Friday, June 9, 2017

The UK going to the polls. Again.

I am writing this at two pm on Thursday. The polls in our general election have been open since 7 am this morning and for us Scots, it’s the 8th time we have been to the polls in the last four years.
It’s possible to get too much of a good thing.
 It’s a dark, rainy, cold day and that could affect the turnout and the voting.
When Theresa May ( Cruella Deville)  called a general election seven weeks ago it was thought to be a stroke of political  genius.  The labour party under Jeremy Corbyn was tearing itself apart with infighting, and Corbyn himself had suffered so much bad press that he was seen as extremely ineffectual. He was compared to the old labour man Michael Foot – highly intelligent, heart in the right place but hopeless as a leader. And too badly dressed. Full of great ideas, all of them unworkable.
The SNP were calling for IndyRef2 as it is known, our once in a generation vote was turning out to be – ‘let’s keep having referenda until we get the answer we want’.  And the scars haven’t healed since the last time. The Nos are silent, the Yeses are very loud.
 So just to recap, Scots voted no in the independence referendum, then voted in all (bar two) of our Mps to Westminster as  nationalist. Which suggests to me we want a bigger say in our affairs. But not to be independent. Well that’s my take on it.
Scotland voted SNP in the last  election while England voted Tory. We voted to stay in the EU and England voted to leave.  You can see why the nats get ansty.
May had a big majority, and she was riding high in the polls. Labour  was 36 points behind her, she could get in with a massive majority, then take on the world.
Then something weird happened.
Theresa may lost the plot.  To such an extent some have suggested she has done it deliberately as she has no wish to take the UK through the Brexit negotiations. She has refused to take part in debates – for one TV debate she gave the job to Amber Rudd. Rudd’s father had died two days before. Don’t know what was worse, May asking her to do it or Rudd accepting it.  Then she started on about a dementia tax. Which meant basically, you had to pay for your dementia care. Remember that over here  we don’t directly pay for any health care. So if your dad has cancer, his treatment is free. But if he has dementia  he has to pay. I know from my own experience that the average life span of a  dementia suffers in a care home is 18 months  as they are kept at home for so long now. So it didn’t seem right to pick on them. Cancer survivors can cost the NHS much more and EVERYBODY pays into the scheme. And it seemed that wasn’t a policy any way, she just …thought of it.

Meanwhile, she proposed all kinds of cuts, including to the police force.  It’s rumoured her husband is a director of Group 4,  the security company the police use for prisoner transfers etc. It might have been prudent to stop it at that decision and declare conflict of interest.
Then she said she would repeal the fox hunting ban. Now,  it might seem weird that we get really upset about that, its debated in parliament  at least twice a year – or so it seems. It’s not really about the  wee foxes, its indicative of the rich over the poor, the powerful over the defenceless. Fox hunting is banned in Scotland and will never return. But down south, the  minute the tories get a sniff of power, its back on the agenda.

The weird thing that happened was that a thought started to drift….maybe the media had been very unfair to Corbyn and much of what was said had been…well maybe not totally accurate. His policy of not sniping back with personal digs began to work in his favour. He started to appear dignified.  He appeared on Tv, clever and witty, smart and smiling. He  brought the TV presenter in some jam he had made on his allotment. His left wing policies  have been costed and they work ( well maybe they do!), He’s going to tax very rich people and give the money to the NHS. He appeared in a nice suit and a labour red tie.  He was eloquent without being condescending. He, famously or infamously, started the peace process with the IRA, gaining him the reputation of a being a terrrorist sympathiser when really, he  helped to bring about 35 years of peace  from that terror.   
Amongst all that, we suffered two terrible terrorist attacks from the hands of ISIS. May’s cut on policing suddenly looked shaky.  Corbyn, totally in support of public  services, looked promising. Maybe, a quieter man with a different way of taking on terrorism might bring something to the party.
The gap in the polls has been closing every day. When there is an election my accountant always sends out an email saying 'this is what the financial manifesto will mean for you'.  And four weeks ago, the email appeared; This is what the tories’ policy will mean for you.  As that  was  the dead cert at that time. Last week, we got another hastily typed email as Corbyn closed the gap  in the polls. One poll had him only one point behind  May at the start of this week.
 It has also been suggested that  Corbyn is benefiting from an anti Trump psychology.  They are the antithesis of each other.
It will be interesting to see of the huge SNP vote for Westminster last time was due to an anti tory vote and now, under a credible leader, labour  might reclaim those votes.
I think a patient of mine summed it up best. ‘I’m voting for who will do least damage.’
It’s too much to hope for Labour to get in, it would be too much of a swing but there is a good ( hopefully) chance that the Tories will not get a majority. There could be a hung parliament and that might act as a brake on more of the Tory excesses.  That means one party, the third largest party , will hold the balance of power. And that will be the Scottish Nationalists.
At that  point  England and Wales might vote to gain independence from us.
By the time you read this, we will probably know how it is panning out. But due to the weather, it looks like the Tories will do better than they had thought.
Worse luck.
Fingers crossed.

Caro Ramsay  09 06 2017


  1. Oy, politics and elections. There didn't seem to be nearly so much of them when I was younger...

  2. I have been up all night watching this scenario unwind. Every SNP vote tumbled, May is looking shaky, Corbyn is joyous and we have a minority government - which will have its nastier austerity measures capped. No one party has the 326 seats needed to have a free hand in the house of Commons.

  3. You predicted correctly! Would you care to cast your crystal ball predictions (and karma) this way?

    "This" could be Greece and/or US--both could use your assistance.

  4. Well Trump has really lost an ally, there is no way May and Trumpty can be pals now. And the Tories have to 'get in bed' with the DUP ( Ulster unionist types who will not get round a table with Corbyn due to his peace initiatives ) to get a majority. And the DUP will want to force a very soft Brexit as they need to keep their open border with the south which is still in the EU. Or, we may have a parliament that will vote issue by issue.... and Brexit negotiations start when... ten days time! Does that help Greece in any way??

    1. Yes, it makes what's going on here not as insane by comparison.

    2. The DUP seem pretty clear they don't want a special deal for northern ireland as far as Brexit is concerned. Will their participation help or hurt with softening Brexit do you think?

    3. I think it will be interesting... ( that means I have no idea ) but the pundits here suggest it will go to ease a softer exit. And the DUP are not popular with the rest of us... watch this space..

  5. DISARRAY!! That seems to be the word that perfectly describes every place. It feels better than "extreme right wing," but jeez, my head is spinning. It feels dangerous that the old reliable, if see-saw, democracies are deconstructing. Entropy seems to be taking over. Climate change isn't just about the weather anymore.

  6. I think everybody had a say, everybody had something to cheer and everybody had a bit where the TV nearly went out the window. At one point my dog attacked the Tv, but she has been trained to do that when a certain person appears. That person was improved by dog slever on their face.

    1. This is why I don't watch the news on television. I need that screen to watch movies, the only thing that seems to be keeping me sane. I would be kinder to my dog if I were you and watch old movies that won't upset him. Are they still showing Lassie?

  7. I think Ms May must have listened to Mr Corbyn's comments about his suits. Aren't the dress and scarf and belt she wore yesterday the same as she wore when holding hands with Donald SCROTUS? I pay attention to these things!

  8. Thank you, Caro, for your excellent summary of what was going on pre-election. I have been reading the Guardian website and following this election with great interest.

    It looks like young people came out in droves, and that many of the Tories' voters who are elderly did not like the added tax for pensioners.

    I hope that they do not unite with the awful DUP, awful on every issue from what I have read, even climate change.

    I think the voting is a sign of progress. Don't know what it means for BREXIT.

    And why did the SNP not do better? Is it that there's much opposition to independence?

    I am appalled that the Tories are still pushing fox hunting! But your explanation of that makes sense. It is the rich vs. the poor.

    I wish this election would move some things over here. I just saw an indication of that among some liberal senators. Maybe things will change here!

  9. Thanks Kathy. My blog next week will be a day by day account of what is going on here. In brief, it looks like if Mrs may does a deal with the dup then the Scottish tories will walk ...leaving Mrs may without her majority again. Ruth Davidson - leader of the Scots tories - is in a same sex marriage . The dup condemn all home sexual acts as , according to one source ' worse than paedophilia '...
    As soon as Ruth said that, downing street said any talk of a deal was presumptious !
    That was close of play last night.
    Mr fishfinger'S support is growing daily ....

  10. Well, I'm cheering on Corbyn and the Labour Party for a lot of reasons. But it's all interesting to me.

    My father's family is Irish from the ROI and any alliance with the DUP turns my stomach. I also read that they oppose women's reproductive rights as well as LGBT rights and are climate change deniers.

    I'll keep my eyes on the news and look for your post. In addition to your terrific Glaswegian sense of humor, you have a way of explaining the political scene well.

    I get news from the Guardian and I check Twitters of various people, including crime writers Eva Dolan and Denise Mina.

    I hope things go in a progressive direction on all this.