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.