I’ve been watching the events unfold over the past several months and there seemed to be no headway with Brexit or with holding #45 accountable for documented abuse of power. In the last week, all that changed as the Democrats finally begin impeachment proceedings on 10 December, 2019 with two charges of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ which includes asking a foreign entity (Ukraine) to interfere with the 2020 election, and when caught and questioned, impeded the investigation despite several eyewitnesses testifying against #45. Brexit now seems to be on firmer ground after the snap election, but there is still a long way to go.
December 2019 Election and Brexit
Theresa May officially stepped down as the Prime Minister on 24 July, 2019 when Boris Johnson took over as the Conservative Party leader, but why did May fail to deliver Brexit, and how could Johnson do what she couldn’t? The problem was that May had been a ‘remainer’ and appeared content to settle on a deal, while those who voted for Brexit could not agree to the deal which was deemed poor. Another issue was that the Conservatives has a narrow majority in the House and needed the DUP to work with them as a coalition, therefore they were always going to struggle to get bills passed.
As time went on, Johnson tried to push forward bills to get Brexit moving but was hampered by those in his own party (some who left and went independent) who voted against him, and then others who opposed his plan of the prorogation of Parliament (dissolving Parliament) in October to allow the government to meet the October 31st deadline for Brexit negotiations. Many were up in arms, declaring it suppressed the freedom of speech, but as Parliament was in recess for the party conferences, it actually only meant Parliament was shut for an extra 5 days. It was ruled unlawful and Johnson was accused of abuse of power, but he felt he had no choice when another bill was blocked but to call a snap election, and the results indicate the public actually have his backing.
UK Election Results ~ 2017 (326 to win)
Conservatives (May) ~ 317
Labour (Corbyn) ~ 262
SNP ~ 35
Lib Dem ~ 11
DUP ~ 10
Some may mock Johnson, but he is experienced, forthright, articulate and is the best person from the choice to get Brexit done from the choice given. Like or loathe him, he is strong and will fight for the best deal for his country. That is what May lacked, and people believe he can get the job done. Not all of his party like or agree with him, but even Nigel Farage believes he is the best person to negotiate Brexit, and that’s all that counts right now. With their new slogans of ‘Get Brexit Done’ and ‘The People’s Government’, the Tories mean business, and the people want stability and a government that have a direction.
Corbyn on the other hand had been the leader of the opposition since 2015, and has faced a couple of official ‘vote of no confidence’ ballots within his own party, leadership challenges, resignations from his front bench (which left it nearly empty at one point), the anti-semitism debacle (where some members were accused of racism), with his deputy leader disagreeing with his policies who then stepped down just before the snap election (Tom Watson’s seat went to a Conservative). On paper he looked weak, and Labour MPs who voted him in felt he was weak too, so one may ask why they backed a weak leader they didn’t believe in? If his own party members don’t trust him, then how can the electorate? Corbyn has been controversial at time with his policy on nuclear weapons, failing to understand his personal beliefs should not take precedent over the best interests of the country. His socialist background was also a concern, too far left, and also his indecisive nature left his party members wondering what their line and message was.
The Liberal Democrats have always lagged behind with no real leadership. Tim Farron served from 2015-2017 and stepped down after the 2017 election with no real leader to replace him. It was left to old timer Vince Cable to take up the reins who announced he would resign as the leader in 2018, finally leaving in July 2019. Jo Swinson became the leader, but her tenure lasted 143 days when she lost her seat in the 2019 election. Her closing speech included, ” for millions of people in our country these results will bring dread and dismay and people are looking for hope…”, what she failed to realize is that the people had spoken and voted blue to avoid the dread and dismay of having Corbyn or herself in charge.
UK Election Results ~ 2019 (326 to win )
Conservative (Johnson) ~ 365
Labour (Corbyn) ~ 203
SNP ~ 48
Lib Dem ~ 11
DUP ~ 8
This means that the Conservatives have a majority, therefore have enough votes to get bills passed through the House unlike before where some results were close and short of a few crucial votes. This is the largest win for the Conservatives since 1987 (Con, 376 and Lab, 229), and the worst for Labour since 1935 (Con, 386 and Lab, 154), where Corbyn got fewer seats than Michael Foot in the 1983 election that was deemed a disaster (Con,397 and Lab, 209). Jeremy Corbyn will resign as the leader of the Labour Party, and Jo Swinson had no choice but to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats when she failed to win her seat.
People are asking what happened? Why did people switch to voting Conservative, especially in red stronghold areas? Labour are seeking answers; they were always there, but they failed to listen or to acknowledge them. They are looking to blame Corbyn for a lack of leadership, and Corbyn supporters blame Brexit, while others claim that because the party supported a second referendum on Brexit, that lost them votes. Other maybe confused as to why London has a strong Labour presence, and that’s because the majority of people living in London rent and are transient.
The Liberal Democrats with their manifesto promising they would revoke Brexit if they got into power left many wondering what part of a democratic vote did they not understand. To have a party manifesto declaring it would ignore the results of an official referendum, thus the will of the people was utter stupidity and the result was that the leader lost her job.
The Conservatives gained seats in what were predominately working class areas which has shocked many, some of who have never had a Conservative MP ever. People are asking how did this happen? For some it was a tactical vote, because people want Brexit sorted and knew Labour could not achieve this. Others didn’t trust Corbyn, and when interviewed some who have always voted Labour felt they had betrayed the party by not voting for them, but had to do the right thing for the country. Some Labour MPs were shocked because the activists had been out in force, but it doesn’t matter how many leaflets they push through the door, it rarely changes the way people choose to vote.
On social media, I personally had a barrage of Labour ads on my Facebook feed no matter how often I bothered to click ‘stop’ and ‘hide’, and there were a couple of Conservative, Green Party, and Liberal Democrat ones too. The difference with the Labour ads versus the others is that the Labour ones were full of fake propaganda, aiming for the guilt vote with phrases, “Do you want to suffer with the NHS for 5 more years…” with images of babies in hospitals, while the others were normal ones with photos of the candidates, with their biographies, and what their aims for the area were. I have no objection to the latter because that’s their job, but I do object to being force fed propaganda, which was followed up by a dozen leaflets a week from Labour, even posting a card on election day afternoon telling me to hurry up and vote.
Labour used to be the party for the working classes, and in the past they have tried to bribe voters with freebies; in 2017 it was a promise of free University education for all, and in 2019, the promise was free internet for all homes in the UK. Each had flaws, beside the obvious question of how it was going to be funded, and the latter is no good to houses that have no computers, besides the fact it would leave thousands of employees in the industry without a job. The party has failed to listen to their members and what is important to them, and that was to uphold a democratic vote, and a party divided and without direction isn’t one that people will support.
The People, Votes, and Brexit
My neigbour used to joke that they could put up a dead donkey as a Labour candidate and it would still win, but not today. Labour cried out that they had activists working flat out, and didn’t understand why their hard work didn’t pay off, but again this is the younger generation who think that those who are on social media or that protest are the ones with influence. They are wrong, and that’s why they don’t understand how society works, and assume everyone thinks as they do. We may see people protesting as ‘remainers’ but you don’t see people protesting to get Brexit done, but they did via the vote in the general election. Even Johnson admitted that some Labour voters may have switched to Conservative to get Brexit done, and he thanked them for trusting his party. Tactics played a part to keep Corbyn out in red stronghold because the fear of a Corbyn government was far worse than a Johnson one (a tactic some American voters should have considered and that should still consider for 2020). As the Tories looked as if they were going to win, sterling went up to the highest it has been for 19 months because the markets felt the UK was stable.
One doesn’t need to protest to have a voice, and one doesn’t need to rant and post on social media to influence an outcome. The parties that rely upon influencing others cannot reach the silent voters, and those are the ones who make a difference. That’s why the country voted for Brexit, and despite people claiming some didn’t know what they were voting for, many did and would still vote ‘leave’.
The parties for all their statistics and research with polls can’t tap into the minds of the silent voters who have opinions and beliefs, but who only share them with a ballot paper. That’s called democracy, and that’s why for all the social media posts, and at times biased media reporting, the voice of the people will be heard. Will the ‘remainers’ stop moaning and accept that the country has spoken and want Brexit, and what now for the Labour Party? They will have to accept that they made an error in choosing an unpopular leader, and in regards to Brexit, voters over the past year have noticed many Labour MPs stalled the Brexit process, thus ignoring the will of the people and that’s why they voted Conservative. Johnson took a gamble with the election and made his position stronger, along with his party, and gave the UK some long awaited stability.
On 13 December, 2019, the nation looked strong with a decisive vote, and the UK will leave the EU on 31 January (extended in October) 2020, yet it won’t be easy as all transitions have issues. Eventually those who opposed Brexit and resent it will have to accept that this was the will of the majority of the people. Today, the election results showed that people voted for the party that they are willing to trust with the future of the nation, and it was a strong sweep, and not won by a narrow margin. That is a fact, and MPs now need to work together on Brexit, a process that will alter the future of the nation for the better, because the UK isn’t leaving Europe, only the EU which is an institutional body that works well for some countries, but not all. The EU when it was the EEC worked in part, but that was several decades ago, and it’s time for a new chapter in the history of the UK, and I for one am looking forward to this historic change.
As for the impeachment proceedings taking place over the pond, it will get nasty quite quickly, but it was a process that had to happen because Congress had a duty to do so. There will be backstabbing, attacks, and probably some people will get threatened and intimidated, but the Constitution included the impeachment process to prevent abuse of power which is essential for a Republic. The House Judiciary Committee approved the articles of impeachment on 13 December, 2019 as the impeachment process gains momentum (23 yes, and 17 no). So many people have either resigned from the administration or have been fired, and I imagine their collective memoirs are just waiting to be published. I feel it would make for some very interesting reading!