Friday, June 30, 2017

{UAH} A new Britain is stirring and it is the Tories who will reap the whirlwind

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A new Britain is stirring and it is the Tories who will reap the whirlwind

Theresa May's vision for the UK as set out in the Queen's Speech is small, narrow and nasty but she will soon find the public mood is against her – and no wheat field to which she runs will provide an escape

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The Independent Online

So it begins.

A few days after discovering that although there's no magic money tree for nurses there's one growing in Whitehall with £1bn on it for the Democratic Unionist Party, Theresa May has got her Queen's Speech through Parliament. 

Her small, narrow, and nasty vision for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be made manifest over the coming months, at least so far as a threadbare legislative programme will allow.

The Prime Minister who said "Brexit means Brexit" because "the British people have made a decision" plainly has every intention of ignoring the decision they made about her and her policy programme on 8 June. 

Explicitly asked by May to deliver a mandate for her hard Brexit and thus to legitimise a path that all but the most extreme Leave campaigners fought shy of during the EU referendum, the Great British public refused to give her one. 

In fact, her divisive and morally bankrupt Government was rejected by a thumping majority of voters, denying her a majority in Parliament in the process.  

Some of her supporters have taken to bleating that she still won because the Conservatives took the most seats. 

But consider this. What the Prime Minister derided as a "coalition of chaos" – Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Plaid Cymru – secured nearly 53 per cent of the vote. 

Her own shabby little coalition with the DUP, constructed to get her spartan, Brexit-dominated, two-year agenda over its first fence, managed to win the support of little more than 43 per of the electorate. Even Ukip's sorry little band of supporters would only get her to 45 per cent.

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Conservative-DUP deal: In 60 seconds

British voters rejected her request, and her party, more decisively than they rejected the EU during the referendum on membership. She won the most seats only by dint of an increasingly antiquated and undemocratic electoral system. 

In response, May is proposing to pretend that it simply didn't happen. The member for Murdoch Central, Michael Gove, even had the gall to claim that her Tories would govern "in the national interest". 

What their marriage of convenience with the DUP decisively proves, as if anyone really needed it to, is that they will govern now and always solely in the interests of the Conservative Party. 

Unfortunately for that party, another Britain is stirring. 

It is tolerant. It is open-minded. It rejects a Government whose stale core still harks back to the 1980s.

It has no truck with the carping and bitter Britain that belches forth daily from the Tory tabloids. It has no desire to live in Daily Mail leader-land. 

It has no time for a party whose leaders would accuse a BBC interviewer of lacking patriotism just for asking questions, as the increasingly ridiculous Angela Leadsom recently did. It looks on such Trumpian tactics with disdain. 

As for the shallow band of swivel-eyed ideologues, ambitious chancers and incompetent public school rakes that defines the Government, and guides its direction? It rejects such offal.

May's current tactic in response to the rise of this alternative Britain is to run into the nearest wheat field to shield herself from it, surrounded by a protective phalanx of policemen and women while she does. But she will not be able to ignore it forever because it is growing in strength and numbers. 

It has values, where she and her colleagues do not. It cares about the disadvantaged and the dispossessed and wants to do better by them. It doesn't mind paying a bit more in tax to ensure that happens. 

It is multiracial, and comfortable with it. It is young. That's not to say there aren't older people who are a part of it. But it is driven by youthful energy. 

This other Britain will not be content to stay in its box if the May Government persists with its threats to wreck the economy by sailing off into the North Sea. It will not stand by as the Prime Minister attempts to appease the bug-eyed band of ideologues that has been tweaking the tail of the Tory party for the past three decades. 

It will not sit back as high-rise buildings burn and people die due to the Government's failure to fund fire-resistant cladding. It will not allow Britain to turn in on itself. 

Saner heads in the Conservative Party might care to reflect on this, because if they do not, they will reap the whirlwind. 

That could happen sooner than anyone thinks. The last election was just the beginning. 

I still have my doubts about Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of this new Britain. I still believe he has something to prove before he is worthy of the crowds that belt out "oh Jeremy Corbyn" with such gusto. 

But if he's the man to tear up the depressing programme that the May Government has taken its first step towards enacting, and if he is prepared to embrace a big tent while so doing, then let's hope he gets into Downing Street sooner rather than later. 

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