That a good start

Sky News’ reported escorted from a Conservative party leader speech..

Apparently it happened live.

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General Election called

Just been announced about two hours or so ago that the UK will have a general election on 4th July. Looks like the last roll of a dice by someone who seems as hated by his party as the country as a whole and certainly far earlier than I expected. Making the announcement in a rain-soaked suit with New Labour’s 1997 Things Can Only Get Better hauntingly in the background was not a good start.

There is talk about some connection with today’s announcement of inflation coming down but that is seriously clutching straws and no doubt there are other hidden reasons. Calling elections in the school holiday season of July and August is very rare and not even holding out for September or October suggests that things are going to rapidly get worse.

Last year I thought that Scotland would be the wild-card as without Scotland Labour would need a swing in the mid-teens to get any sort of working majority, but with Humza Yousaf’s recent resignation as Scotland’s first minister the SNP are in disarray and may well take a serious hammering. For them holding 25 or so seats and remaining the largest party in Scotland would be an OK result.

Labour winning is not in much doubt and they will have their work cut out, but for now let the games begin..

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Rejoining the EU?

In the YouTube video Who the hell thinks Brexit is going well? LBC’s James O’Brien he cites (with caveats) that 2% of the UK population think Brexit is going well. And 10% for fairly well. Also mentioned is Von der Leyen remarking about the UK rejoining the EU which is predictably rubbished by the usual suspects. What caught my attention was the “next generation” remark which was not far off my thinking of the subject.

The Conservative party has completely nailed its colours to the mast of hard Brexit and all but purged anyone who even remotely disagrees with this. Their gene pool leaves little prospect of a reversal because there does not appear to be anyone in sight who would be willing and able to drive such a change.
Conservative-leaning business-orientated people I come across privately agree Brexit is a disaster but within the party the main concern is trying to out-do whatever the former UKIP lot end up calling themselves come the election.

Labour have never been warm towards the EU and its predecessor organisations, and this hostility was a major reason they had the SDP split that helped see them out of office for almost two decades. In Euro-election campaigns they did the complete cop-out of not mentioning Europe at all, with one of their 1999 party political broadcasts consisting of borderline brain-dead droning on about the Conservatives. The Labour Leave “wipe the smiles off their faces” is a contender for the most dishonesty short-termist thing of any British political campaign.

Labour know the Conservatives will use Europe as a wedge issue against them in the Red Wall seats, which is why Kier Starmer has already ruled out rejoining the customs union. While not anti-Europe the enthusiasm to spend the political capital is absent.

The Liberal Democrats and Greens are in favour of rejoining but they are in no position to do anything about it.

If the UK was to rejoin the EU it will not be the deal they used to have prior to the referendum because the EU as a whole will simply not tolerate the sort of farting around seen in the Brexit negotiations. No rebate and no opt-outs, it will be take it or leave it. One such opt-out was the long-term commitment to join the Euro and this is something that the UK public will find hard to swallow even if in practice it is put off indefinitely. The EU has moved on so there may well be other things that are not paletable.

And then there is the issue of whether the EU would even allow the UK back in. They saw how UK politics developed since the referendum and while they might not go as far as needing the UK to ditch FPTP they will want changes to how the UK conducts itself.

I might just about see the UK rejoining the EU within my life-time but the time-scale is so long that it will have no bearing on my working life.

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