Warning: Contains Politics. The Jo Johnson Effect

I don’t like to do political rant, but I’m going to anyway.

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Here’s my opinion. I’ve been struggling to understand what is going on in Westminster these days. Obviously plain old little old me doesn’t have an inside view, but I like to think I can read between the lines as well as the next person. It’s just that lately I can’t, I can’t follow the thinking and I’m struggling to see where the benefit is in the end game for some of the main players.

May I think I understand. I’ve always thought she had the instincts of a tyrant, her time in the Home Office was a strong indicator, her time as PM reinforced my belief. She works to constrain parliament’s power, she spends public money to prevent a court case that will increase the legal understanding of the nation’s position with regards to Article 50. Become the PM and declare there will be no election then hold an election? Fine. Lose your majority and pull a billion pounds out of the money tree you said did not exist? Fine. Just carry on and ignore everything behind you. As long as May’s in charge all is well in May’s world. And I think that’s it, and it’s all she wants – to be in charge. Of what is irrelevant. You win some, you lose some, it’s all the same to her.

Corbyn is harder to fathom. Man of the people, man of the underdog, the man I so very much wish I could support. Most of the time an invisible silent man too. The man who won’t speak out against electoral wrongdoing. And Brexit for him is irreversible. In the perfect self-fulfilling prophecy the man with the greatest ability to stop it says it’s inevitable and cannot be stopped. He also says he wants “a social Europe with inclusive societies that work for everyone and not just for a few” but he also wants to throw away the most powerful tool at his disposal to help bring that about – membership of the EU.

What is going on? I don’t understand.

There’s a vocal group of people who say Brexit is Brexit, we had the vote, we’re going to leave. Fair enough, it’s a point of view and a firm opinion. But to my mind opinion needs to be moderated by fact and as far as I can make out leaving the EU will, however it happens, leave the UK economically and politically weaker, and possibly regulatorily in thrall to the EU – Jo Johnson’s choice of  “vassalage and chaos”

It also seems to me this group don’t care how we leave as long as we do. Consequences are irrelevant, we voted, we go. And politically we’re not far off from that position. May’s in charge and by hook or by crook she’ll make this thing happen for ill or for worse. I say that because by now it is clear that our two leave options are bad or very bad. Why would any Prime Minister take us down those paths? Again, I do not understand, and meanwhile Corbyn treads water, keeps his head down, and says and does nothing.

Am I simply wrong or are politicians, Prime Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition, meant to be different to this? Is not the PM not meant to be working for the good of the nation? Right now I don’t see that. In fact except for a few praiseworthy individual voices across the political spectrum I don’t see that at all, and nowhere in leadership of our two biggest political parties. Props however to the Lib-Dems however for playing the voice of Cassandra: “This is wrong, we should stop, can’t you see?”  The voice in the political wilderness.

Apparently they are not. But why not? Why can’t or won’t actually lead? May in particular is not leading, she is following, with apparently any concern for the harm she knows she is bringing to the nation she is supposed to guide and lead subsumed by her inner desire for the retention of power and position. Or perhaps she actually genuinely wants this outcome. Dear Gods let’s hope that is not true. But again, if not, why do this? Why abandon leadership of party and nation and become little more than an errand-girl implementing a self-destructive  policy she herself once campaigned against. And Corbyn, he seems to want it too.

Here comes Jo Johnson to give us a few clues. Now, I must say that when this particular Johnson  resigned I applauded him, a man of principle finally no longer able to keep silent and all the better for coming around to my own point of view. But read his letter of resignation and he says “I have never rebelled on any issue before now.”

Hang on, isn’t he supposed to represent his constituents? Of course in our system he is free to represent them as he sees fit, but as a minister, as part of the government of the day and being on the government payroll he is also obliged to vote as the government decides. Note, gentle reader, this is true for any minister, senior or junior, and in fact paid or unpaid. Once you’re part of the government you vote as you’re told or you resign. Talk about a conflict of interest. How can that be the best way for Johnson or any MP to represent their constituents when in effect you have become an errand-boy?

And meanwhile both May and Corbyn pursue their Miltonian ‘better to reign in Hell’ policies. It seems perhaps they are not so different after all. If they get what they want it will a hell of their own making.

Jo Johnson ’s right about one thing though: “ My constituents…deserve better than this from their Government.” No shit, Mr Johnson, no shit.

They deserved better than you, for all your admittedly laudable late-coming conscience, better than our government, better than our quasi-democratic political system of power and privilege and self-interest and hierarchies and secrets and toothless oversight and opaque finance and knowing lies and broken promises. What we deserve is a political revolution. Come the day, come the day.

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Comments

Warning: Contains Politics. The Jo Johnson Effect — 1 Comment

  1. (Sigh.) I don’t get it either. I do support Corbyn on many things, but on this he is wrong. He should be out there campaigning for a proper people’s vote, one in which ‘remain in the EU’ is an option. It’s not too late… yet.

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