Hello, here are a few thoughts on Australian and UK politics for the weekend. In the tradition of political commentators who spill their thoughts in the Sunday papers, I probably won’t proof read or edit this, and I certainly won’t think about it too hard.
I’m not a member of the Labour party. I generally like Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, but my goodness not right now. He’s come out as a Brexitmeansbrexiteer, which is actually a smart move considering he needs support from working class Brexiteers, but it’s really not helpful for anyone apart from himself.
To use a tired old ‘burning building’ analogy, Corbyn’s anti-austerity message was very good last year before anyone was even thinking about the EU Referendum, and was rather like demanding some fire doors and some sprinklers in a building at risk of catching fire. Now the building’s on fire with everyone trapped inside; Theresa May’s running a “let it burn and see what happens” line; David Davis and crew are turning up with a demolition ball to knock the whole thing down as quickly as possible, and all the while Jeremy – Leader of the Opposition – Corbyn’s response is still “we should put some fire doors in”. Meanwhile there do seem to be some (Owen Smith, crucially, as well as the Lib Dems) who are saying, you know what, we could try putting the fire out, and they’re being demonised by Corbyn supporters as haters of the poor.
Clearly fire doors are a good idea. Anti-austerity is a very very good position to hold. But right now, Brexit is more dangerous than imaginable. The result of the EU Referendum has caused more damage in a month than Cameron and Osborne’s austerity package could have caused in a decade. And even though Cameron and Osborne are out of the picture now, Jeremy Corbyn is still focusing all his efforts on them and their policies, seemingly unaware of what is going on around him.
(And much though I hate to take a “fuck the poor” position, large numbers of certain sections of the British population voted to leave the EU, and my sympathy for the resulting self-inflicted hardship is very limited indeed.)
The Australian Senate & 1st preference votes
Apparently Malcolm Roberts only got 77 first preference votes and is now a senator. Apparently we have four One Nation senators (up from zero) even though the party got a lower share of the vote than last time. Apparently nobody knows how preferential voting works. 77 first preference votes for a not-even-first candidate for a minor party is quite impressive, and quite worrying. We should probably be more concerned about a society that allows bigotry to flourish rather than an electoral system that allows people to vote for it.
Last week I wrote a letter to my MP, David Davis, about the outcome of the EU Referendum. He responded yesterday. His response was entirely predictable – he was a vocal Leave supporter, and clearly has a fetish for whatever he thinks is left of the British Empire – but I was glad he responded. Here is our correspondence:
Dear David Davis,
I write concerning the recent referendum on the UK’s membership of the
European Union. The results made it clear that this time last week, the
majority of voters – including you – in the UK as well as in
Haltemprice and Howden supported leaving the European Union. I’m sure
you agree that the result of the referendum has been disastrous for the
UK in less than a week. Claims and promises made by the Leave campaign
have turned out to have been false – we won’t see any extra money spent
on the NHS, we won’t have access to the single market on any terms the
UK would agree to, and the restrictions on immigration that many voters
(though not including me) wished to see will not be possible.
Already we have seen a tremendous downturn in the UK economy, the
effects of which will surely be felt particularly harshly in our
region, especially as we face losing funding from the European Regional
My family faces hardship as a direct result of this referendum – family
members are small business owners, and other family members rely on
welfare benefits to support their income from work, which George
Osborne confirmed will be at real risk.
I urge you to do all you can to now ensure the future prosperity of the
UK, our region and my family. I believe the best way to do this will be
to work to ensure the UK remains a member of the EU – applying the
advice obtained from this advisory referendum when it has already
proved to be disastrously damaging to the UK simply cannot be an
option. I hope, having seen the fallout from last week’s poll, you
agree with me. Please help.
His response came in a week, which is actually pretty good I’m led to believe.
Dear Mr Avocado
Thank you for your email regarding the outcome of the EU Referendum.
I am afraid I do not at all agree with your statement that the “result of the referendum has been disastrous for the UK”.
We have not seen a “tremendous” downturn in the economy, what we have seen is the predictable hysteric reaction from the establishment. This hysteria was always to be expected in the event of a Leave vote. And it is just that – hysteria.
In reality there is much cause for confidence. The Germans have swiftly indicated their desire for minimum disruption to trade. The Americans reaffirmed their belief in the special relationship, with senators calling for a fast-track trade deal with the UK. And Australia and New Zealand lead the calls for Britain to rediscover our Commonwealth links.
It is now the job of the Government to implement the instructions of the UK people in a way which enhances democracy, improves our economy and maintains the tradition of liberal open minded and generous views of the rest of the World, including remaining friends with our European partners.
Thank you for writing to me in this way.
Rt Hon David Davis MP
I hope he’s right, but I don’t think he is.