Narrow, insular and utterly irrelevant

Perhaps nothing has served to illustrate just how small minded the UK media and political establishments are than the events of the last few weeks. Narrow, insular and utterly irrelevant hardly even describe the UK “role” in the world.

As the debates raged across the globe about the prospects of the Russians invading Ukraine, here we were given a daily dose of which “party / work event” has now been “discovered” and a side serving of Adele having to cancel some concerts in Las Vegas! Not even a mention of the queues of traffic clogging up the access to the Port of Dover.

The Met, supposedly the cream of UK policing, had declined to investigate the party allegations as they don’t investigate retrospective crimes. Quite how they were going to investigate those which had not been committed yet was never explained. Bu then a mere civil servant, a pen pusher, was called in to investigate the allegations against her own boss and suddenly Cressida had grown a pair and lo, Sue Gray’s report had to be shelved until the Met had finished its “investigations”. 

I’m afraid that the sight and sound of Liz Truss trying to threaten Vladimir Putin is just not something which could, or should, be taken seriously. The idea of her even contemplating running for the top job is just too ludicrous for words. Just try to think back over your lifetime and imagine this airhead trying to sit round any previous cabinet table! She wouldn’t even have been allowed near a selection panel in the Tory Party of that old witch Thatcher!

On a much brighter note we are now seeing the Government begin to prepare for IndyRef2 next year and as the plans are developed and made public, the campaigning will move into a more traditional and visible mode. Many have never stopped campaigning with quiet conversations going on all the time but many of the newer members of the YES family have only seen the big campaigning events, be that rallies, conferences or leaflets and have as a result grown frustrated. 

There will soon be more than enough work to keep everyone busy and the local elections in May will provide another opportunity to flesh out the organisational plans. As Margo said, if each of us convinces just one other person, then we are home and dry.  For many the big events are exciting and a great chance to compare notes with friends old and new. For others it’s the quiet conversations over many perhaps months or even years which slowly move a friend, relative or colleague from hostility to support which gives the most satisfaction. Whatever way you like to campaign there is one sure thing, there’s going to be plenty of work for us all. 

We have been “treated” or perhaps that should be brainwashed by the media telling us how Boris won the last election because a) he’s such a great communicator and campaigner, and b) because the people wanted to get Brexit done.

Now undoubtedly there were many who particularly wanted get Brexit done whether because they thought it was best for them and their vision of country or just because that was the referendum result and it should be honoured. The first one though is maybe a wee bit disingenuous to say the least.

Boris, far from being a great or even half decent campaigner and communicator fought the most cowardly campaign from any leader. When we recall that he refused interviews and debates etc the claim starts to take on a fair amount of water.

So why did he win? In my opinion, which is rarely humble, it’s not so much that he won but that millions were scared of the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as PM. Justified fears or not, I think it’s fairly clear that he was the last straw for many who had been despairing of Labour for many years. After I heard that Barnsley had gone to the Tories in 2019, I was expressing amazement to a Yorkshire born and bred friend who now lives in the Highlands and is a convinced and convincing YESer. She told me that Labour there had gone the same way as Labour in Scotland, treating the voters with disdain and contempt.

 One of the things I have noticed in recent weeks, and I think bears out the above, is that Labour is wrapping itself in Union Jackery. Rarely is there a set piece from them which does not feature the Jack and they have played enormously on the fact that parties took place the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. Apparently, the funerals of “ordinary” people were not important enough. Both play to the fear which many had that Labour under Corbyn was not “patriotic” enough.

Coupled with their betrayal of the Remain arguments (which ironically made Sir Keir Starmer a household name) it means a serious repositioning of Labour’s image. Will it be enough to make people look at them again, to get them close to the keys of No 10? Personally I doubt it. 

Labour are making plenty of noise on “partygate” and one of two things look likely. One is that Boris is forced out of office and the Tories replace him. This ends partygate as an issue and Labour are no further forward because they have made the issue personal rather than political. The other option is that Boris rides out the storm and all Labour will have done is reinforce the idea that the blond buffoon is untouchable. 

Either way Labour loses. The attention, then, potentially turns 180 degrees and the question becomes one of Starmer’s judgement in the way he pursued the whole issue.