Election now?

Unless turkeys vote for Christmas, there will not be a UK General Election (GE) in 2022[1]. Well, I say that assuming that there will not be a total and utter breakdown of the governing political party. In the current state of play that event is within the realms of possibility. However, with a sizable remaining majority in the House of Commons, the Conservatives intend to continue regardless of their habit of swapping out party leaders.

It was pointed out to me that since the changes made to the UK Electoral Commission[2] earlier in the year, it’s much to the Conservative Party’s advantage to use their new powers to their benefit. The Electoral Commission is the “independent” organisation that oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. Ministers now have much more influence over the workings of the Commission.

There’s more than one Commission in the mix too.  The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is in the process of coming up with a new map of proposed Parliamentary constituencies. From the 8th November, members of the public will be able to view and comment on new constituency boundaries. With this boundary review underway there’s little incentive to have an early UK GE.

Embarrassingly, Parliament will have to debate a public petition[3] that is signed by about half a million people. So shocked are people by the ineptitude of this Conservative Government, this petition calls for an immediate UK GE.

The calling of an early UK GE is at the discretion for the sitting Prime Minister (PM), whoever that might be. So, as I’ve said the case for a turkey voting for Christmas pertains.

Certainly, winter national elections are not popular amongst political party activists. The shorter days and weather conditions often make conventional campaigning activities like doorstep canvasing difficult to do. There’re other complexities too. For an election held in December, the notice of election will be published before the deadline for publishing the revised electoral register.

There are, and there have been unprecedented crises threatening the UK. The new PM’s team looks and acts febrile and inept, but it looks like we are stuck with them for a while longer.

POST: Reports from Birmingham are that the supernova like explosion of the Conservative party is indeed a possibility.


[1] The 2019 General Election was held on Thursday, 12 December 2019. It resulted in the Conservative Party receiving a majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons.

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/electoral-commission-elections-bill-independence-b2067888.html

[3] https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/619781

Do something

Understanding British reticence is part of understanding Brexit. This phenomenon is not new. Not new at all. It maybe culturally embedded. There’s an array of wonderful cartoons from Punch on the theme.

The late 1950s were peppered with such an inclination to paint a colourful picture: “You’ve never had it so good[1]” but closing a blind eye to unemployment, industrial stagnation, threatening Russians, and the aftermath of Suez. Substitute inflation for unemployment and Brexit for Suez. It’s all too familiar.

The early 2020’s is the era of unwillingness to do something about Brexit or talk about its damaging impact. All the time knowing that an accumulation of evidence all points one way. The nation is playing the 3-monkeies, in pretending that the facts don’t matter. It’s a lack of moral responsibility on the part of politicians who refuse to accept facts, looking the other way or faking ignorance.

Today, we see that Britain’s Brexitism, if there is such a word, is dedicated to a permanent anti-European sentiment. We see it in national newspapers like The Telegraph all the time. We hear it from would be political leaders. I’d even say we smell it.

This is done by politicians and establishment figures to preserve the sanctity of the 2016 referendum and as a means of explaining daily political failures. There must be a wild European ogre on the horizon otherwise the danger is that people might blame Brexit.

There are more successful times when the national code was discretion, pragmatism, and realism. These options have been thrown out of the window by the true believers in power. Such wise options are seen as “lefty” or U-Turns.

Johnson’s Government has capitalised on British reticence. Indications are that his successor will do the same, if not more so. The ideology of Brexitism is an over-simple belief. Which maybe explains why it spawns so many meaningless political slogans.[2] If it was complicated or in touch with reality the ideology would be more difficult to sustain. Hence the Brexiters inclination to capitalise on British reticence.

The means to break this destructive chain, whose links go from bad to worse, is radical change. The important part is that it must be change that the British people want. I suspect the conditions of that change are brewing. The next General Election must not be more of the same but under a different colour. There must be higher matters on the table when the country next decides.

POST: For balance, I’ll put the case for the Brexiters. The Brexit project has failed because the “liberal” and “lefty” establishment and outsiders that have sabotaged it. That is the civil service, the unions, the opposition parties, the judges, lawyers, the media, including the BBC, the banks, including the Bank of England, industrialist, immigrants, local government and anyone who isn’t a Brexiter and those countries that are punishing the UK. If that doesn’t work they then blame Harry and Megan. Yes, it is that mad.


[1] Conservative slogan in 1959.

[2] Get Brexit Done. Brexit means Brexit.

Coming election

A moment of pure speculation. Barring a military take over, there will be a UK General Election before January 2025. When we have such national elections about 70% of the voting population get sufficiently motivated to put a cross in a box on a ballot paper. Yes, a few doodle or write “none of the above” on their papers but it’s a tiny number that go as far as to protest their frustration.

It’s always a good time for public relations agencies, tabloid newspapers and political gurus. The potential for appallingly cringemaking headlines and earworm like slogans is manifold. Some of these folks will be writing pages of forthcoming books on “how it was won” long before it was won.

Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken the role of caretaker to a new extreme. He’s more of a couldn’t care less taker of the p*** PM. The forthcoming election will be a race between at least three horses and maybe even four. Conservatives, Labourites, Liberal Democrats and one or two Greens will be trying to capture the high ground and launch themselves on the doorsteps of the UK. 

The issues will be stark. Armageddon isn’t on the cards, yet, but there will be dire circumstances as a background to the future campaign. Each party will be saying the other is an incompetent bunch of nincompoops. Each party will be stressing their unique qualities and indisputable solutions to all and sundry. A daily routine of shifting news stories will be a bombardment of severe intensity.

Free speech is a first principle of democracy. That said, I’ll bet that there will be an acute reluctance amongst competing politicians to mention one six-letter word. I almost wrote competing “pelicans”. Now, that conjures up an image of huge birds fighting over an unfortunate fish.

In the idea world candidates will be engaging in polite discussions with those who hold different views and hoping to persuade them of a view they hold dear. In the idea world candidates would avoid denigrating or insulting those who hold views that are difficult to understand.

The six-letter word is – Brexit. All the objective evidence points to the failure of this project. It’s clear the current Conservative Government is frightened of people saying Brexit has failed. In complete antithesis to free speech, they are clamping down on civil servants and those who work with Government to ensure they don’t highlight Brexit facts.

Come the next General Election the inevitability of tribalism and short termism will kick in. The UK’s voting system encourages polarisation. There’re absolutely no nuances. Debate on Brexit is likely to get squeezed to the side-lines as Conservatives and Labourites pretend it can still work.  

To unlock a better future for everyone we do need Proportional Representation. Otherwise, the same old, same old will haunt the country for years to come. The fight needs to be for honesty.

Was I right, or was I right? Fishy parrot

Brexit & Aviation 110

If it happens, leaving the European Union (EU) does not mean that the UK will not have a vital relationship with the organisation in the future.  Sorry about the double negative.  The simple indisputable facts of geography, cultural heritage, shared history, political experience and social bonds mean that a closeness exists that goes way beyond relationships with other places.

Unravelling the UK’s EU membership is only at its beginning and yet it’s proving to be painful and tortuous.  Just now, there’s the possibility of another extension to the initial part of the process.  This possess more choices for Prime Minister Johnson as he twists and turns on the Brexit spit.

There’s hammering on and attempting to leave the EU on 31 October with “No Deal” and then blaming all and sundry.   Genuine short-term thinking in the extreme.  There’s continuing with the detailed Parliamentary scrutiny of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) in the hope that it will not take long or be too mean a radical reshaping of the deal.

Finally, there’s stopping the WAB’s scrutiny process with the aim of provoking a UK General Election (GE) and making Christmas 2019 one no none will want to remember.  As in 2017, with the faint hope that one political Party or another will rule the roost as we go into the New Year.

This weekend, the indications are that the last option is taking shape.  Monday may bring a “yes” or “no” to the prospect of a winter election.  Certainly, winter is coming.

When UK Ministers talk of the fantastic opportunities there are for new free trade deals all over the world there’s a tendency to forget aviation and the aerospace industries.  By its nature aviation is a global business.  Within that mobility is nothing new.  Go to Seattle or Toulouse and there’s many Brits who have made their home in those cities.

The term: “Brain Drain” was prevalent throughout my early education[1].  It was when highly qualified British engineers and scientists were attracted to leave the UK to work on exciting well-funded projects and for better prospects in other Countries.  Even in the early 1980s, when I graduated as a young engineer many of my colleagues left these shores and didn’t return.

If it happens, I’d dearly love to be optimistic about post-Brexit prospects in the UK, but the signs are not good.  Amongst politicians and public alike, not only is there an endemic backward-looking nostalgia but also a lack of realism about the nature of the international cooperation needed to succeed in the future.

Today, the economic situation is different from the 1970s, but the weaknesses of that time like; low productivity, short-termism and the lack of a common vision remain with us.  Brexit is the wrong medicine for our ailments.

[1] http://doc.ukdataservice.ac.uk/doc/6099/mrdoc/pdf/6099uguide.pdf