The Last Tory Government?

A stonking majority, the authority to get things done, a message to Brussels that they can no longer use back-channels to undermine the British government’s negotiating position. Seats in Conservative hands that have never before welcomed a blue rosette – all is rosy, surely?

However, the seeds of destruction are there.  The two major factors which won a Conservative majority were Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit, in that order. By the next election in four and a half years’ time, both of those factors will be gone. Unless the government and the new cohort of blue-team MPs can prove their value to the man on the street, or the woman in the hospital bed, then that swathe of northern seats will start turn scarlet again.

The red wall fell, and when the BBC ventured into those unfamiliar areas they found many new Conservative voters, but not a great deal of enthusiasm: the vote was anti-Corbyn and for good reason: Corbyn promises nothing that works and he is a declared enemy of everything British, but the honest working man (and even the dishonest one) is a patriot first.

The idea that Labour is for the working man is a hard one to eradicate.  They talk a good fight. They can never achieve what they claim they can, but the identity is embedded, that they represent the working class and the Tories the upper classes, and that is a strong draw.

Away from the northern towns and the gritty estates, the enthusiasm for Corbyn’s Labour went beyond class-based identity prejudice and filled a number of fashionable-thinking middle-class, muddle-class people who should have known better and who have more to lose. Much of London remains a Labour stronghold – and patriotism is rarely considered a virtue in those circles, nor sense and logic when it comes to it. In those circles a different approach is needed.

It is difficult for Conservatives to understand the mindset that accepts Socialism as an attractive prospect or which warms to Corbyn – it is bizarre. Why should a teacher break off an English class to harangue her pupils about how they will all be failures because public schools exist, or a history teacher claim that one of the vilest of Nazi thugs was all right really because he enjoyed debauching teenage boys in his authority: two examples reaching my ears only this week – that is incomprehensible to the Conservative mind. That mindset though must be understood if any inroad is to be made into it.

This needs deeper examination, and longer articles, but the myths, the oversimplifications, the unreasoned prejudices (and we all have those) must not remain unchallenged, for if ever there is to be another Conservative victory like yesterday’s, with no Brexit and no Corbyn, the Conservatives must break the internal ‘red walls’ of the mind.

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Out all day, soaked to the skin, tired, too early to see the results, but all is looking positive. It looks, at the time of posting at least, as if the nation has chosen to Back Boris and send the Marxists scurrying with their tails between their legs.

Too early though to be sure. Whatever was said on the street and the doorstep, however many times the blue rosette has been cheered and cars have honked appreciation as a team walked the road, it all comes down to every voter, individually, stepping into the wooden booth and making his mind up there and then. There is a world of difference between the doorstep and the sudden silence of the booth, the sudden grip of a spontaneous action.

If all has gone well, then Boris Johnson will step back up to the doorstep of Downing Street and start to get things organised so that a new Parliament can assemble, even before Christmas, to make the first steps in catching up after three years’ stagnation. Yes, Get Brexit Done, as soon as possible, but do not forget the promise of the next part of the manifesto slogan – Unleash Britain’s Potential.

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Even Corbyn opposes Corbyn

Is there anyone left supporting Corbyn and McDonnell?

I feel sorry for Jon Ashworth: he is only saying what I have been saying, what many have been saying and hearing on the doorstep, so actually we are at one on this – although obviously for Corbyn’s ally t0 be opposing him is, well, no, it is not unusual.

It should not be controversial to say that most of the general public hate Jeremy Corbyn. It should not be controversial to say that putting state security in the hands of a declared enemy of the nation, a friend of those who try to destroy it, is a fatal mistake, or putting command of the armed forces in the hands of those who have been in the pay of the governments of Russia and Iran is disastrous. It should not be controversial to say that putting the Treasury in the care of one who wants to abolish money is madness. It should not be controversial to remind the public that no Marxist who has obtained power has ever willingly given it up again.

There are gaps in the line-up. Where have some of the big names gone? Where is Emily Thornberry in this campaign, or Keir Starmer? Are they staying back to give them freedom to manoeuvre against the Momentum gang? Or are they being kept away because they are not Momentum? In Starmer’s case it may just be because he is so unpopular with the public. That might be the case with Thornberry too. It is quite a feat to be more unpopular even than Jeremy Corbyn.

A day to go and Labour in meltdown and still the Conservative lead cannot grow to what it should be. From their performance and obvious impracticality, Labour should be declined into minor protest party, but somehow they cling on out of emotion beyond logic. That is a lesson that nothing can be taken for granted, and even if Boris soars to a famous victory, which is not assured, he will have to work like stink and perform like a hero to win next time round.

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Letterboxes, endless letterboxes

They fill my dreams now.  I wake sweating with my head full of letterboxes. Horizonal, vertical, hidden round the side. Tiny Victorian-style ones, scarcely big enough to post a matchbox, letterboxes at the bottom of the door that send the bag over your head when you bend down.  Letterboxes with slathering, hungry dogs behind them, that eat your leaflet or your fingers. Forget the fingers – we spent money printing that leaflet just to feed your mut. Double-sprung flaps with fur that mangle everything pushed through them – maybe the householder thinks the Royal Mail scrumples their post before they deliver it – but I assure you sir or madam, it is your armour-plated letterbox.

A minute or two I spent trying to find the thing.  I need a strap-on wrist torch or maybe luminous gloves.  Maybe it is aesthetically neat to have the flap the same colour as the wood and placed in an amusing position. Like that one round the side of the porch, behind the giant, stone flowerpot or the one five feet to the right of the door, above the pond. Yes, luminous gloves, and the knuckleduster for when I knock on a door with no bell nor knocker.  (I really did not mean to break the glass.)

An aspiring couple here, with a smart new front porch they are so proud of; with the doorbell and letterbox left unreachable on the door inside – who builds these things?

Back to a quieter street, ex-council houses with standard-form, cheap aluminium, single-flap letter boxes – bliss – ah, who is that angry man just appeared in a dressing gown?  ‘No sir, I did not knock on your door at eleven at night:  I just dropped a leaflet through – that’s just a loud, mail-flap-cum-doorknocker you have”. (Can I pretend to be the LibDem canvasser at this stage? Run.)

Have I just broken that one?  It was broken anyway, but I’ll try to replace the flat on the cracked hinge if I can.  The householder won’t notice as fast as a postman or deliverer will I suppose. Yow!  The spring is broken and sticking though like a needle.  He must wonder why all his post has blood on it.  At least it keeps the companies that make tetanus jabs in business. Youch! The neighbour’s letterbox is the same. A local builder is a psycho.

‘I know, but have a leaflet anyway. Yes, I saw “No junkmail” but it is not – this is an election communication, which is the living, breathing embodiment of participatory democracy – except not actually living, nor breathing, nor in a body, but still…’

Ornate Christmas decorations brighten the mood – nailed down over the letterbox.  No cards this year, then?

That cat is looking reproachful.

I don’t want to climb over the wall or trample his flower bed, but he has parked his obese car in the whole gap, and covered the flanks with a full compost bin. We need his vote too, as an aspiring householder. Oh, now the letterbox has fallen off: he used a cheap builder. He’s no worse than the neighbour though – another double-flat, iron-sprung box with fur – the letterbox equivalent of chainmail – and by the time I have jammed the leaflet though (we made them specially tough this time) it is confetti, and the flaps are jammed open in the fur (which, I have to observe, makes it worse than useless as a draft excluder). I might as well feed the leaflet into a dog, like next door.

I rather like the retro look of those Victorian vertical, black enamelled ones with the doorknocker in front: completely impractical for receiving post, but they look good.  You’ll just wonder why you never get letters for your family any more. The Victorians of course did not have A4 envelopes and the postmen maybe had nimbler fingers, in summer at least, and they would not have found that six-pound all-electric Christmas wreath tied on the knocker in front of the flap. I find myself walking slowly; my “wet concrete in the dark” gait, and still I cannot see the trip-hazards ankle-twisters – all to find more letterboxes, letterboxes that will haunt me for months until it starts again for May.

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Further leak of US-UK trade talks

The authentic text of the further UK-US trade negotiation has been released through reliable, authenticated sources:

To the Amerikanski Ambassador, fraternal greetings, Comrade.

We acknowledge your requests and regrettably can agree only first proposals, and concede:

  • All drugs for National Health Service will be bought from American pharmaceutical companies at price plus;
  • Drug patents will be increased from 20 years to 200 years.
  • We will or five years send 1% of our maidens to Trump dacha.
  • All dissidents against policy will be sent to Guantanamo gulag.
  • In return, no US tariffs on Monty Python or tea or samovar.

We share vodka soon. Am looking forward to face to face meetings in London after Rozhdestvo Khristovo.

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