You wait ages for a blog post, and two come along in ten minutes, eh? I type when I’m nervous.
So here are first thoughts, on what will prove to be a messy few months.
- Immigration is truly a problem, but this was not the solution.
Immigration has become a problem, and in truth, a good deal of it is because of foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs. I know that sounds unpopular, but the issue with immigration is just that in many places. Immigration has become a way of businesses and institutions getting cheap workers without having to train anyone. This has created an underclass in traditional working class areas of whites and first and second generation immigrants, often with inadequate education and training. That problem can only be solved by an improvement in our education, and by encouraging or forcing businesses and the public sector to train people more. Until the processes of educating and training our young people change, immigration will be the level it is now, unless we start going all dramatic, and tank the economy in order to reduce it.
- David Cameron acted rashly in resigning.
I’ve always felt safer with Cameron as PM than I have with any other Tory. Mainly because he’s a PR man – he’s got no strong politics, and is always ready to change policy if the population creates enough of a fuss. Some call it weak, but it also means that with a narrow majority, politicians are actually held to account for individual policies. Wierdly enough, I’ve felt that the country has been more democratic in the last few years than it has been for years. Not that I feel that has been in the interests of the poorest, but it has been more democratic.
But that weakness has resulted in him being weak with his own backbenchers – which is why we had a referendum in the first place. He was so cocksure that he would win, but he’s been proved badly wrong.
In resigning as quickly as he has, he had increased the amount of uncertainty, and that will only be worse for the economy. He should have given himself, and the country, a week at least to think of it. Politicians resigning quickly is the new thing – Gordon Brown, Ed Milliband, Nick Clegg. It’s not worked out well for any of their parties, and for the country as a result. When Harold Wilson lost to Ted Heath, he didn’t resign – and vice versa. They both went on to win the subsequent election. Cameron has broken his party and is walking away – he’s quickly becoming the Chamberlain of the 21st Century.
As to his replacement, I suspect it won’t be Boris – I’m not sure he would even want it this time round. He can’t deliver on his promises and probably doesn’t want to be in the room when that happens. My money’s on Theresa May.
- Jeremy Corbyn is toast
Either that or the labour party is. And it may be anyhow. He was so completely unengaged with the issues that affected the north, that someone else needs to be a fresh voice with a clue as to what the problem is, and hopefully what the solution is. When there is the level of anger that there is against immigration, just saying that immigration is good isn’t going to wash. He should have been saying “we didn’t build enough houses, we didn’t train enough young people, we didn’t fund the NHS enough, and this is not the solution to those problems”. Instead he said how good the EU was, when he didn’t believe it. He’s not a good liar, which is commendable, but he never made much of an effort to find an idea he could believe in , which is not.
- Where Scotland?
Scotland will have another independence referendum, and I suspect the chances are about the same as last time. It will happen soon enough, so that it won’t actually leave the EU, but remain in the EU before the rest of the UK go.
So will it be a Yes or No? It depends on the deal that the UK gets, and the deal that Scotland would get if it stayed. My feeling is that the EU will have to punish the UK for leaving, otherwise it will be committing suicide. Anything other than a punitive trade agreement would mean a number of EU member states leaving. Now if Sturgeon is as smart as I think she is (although I don’t share her politics) she might be able to translate that into a very good deal within the EU for Scotland. In which case, if there is a concrete deal to think about with the EU, it might mean that Scotland could swallow using the Euro, and have fewer fears about the collapse of oil revenues. Without that, I suspect the referendum will be largely as it was last time.
- Post-Fact Politics
Marco Rubio, in one of the Republican leadership debates said at one point, “these are the facts, people” To which members of the crowd shouted “we don’t want facts”. I shuddered, and thanked the Lord that we don’t live in such a democracy.
Oops. Gove said “we’ve had enough of experts” and apparently he was right. The truth bounced off the rhetoric of the Brexit camp, who were simply producing lies, concerning Turkey, the amount we will save from leaving the EU, jobs, trade. They weren’t just grey areas, they were deliberate untruths. And people believed them, not because they weighed them up, but because they felt so disenfranchised by politics that they clung on to the silver buller/big reset button that was offered.
Perhaps in the months to come, I’ll be proved wrong and we’re on the path to the sunlit uplands of independent prosperity. But likely the economy will suffer, and either we will realise that truth matters – or, as perhaps I fear, we will simply leap to the next fictional silver bullet, from the next charismatic liar that comes on the scene.