Preempting the General Election, 2019(?)

Who should you vote for, and why, or rather why not?

In many ways this will be a rambling post*, and in as many more ways, pointless. It seeks to steer your vote one way (“my way”, of course), while pointing out that voting is based on tribalism, laziness, and often monumental ignorance, and acknowledges that you have already made up your mind and this post is a waste of time.

*As it turned out, a very long ramble!


Here and now, and then…

I live in a Labour stronghold. It has always been a Labour stronghold. Overwhelmingly so. In fact, as far as I can tell, they have held a vice-like grip on the town for nearly a hundred years. The Conservative Party have not had an MP here since 1931. As the saying goes, “you could put a red ribbon on a donkey here and people would vote for it”.

That’s pertinent for two reasons, now.

Firstly, ‘could’. Could being in the past tense. Brexit has changed this. Brexit has changed everything in politics. It has been, to say the least, an eye-opener. People are no longer for “this party” or “that”, they are for Leave, or for Remain. Very few sit on the fence.

This is – was – a mining town, a chemical town, a ‘working class’ town. Like the majority of northern Labour towns it is also a ‘Leave’ voting town. Labour, in their 2017 general election manifesto, promised to honour the referendum. The day after getting their seats, well…

People do not like being lied to, manipulated, deliberately mislead by arrogant ‘elites’ who, in their hubris, consider themselves our “betters”. The Northwest, like our eastern kin in Yorkshire, Humberside and beyond tend to be blunt, straight forward, and no-nonsense sort of folk. Being cannon fodder for royals and the like for centuries, episodes like the War of the Roses, well, I suspect it gets built into your genes. It’s a ‘leaning on a spade, spitting out the side of your mouth and muttering malevolently, “Come up ‘ere an’ say that, chum!”‘ sort of thing.

If we leave the EU – with ‘no-deal’, or with a favourable (NOT May’s) deal, – on time, i.e. 31st October, 2019, maybe – MAYBE – things will return to the old tribal ways, but there’s still a lot of anger and resentment all around, so the old clans (Tory / Labour) will now also battle with the new tribes (Leave/Remain, TBP/LD).

If though, as at present seems likely, we are still in the EU on November 1st, all bets are off!

The current crop of MPs, of all parties, are currently and justifiably scared of a general election. Soon they will be TERRIFIED at the thought. Abject, bed-wetting, brown sheets, terrified of facing the backlash it will unleash. They will not allow parliament to trigger one…

… not because of wording in a deal, or a legal point, or for an extension for a referendum (they’ll either ignore, AGAIN, or else nobble), no. They’ll not allow it because their cosy seats matter more to them than honour, than decency, than democracy, than anything. They know, with butt-clenching certainty, that a great many will be deselected. They won’t allow us that choice, that power over them.

If we are still in the EU on November 1st it will be all out battle on a leave/remain war front.

Leavers, who have rallied around Boris, for now, will, en mass, flood towards The Brexit Party. The Tory will be dead.

The majority of Labour support will also flock towards The Brexit Party because – whether they (the party) accept it or not – Labour is not Labour. It is also not New Labour, it is some horrendous experiment of Marxist liberalism. It is a wholly London-centric party that gleefully cast off its roots. The Labour party is dead.

Labour party, flip-flopping over Leave, also flip-flop over Remain. I really, really cannot stand the Lib Dems, but I’ll give them this much credit, they never moved from a pro-EU stance. Not once. All the remain voters Corbyn and co. hoped to hoover up will stampede towards Lib Dems. Equally, seeing that the Conservatives are sunk, their remain supporters will swing left to the Lib Dems too.

Naturally a core will retain their ‘pin the ribbon on a dead donkey’ mentality and split the votes even more, but it will, without question, be a vicious, dirty us (leave) verses them (remain) campaign.

The second reason is less obvious, and you’d have to follow politics a bit more closely to grasp it, but it goes like this:

An MP is your representative, they represent you in parliament. But do so as they think best. (So, really, represent themselves, ‘me, myself and I’, significantly more than you!)
Now, in an election, it being tribal, and you having absolutely zero choice in who is put forward as the MP, you vote according to party, and maybe manifesto, and accept whatever MP is dumped on you. (Independents aside).

So you vote Labour [x], with (Sir Fred) as the local MP. How it goes.

Unless your MP is exceptional (and very, very, very few are), you do NOT, as a rule, vote Sir Fred [x], who happens to be in the (Labour) party.

But what happens – as is getting ridiculous at present – when Sir Fred decides he doesn’t want to be in the Labour party, He wants to be in The Change Party, but actually, the Change Party did awful, simply awful in the polls and MEP elections, so actually I’ll leave them and join the Lib Dems, as I’m more likely to keep my seat with them.

Being the “right honourable” Sir Fred, does he do the honourable thing and allow a local by-election to see if he (himself, rather than his old party) is really wanted? Does he ****. He claims, in his arrogance, that you voted for HIM, not for his party and anything else means you didn’t know what you voted for. Doesn’t matter if Sir Fred was leave or remain, his (or her) stance will be the same belligerence.

honorable / honourable

“The word honorable has to do with people and actions that are honest, fair, and worthy of respect.

An honorable person is someone who believes in truth and doing the right thing — and tries to live up to those high principles.


My choice is the smart choice!

Well, yes, that would be a tad arrogant. Fact is my choice is NOTA. There are a handful of MPs I respect and trust, like Sir John Redwood, Ph.D, Steve Baker, M.Sc., Kate Hoey, but for the most part, with masses of evidence, I, like most others, consider politicians the world over to be greasy, greedy, self-serving, duplicitous, parasites.

I was thinking about it last night, about party donations.

A lot is said about and against Jacob Reese-Mogg and his business interests, and multi-millionaire status. Less said about, for example, wealthy land-owner Richard Benyon, worth an estimated £110 million. Or many other wealthy politicians, including, yes, Nigel Farage. In the list of the rich and powerful MPs and Peers, Mr Benyon, who was recently booted out the Conservative party, is only around 7th.

Most MPs, it seems – and I suspect nearly all but the newest MPs – have millionaire status. (Give ’em time, they’ll get there in a few more years!) I’m not remotely jealous, but all that money, all that power, all the luxury and guess who they ask to dip into their pockets to fund them: Hint: It’s YOU.

Historically, if I recall, being an MP was an honour, a privilege, a duty of the landed gentry, covered from their own pockets. Now? Now it’s a ticket to a gravy train, the track running from private school to Oxbridge or Cambridge and a second class degree in PPE before latching onto the civil service. An overgeneralisation, perhaps, but close enough to the facts. (Glances at Cameron).

For example:

Labour: Help fund our people powered movement. Donate now. (£8.5m)

Conservatives: BACK BORIS TODAY. GET BREXIT DONE (£9.1m)

Brexit Party: CHIP IN FOR BREXIT (£1.0m)

Lib Dems: Help us prepare for a General Election (£2.9m)

(The figure in brackets is their accepted donations to date, for 2019, according to the electoral commission. All the parties combined took £26m))

You get the idea. Tell you what though, while I’d never vote for Labour, given the above sites, and whether wearing my web consultant hat, my psychologist cap, or my grammarian tinfoil cover, Labour won that round. Brexit Party are busy on social media but their ‘donate page’ sucks, the Conservative’s page is even uglier, and Lib Dems, who are supposedly masters of social media, is also flat and lame. Clueless, the lot of them. That said, the Lib Dems and Conservatives have clean url paths, whereas TBP’s is clumsy and amateurish, and Labour’s (page/contribute/donate-fa-gdpr/) is downright ugly. You might not think it matters, but as a web designer and (studying to be) psychologist, I can assure you it does. (Sorry, TBP, rooting for you, but your website…, hire some better developers, eh!)

Thing is you have perhaps several hundred millionaires and multi-millionaires, with a combined wealth in the region of a billion pounds, asking you ask to dip into your pocket. Just a fiver Guv’nor, to help me and the kids grease the wheels..

Well, that, and they hold parties and private meetings for wealthy donors, some of whom donate millions at a time.

If you give a few million quid to a party, well, it’s generally not simply a belief in a cause, or good ol’ philanthropy. #JustSaying

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Party Funding: Cash for honours.
"Roll up, roll up, for a word in the right ear, a brown envelope in the right hand, you can cast aside your dirty common heritage and become Sir Commoner! Bung us a bit more and, dare I say it, you can become Lord Commoner."
Feel free to google the ‘Cash for Honours scandal’

But, well, they got nobbled on that, some rotter spilled the beans, the cad! Never mind, where there’s a will, there’s a pay, especially if you have deep pockets.
"Fair folk of the business arena, for the right quality of brown envelope, I can get you into meeting with the ‘right’ people. Lobbyists, I can see your – interests – get a ‘fair’ hearing and, dare I suggest, for a consideration, nudge it along to becoming law!"

‘Cash for Questions’ popped up several times, from 1994 onwards. It even made an entry in Encyclopaedia Britiannica, under Mohamed al-Fayed. It still reverberates to this day, notably in the form of John Major – who prorogued parliament in 1997 to avoid scrutiny over cash for questions – hypocritically crawling out of his hole (?with Edwina, his other scandal, well, another, there were a few!) to have a go at Boris for his prorogation.

Then, of course, there was the expenses scandal. This too still echoes ten years on. As recently as May 2019 the BBC wrote about MPs’ expenses: The Legacy of a Scandal. It reminded us how:

Unlike other scandals this did not involve a rogue politician or a couple of scoundrels on the make.

This was systemic in nature and tarred just about every MP with the same brush and, as a result, a large number lost their careers – some even lost their freedom and ended up in prison.

And did them pony up the stolen goods? Did they grovellingly beg our forgiveness for what was wholesale fraud? Did they hell!
“We did nothing wrong.”
It was all a “mistake”, a “misunderstanding”.
They “forgot” they had a chain of businesses or rented properties they hadn’t declared.
It was an “accounting error” when purchases for their other home, flat, mistress, pond appeared on their unscrutenised claims.

But that’s alright, they were properly apologetic, right? Right?
Were they ****!
They closed up ranks – ‘we are all in this together’ – and tried to pass new rules to prevent tax payers ever seeing their broken down expenses ever again because, “we wouldn’t understand”.

We understand fine, thank you. We understand that if it was anyone else, in a private company, collars would be felt, jail would be automatic, but that you lot, all but the worst of you, you knew the ‘right’ people to make the problem go away.

You can go you MPs expenses.info and see how much any one, or all MPs claimed. Some of it goes on stationery, on staff (often their relatives, wife, partner etc, but that’s all legal and above board, nothing to see here, folks, it’s declared).

Last year, for instance, our local Labour MP claimed a total of £80,977.85 for 239 items. That’s on top of his salary.

Not sure if it’s sad or funny when you look at the figure for all mps expensives. A tiny few, like Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park, Tory) and Suella Fernandes (Fareham, Tory), claimed nothing, while others, like Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham, Ladywood, Labour) claimed £110,878.41.

As to what and why, well, big spenders (of our money) included Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire, SNP) with Accommodation Rent at £19,200.00, and Corri Wilson (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, also SNP) with Const Office Rent at £16,117.40

Surely, being on a relatively high wage, plus expenses, plus other business interests and earning, there’s a limit to how much, or how little they will claim, a level to which even the most money-conscious penny-pincher would not stoop or bother? Apparently not!

Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun, SNP), October Banner invoice for stationery £0.02
Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North, SNP), WWW.BUSINESS-STREAM.CO £0.03
Lisa Cameron (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, SNP), Own Vehicle Car MP Staff £0.04

With expenses and salary, but excluding any and all other non MP related income, they are on up to £200,000 a year – and still gouge every last penny they can squeeze out of tax payers!

As the Telegraph recently reminded us, Jo Swinson, the leader of the Lib Dems, has made claims for items as banal as floss and eye-liner. In what way, ever, are cosmetics legitimate political expenses? If you are working for Asda, you can’t wander up and down the aisles dropping make-up, mouthwash and sundries in your basket and saunter out the shop saying, “Put these on my expenses”, you would – without question – be arrested for shop-lifting. For theft. So why do the likes of the leader of the Liberal Democrats think they are exempt? A case of “everyone else is doing it, so why not me” is NOT a legal defence?

These are the people saying, “Vote for me, you can trust me, I know what’s best for, err, you.”


The ‘smart’ choices?

I, for one, am not inclined to vote for a prospective MP, or party that tells me, “I’m stupid, I didn’t know what I was voting for, I’m too common to understand”.

By my back of a cig-packet guesstimate the average IQ in the HoC is just shy of 120, the top 15 to 20%, certainly, matched only by, oh I dunno, a little over 13.5 million people on the UK. 13.5 million who are likely to have an IQ as high as, or higher than most of those in parliament, in Whitehall, in the Houses of Commons and Lords. Also. for that matter, in the BBC and Sky etc.

Obviously raw intelligence is only one tiny factor in ‘getting on’, sociability, wealth, education, background, aptitude and attitude, determination and even ‘luck’ are all factors. For self-made millionaires, for instance, the figure I recall from the past for their average IQ was 122. Some suggest 118, others 131. I can point to other articles and papers which also suggest that over 130 raw IQ on it’s own is, well, wasted. Most Ph.Ds (IQ ~125) aren’t rich business owners, they are lowly paid academics, or research employees.

That said, evenly allowing for age and for significant health problems (which affect cognition and memory), I happen to be rather towards the top end of the scale and find the idea of a bunch of MPs – many of whom I consider slow-witted dullards – telling me I’m too stupid to understand both sad and hilarious.

In psychology it’s called the Dunning–Kruger effect, which is basically a cognitive bias were people are too ‘stupid’ to realise just how wrong they are, but so full of themselves they think they are amazing. You might want to google topics like ‘why are smart people stupid’, it’s enlightening. (e.g. 3 Reasons Why Smart People Do Dumb Things All the Time or Why Smart People Are Stupid).

Watch this video to understand why parliament and governments aren’t so much the solution to problems as the cause of them.


Who then to vote for in the coming General Election

I can’t tell you that, only how I will vote, but I will nudge your choices. For me it will be Conservatives, maybe. Or The Brexit Party. The next 5 weeks will decide, it will decide for me, and for all of us.

General Election 2019 ballot paper mock up

The Brexit Party

Pro: The people’s party. That is to say real people: Maybe not your average factory worker or shop assistant but still, people of all backgrounds, all cultures, all ethnicity, across generation gaps. They are ‘normal’ people, like dentists, doctors, nurses, teachers, small business owners, and, umm, barristers and central bankers (ahem). Anyway, they are left wing, right wing, and centrists. Mostly though they are NOT career politicians and thus not (yet) tainted by the inherent corruption of parliament; few have experience of government.

Con: Few have experience of government. As bad as it is good. Without knowledge of laws and protocols and so forth they are open to being mislead by career civil servants, by the men in grey suits. Also, while I’m rooting for them, it is unclear what, beyond Brexit, they stand for. They need to get that out in the open, whether they call it a pledge, a manifesto, a promise or a sodding wish list, people just don’t know. I don’t know. It’s a mote point at the moment, but once a GE is announced, I damn well want to know before I decide.
(That said, right now, if all they do stand for is a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, I’ll take that! Hardly ‘smart’, but sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and gamble all for what you believe, for what all your research suggests is the best option in the long term.)

The Conservatives

Pro: Long established, pro business, pro Brexit (mostly), likeable prime minister…
(OK, many don’t like Boris, but can you imagine liking Anna Soubry or Spreadsheet Phil, or Diane Abbot? If you see my point.)

Con: You have one shot, Boris, if you miss that critical date, you extend, we – leavers – will never forgive you, or your party.

((See also Lib Dem, below) Remember also, all you university luvvees, many of whom are saddled with lifelong student debts, this is the party that agreed to treble university fees, from £3k a year to £9k a year, as part of coalition deal. They sold you out for power!)

((See also labour: PFI, below). Incidentally, guess who first came up with Private Finance Initiative in the UK? John ‘cash for questions’ Major. John aka ‘kiss me quick, Edwina’ Major. John ‘the public don’t get a say on Maastrict’ Major. John ‘Boris was naughty to prorogue’ Major)

This is also the party of Theresa ‘108 times we will leave’ May. Also, while poking a finger at the Lib Dems (below), the same Theresa May keeping quiet about the EU army while signing us up for goodness what, ‘cos it’s all secretive.

Mud sticks and voters have very long memories.

Labour

Pro: …

Nope, sorry, I got nothing! Zip, nada, zilch.

Con: Oh boy, where to start?
In 2017, so they claimed, they were for supporting the referendum results, Since, completely the opposite. Now for you remainers, this is awesome, for leavers it’s a complete betrayal of trust, but I ask both camps this: Can you trust them? They have flip-flopped on leave-stay, on deals, on having a referendum.

They, apparently, now want to agree a deal with the EU to leave, then have a referendum to stay asking the country to vote against the deal they plan to make for leaving. Probably.
That is not rational thinking, that is a party in blind panic.

Immigration, they want to rip open the doors and flood the country with anyone – that will vote for them (Blair-style).
That is not a campaign strategy, that it desperation.

They also want to ban private schools (but not, one assumes, the one’s their own children attend).
That’s not clear policy its, well, who knows.

Remember also that this is the party that proliferated PFI deals. They spout claims of being the people’s party, the originators of the NHS – and are the very same party that rushed to sell the NHS to the private sector, saddling untold numbers of schools, councils and hospital trusts with water-tight service contracts, debts and eye-watering interest rates. Gotta love those little brown envelopes swapping hands in closed rooms, eh. (e.g. BBC, 2018: PFI deals ‘costing taxpayers billions’).

Liberal Democrats

Pro: Personally they disgust me, I’d never vote for them, BUT I will say this in their favour, unlike a lot of Tories, unlike virtually all of the Labour party, they didn’t dither or prevaricate, they said, “Bollocks to Brexit” and they damned well meant it. For everything else, they get condemnation, but in this, at least, a smidgen of respect. They deserve all the remainers they win votes from. And the remainers, IMO, deserve them…

Con: Bollocks to Brexit? Really? That’s your campaign message. How the party has fallen.
Also, like The Brexit Party, what, besides remaining in the EU, do they stand for?
The general election arrives post Brexit, what, seriously. is their point? “Vote for us and we’ll restart the last 4 years of turmoil and acrimony so as to get Brexit reversed”?
Also, and this is an important question to ask yourself: CAN YOU TRUST THEM?
I’d argue not!
This is the party that swore blind that an EU Army was fake news, a conspiracy theory, would never happen – while working on it (along with the Tories – including Theresa May – and others) behind closed doors.

Remember also, all you university luvvees, many of whom are saddled with lifelong student debts, this is the party was against student fees when campaigning – and then – as part of a coalition deal with the Tories – forced the Conservatives to agree to their terms, said term being, if you want our numbers, treble uni fees!
(e.g. ITV, 2017, Where do the parties stand on university tuition fees?,
e.g. The Economist, 2017, Students have not forgiven the Liberal Democrats for raising tuition fees,
e.g. University World News, 2018, How the decision to triple tuition fees changed history)

Remember also, even if you are a remainer and that – right now – sits just sweet with you, keep it in your head that Jo Swinson is on record saying she wants a second referendum (fair do), but that if it wasn’t the result she wanted, it if wasn’t to remain, she would ignore the result. And any result that wasn’t to remain.

Forget the obvious sarcasm about that being illiberal and wholly and utterly undemocratic, forget that, as a remainer, it is what you want, think ahead. What if, next time, you don’t want what she wants. What if, en mass, you, and the country does not agree with what she wants? You will have already told her that your vote doesn’t count, that our vote – and yours – does not matter. That her vote, what SHE wants, trumps everyone else.

I’ll tell you now, once you give that sort of power away, you do not get it back. Is that really what you want for the future?

There are plenty more posts and youtube interview etc, with various reporters and interviewers, where she says the same as here with the BBC, on Order-order, that unless remain won she would not, under any circumstances, accept the result of a second referendum.

That is not democracy, that is totalitarianism.

Oh yes, Lib Dems, you can also thank them for campaigning in parliament for the referendum that’s caused so much upset these past few years. I’d call this a pro except they wanted the referendum with the options to stay or to not leave even back then, so that came back and bit them on the the arse, eh. (See Full Facts: Were the Lib Dems the first party to campaign for an EU referendum?).

Talking of flip-flopping: Express, 2019 Lib Dem U-turn: Jo Swinson hit out at ‘unelected EU’ and backed controversial referendum.

Aaaand the rest…

Well, outside of England, for the rest of the parties, and the rest of the UK, it all rather depends on Brexit, and on which seats the above four parties decide to target and fight for.

For the most part though, which is hugely ironic and hypocritical, they will probably stick with supporting their own national parties, vis á vis SNP in Scotland, Sinn Féin, UUP, and DUP in Ireland, and Plaid Cymru in Wales.

It’s laughable really, it truly is. The party that is screaming loudest to remain in the federalist and empire building EU (the SNP), wants all the nationalist votes. The country that voted to remain wedded to the UK – not the EU – is the most nationalistic country, the most determined to keep the Sassenach political parties out. Make your bloody minds up where you need to belong! Sod wee Krankie and her hysteria!

So, once more, the question of who will you vote for is not Who do you trust the most? but, sadly, Who do you distrust the least, who, of all the liars, will betray you least often?


Voting intentions

This is something of an addenda, and will be updated over time.

Below are the UK’s voting intentions (according to polls) for ~21st Oct 2019. It will be interesting to see the change on or after 1st Nov 2019! What is interesting to note in that in no poll I can find – anywhere – are Labour ahead. Furthermore, in no poll – anywhere – are Labour + Lib Dem ahead of Tory + TBP.

Britain Election (22/10/2019)
Tory: 35%
Labour: 25%
Lib Dem: 18%
Brexit Party: 11%

BBC (21/10/2019)

Tory: 36%
Labour: 24%
Lib Dem: 18%
Brexit Party: 12%

Yougov (for 21/10/2019)

Tory: 37%
Labour: 22%
Lib Dem: 19%
Brexit Party: 11%

Comres (for October 2019)

Tory: 33%
Labour: 29%
Lib Dem: 18%
Brexit Party: 12%

See also Mark Pack’s scorecard

Updates as at 18 Nov 2019
Current prediction ranges for voting intentions for general election for England across 10 recognised pollsters (e.g. Survation, Yougov, Panelbase, for periods 8/11 to 16/11)

Tories: 35% to 45% (av: 40.8%)

Labour: 27% to 33% (av: 29.3%)

Lib Dems: 11% to 17% (av: 14.7%)

Brexit Party: 4% to 10% (av: 6.7%)

(Tories + Brexit Party 47.5%, Labour + Lib Dems 44%,
projected margin of error 3%, allowing 50.5% vs 41% – or perhaps 44.5% vs 47%.
(NI, Wales and Scotland excluded in polls)).

Ack

Been playing with computers since the stone age, online since the '80s, and developing websites since the '90s.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: