“Release the Lion” – let’s unleash him now, before the election!
It’s the start of yet another week of electioneering, yet another week of promises by the competing peacocks, yet another week of ‘punditry’ by MSM journalists. I can’t quite make up my mind if the election strategists of the two main parties think that we voters are truly so childlike that we believe their shiny promises or if they are only playing to the ranks of the MSM, the TV show hosts and the twitterati.
Brexit, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, has become a formula, a pawn in this election. Labour’s strategists have now decided to become the Remain Party – not officially, but their top politicians have made it clear over the weekend that, with the exception of their ‘neutral’ leader Corbyn, they would back ‘Remain’ once they are in power. The small fact that the LibDems had been surging in the polls before the GE kicked off properly has of course nothing at all to do with their decision to become the Remain Party – of course not! Labour’s attitude could not be more plain:
“Jeremy Corbyn could be the only frontbencher to be “neutral” on Brexit, as John McDonnell publicly signalled that he would back Remain in a second referendum. The shadow Chancellor said he would not remain neutral in any second EU referendum, […] Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner also refused to say whether a Labour Government would back the new Brexit deal that Mr Corbyn has pledged to negotiate with Brussels. “Well, that’s a hypothetical,” she said. Emily Thornberry, the shadow Foreign Secretary, Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit Secretary, and Diane Abbott, the shadow Home Secretary, have all said they will campaign for Remain against a Labour Brexit deal.” (paywalled link)
Oh yeah right: supporting ‘Remain’ is ‘hypothetical’ as long as a Labour PPC might win votes by lying to the electorate about what Labour will campaign for in that 2nd referendum they so democratically offer us idiot voters. Labour is already back-pedalling when they hint that this negotiation would now take six, not three months:
“Labour plans to negotiate a new Brexit deal within six months with a UK-wide customs union and close alignment with the single market. This would then be put it to the public alongside a Remain option in a referendum.” (paywalled link)
The Tories ‘unveiled’ their manifesto yesterday and this is what they’re ‘promising’ about Brexit:
“Mr Johnson promises to bring his deal back to parliament before Christmas to leave the EU in January. The party pledges not to extend the transition period beyond 2020, banking on striking a free-trade agreement within a year. They want deals with the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan done within three years, covering 80 per cent of trade. To blunt one of Jeremy Corbyn’s main attacks, the Tories say that “when we are negotiating trade deals, the NHS will not be on the table”.” (link, paywalled)
I’ve trawled through that shiny document to find anything about our Armed Forces and our continuing commitment to that EU Army. You have to scroll to page 52 – here is the whole text – to find a short list of bland promises for the Armed Forces. All very welcome, but there’s nothing about the EU Army. It’s not even mentioned in their ‘Get Brexit Done’ policies.
But then again, that manifesto is solely aimed at keeping Labour out. That is a valid concern, but trying to out-spend Labour is futile. No sooner did the nation receive these Tory promises (non-paywalled report here) from more nurses to more houses, Labour came back with this:
“Labour will attempt today to trump the Tories’ offer to first-time buyers with a promise to compel developers to sell homes at half-cost. Last week Boris Johnson offered those keen to buy their first home in their local area a discount of up to 30 per cent as part of his housing policy.” (link, paywalled)
We’ll see if the huge building conglomerates will do what the power companies have already done:
“Two of Britain’s largest power companies have transferred the ownership of their businesses offshore to protect themselves against renationalisation proposed by Labour. National Grid and SSE, who together own the country’s gas and electricity transmission networks, said they had started overseas holding companies in the wake of Labour’s plans to bring them under state ownership.” (link)
We ordinary voters don’t have the opportunity to move ‘offshore’. We can only look aghast at the promises made to buy our votes. Here is a brief non-paywalled analysis while this summary is interesting for a reason I’ll explain:
“The Prime Minister made it clear he will not enter a spending competition with Jeremy Corbyn as he unveiled an unapologetically cautious programme. While Labour would increase taxes to pay for an £83 billion increase in spending, the Tories will spend just £3 billion extra per year, or £1 for every £28 Mr Corbyn would take from workers and businesses. However, Mr Johnson said money will be made available, through borrowing, to “release the lion from its cage” after Brexit by spending £100 billion on infrastructure by 2025. Mr Johnson said he would do so without increases in income tax, National Insurance or VAT, whereas Labour’s plans involve 12 tax rises and £400 billion in borrowing – not including up to £300 billion for nationalisations.”(paywalled link)
Look at what is being said: no tax increases, yay, and also no increases to VAT, yay – or shouldn’t that be ‘WTF’? Isn’t VAT a tax imposed by the EU? Would we not, after Boris’ BRINO, be allowed to decrease this so that ordinary voters have a bit more in their wallet? Wouldn’t that be a nice little ‘Brexit bonus’ to dangle in front of our eyes? It’s what they are not saying that is important!
The Tory manifesto is only slightly less blatant when trying to bribe us voters in the usual way – a bribery paid for by money both the Tories and Labour will be taking from our pockets one way or another. The daylight robbery is breathtaking:
“The huge sums being pledged during this election campaign are thought to be unprecedented in modern times. The Conservatives’ plans for spending amount to the biggest Tory rise in state expenditure, as a proportion of GDP, since Harold Macmillan. Yet they are dwarfed by Labour, with Mr Corbyn yesterday pledging another £58 billion to compensate female pensioners – a policy that was not even included in the party’s manifesto.” (paywalled link)
Does it matter who is going to pay for this? What are a few more billion between friends – Labour needs the votes of the wimmin! There are still two-and-a-half weeks to go where the establishment parties can and will promise to outspend each other just to get our votes. But why should we believe them to keep their promises when they did not keep their promise to implement Brexit?
Finally – it’s a red-star day in my political calendar! I agree with something Tony Blair will be saying today! This is unprecedented, but where he’s right he’s right:
“Mr Blair will deliver a speech today where he will define the current state of British politics as “utterly dysfunctional”. The former British leader […] will say that voters should consider this election seat by seat, describing the General Election as “650 mini elections. […] In other words, both parties want to win on the basis that whatever your dislike of what they’re offering, the alternative is worse.” (link)
Forget his blatant attack on the Tories – he would say that, wouldn’t he! Forget his qualified support for Labour – he would, wouldn’t he! But this is true: this election must be fought by us Leavers seat for seat. Do we want a Remain Parliament again? Do we want ‘socialism in one country’? Above all, do we trust Johnson to ‘deliver Brexit’?
The next weeks will be hard, but it’s our turn to have a say. We must use our votes wisely and not be swayed by shiny baubles, by glittering promises or by the next Project Fear scenarios which will surely be forthcoming. We must fight for Brexit, seat by seat. There’s no alternative, so: