Reflections

amay4So, it’s all kicking off this morning.

There’s a vacancy for UKIP leader if anyone wants the job. Yes, I know…again!!!

Apparently he’s going to spend more time on winning the world cup and leading a manned mission to Mars in his spare time while living in some of the houses he owns but never had time to visit.

The SNP is licking its wounds having lost some truly good people. Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson are the two most high profile casualties, but there are many others who have served us well who now find themselves seatless.

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It’s comforting to know that they still have more than half the seats in the London parliament. That is to say, more than the Liberals, Tories and Labour put together. And supporters need to remind themselves that there was no way ever, that they could replicate the 2015 result.

And no matter that Dugdale, Davidson and Wee Willie Rennie together with the Press and the BBC made this election about the SNP record in government in Scotland, it was not. And the SNP remains the government in our country, albeit not the one that holds the purse strings. However, no one could call it a good night for the SNP and they will need to look very carefully at how they go forward.

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Jeremy Corbyn surprised everyone on the campaign trail. He drew massive crowds and seems to be the person who persuaded vast numbers of young people to go out and vote (although I heard Munguin trying to take the credit for that this morning).

In a strange election, with no clear-cut result, Corbyn is the undoubted “winner”. Dugdale may try to take some credit in Scotland, but we know that she opposed her leader every step of the way and her lieutenant, Murray, actively put him down at every opportunity.

It will be interesting to see how the right wing of the Labour party deals with a strong left-of-centre leader with electoral gains on his side. Will Dugdale and her crew take note of Corbyn and cease their endless attempts to undermine him, or will they continue with their “destroy” mission?

The LibDems have in the not too distant past both refused to rule out, and ruled out working with the Tories, so probably one of these is true, if anyone cares very much.

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As for the Tories. Well, they are happy with themselves in Scotland, of course. They took some long-standing SNP seats in the North East and Mundel increased his majority, presumably because he’s done such a great job of standing up for Scots and getting us the very best possible deal from his London bosses. Or not.

Theresa May is clinging on for grim life having made a massive (but doubtless strong and stable) decision to sacrifice her slim majority to look even more strong and stable in front of all those Presidents, Chancellors and Prime Ministers, who must be chuckling a bit at how stupid she looks.

She “shook the magic money tree” that Tories can always find when they want to but the people “were clear” and said: “enough is enough”.

She has been humiliated. And more, her precious ‘united’ kingdom has been humiliated, because the EU has had to say that it is prepared to stall the beginning of the Brexit talks, scheduled to start in less than a fortnight, until Britain sorts itself out. (Note to Europe: Now is your opportunity to start reading War and Peace, like you’ve always promised yourselves.)

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Will there be a coalition with the right-wing Protestant party of Northern Ireland and what price would the religious zealots demand? How will EVEL affect the arithmetic? Disgraced DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose actions caused the breakdown of the administration in Belfast, has said that she is waiting for a call.

The fact that May has said that she will not stand down means very little. It is almost certain that some of the Tories will wish to depose her. Boris Johnson was rumoured last night to be putting out feelers. She may be gone within days. (“We fight on and we fight to win”)

Unstable government at a time of crisis… and withdrawal from the EU is a time of crisis as anyone who has read anything about it knows… is unlikely to survive for a long time. So there may have to be another election within a year.

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Lots of thoughts about yesterday and last night are still running around in my head and I don’t want to make this post into a second volume of War and Peace, so I’ll finish up with the thought that won’t leave me:

What an incredibly stupid, vain and incompetent woman Theresa May is, and I think I’ve realised that when she talks about being “Strong and Stable”, what she really means is “Stubborn and Awkward”.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE ELECTION

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Firstly, I’d like to say that once again today we’re thinking about the victims of terrorists. This time it was in Notre Dame de Paris on the Ile de la Cité, one of my favourite places to sit and watch the world go by.

Secondly, I’d like to mention that Robert Salmond, Alex’s dad, died today at 95 years old. So we’re thinking of Alex and his family too. Sad time, but it’s worth reading what Alex says his dad would tell him now.

As the election campaign draws to a close, we find ourselves in a very different situation from that which we expected when it kicked off.

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After telling us over and over that she would not call an election, Mrs Strong and Stable wobbled and called one. She was hoping, I’ve no doubt, to establish herself in her role (not with the EU, who are happy to negotiate with her based on the referendum result), but as prime minister and leader within her own party, which is split over Brexit among other things. Mr Corbyn was leader of a split party and miles behind her in the polls. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, try EVERYTHING!

It seems that being appointed by the Tory party, the least offensive of a really bad bunch, meant very little scrutiny for May, and the BBC and the Press, with the cooperation of members of the Labour Parliamentary Party,  were able to talk Mr Corbyn down.

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But the scrutiny of a general election campaign, particularly one which was unnecessary, has put both the potential prime ministers under the spotlight.

In the case of Corbyn, it has given him an opportunity to display that he can be calm and measured, even under fire… and that he never loses the plot (OK, except one time on the radio where he forgot one figure). And most of his opponents in his own party have at least kept quiet over the campaign. (Well, with some exceptions.) Corbyn has shone as a potential statesman.

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On the other hand, Mrs May, who has been standing on a platform of “strong and stable”, has made a mess of every appearance she has made; every interview she has done, and frankly, she’s become a laughing stock. As people have said, if she can’t face Corbyn in a tv debate, how will she be able to deal with the EU representatives?

 

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Theresa supposedly meeting ordinary people (who forgot to take off their rosettes) quite by chance in a café

 

I tend to think that people should be careful picking catch phrases like “strong and stable”. And before they chose them, they should be absolutely sure that they haven’t been used before. In this case, “strong as stable” was previously used by Adolf Hitler.  It would only have taken a few clicks on Google to find that out.

Now she’s come up with “Enough is Enough”. A reaction to the terror attacks that have plagued London and Manchester. Surely that would ahve applied after the first attack… Did she not think that THAT was enough? And again, it’s a massive pity (for her) that she didn’t check back to see if the phrase had been used before!

 

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That was the police protesting that Theresa May had reduced their numbers too far to provide a safe service. Then she pinched their strap line in reaction to what happened, possibly as a result of these cuts…

 

Whatever the result it looks very unlikely to be one anywhere near the massive majority that she was hoping for, well counting on,  when she launched this campaign. Indeed some polls suggest she will have a smaller majority that she has now, Some say even no majority at all. Her rivals are starting to count their support!

But as all politicians say, the only poll that counts is the one on Thursday. And on Friday morning, and not before, we will know.

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Finally, the 2015 (correction thanks to Hugh) result was amazing for the SNP. 56 out of 59 is an extraordinary achievement. It was never going to be able to be repeated. The Tories have been bragging that they may take 18 seats; Labour think that they might get some, as do the Liberal Democrats. SNP supporters should expect to lose some seats and should take it on the chin. When the press gleefully announce that the SNP and independence are dead in the water we’ll know perfectly well that they are not.

Scotland above all needs a strong voice in London. Brexit is about England (and Wales). They wanted it (very narrowly). We did not. But because of their population size, they will get what they want and we can go hang. We are not being listened to by London. None of the solutions proposed by teh Scottish government will be aired in the talks. No Scottish voice in negotiations. Only England’s. Scotland’s concerns NEED to be heard. We have friends in Europe, but when the negotiations start they won’t be allowed to hear what we say. We need someone like Angus to make sure that we are heard, loud and clear.

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In my opinion, Angus Robertson has been a superb leader in London and an excellent opponent to Mrs May, and Pete Wishart has been a staunch member for his constituency and put up a brilliant fight against the anti-democratic and expensive House of Lords. Let’s hope that they manage to keep their marginal seats. Scotland, and indeed Britain, is the better for them being there.