Guest column: Off we go to the ballot box again
The victory of the UKIP-led campaign for Brexit convinced millions that their votes actually counted.
Populism threw a spanner in the establishment’s works and politicians have had to take note.
But have they? Or are the devious old tricks still in full flow.
The old joke about waiting for a bus and then three coming at once must be a politician’s favourite, the latest ‘bus’ being a General Election on June 8.
In terms of political strategy, in calling the election, Prime Minister Theresa May has pulled off a master stroke.
The ballot-box weary mood of the country was clear when, on April 18, the BBC’s TV correspondents stopped people in the street and asked if they knew an election had been called.
Two middle aged ladies, one in Leeds, the other in London, gave almost identical answers; “Oh, no! There isn’t, is there? Haven’t we had enough already? Well, I’m not voting!”
Yet people will vote, and Mrs May has a good idea who they’ll be.
There’s been a growing undercurrent of impatience among Leave voters over the protracted nature of the Brexit negotiations.
It seems likely that the majority may prefer to stay with Mrs May at the helm, rather than the momentum being lost by a new leader taking up the reins.
On the other hand, the byzantine Brexit negotiations are a lengthy nightmare and Mrs May must find the prospect of being knocked around by assorted Eurocrats for the next two years unbearable.
So if she loses in an election, she’ll be off that particular hook.
But that seems doubtful.
Labour are 20 points behind the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Farron is whistling in the wind thanks to his predecessor, Nick Clegg.
As politics lurches steadily to the extreme right in this new age of post-truth, lies and contradictions, the prospect of Britain as a hard line, conservative state for the next five years will be just what the twittering President Trump needs – a non-EU platform from which he can castigate NATO, the UN and what he regards as the horrendous idea of free health care.
A hard Brexit, more austerity for us, more tax cuts for the rich, more financial starvation for the NHS.
Never mind, at least we’ll have grammar schools.
That’s the trouble with politics, whoever you vote for, the Government always gets in.