Sunday, 3 July 2016

Has the political class learnt nothing from the upheavals of the referendum?

Will it be Michael or Theresa, Liam or Steven; maybe even Andrea? To be the next leader of the Conservative Party and by default the next prime minister.

One thing is for certain it won't be Boris Johnson, a dagger placed neatly between his shoulder blades by old 'friend' Michael Gove caused him to pull out of the race before it had even started. In typical Bojo style though he managed to get more attention for not putting his name on that ballot than any of the people who did.

Anyone who thinks this is the last we're going to see of the dishevelled one had better think again, he has, I'm sure a few more capers to cut on the political stage before his revels are ended.

The gun has at least been fired and Tory leadership races have the benefit of being short, if seldom sweet, theirs is a party that holds its grudges far tighter than a limpet holds onto its rock.

Meanwhile over at the Labour ranch it has been a non-stop round of resignations and recriminations. After a most of his shadow cabinet too their collective ball home and several of their replacements decided they didn't feel much like playing either Jeremy Corbyn has more knives in his back than the lead in a bad amateur production of Julius Caesar.

The parliamentary Labour Party are about as united as they ever can be behind the opinion that he has to go, the one thing they're short of is a candidate to challenge him. Angela Eagle was going to , then she wasn't; now she still might, just not yet. Confused? I'm pretty much baffled.

Showing a surprising amount of determination for someone who wears so much corduroy Jeremy Corbyn refuses, so far, to take the hint and go. If the parliamentary party want to re-enact western classic High Noon, then he's only too happy to take the Gary Cooper role.

Any resemblance between the past week in Westminster and a bad soap opera seems to be entirely intentional. The life of an MP can be dull what with all those committee meetings and the endless case work, so you can, perhaps, forgive them for going a little 'demob happy' when they find themselves playing pat-a-cake with the hand of history.

There is no doubt that since the Brexit vote we have been living through historic times, its disappointing in the extreme that most of the political class just aren't up to the challenges we're about to face.

The public have spoken and just over half of them said they wanted to leave the EU, what everyone who cast a vote a week last Thursday said, maybe not always consciously, was that they want a very different settlement to the one we have now.

Sadly what they've been given over the past week is more of the same. Meaning the political class carrying on as usual engaging in its private squabbles and treating the most important people in the political equation, the voters, as having a walk on part at best in the ensuing melodrama.

The British don't really do revolution, but there is something close to it in the air, this it certainly a time when radical ideas might get a fair hearing in a country that usually prides itself on its conventionality.

We need to look again at the voting system, not with a view to the sort of timid fiddling represented by the now mostly forgotten referendum on the alternative vote. Only a radical change to proportional representation will address the concerns of the disenfranchised young and encourage a more collaborative style of politics.

That will take time, one change could be effected almost overnight and all it requires is for the Labour Party to stop fighting like cats in a bag and grow up. Over the next few years decisions will be taken that will shape our country for a generation or more, they need to be scrutinised by a strong opposition. Under PR that job would be shared by a number of smaller parties all of whom could work together to hold the government to account, until utopia arrives though the job falls to Labour; it's time they started doing it.

More than anything else we need the political class as a whole to wake up and smell not so much the coffee as the whole damn house burning down. Most of the accusations that have been levelled at the EU, about being remote, overly bureaucratic and unwilling to listen to ordinary people's concerns can, and will, be levelled at Westminster.

The public are angry and in no mood to put up with everything staying the same. If their decision to vote for Brexit, not my personal choice but a democratically expressed one I respect, scared them back into their comfort zone, then the result of the next election could have them running for the bunkers.

No comments:

Post a Comment