 2019 in General Comment
Friday 13th was lucky for some, those who wanted Brexit done have given Boris Johnson a massive mandate to get on with the job.
I sat in front of the new leader of the Conservative Party at the Birmingham conference in 2016 and listened to Mrs May promising that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and saying that the vote for it was a clear message that for a lot of people, government was not delivering the things they needed. She wanted to focus on ‘the good government can do’ - she failed to deliver on her promises and went to the country on the strength of strong personal support in the opinion polls but with a bad manifesto and an abysmal campaign. The result was a government which was divided on brexit and hanging on to power with the good will of the Democratic Unionist Party. This, along, with the remainers in the party, led to paralysis in parliament.
Boris Johnson succeeded her and changed that. Instead of hiding from the public he has been out campaigning, touring the country, and putting new life into the party. The deadwood of remainers has gone – no longer will be hear Anna Sourby MP on the BBC and some of the dinosaurs of the party have become extinct. In 2016 Mrs May wheeled Michael Hesseltime out of deep freeze onto stage to support her, and in the end he was calling for people to vote for the Lib Dems who promised to repeal article 50.
Brexit was the big factor in the election. Jeremy Corbyn, despite being a long term critic of the EU, chose to sit on the fence at at time when uncertainty is costing Britain billions. Meantime a large number of people who voted remain accepted that the majority was for leaving, and it has to be done sooner rather than later.
The Labour slogan was a good one – for the many not the few – unfortunately the man selling it lacked credibility and the promise of ‘free’ internet and a return to nationalised industries did not win people’s hearts and minds. It was a grand programme but one that could not be realistically delivered.
The best ammunition Corbyn had was a leaked report on the negotiations with the USA for a post brexit trade deal which he claimed involved ‘selling the NHS’ – it didn’t and claims the conservatives want to do that have been used repeatedly in the past and are worn out lies.
Certainly funding the NHS will be a big issue. New drugs are expensive and an aging population means increased costs. Successive governments have failed to invest in training and the whole system is badly organised. More money will help but is not the final solution to providing healthcare comparable to other first world countries and services people want.
Looking at the figures, the basis is a massive swing from Labour to the Conservatives. The Lib Dems failed to make any impact and the Brexit party was a non entity. Scotland, once a Labour stronghold has continued the trend of voting for the Scottish Nationalist Party further damaging their numbers.
Traditional safe labour seats have turned blue. I am reminded of a comment by a friend in Boston Massachusetts, which is traditionally a Democrat stronghold when one year they elected a Republican governor – she said “we got fed up with the other lot because they were crooks and didn’t deliver, so we thought we would have a change”. The Conservatives now have a term of office in which they can deliver a change for the neglected Labour heartlands, if they do improve things then they may hold the seats gained in the next election.
Outside Downing Street there have been protests by ‘the usual suspects’ with the usual banners from the Socialist Workers Party and the antifa anarchists. But now its time to get on with things and for government to deliver those things it has promised and make the lives of people better.
At some time in the future people will ask ‘so what have you done?’
Lets hope the answer is a good one.
The old year is over, and a new one has just begun.
For the many, but not the Labour few.