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Karma Police, Arrest this Man

October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Crunch time in the Mueller investigation. The first indictment and arrest will be made tomorrow and tensions are running high. What will this all mean? Will the Republic be saved, will there be a furious backlash, will Trump himself be put on trial? There are many possible outcomes, ranging from the worst, to the best case.

There is a growing body of evidence testifying to collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian state, continuing in to the presidency. These are a dangerous few weeks ahead in America. If sometimes the Russian investigation sounds like something from a spy novel, that’s because the US is in unprecedented territory.

The best case scenario has to involve Trump’s departure, sooner rather than later. This may come about with a behind closed doors agreement to force his resignation, and to have Pence, or whoever follows, grant him immunity from prosecution. Or it could see POTUS being arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, or impeached, or imprisoned. Either way, an immediate threat to global safety is removed. Liberals can fight a Pence figure if and when that comes; the immediate goal is to get rid of Trump for stealing the last election.

Then there’s the complete loss. Trump manages to convince enough of the military and law enforcement that only he offers stability, only he can give them what they want. There’s an immediate crackdown on press freedoms, journalists start being killed or ‘disappeared’. He becomes a dictator in all but name, following a Putin-type game plan. The Republicans in Congress have rolled over, Paul Ryan gets favoured by the new regime, and electoral districting gets escalated as voter fraud gets ramped up on a massive scale. This is not beyond the grounds of possibility. Sarah Kendizor is one such commentator who fears an outcome like this.

But the middling outcomes are more likely. On the negative side, Trump sacks Mueller, forces thousands onto the streets to oppose him, but still has an iron grip on the Republican party. Unless they start to oppose him, to act on the fine words of Senator Flake, the US leans increasingly towards authoritarianism. He wouldn’t even have to fire Mueller immediately, but try and manufacture some military crisis as the special investigator closes in on him. This scenario is dependent on a divided opposition, which is in play if the Clinton and Sanders wings of the Democrats aren’t reconciled.

The upside gradualist take is this. Mueller starts with the small fish, flips them, and moves on to POTUS. This will take months, maybe all of 2018 too. But it will inexorably lead to Oval Office. All of Trump’s time, every waking hour, every media appearance, every interview of surrogates, is consumed by the investigation. It Is less satisfying than an instant ‘win’ but results in the same outcome down the line. Trump loses his credibility with the GOP ‘plumpers’ who held their nose and voted for him. He only has his base, and they are a rudderless rabble.

There’s a chance of long-term both-win/both-lose too. The US becomes a country where the alternative to a liberal democratic party becomes an authoritarian, nationalist one. Elections swing from side-to-side. The hard right constantly tries to chip away at civil liberties and the very notion of government itself. The US hobbles along, from periods of crisis, to stability. It becomes impossible to say that there are two parties that stand by democratic values. This may well be the long term future in Hungary, Poland, and other countries in on the Russian board game. It is a deeply divided and unstable polity.

There are good grounds for being on the optimistic side of the fence. The darkness that fell on millions of us last November, has given way to the light that Trump can be defeated. It may take an exhausting toll on the political, civic, and legal system, but for many observers, there is more of sense that he can be resisted. It’s not that the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes, more of a ‘Wizard of Oz’ analogy, where the curtain has been pulled back. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you can’t bullshit all of the people, all of the time.

There is so much faith being put in Robert Mueller now. The ‘black-box’ nature of his investigation meant that those of us following the progress have become latter day Kremlinologists reading the runes for possible paths he might be taking. There’s a chance that Trump critics will be disappointed or even despondent. But this is- in that over-used but apt – Churchillian phrase, the ‘end of the beginning’. The most cynical and venal US President of recent times is right to be afraid; the marshal is after you, and your mule is looking tired, and ready to drop.

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Flawed Character, Failed Presidency, a Flailing Trump

September 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Like the face-clinging alien, he’s hard to get rid of. Leeching, parasitical, he sucks onto the American body politic. It’s his only way to survive. There is an escape, Ripley is on the way, but until then, this monster will try and suck the life out of you. To continue the ‘Alien’ analogy, he is an immediate danger to all those who encounter him. This one does not come in peace. Trump is hostile and a threat to human life itself,

His rhetoric with North Korea may walk us in to a nuclear exchange where millions are slaughtered, just to please this modern Nero. Trump doesn’t want to die, but he has no conscience, and doesn’t care if millions of Koreans are slaughtered. Here’s a man who during security briefings repeatedly asked what the big deal with using nukes was. The US balance of powers was designed to stop people like him getting to the White House. It has clearly failed.

Yet, there is some push-back from the ‘adults’ in the regime which is beginning to have some effect. The generals, and General Kelly in particular, have tried to put some normality on the abnormal. Some of the worst alt-right white nationalists are gone, but some remain. Every time Trump goes off message – which is pretty much when he opens his mouth – the ‘adults’ step in to attempt to sweep up his mess. They are patriots trying to save the system.

But the real heroes are the ‘resistance’. Despite being snidely dismissed by DINOs and Reagan Democrats, it’s the activists, the ordinary men and women, those who march, those who organise in red states, those who refuse to accept the cruelties from the high tower, who are the patriots that America needs right now. They are part of the movement that will eventually force out this fake president. They have more power than they know; diversity is their strength.

They are constantly belittled by the appeasers, those who argue that Trump needs to be given a chance, that he speaks for his base. He may well represent the prejudices and insecurities of millions of voters, but that does not make him right, or mean his views need to be heeded. He is the epitome of a con man, having promised what he can’t possibly deliver, and is now looking for scapegoats to deflect from his failures. Do not appease this man. Deal where you can win, such as the Democrats with the ‘Dreamers’, but don’t bargain with him.

The international response has been cautious but largely a sense of getting a measure of the man. Small symbolic acts hurt Trump the most. He must not be asked to any state visits. By all means deepen relationships with local US diplomats, but spare us the sight of a Ceausescu-style motorcade touring Mittel-Europe to hand-picked crowds. No, he has not earned, and is not entitled to such niceties. There’s enough hate being spread already without adding to it.

The pessimists worry that Robert Mueller’s investigation will run out of steam. It may well do so. It may gather enough evidence to propose impeachment, and the political will may not be there to set the ball rolling. Or Trump may simply find a way to fire Mueller, causing a massive constitutional crisis where the ‘adults’ leave the administration and where the USA edges inexorably either toward dictatorship, political collapse, or regime change. Firing Mueller is a bad idea.

Robert Mueller has been methodically gathering the goods on Trump and his associates. Financial dealings that 45 thought he had buried by becoming president are being unturned, and all that information that he prayed would never surface, may well have already come up at a grand jury hearing. The Trump campaign links to Russia will become even more clear, except to the ‘deplorables’ who don’t care. The pressure to get drag this man out of the Oval Office will be immense.

When 45’s business council appointments resigned, that was a clear indication that even big business had had enough of Trump’s behaviour. The bottom line is profit, but the Silicon Valley companies put diversity at the heart of their ethos. When CEOs start to see that having anything to do with the US President is damaging to their share price and customer base, they start to take notice. Their fiduciary duty then becomes to take a stand.

The fly in the ointment is Trump’s personality. He is not equipped to think beyond the short-term. His business success – for what it was – was based on the sale, the deal, the show. He’s no Warren Buffet. He can’t strategize because he doesn’t know how to. He has exhibited an animal cunning in his ability to survive in his dealings over the years.

Yet, he is also as the ordinary commuter from Silver Springs would understand it, ‘mad’. His narcissism knows no bounds. American psychiatrists have had to break the so-called Goldwater rule – not to analyse someone they haven’t met – such is the danger of having someone like Trump with his hand on the nuclear trigger. He has the mind of a destructive toddler in the body of a septuagenarian.

Trump will fail, not because of some natural petering out, or because the system in America is so strong. No, he will fail because most Americans have a sense of decency, the investigative process will seek to hold him to account, and because, eventually, people will have had enough, and politics will triumph. The emperor will be shown to be wearing no clothes.

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Grief and Resistance

August 26, 2017 Leave a comment

A somewhat more personal reflection this time round. Many of the liberal left have been struggling to come to terms with a Trump presidency. Here are this author’s reflections of how we can understand and try to be resilient about this reality, by thinking through the prism of the Kubler-Ross cycle.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross diagnosed the five stage process as a way dealing with death and grief. Grief is an incredibly complex emotion. It is part of what makes us human, a side that speaks to our deep connections with our loved ones. But it can also apply to 45’s win, and our reactions to most of what he’s done since then. Let’s begin with perhaps the most painful step, the one we know only too well, but often cannot recognise, namely denial.

We denied the reality of his win. This writer still denies the substance, and believes that Robert Mueller’s investigation will go on to prove that Russian interference swayed the result. But when the hammer fell last November, Trump opponents simply could not believe that so many people voted for him. The bad guy had won, and this seemed to go against a fundamental sense of fairness that’s inculcated in us since childhood, that a bully should never win. We – democrats with a small ‘d’ – still find the result shocking.

Then anger. Anger that so many Americans could be so stupid, could so wilfully ignore the racism that Trump espoused during his campaign, or even worse, secretly or openly championed it. Anger at the Sanders supporters who would rather let a KKK apologist into the White House, than swallow their pride and vote for Hillary Clinton. Mostly, an anger that you had been let down by your friends, your neighbours, and your family. This defeat seemed deeply personal because in many cases it was. Nothing like finding out that the person you thought you knew all along voted for Donald Trump. It can be a rage so strong that it becomes all consuming.

We come to bargaining. Some, but not all, were tempted along the lines of thinking that surely he wouldn’t be as bad as he was during the campaign? Wouldn’t he pivot away from his base, and discard the hard right as he had dumped everyone else in his self-seeking career? Or there were those who thought that they could work with him on areas of common interest. This attempt at bargaining did not last very long. It was quickly dispelled by Trump’s pre-inauguration tweets, his speech on the day, many of his appointments, and his behaviour since. He cannot be bargained with as he cannot be trusted in anything he says or does.

The depression that came post-November was real and deep. It seems that there would be no way of getting him removed from the Oval Office. His remarks after Charlottesville, his promotion of White Nationalists to the heart of the administration, the refusal of the GOP leadership to condemn him explicitly, all added to the sense of despair, the feeling that nothing was working, the belief that he could ride this out. He thrives on this, on making people feel weak. It was a rational reaction to his deeds, and one that’s part of grieving for what had been normalcy under Obama. All seemed lost, there seemed no way forward.

Yet, somehow, we must drag ourselves through all this, all our feelings, welcome and unwelcome, and we must come to acceptance. That is not accepting his legitimacy, but accepting that there are political and legal strategies to removing him from office. We are where we are. We have come through a lot in a few short months. We can accept what has happened. We now have the option of acquiescing or resisting. Peaceful resistance takes many forms. It means staying woke. It involves being resilient, developing if not an inner toughness, then a sense of realising we will not change the past, but we can work to make the future. If it feels like you’ve been under siege, have faith, reinforcements are coming. There is no guarantee, no certainty, that Trump will be removed. There is probability though, and that probability grows by the day.

There is so much that is dark, and wrong, and nasty about the current usurpers on Pennsylvania Avenue. But the wheels of justice are turning, albeit slower than all of Trump’s opponents would like. His apologists and supporters may not accept Robert Mueller’s findings, but most Americans will. There is a ticking clock marking the time running out on this fake administration. The end may not be soon, but it is coming. And those who want to support Trump after Mueller’s work are welcome to make their case. They will be ridiculed for their folly, and ignorance, and the republic will be restored.

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Hope and Fear in America

He is, and there was never any doubt that he would be, the chaos president. Six months in, and those of us who warned that the ‘system’ would struggle to keep him in line have been proven right. How is a man like this still in the White House? Yet, the push-back from the press, the courts, the Democrats, and the people, has been effective in putting Trump on notice. They’re telling him that he’s not going to end democracy in the US without facing a determined resistance on many fronts. He is not going to have it all his own way; supporters of democratic politics will not give up the ghost.

He is looking to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His animal cunning tells him that if he does this, he can kill off the Russian investigations with one fell swoop. There are varying interpretations on this. There is the view that the political cost of doing this is just too high. Lindsay Graham has already set this down as a red line. Trump is reckless and a gambler though and may just decide to roll the dice on this one. He needs Sessions out, and a new Attorney General to do this. His mission is to break the constitution as most Americans would hold it. The notion of a president pardoning themselves would have seemed ridiculous only a few short months ago. Now it is a distinct possibility. What strange times we live in.

Trump’s made up on the hoof twitter policy on transsexuals serving in the military was cruel and probably illegal. He thinks he’s playing to his base on this one. But many in the military have reacted with a sense that this goes against all notions of fairness. The Donald, a noted draft dodger, is saying he doesn’t want the service of those prepared to die for their country. The army seems not to have been consulted on this, at least at an official level. More lies coming straight from the Oval Office; what do you expect from a con man?

His attacks on the media are extremely dangerous. No media organisation is perfect but it is their job to hold politicians to account in a truly fair and balanced way, not to act as cheerleaders or deny the truth as it appears before their very eyes. This attack on facts works two ways. We may reach a stage sooner rather than later where Trump has so gutted government departments and appointed place men and women –the EPA may be there already – that official information can no longer be trusted as reliable. George Orwell would understand this all too well.

Back to that base. Sadly, it became clear fairly quickly that if Trump has a solid support level of 35-40% prepared to believe anything he says, and who value culture over economics, he will not be encouraged to be normal. He is temperamentally unsuited anyway, but as long as he can fill or half-fill a stadium or a school-hall, he is not going to change. Trump may have contempt for these people. He is happy to keep using them. They’re not all bad. But there are millions of deplorables who are. The Commander-in-Chief is happy to throw them the red meat of bathroom and Muslim bans, as long as he can make himself and his pals even richer. But they –his base – are adults. They are given one of the few duties of a citizen in a republic – a vote – and they blew it. It is very hard to feel that sorry for them; they have brought this on themselves.

Yet, there is more optimism than in January. Court challenges have succeeded; the mindless scrapping of Obama Care has been resisted, for now. The investigation into the Trump family, and their financial links with Russia and Putin, continues. A tough sanctions bill has been passed by Congress. Some Republicans – a few – are beginning to put their necks out of their shells after swallowing Trump’s authoritarianism for a seat or seats on the Supreme Court./ The press is relentless in covering his constant twists and turns, the soap opera that his administration has become, the collapse of American prestige throughout the world.

This has been a terrible, draining, nightmare of six months though. As has been remarked over and over; what will Trump do during a real crisis? Europeans at large look over and wonder how much longer the chaos can go on. Something died in November 2016, and that’s not hyperbole to say so. But there’s also the chance to resist and rebuild, to truly take back control from Trump and his barbarians, and really make the idea of an America that President Obama espoused and believed in, great again. It can and must be done.

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All Change, and No Change in British General Election

This month’s British election result came as a surprise to most. The Conservatives surrendered a massive poll lead and lost MPs, Labour had their highest percentage vote in decades. It was a personal defeat for Theresa May even though the Tories won most of the seats. Pollsters had egg on their faces, again (except for two companies who called the outcome correctly). The 2017 election should have been the dawning of Conservative Party hegemony. Instead, May limped back into government with the help of the DUP.

The Tories ran a poor campaign. Terrorist incidents distracted from what should have been their bread and butter issue, namely the economy. But, to the exasperation of many, Tory central office were unable or unwilling to run with economic competency as a core issue. The campaign quickly reverted to tribal lines, with a twist this time; the C2s who voted, tended to vote blue, not red. May’s inability to connect with the wider electorate meant Labour was able to portray her as cold and out of touch. She proved to be a poor campaigner and is not expected to remain as Prime Minister for the next election.

Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn, had a very good ‘war’. Many, including this writer, had expected that Corbyn’s vulnerabilities would be cruelly exposed during an election campaign. Instead, the Corbynites and the Social Democrat wings of the party came together and achieved a result that few had expected. The Corbyn Factor turned out to be a huge plus in attracting younger voters, a cohort notorious for being all talk and no voting trousers. There are still significant issues of credibility and electability for the current Labour leadership, but it’s significantly more difficult now for Corbyn’s critics to depose him. The Hard Left still control the membership, the Soft Left still strong in the parliamentary party

It was a hugely disappointing result for the Liberal Democrats. They were unable to capitalise on the Remain vote; Britain’s First Past the Post electoral system once again meant that the party was could not match their overall share of the vote with seats. Tim Farron never got the Clegg bounce enjoyed by his predecessor in 2010. There were distractions, such as whether Farron’s faith influenced his politics, and their inability to hold Richmond in particular was an example of a party that didn’t enjoy a rub of the green. The dominance of the two big parties squeezed the Liberal Democrat vote.

There’s no hiding the fact that the SNP did not have a good election. There may be grounds for saying that the Scottish Conservative resurgence is a testament to the strength of Holyrood; perhaps some of the Tory vote is a recognition that Westminster politics is less important these days, and it was fine to register a protest vote accordingly. Brexit has messed everything up and the First Minister has taken heed of the outcome; namely that while most Scots do not want a second independence referendum in the near future, they know that their economic prosperity lies in the EU.

How does the result effect Brexit? The manner of the United Kingdom’s departure should be a lot ‘softer’ now, but not neccessarily. They will leave, and this is a huge let-down for the nearly half of the electorate who voted to stay. The Labour Party position is one of trying to saddle up on two horses; keeping the remainers happy, but ultimately acquiescing to a non-binding referendum to leave. Even if Labour comes to power following a second election, the journey of travel is to the departure lounge. The UK government is committed to leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. If most MPs oppose this, it’s time to stand up and be counted.

The DUP are the undoubted winners. Seasoned negotiators, they would loathe a Corbyn-led government, and by agreeing a confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservatives, they will provide Theresa May with some of the short-term stability she so desperately needs. The DUP are a vital bulwark against the natural attrition her government is expected to suffer in the next few years due to by-election defeats and rebellious Tories.  For now anyway, Theresa May is in office and in power. It’s a far cry from the landslide most expected.

The election should have been all about Europe. It wasn’t, and because it wasn’t, there is less certainty, not more, for EU negotiators. This is THE issue, and Labour are sticking their heads in the sand if they refuse to recognise it as such. As big as the Corn Laws, as big as Suffrage, as big as the Act of Union between England and Scotland. Yet there is little sign – currently – that there is the requisite leadership to grasp this nettle. Brexit will mean Brexit; the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.

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Manchester, British Election, Trump in Trouble, Alt-Left

Manchester                

Manchester is now another city to add to Paris, Brussels, and Nice in the list of places falling prey to ISIS terrorism. This attack was particularly cruel. The suicide bomber would have known the age profile of those attending. It was an atrocity that can’t be blamed on foreign policy, on police failures, or on alienation, although these are factors in the greater scheme of things. It was the act of a homicidal maniac; he is the one with blood on his hands. There is no easy fix to this; it will be a combination of education and security. But let’s not have the usual suspects on the Hard Left equivocating on this act of barbarism. ISIS know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and how to do it. They don’t need misguided or ideologically-driven commentators telling them what to think. They want to establish a global caliphate, not negotiate the finer points of international relations with the rest of us, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The best thing we can all do is go back to what binds us together; respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. If this sounds like a long-term project, that’s because it is.

British Election

Less than ten days to go to the British General Election and the Labour party seems to have recovered a lot of ground. A recent opinion poll in ‘The Times’ has them within five points of the Conservatives. This would be the unlikeliest of comebacks. It’s been such an unusual two year period in international politics that we can rule nothing out. But this would be the mother of all revenge of the underdogs. In the extremely unlikely event that Jeremy Corbyn is the next Prime Minister, it will have been the biggest turn up for the books in modern polling history. Labour were over twenty points behind only a few short weeks ago, and now they’re within striking distance of Theresa May. This could well be as good as it gets. Even pegging it back to this small a lead would not stop a comfortable Conservative majority. The fact that Labour are still behind and expected to lose is a testament to Corbyn’s weakness as a leader. Theresa May is not a good campaigner or effective Prime Minister; Her Majesty’s Opposition should be streaks ahead, particularly after Brexit. After May 8th, it is likely that Labour will still be wanting.

Trump & Russia

For Trump, all roads seem to lead back to Moscow. It now appears that Jared Kushner, his senior advisor, and son-in-law, is a ‘person of interest’ to the FBI, one that started up a secret channel to the Russian Ambassador in DC. Two of DT’s senior former subordinates, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, are under investigation, and facing prosecution. The firing of FBI Director Jim Comey has opened up a whole new world of pain for ‘45’ as he becomes bogged down in a mire of his own making. America may well have elected a President guilty of treason. What would motivate someone like to Trump sell out his country? Money and status. That’s all he’s ever cared about. Russian mob money is alleged to have helped bail him out during his several bankruptcies. No serious commentators find him trustworthy or credible about anything anymore, if they ever did. Things are getting very serious for Trump. He either beats the rap, and American democracy gets devalued even further, or he resigns, and/or gets prosecuted/impeached. As things stand, the system is just about holding out against this man. Should he fail to be deposed, the system will have failed.

Alt-Left?

You’ll know the Alt-Left when you see them. They’re active on Twitter as Russell Brand fans, in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, and heavily embedded in the Bernie-or-Buster crowd. They would rather America fall foul of fascism than vote for a centrist candidate to prevent this. Sanders supporters in particular are still holding out that their man was defrauded, and then like some latter day deposed royal, he will be restored and lead his people as a just king. In reality, the Bernie-or-Busters resemble the Japanese soldier still fighting the war in the jungle long after it’s finished. Bernie lost; they need to get over it. We will never know if he would have beaten Trump; it’s an academic question. Similarly, Corbynistas blame everyone except their beatified Jeremy for his leadership and judgment errors. Most people in Ireland did not believe ‘Troops Out’ were working for peace, yet this is a meme that’s doing the rounds in defence of his advocacy for radical-chic. Yet try pointing this out and you’ll be called a Tory, a Blairite, a Murdoch lackey etc. The Alt-Left may not be as malignant or racist as the Alt-Right, but in their willingness to promote alternative facts, they share many of their thought processes.

 

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May’s Win To Lead To Britain’s Long-Term Loss

April 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election surprised people with its timing. The logic of it is impeccable though. She is an accidental Prime Minister and faces a challenging few years ahead. It’s assumed she’ll win a landslide against a weak and divided Labour Party. This is probably the case. For Labour, it’s looking like a massacre. Yet Jeremy Corbyn might stay on. There’s mixed fortunes for the other parties. One issue should dominate; Brexit. But it may be the usual bread and butter issues that come to the fore, as well as trust in the leadership of May and Corbyn.

This should be plain sailing for the Conservatives. They are an average of 15 points ahead of Labour in the polls. Even allowing for massive slippage between now and Election Day, they’re still in target to get at least a comfortable 50 seat majority, with the possibility of a plurality of 100 seats or more. She’s up against a Labour Party that seems unable to gain any traction with the electorate. Her core issue of competency is a sure fire winner. Nobody thinks Jeremy Corbyn is likely to be walking into Downing Street. The real works begins with the new majority. She’s got the twin headaches of Europe and Scotland which will take up most of her time as Prime Minister. When she turns around with a deal that disappoints the Brexiteers – as it surely will – then her problems are bigger than party management and political ones. They are existential issues for the future of the British state.

Labour are in big trouble. It’s hard to see any good coming out of their performance. They could lose heavily and still have an ineffective leader at the end of it all. This is the election that could break the party. If the losses are sufficiently catastrophic, the non-Corbynites might decide that Brexit can only be challenged by forming a new party. The structures currently in place make it almost impossible to depose Corbyn. Only a candidate with his blessing can succeed him. Twenty years after the 1997 Labour landslide, Labour are in dire straits.

This should be a comeback election for Tim Farron. They are coming back from their disastrous performance in 2015. They will be targeting Tory and Labour ‘Remain’ voters. The potential is there for big gains. Farron has already ruled out any coalition post-election and this positions him as well able to capitalise on small ‘L’ liberals disillusioned and still angry about the turn of events since last year’s referendum. In some ways, Farron is this year’s Ed Miliband; unexciting, solid, and trustworthy (if not quite seen as Prime Ministerial material). More of London and the South should be turning Liberal Democrat yellow. If they don’t get at least 20 seats plus, it will be a hugely disappointing outcome for Tim Farron.

North of the border, this is Nicola Sturgeon’s second general election. Independence is back on the agenda now. One of the unthought-of out consequences of Brexit is the resurgence of the Scottish Problem, one entirely self-inflicted by the Brexiteers. Sturgeon is coming from such a strong position that, for the Scottish National Party, the only way is down. They are, however, expected to hold their own. Despite the Scottish Tories in resurgence, the SNP are in a powerful pole position. Brexit is not popular in Scotland, to put it mildly.

UKIP really doesn’t need to exist anymore. Arguably, they’re the most successful one-issue political party in the last 200 years. Yet they’re staying one. The system is against them. They are the true inheritors of the collapsed Far Right vote. It will be extremely difficult for UKIP to get even one seat in the First Past the Post electoral system. While this is grotesquely unfair, it’s no harm that a Hard Right Nationalist party fails to make a political breakthrough. They’ve got what they’ve wanted. Their legacy is indisputable. They’ve also poisoned the political ground and been shown to be utterly irresponsible about their country’s and their voters’ long term interests. If they fade away, they will be doing the democratic process a service.

The 2017 will see no TV debates between the two big party leaders, few surprises, and a grim reaping for the Labour Party members who refuse to accept the reality that Corbyn is leading them into political oblivion. The Liberal Democrats will go hard in Brexit and it’s right and proper that they should do so. Bigger issues are at stake than the size of Theresa May’s majority. Britain is definitely leaving Europe. The European Union will miss them. But Britain should be under no illusions about how difficult the road ahead will be for them. Theresa May’s problems are just about to begin.

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