That Was The Week That Was – Week 13

The Burning of the Houses of Parliament J.M.Turner

Following the terrible events outside Parliament, which resulted in loss of life, we decided not to publish last weeks light-hearted review of Brexit events; attacks on our democracy are no laughing matter.

Of course attacks come in many guises, the Conservative’s hijacking of an advisory referendum to deliver their low tax, small state, deregulated economic platform, could be construed as an attack on the majority of the population and in PMQ’s their approach, not just to deliver their nirvana, but their approach to government, was fully exposed.

Jeremy Corbyn asked Mrs May a simple question, “Last week she told me four times she has protected the schools budget, does she still stand by that statement?” Not unexpectedly Mrs May confirmed she did and added that they were putting ‘record funding into schools’. Jeremy Corbyn rose and not only challenged this but reeled off a long list of organisations that didn’t agree with Mrs May, including The Public Accounts Committee, Institute of Fiscal Studies, National Audit Office, The Education Policy Institute not to mention the schools and parents themselves.

In fact Mr Corbyn went into quite some detail on the findings of the Public Accounts Committee, highlighting their conclusion that the schools budget will experience a reduction in funding of £3bn by 2020, equivalent of an 8% real cut, and that from a committee which includes eight Conservative MPs.

Mrs May’s response epitomised the Conservatives modus operandi. Faced with overwhelming factual evidence to the contrary, she chose to do little more than simply reiterate her stance as an introduction to her now trademark and carefully prepared weekly attack on Labour’s assumed policy of spend, spend, spend.

A policy, according to her, which would leave the country with massive future debt, something the Conservatives would never contemplate. All said, I may add, with a completely straight face and delivered in an improving Thatcheresque style.

There, in all its glory, we have it. Arron Banks is wrong on nearly everything, but he was right when he said he’d been told “facts simply don’t work”. Mrs May can ignore the facts she’s presented with and can deliver all the alternative facts she wants, the reality is, the Conservatives have borrowed more than all the Labour governments put together. No wonder Mrs May prefers the fantasy ‘alternative facts’.

What this means is that with the national debt forecast to reach at an eye watering record £2T by 2020, and with seven years of austerity under our belts and many more to come through crippling cuts to public services, this government are going nowhere.

Is it any wonder people voted to change something….anything?

Mrs May can play out this fantasy world because of three things, three facts; she’s in charge of the government, Labour are in disarray and the main media outlets in this country are not just supportive of the direction we’re being led in, they are, in some instances, actually doing the leading.

However, if she thinks she can get away with this approach in the Brexit negotiation, she’s going to be extremely disappointed. For all the petty veiled threats in the Article 50 notification, for all the sabre rattling by yesterday’s men, the one fact she can’t ignore is that, in Europe at least, she isn’t in charge.

Despite all the talk of holding all the cards, of having an excellent hand, the indisputable fact is, that in the Brexit negotiations, the 27 member states are in charge, and for that reason alone we all need Europe; it’s been the watchdog over the type of extremism that is so detrimental to our future society, extremism that was so damaging in the past.

Facts are being replace with lies so much that at this rate we’ll soon return to worshipping trees and believing the world is flat.

Dress it up however you like, if you’re honest, the fact that is hard to ignore is that after seven years in government the Conservatives are presiding over a mess; the NHS is in a mess, education is in a mess, transport is in a mess, the Union is in a mess with Scotland and Northern Ireland looking for exit referendums, and, with Argentina and Spain seeing opportunities, our foreign policy is quickly becoming, you guessed it, a mess.

You have to question who are this country’s real patriots. the flag waving right-wing maniacs or those of a non-extremist persuasion. In the first week, of the two-year EU divorce period, we have the extremists threatening the security of the bloc and declaring war on one of its members; this isn’t going to end well, it never does.

Mrs May wants everyone to work together; this isn’t going to work either. The Leavers may have won the referendum result by a slender margin but they now expect everybody to respect the result, respect the result? Why not respect the referendum for what is was, a referendum deliberately designed to be advisory.

The facts are, firstly, that slender margin was nothing more than an opinion poll that on the day was influenced by no more than 635,000 voting one way instead of the other, 635,000 in a country of 65,000,000 and, secondly, that within minutes of the result being delivered the referendum ceased to be advisory and became mandatory, not because parliament had decided but because the Conservative party had decided. Remain lost and should admit defeat graciously? Well, show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.

Across the Atlantic, as equally bad a situation America finds itself in, at least they’re actually doing something about it.

Investigations into how Trump managed to steal the oval office from under the nose of the nation aren’t just being talked about, they’re actually happening, with the distinct possibility that they’ll make Watergate look like a minor misdemeanour.

In this country, despite the evidence being in plain sight, the best we can offer at the moment is the Electoral Commission probing the spending by the various groups as it’s surprising how little power there is to prevent parties spending money on ‘highly dubious’ techniques of voter manipulation outside of the determined election period.

With typical bravado Arron Banks dismisses the Electoral Commission investigation with, “I don’t give a monkey’s about the Electoral Commission.” which you can read here in Carole Cadwalladr’s latest piece on the dark goings on during the European referendum.

Whilst there’s talk of actual treason being committed in the US, here we’re still in denial as this kind of thing simply doesn’t happen here, “we’re British” aren’t we? Except (accept) it does, and, as I’ve said earlier, the evidence is in plain sight.

We even have one of the cast of the three stooges claiming knowledge of Russia’s ability to disrupt UK politics and the Alt Right’s main protagonist openly thanking one of the main suspects in the US for “making it happen” in the UK. Thanking a man, Bannon, that links Farage to Trump, Mercer, Cambridge AnalyticaAggregateIQ (AIQ), UCampaign and back to Vote Leave and Cummings. It’s a web and like all webs it’s incredibly complex yet also incredibly fragile, and, once broken, will quickly unravel.