You Should Have Worn Blue.

As my facebook status so coherently says (typed in an entirely rational state of mind this morning, obviously) – what fresh hell is this??? We’ve been plunged into a Trump-stained, red-coloured nightmare of epic proportions. It’s like a comedy of errors being played out in a political life support unit. The press are going to have a field day with this; the whole WORLD is going to have a field day. We’ve watched from across the pond as Trump blunders through life, political opponents and foreign relations with some of the most unstable countries in the world, feeling reasonably smug about our own politics. It may not have been the most sophisticated helm in the world – but at least we had one. Well, not any more. The snap election has certainly snapped those critical bolts holding our metaphorical keel on.

Theresa May took a gamble, and not an entirely unreasonable one as we sailed towards the tumultuous Brexit, but the gamble has not paid off and our entire political structure will suffer as a consequence. Jeremy Corbyn may look like a gleeful cat poised over a bowl of cream right now, but folks – this is the man who couldn’t get his own core cabinet together the DAY BEFORE an historic general election. He allowed that poor woman to stumble and trip over herself during critical interview after critical interview. We all laughed at the time, but the fact is that a leader in control of his party should never have allowed that to happen. I’ve had the dubious pleasure of reading the Labour manifesto and it reads like a list to Father Christmas.

-          Free schools for everyone and lots of them!

-          Free school meals for every single state pupil in primary school!

-          Secure homes for everyone!

-          Safer communities!

-          Oh, and a magically resuscitated NHS with reinforced capacity for the sick and the aged, please.

So, one might ask, how is this miraculous revolution of daily life in Britain going to be funded? By taxing the wealthy. And what are they to be taxed on? Gardens. Yes, gardens. You read correctly. Jeremy Corbyn obviously had a ‘eureka!’ moment as he climbed out of the bath one morning and surveyed his not insubstantial lawn. People like gardens, people spend a lot of time in their gardens, he must have thought, rubbing his chin, and some people spend a lot of money and effort on making their garden exactly the way they like it. So good old Jeremy Hood thought “Brilliant! Let’s start charging people for the privilege of sitting in their own patch of land! Let’s call it a Land Value Tax.” Fool proof plan. And I’ve over-simplified it, but that is the bottom line and it shows a worrying mindset. In fact, it reminds me of the window tax of 1696 and therefore the lack of political evolution from the Labour Party.

And if we burrow down further into some of their policies, we start to see what they’re actually promising. The social security for everyone translates as ‘dignity for pensioners and ‘dignity for those who cannot work’. So we can’t support you in your hour of need like we suggested, BUT we’re going to do our damndest to make you feel good about it. Vague mentions of foreign ‘systems’ implies a borrowed construction of tried and tested policies – failsafe in other words. But Jeremy, you cannot just transport another nation’s modus operandi over here on a whim and expect it to slip easily into British culture. We have mention of the Australian system, Germany and the Nordic countries make an appearance and so, bizarrely, does the lone wolf BHS scandal. A cheap shot attempting to typify the instability of all long-term business growth plans. But not to worry, because we’re going to have a brand new National Investment Bank. Yes indeed! And this shiny new ‘public institution’ toy will bring in private capital finance to create £250 billion of lending power. Yeah, ok then, call me cynical but each new pledge from the Labour party comes across as little more than an untethered idea.

And Mrs May – you don’t escape either. You have demonstrably failed to lead your party to victory, and from someone who was confident enough in their own success and stability to voluntarily call a General Election, this is worrying. You refused to play by the rules, you wouldn’t enter debates with your political opponents, you rejected recorded interviews in favour of gadding about the country, meeting constituents. You forgot that you are not a film star, but a politician, and you had a duty to those people. A duty which has not been carried out. You should have reinforced your clear, calm strategies, you should have allayed fears and explained policies. You should have made it crystal clear that a Conservative government is the only one which can deliver on its promises by demonstrating recent successes. You probably shouldn’t have threatened to rip up the HRA, and frankly, you should have worn blue.

We are now in a chaotic, political hinterland of uncertainty as we move ever closer to Brexit. We have a shocked and shaken Theresa May who is facing calls to resign and a gleeful Corbyn who can’t believe his luck. What will happen next is anyone’s guess.

But as with most clouds, there is a silver lining to this if we look closely enough. Statistics have shown that voter turnout for 18-24 year olds was around 72% in this 2017 General Election. What this shambolic state of affairs has managed to secure is a renewed interest and enthusiasm from the young voters. These people are engaging with politics, they are showing that they care deeply and are listening to our political parties, they are forming their own views. And this shows us that even though we haven’t had the result that we hoped for, our prized, democratic process is alive and well, functioning against all the odds – and that is something to be truly proud of.

 

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