THEY ALL LOST …. The most peculiar of modern General Elections produced the most peculiar of results. Everybody lost.
You wouldn’t know it from the BBC but Labour have just lost their third General Election in a row, by over 50 seats. They failed to win against one of the most inept, self-destructive election campaigns ever run by a sitting government. The Conservative’s 2017 Manifesto now rivals Labour’s in 1983 as ‘the longest suicide note in history’. Labour were assisted by the BBC’s blatant left-wing bias; its audience selection, its campaign reporting and its utter failure to scrutinise Labour’s policies. Labour managed to win just 4 seats more than ‘Crash’ Gordon did in 2010 (described at the time by one Jeremy Corbyn as ‘a disaster’.) On the bright side by not losing as badly as expected, Corbyn has quashed the Blair/Mandelson project for a new pro-EU ’SDP’ type party, formed from Blairite Labour MP’s and remnants of the LibDem’s. There are encouraging signs that some of Corbyn’s supporters are beginning to realise that their plans for wholesale nationalisation will not be possible if we remain under the EU’s Single Regulatory Regime (the so-called ’single market‘).
‘The problem with all socialist governments is that sooner or later they run out of other people’s money …….’ (Margaret Thatcher)
The ‘Remain’ parties that are most in denial about the results of the recent referenda (the LibDems and SNP), were both defeated decisively. In Mid-Dorset & North Poole, Michael Tomlinson increased his majority by 5000 (many of them UKIP votes); this time its not to be Vikki ! Across England and Wales there was a consistent swing against the LibDem’s. Their irresponsible opportunism by putting themselves at the head of the diehard ‘Remainers’, backfired. Their national vote share has fallen from 23% in 2010 to 7.4% in 2017.
‘I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in ……. in which case we are kidding ourselves if we believe we live in a tolerant, liberal, society’ (former LibDem Leader, Tim Farron)
It’s now abundantly clear that while voters may accept the LibDems to look after their kiddies play area, empty their bins etc. they don’t want them anywhere near running the country. The SNP’s reverse means there will be no Scottish independence referendum in the foreseeable future. The vigorous performance by Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives has saved the United Kingdom, at least for the time being.
The Conservatives failed against all expectations, to win a majority against the most divided, discreditable opposition of recent times. Even with UKIP lending Mrs May a significant chunk of its 3,900,000 votes from May 15, the Conservatives still couldn’t get across the line. The Conservatives went out of their way to produce policies to alienate their core supporters. Was it by accident, incompetence, or design ? Having praised Mrs May to the skies in predicting a three figure majority, the hubristic scribes in the Tory press now have egg on their faces. Her poor communication skills, bad judgement and inability to work with others would have shown up much earlier had she faced a proper leadership contest.
Pranksters fixed the letters ‘THERESA’ to the Cerne Giant’s giant phallus days before the June 8th vote. How did they know it was going to be a giant cock-up ?
NOW JUST GET ON WITH IT ….. Mrs May’s personal authority is dented, but her government continues to have a small, but workable majority with DUP support. This means that she will not be able to ignore her backbench MPs, who are overwhelmingly anti-EU. Nothing much has changed on ‘Brexit’; it’s ‘as you were’ and there’s still a job to be done. Thanks to UKIP, the truth is now out there. Any attempt by Mrs May to water down ‘Brexit’ will be exposed by those members of the national press who are now following UKIP’s line (Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, The Sun). The ‘Remain’ supporting media continue to cast the election result as a blow against ‘Brexit’, but the facts prove otherwise.
85% of votes on June 8th went to parties whose manifestos promised to leave the EU and to end ’free’ (ie. uncontrolled) migration from the EU. Five years ago this would have been unthinkable. It’s testimony to how far UKIP has changed the terms of debate. The House of Commons is now the most euro-sceptic ever. 90% of MP’s support ‘Brexit’, at least in some shape or form.
For all their failings, under the banner of ‘Full Brexit’ the Conservatives posted their highest share of the vote (42.4%) since Margaret Thatcher in 1983. They gained nearly 2 million more votes than David Cameron in May 2015. They also gained more votes than Labour in Tony Blair’s ‘landslide’ victory of 1997.
The mandate for Full Brexit remains intact.
THE UKIP PERSPECTIVE …. This was always a highly tactical election. Many UKIP supporters chose to vote tactically for Conservative or Labour candidates to ensure that the referendum result is implemented. UKIP’s 2017 vote does not accurately reflect the true extent of its support. If we do not fully leave the EU in the next 2 years, many voters will return to UKIP.
UKIP’s decision not to stand in certain key marginals probably saved the Conservatives from losing at least another 10 seats, in which case Mrs May wouldn’t have a government. Faced with the most unfavourable of circumstances, UKIP fielded 376 candidates polling 589,000 votes, an average of 1,635 per candidate (3.25% average). UKIP’s vote was about one quarter of its 2015 GE result, but was roughly the same as in the 2010 GE, before the pre-referendum ‘surge’. UKIP was the third party in 124 of 376 seats it contested.
There remains a solid nucleus of support on which the party can build. Our task now is to keep calm, keep UKIP stable and await events. UKIP doesn’t have to do anything dramatic other than to stay afloat, rally around the new leader and avoid infighting at the top.
NO SOFT OPTION …. Having been defeated a second time at the polls, the diehard rump of ‘Remainiacs’ are re-grouping under the banner of ‘Soft Brexit’. It sounds so much nicer than ‘Hard’ (or ‘Brutal’ Brexit, as The Gruaniad calls it), but the intent is to keep us in the EU in all but name. They employ two weapons of mass deception: we must retain ‘free movement’ and we must ‘stay within the single market’. Both sound quite desirable to the ill-informed and are deliberately designed to mislead. The first conveys the idea that outside the EU, no-one will be allowed to travel from ’Europe’ to UK (and possibly visa-versa); the second implies that by not being in the ‘single market’, our trade with Europe will cease. Neither is remotely true.
‘Free movement’ (the visa free travel of national passport holders from EU countries to Britain) will continue when we leave the EU, as it always had done long before the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. What it must not be, is the unrestricted right of 585 million EU citizens (plus unknown numbers who have entered illegally into the EU), to live and work in Britain. The so-called ‘single market’ is the EU Customs Union; a political tool with the express purpose of enforcing a single EU regulatory regime in all business, trade and financial affairs. Not being ‘in’ the EU ‘single market’ does not mean that trade with the EU will cease; it means that trade will continue either through a UK/EU free trade agreement (very much in interests of both parties), or by trading under WTO rules and paying a small tariff (typically between 2.5% – 4 %). That is how most of the world’s major economic powers trade with the EU.
These simple truths must be re-stated every time the ‘Softs’ pop up in the media. They will be aided by a fifth column within our broadcast media whose aim in the next 20 months is to frighten, demoralise and wear down the public’s resistance. With Mrs Maybe’s authority weakened due to her own ineptitude, we are now in the early phases of a guerilla war at Westminster over what sort of ‘Brexit’ we will get. Round One has gone to the ‘Brexiteers’; a motion in the Commons to amend the government‘s ‘Brexit Bill’ and keep Britain in the ‘Single Market’ was defeated by 322 votes to 101. The ‘Softs’ don’t have the numbers but they’ll keep on trying, using chicanery in the House of Cronies (Lords) if necessary.
The tests for Full Brexit could not be clearer. Every piece of information by the ’Leave’ campaign contained four essential demands. They are what 17.4 million British citizens voted for. They are:
1. Full control of UK borders with the EU,
2. No more UK taxpayers cash to Brussels,
3. Restore the law making supremacy of the UK Parliament,
4. Restore the power to make UK trade deals with the rest of the world.
None of these are possible by ‘Soft’ Brexit. ‘Soft’ Brexit’ means No Brexit. There was no box on the referendum voting paper saying: ‘Leave some bits of the EU but Remain in others‘. There is no mandate for the government to agree to such terms.
POSTCARD FROM GEORGIA …… Diana and I have just returned from a fascinating trip to Georgia; a distant land that many have not heard of, but is likely to become better known as it continues to emerge from its post-Soviet legacy. It’s a safe, friendly country, much of it undiscovered with a great deal to offer the adventurous traveller. Hospitality is deeply ingrained in the national culture and foreign visitors are very warmly welcomed. It’s further away than you imagine; beyond Europe’s eastern rim, south of Russia, north-east of Turkey; the gateway to central Asia.
May and June are ideal times to go; temperate weather and the countryside green and fertile, with abundant fresh fruit, herbs, vegetables and vineyards. It’s reflected in their food, which has strong connections to the land and local produce. Georgian wine is also regarded highly, as is their locally made brandy.
The diversity of landscapes is amazing. Much of Georgia is thickly wooded, with rolling hills, fertile valleys and a wide variety of deciduous trees. The Caucasus mountains were breathtaking and still had snow on their tops. We were fortunate to have a sunny day to climb up to the beautiful Gergeti Trinity Church, facing the snow covered cone of the mighty Mount Kazbek (16,000 ft). Greenery is never far away. Even in Tbilisi there are refreshing views of the green hills surrounding the city centre, plus the broad Mtkvari river and the city’s central parks and tree lined boulevards. Tbilisi is a pleasant blend of ancient and modern, with some fantastic 18thC balconied houses lining its narrow streets and alleyways. There are also some eye-popping modernist structures that look as if they dropped out of a spaceship. The new ’Peace Bridge’ is very fine. Tbilisi’s streets have cafés, bars and restaurants in abundance, so you’ll never be short of somewhere nice to eat or drink.
Throughout its history, Georgia has always been a small, fragile country threatened by outside forces. It’s the world’s second oldest Christian country (325 AD). In Soviet times, Georgia’s version of the Eastern Orthodox religion was heavily suppressed, with its churches closed and priests persecuted, murdered or exiled. Since independence (1991) it has re-emerged as an active social force, with full congregations. Many of their churches are incredibly ancient, dating from the 1st millenium. After long spells of Arab, then Persian rule, Georgia entered its ‘Golden Age’ in the 11th and 12thC as an independent kingdom under legendary rulers such as ‘David The Builder’ and ‘Queen Tamara‘. Devastation by the Mongols came in the 13thC, followed by Ottoman Turk rule and then a further brief independence in the 18thC.
Fear and mistrust of their mighty neighbour Russia, is widespread. There is plenty of history to fuel their anxiety. In 1783, the last king of independent Georgia, Erekle II, misguidedly signed a treaty with Russia to gain protection from the Turks. By 1801, the whole country had been taken over by the Russian Empire. After Imperial Russia’s collapse in 1917, Georgia fought bravely for its independence, but was brutally suppressed by the Red Army in 1921 and absorbed into the new Soviet Imperium. These tragic events are detailed in an exhibition in the National Museum in Tbilisi and contain some truly harrowing material.
After freedom was restored in 1991, attempts to ’Georgianise’ the region of Abkhazia (a linguistically separate people) led to a bitter civil war in 1992-93, where the Abkhaz were backed militarily by Russia. Abkhazia became a separate entity from the rest of Georgia, and is now governed from Moscow. In 2008 a similar situation occurred in South Ossetia (another legacy of Soviet ‘divide and rule’ gerrymandering), resulting in a Five Days War with Russia leaving South Ossetia under Russian control. By Gori Castle are 10 foot tall metal sculptures of ’broken soldiers’; a memorial to the 2008 war, when Gori was bombed and occupied. Russia now controls two of the three roads over the High Caucasus into Georgia, giving it a foot on their throat should events not be to their liking.
The 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ brought the pro-Western government of Mikhal Saakashvili, who sought to both modernise Georgia and gain protection by joining Western organisations such as NATO and the EU. Saakashvili lost the 2014 elections to ‘Georgian Dream’, a disparate coalition fronted by eccentric billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, but Associate EU membership was signed in 2014. There is an ostentatious display of EU flags at Tbilisi airport and EU flags are on all civic buildings alongside their national flag. The EU is currently seeking office space for its HQ in Tbilisi. They are also policing the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (within Georgian territory), through the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM). Publicly, this is for humanitarian reasons, but with the EU it’s always a means of gaining political control. Of more practical use to Georgia (but of great concern to Russia) is their recent efforts to build an association with NATO. In May NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly Meeting was held in Tbilisi; whilst not a member, Georgian troops have contributed effectively to NATO missions in Afghanistan.
Georgia’s periods of peace and independence have been few and far between. Fortunately now is such a time, but it might not last. As Georgia seeks new friends in ‘Europe’ to protect it against Russia, it risks becoming a proxy in the new Cold War between the USA, the EU and Russia. Russia continues to regard the Caucasus republics as its legitimate ‘sphere’ of influence. The breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are pawns held by Russia in order to block attempts by Georgia to join NATO and the EU. The situation won’t be resolved any time soon. Nor are Western interests in Georgia altruistic; the pipeline carrying Azerbaijan’s oil from Baku to Turkey runs through Georgia, and the USA is willing to do almost anything to keep it away from Russian control.
Many Georgians seem naïve about the EU‘s motives. It wouldn’t be the first time they have signed a treaty as protection against a powerful neighbour only to find the would-be ’protector’ was no fairy godmother. Their courageous, open hearted people deserve better than the travesty of European values represented by the EU.
Stories You Won’t Hear on the BBC ……
Glastonbury Ga-Ga ….. ‘Is it right that so many people live in such poverty in a society surrounded by such riches ?’ asks Jeremy Corbyn, oblivious to the fact that an awful lot of those rich people (or their offspring) are standing before him in their Hunter wellies. He goes on to denounce Donald Trump, urging him to ‘build bridges, not walls’, conveniently omitting to mention the 4.5 mile, 12 ft high ’super fence’ which surrounds the Glastonbury site in order to keep out the ‘riff-raff’ who can’t afford the £238 entry fee. The BBC posts a fawning piece about his speech, alongside gushing quotes from leading musicians ….. how they would feel if he ever got to implement his tax plans, which would see them paying over 50% of their income to the Exchequer ……’ (Sarah Vine, Daily Mail 26th June)
Not everyone at Glastonbury was star struck by Comrade Corbyn. David Wernick from Essex wrote: ‘His chosen subject was essentially that successful and wealthy people are responsible for the ills of the world ….. this is the politics of hatred and scapegoating. Most people around us looked bored or shook their heads in disbelief. There was no rapturous applause from the 60,000 people at our stage. The cheers only came when the Kaiser Chiefs arrived to rescue us. Shame on Michael Eavis for subjecting us to this, and on the BBC for so misreporting the reaction to Corbyn’s appearance’ (Daily Mail Letters, 3rd July)
‘£459bn has been added to the value of Britain’s leading companies since the Brexit vote a year ago. The FTSE 100 index of blue chip giants jumped 24% while the FTSE 250 index of more domestically focused firms gained 31.5%. The rally has increased UK stocks, boosting the pension pots of millions of workers and investments such as ISAs. The surge has made a mockery of warnings that the stock market would be ‘hammered by Brexit’. (City Mail, 27th June)
Business confidence is booming, driven by increasing faith in the UK .….. British business leaders are more optimistic than at any point in 18 months. Confidence levels have doubled since the Brexit vote last June’ …. (Lloyds Bank Survey, 26th June)
‘Manufacturing demand has surged to its highest level in 30 years, driven by ‘Brexit‘ and a fall in value of the £. Firms order books are now more buoyant than at any time since 1988. (CBI Survey)
The Heat is On …. ‘Multi-millionaires are being handed tens of 1000s £ a year by the government to heat their mansions and swimming pools. Wealthy owners of country estates are rewarded for using excessive amounts of heat, as long as it’s made using ‘green energy’. Some get as much as £50,000 pa so the UK can meet renewable energy targets set by the EU. Rewards increase as the owners use more heat, so profits can be maximised by turning up the temperature and using woodchip-fuelled heating boilers in old farmhouses that are poorly insulated and so use more energy. The extraordinary deal means the landowners are guaranteed to get the payments over 20 years. Almost £800 million has been set aside to cover payments for this year and costs are expected to reach over £1bn by 2020’ (Daily Mail, 28th January)
‘Smog in London is part of a much wider problem of air pollution in Britain. The most deadly element are tiny soot particles called PM2.5s … they can penetrate deep into the lungs and according to the European Environment Agency are responsible for 37,000 premature deaths in Britain a year. Last year, the World Health Organisation found that 39 UK towns and cities had breached safe levels of PM2.5 emissions. And while wood burning stoves might seem a more eco-friendly option, the biggest single source for these particles is wood burning, a third of which occurs in our homes. On 22nd Jan, a team led by Dr Gary Fuller, air pollution scientist at Kings College London, measured the highest levels of PM2.5s in London’s air since 2011, at a time when traffic was relatively light, but many people were at home in front of their wood-burners. Analysis confirmed a high level of particles from wood smoke. Makers of wood burning stoves and boilers have been allowed to circumvent long standing laws aimed at preventing smog. Even worse in the case of boilers, taxpayers are subsidising deadly pollution ….. a situation that is down to one thing; an environment policy fixated on reducing carbon emissions at the exclusion of all other issues …’ (Ross Clark, Daily Express, 27th Jan)
Net migration to the UK in the last 20 years has totalled 5.2 million (3.8 million from outside the EU and 1.4 million from within the EU). The UK population is currently growing at its highest rate ever; a net 538,000 extra people a year. Almost 1 in 10 of the UK population is born overseas. (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, June 30th)
‘The Dept for International Development wage bill has risen 40% in 7 years and now stands at £133mn, with total spending £13.8bn. In 2010 the Dept had 1,822 staff, but this April it had risen to 2,208, while other Ministries were axing jobs and slashing budgets. Half the extra staff have been added since Priti Patel took charge last July … DfID hands out the highest salaries in Whitehall, averaging £53,000 and is one of only three government departments still recruiting …. Miss Patel called for DfID to be abolished before she became Secretary of State, but launched an impassioned defence of the aid target in the run-up to the election, when it appeared that its spending target might be watered down …’ (Daily Mail, 1st July)
Our Branch’s Tea Party to celebrate the First Anniversary of the ‘Leave EU’ vote was enjoyed by all who came, with a splendid array of home-made cakes, and sandwiches. We were fortunate to have such a great guest in Ray Finch MEP. Everyone enjoyed chatting to Ray in a relaxed atmosphere. The raffle, literature sales and other fund raising activity raised useful funds for our branch funds.
The Mid-Dorset UKIP Twitter now has over 1000 Followers, including some from the USA !
Sat 15th July, UKIP Southampton Summer Social, 11.30 pm at The Bright Water PH, Shirley High St. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat 2nd Sept 11.00 am, Chat, Coffee or Snack at Corfe Coffee, 137 Wareham Road, Corfe Mullen, BH21 3HH. Contact Dave Evans, 01202-602856
Fri 29th, Sat 30th Sept: UKIP National Conference, The Riviera Centre, Torquay. Tickets: £25 (2 days), £15 (1 day), from www.ticketsource.co.uk/ukip
Don’t forget to check the monthly Dorset Digest
(obtainable via e-mail) for up to date bulletins
of ‘What’s On’ locally, as well as checking our branch website www.ukipmiddorset.org
Items for next Edition by 30th September to:
John Butler, 20 Nightjar Close, Poole BH17 7YN
e-mail: email@example.com All items in this newsletter are personal views only and do not necessarily represent the views of the UK Independence Party Mid-Dorset & North Poole