Category Archives: General Election 2017

Dear Prime Minister…..

I sent this letter to the Prime Minister on the 6th of December. Thus far I have had no reply, so I posted another copy today, the day of the ‘meaningful vote’…..

Dear Prime Minister,

I write this open letter to you with the heaviest of hearts. I am a proud citizen of the United Kingdom with an England tattoo on my arm and an OBE on my chest. The truth is one of my ways of life.

Like you Prime Minister, I consider myself patriotic, principled and I take my duty as a citizen very seriously. But our beloved country has allowed itself to descend into an ungracious and dis-unified state the likes of which we have never known.

As an entrepreneur I build businesses. Most of mine have been successful, but not all. It’s my job to be laser focused on what my companies offer both employee and customer. I build, listen and motivate incredible teams. I know to pivot when ‘staying the course’ would lead to disaster. All successful leaders learn through failure. As Madiba said “Quitting Is Leading”.

My octogenarian Mum (the most patriotic person I know) will never suffer a bad word said of our Great Britain. Mum’s family fled Fascists and Nazis to make a home in East London. Our country used to have the highest reputation for providing safe haven to those fleeing terror. That reputation is presently in danger of being lost.

My father worked with Jewish people all his life and they were all proud to be East Enders and equally proud of being British. Yet they never lost sight of their Jewish heritage and responsibilities before God. Every good British soul at that time was wearied by hate and war. We wanted it utterly done with. Our progress and peace in Europe since then has no historical precedent. Our freedom to live, work and love in the EU has accelerated world peace and collective understanding for our fellow mankind.

We have all been on a strange journey since June 23rd 2016. Every voter appears to have been sold a ‘victory’ based on lies, deception and outrageous interference. The legal and moral shadows cast by that interference still loom large today.

Political pundits and supposedly ‘bright headed journalists’ have spent years pointing the finger at the EU, blaming them for our immigration problems. Successive UK governments have failed to exercise our right in EU law to control our own numbers.

Is it because we desperately need more skilled people? I think so.

I don’t need to tell you where the majority of our net migration comes from. You know that the top three nations are either in the Commonwealth or our closest neighbours. If you, like me, recently watched the Darkest Hour film on Churchill’s ascent to your present office, then you would know that King George VI told Churchill:

“The public needs to be led, not misled”. The rest is history and our Darkest Hour led to our Finest Hour.

What the world needs now is the truth. Pure and simple truth. You have put a good amount of toil into your government’s Withdrawal Agreement. The 585 page document represents a huge amount of legally binding words. The Political Declaration alongside it is a 27 page promise of our intended future relationship and nothing more. But it delivers us nothing but warm words. None of the hollow promises made to us all by the Leave camp seem achievable in reality. There is no actual future deal yet on the table. Will this Withdrawal Agreement not leave us poorer than we are under our current membership of the EU?

You stood on the steps of Number 10 Downing St when you became Prime Minister and talked about fighting the burning injustices of this country. If we are poorer, how can we rectify these injustices? You still have the chance to tell us the truth and lead us into a better place. Ask our Parliament to help you, ask us, the people to help you too. But tell us the truth, please. As Lincoln said, “you can’t lie to people and expect them to continue to follow you”.

Prime Minister, your job is to inspire we the people but you must also speak truth to us. All the advice you have been given and all the data at your disposal points to our country being worse off if we leave the EU. Please admit this to us and tell us that you need to change direction, it is your job to make this country safe, and that cannot happen if we are poorer and our influence is diminished. We would all respect you for that.

We need the truth now more than ever in our history. Tell us the truth Prime Minister. Yours sincerely,

AG Payne OBE

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Filed under AV Electoral Reform, EU Referendum, General Election 2017, Politics

May is over. Pass the parchment….

Well what a week it was. As if our 12th wedding anniversary, a joyous and great landmark in itself, wasn’t enough, then the General Election just added to my excitement and joy. It was just under one year since the people of the UK decided to vote by a small margin to leave the European Union, a decision which will have enormous ramifications, some good and some not so good, for the people of the UK, not just now, but for generations to come. Whichever side of that argument you are on, the vote was cast and the UK is  leaving the EU. What has not been agreed is the actual details around the deal. That all has to be negotiated and that process will start in around seven days time.

Up until Thursday, we were going to be in the hands of a Prime Minister who had no idea of what consensus looks like, let alone how to build one and why it is so important for our country. She approached the issue with succession of inane and meaningless slogans such as ‘Brexit means Brexit‘, ‘A red, white and blue Brexit‘ and ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’.  Then she decided after a walking holiday over the Easter holiday to call a snap general election in order to ‘strengthen her hand‘ in the upcoming Brexit talks. The rest is history. Consistency is everything, and Theresa May ensured that she trotted out another asinine slogan, the now infamous ‘Strong and stable government‘ followed up with the equally ridiculous ‘Coalition of chaos‘, which ironically is about to become true, but not in the ways that Mrs May’s team had thought. The Conservative and Unionist Party are now in talks to do what is known as a ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. We shall see how that pans out in the near future, but don’t expect this to be an easy ride for the Prime Minister, especially given that the devolved government in Northern Ireland has been stood down now and only has until the end of this month to reconvene, otherwise the Northern Irish will be put under ‘Home Rule‘ from Westminster, which has so many negative connotations for so many that it will not go down that well in that part of the UK.

It is clear now that the Prime Minister is a lame duck in every way possible. What is unclear is how long she will stay in the job. Under normal circumstances, she would have resigned on Friday. Instead she made one of the most ludicrous speeches I have ever heard standing on the steps outside Number 10 Downing St. So ridiculous, it just cemented Theresa May as the worst Prime Minister of my lifetime, in my opinion of course. Up until Thursday morning I also thought she was the most dangerous Prime Minister of my lifetime too. Dangerous because she had decided that our democratic decision, decided by referendum to leave the EU, would be the hardest of hard Brexits. She had clearly not taken the advice of businesses of all sizes who have been warning since last June of the catastrophic effects of crashing out of the Single Market and the Customs Union without a proper negotiated deal and closing our borders to talent, so much of it absolutely essential to keeping our economy growing.

The Prime Minister must now listen to the voices of reason. Equally, she will have the hard right of her party shouting that we must carry on regardless, but given her lack of majority in Parliament, many on the centre and left of her party will be saying she should moderate her and therefore the UK’s position. Labour would be best off keeping quiet for now, and they should focus on bringing their party back together. The Conservatives are so scared of another election right now, especially in the age of crowdfunding where parties can raise smaller amounts of cash from many people and not least because all of us are electioned-out, that they need Theresa May to stay in post. Make no mistake, she has been told to stand and hold the fort, whilst the Tory high command figure out who will be the next leader, and potentially Prime Minister. The potential candidates are Amber Rudd, who actually stood in for the Prime Minister at the leaders’ debate on TV, but has a majority of only 340 last Thursday, Michael Fallon, currently the only minister who is comfortable trotting out the party line even when the tin hats are on, or Boris Johnson. It was clear that Boris Johnson has been sussing out the mood amongst his peers since about 5am on Friday morning and has realised, or more accurately has been told to lay off for now. Boris is the most popular Conservative politician with all the local party associations, but is not trusted by so many of the actual Tory MPs. My money, for what it is worth, is on Johnson at some stage to declare that he has no choice but to take the helm of the UK. I have just finished reading his book about Winston Churchill and it is clear Boris actually thinks he is actually a latter day Churchill. This will play into his narrative that in its our time of greatest need, and there is only one person who can possibly lead Great Britain to salvation against the ravages of the European foes massing at our doors wanting to run us into the ground.  Like Churchill, Johnson is man who has connections in the USA, having been born in the USA and having US citizenship. You see how this could play out can’t you?

Right now, the Conservatives are in a state of panic. Do they keep Theresa May for a few months, or do they take a risk and allow Boris to live out his Churchillian fantasy at the expense of all of us? I think it is only a matter of when really.  The guff about bringing back Grammar schools and fox hunting will all go, they would be best advised to focus on getting Brexit sorted out as soft as possible for everyone’s sake.  Today’s latest announcement from the Prime Minster’s office is that the Queen’s Speech may be delayed as the time taken to transcribe the yet unwritten Queen’s Speech onto goatskin parchment, will mean it goes past next Monday’s original date and after that, The Queen will be at Royal Ascot for the rest of the week. If you ever thought we were in an episode of ‘The Thick of It’ we are surely in one right now. A lame duck, just got lamer.

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Going Underground

Today saw the publication of the Conservative and Unionist Party’s election manifesto. That followed the Lib Dems yesterday and Labour’s on Tuesday, although most of it was leaked a week before. And in exactly three weeks time, those who are registered to vote and want to vote, will vote. As a betting man, I would not back against the Conservative and Unionist Party winning by a landslide, currently you can get 25/1 with Paddy Power for Labour to win an outright majority and the same odds reversed for a majority Conservative and Unionist win. In plain English £1 on Labour winning will get you £25 back plus your original stake. £1 on the Conservative and Unionists will get you 4p back  plus your original stake.

 

Theresa May has clearly decided, or been advised, to focus on herself as the ‘strong and stable’ leader who will ‘take the difficult decisions’ in order to deliver a successful Brexit. Her rhetoric is all about how big the challenge ahead is and how ‘her’ plan will deliver a ‘stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain’ which ‘seizes the opportunities ahead and to build a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call their home.’ That bit is interesting, given I for one am actually proud to call Britain my home.  But hey, I am just one person and maybe Mrs May is not proud to call Britain her home, just yet? But what I did find interesting was her  aim to build ‘a Great Meritocracy here in Britain’ (note this is not my use of random capital letters, that’s her speech writer – you can read the whole speech here https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/86027/read-theresa-mays-full-speech-conservatives  }. I for one like the idea of a meritocracy, but am always cautious about those who the ‘meritocracy’ leaves behind. If Brexit taught anyone anything, it was that plenty of people feel, rightly, that they have been left behind in a globalised world. Add to that the definition of meritocracy that I found is ‘a ruling or influential class of educated or skilled people’ (experts anyone?) and I wonder if this comes to pass, whether it will actually improves things for the vast majority of ‘hard working people’ in this new, much heralded ‘Global Britain’?

 

Theresa May’s speech did come across all Winstonian. No, not that Winston, not the Winston Smith of George Orwell’s 1984 fame, no no, the other Winston, Mr Churchill. It felt like we were being pitched back to 1939. Great Britain was up against the dark foes in Europe and we had our collective backs against the proverbial wall. We have nowhere to go except, forward, together and face down the enemy. The road ahead will be tough, but we have no choice, but to grin and bear it and fight our way out of the EU. Our only chance is to back Mrs May’s strong and stable leadership, in the national interest.

 

Meanwhile over at Labour towers, it felt all very 1945.It’s a scenario whereby the people have come through several years of suffering, public services are rationed, real wages are falling and yet there had been record employment. What Labour was offering was in effect a New Deal, again. This would see the people take control of national assets, power, water, railways, and build loads of new low cost housing for all. The new Prime Minister would be an unassuming, intellectual man and generally less than brilliant at public relations but would pursue our foreign policy with a quiet manner, ensuring we make friends and try to keep them honest, rather than going in with a big stick.

 

Keep your money in your pockets. Some of the people of Britain love a fight, love to feel that we are the underdog and that we can once again be ‘great’.  That plays into Theresa May’s hands and will deliver her a massive majority in three weeks time.  The only hope for an alternative vision is for the young who have never voted to actually vote. Even then, and despite so many broken promises on immigration levels, deficit and therefore debt reduction, the Winstonian rhetoric will win the day. George Orwell was right. Right back then, right now. Get ready for many, many years of broken promises and lack of hope. We get the politicians we deserve and the public gets what the public wants. Me? I’m Going Underground.

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Filed under EU Referendum, General Election 2017, Politics