The Aftermath

It has been a few days now and the dust is beginning to settle on a new political landscape. The election did not go to plan, for anyone. The conservatives had substantial losses, as did the SNP. Labour made gains and UKIP was, in essence, wiped up. So let us have a look and see how this all happened.



While Labour didn’t win on Thursday it seemed like a victory for them. Increasing their number of seats and share of the vote, as well as taking away the Tories majority, is no mean feat for a party that last year was looking like it could split in two.


There are a few reasons that Labour did so much better than everyone was expecting. First, they tapped into the youth vote. After last years Brexit Referendum young people felt that they hadn’t been heard. For many, it was the first time that they could feel the effect of a vote and it went against what many of them would have wanted. This galvanised them for this election. They weren’t going to let an older generation dictate to them for the next five years. Hopefully, they maintain this newfound political interest as it is highly probable that we’ll have another election in the not too distant future. If they do then we can expect to see more parties looking to appeal to the young.


It wasn’t just the youth vote that ensured that the election went well for Labour. Before the election, it was widely thought that the UKIP vote would collapse and go to the Conservatives. While the UKIP vote did collapse, the redistribution did not go the way that most expected. It was split roughly 50-50 between Labour and the Tories. This meant that the Tories didn’t get the automatic boost that they would have expected, but instead, both sides got a roughly equal boost in vote share. This helped to make the youth vote even more influential to the outcome of the result.


The final piece of the puzzle for Labour was their leader, Jeremy Corbyn. In his short time as leader, he has become a seasoned campaigner, having now fought three election campaigns (two for his party leadership and this general election). He was also part of the Remain campaign last year, even if his heart wasn’t in it. So the question is, why has he been more successful? Personally, I think it’s a mixture of a few things. First of all, he is a very personable individual. People like him and he seems to like spending time with real people. He listens to them and has tried to show the public that there might just be a better way forward. Perhaps there really is an appetite for socialism in the UK. Secondly, I think his campaign was planned fantastically. He used the power of social media in a way that showed the best of Britain, unlike the Tories who predominantly used it for attack ads. Looking at Corbyns Snapchat you could see him talking to common folk on the street, addressing crowds of thousands (which is why I think he only went to mainly safe Labour seats) and celebrity endorsements throughout. He has tapped into a new way of reaching out to the public, which I think will soon become the norm.


Finally, it was the manifesto and the way in which it was released. It was a manifesto that looked to bring hope back to working people and the young. But as well as that leaking it (I do not doubt that it was intentional) allowed them to see how the public would respond whilst not answering questions about how it would be implemented. This was a powerful tool, as they could then cherry pick the bits that work to make the strongest manifesto possible.



As well as Labour did the Tories had a terrible night and a worse campaign. Having a head start of at least 20 points in most polls it seemed like they would go on to crush Labour and those other pesky saboteurs. So what ended up going so wrong for the Tories?


Well, the problem really started when the released their manifesto. It seemed like they had given no consideration to their traditional supporters; the older generation. Why they thought it was a good idea to start means-testing the winter fuel allowance or announce the “dementia tax” will remain one of the biggest political mysteries of modern times. It’s not even like they decided to switch base and try and attract young voters. As I write this I can’t actually think of any policy that would be of benefit or interest to anyone under the age of at least 30, if not more. If there is one thing you don’t do in politics it is disgruntle your base support.


But there was more to Theresa Mays humbling than just a poor manifesto. It was the tone of the campaign itself that caused such a disastrous result. The electorate has had enough of slogans and attack ads. “Strong and Stable” means nothing and the Tories insulted the public by trying to tell them that it did. “The magic money tree” was another such failure. But it wasn’t just the way in which the campaign was executed that was flawed but the presidential style in which it was carried out that flopped. Mrs May, unlike Mr Corybn, just didn’t connect with the public in the correct way. The robotic manner in which she uttered words but said nothing of substance did nothing to endear her to the nation. Perhaps she would have been better staying in Downing Street showing strength and stability by running the country, rather than going out into the trenches and failing to connect.


Overall state of play

At the end of the day, not an awful lot seems to have changed. Labour have not quite claimed it as a win but framed it as though they haven’t lost. Which to an extent is true. What is more complicated is what the Tories will now do. They have entered into a “supply and confidence” deal with the DUP, which is likely to throw up a number of problems in the short and long term. Short term, they actually don’t agree on all that much. The DUP fundamentally disagree with a number of the social policies of the Conservative manifesto. And the Conservatives will have a tricky time reconciling the DUP’s homophobic view with Ruth Davidson, who is likely to play a key role in maintaining a Tory government due to the fact that if the Scottish Tory MP’s rebel then the majority is gone. Because of this Scotland’s voice in the upcoming Brexit negotiations is likely to be stronger, if the Scottish contingent stands up for the overwhelming number of Scots that voted to remain.


In the longer term, Northern Ireland might become a major problem. The Good Friday Agreement is based around the British government playing a neutral role in the governing of Northern Ireland. With Tories going into, even an informal, coalition with the DUP, Irish Republicans are likely going to be incensed. Topping it all off is the current negotiations trying to resolve the issues regarding power-sharing at Stormont. While it would take another issue to push it over the top, it does seem like the Troubles aren’t all that distant.


With the Brexit negotiations looming in the background, I believe it is time for British politics to grow up and mature. The days in which we can afford the partisan divide are dwindling. In order to ensure that Brexit is, at the very least, not a disaster, Theresa May has to put aside her pride. Conservatives claim to be pragmatic in their politics, so it is time to put it to the test. They should reach out across party lines and form a consensus as to what Brexit will be. Not everyone will get all that they want but that was never going to happen anyway. If all sides are willing to compromise, then perhaps the deal that we can get won’t be a total disaster. Maybe Theresa May won’t go down as the worst Prime Minister ever.


Obama’s Legacy Being Torn Down By Trump

Donald Trump continues to systematically destroy Barack Obama’s greatest achievements in the most hypocritical way possible. Here is how he has done it so far.

Imagine what must have been going through Barack Obamas’s mind since January. Not once in history has a newly elected president destroyed the bedrock of the previous administration’s legacy in such a short period of time. There are three components of this Obama’s legacy each of which is being systematically picked apart by this Trump presidency; healthcare reform, the Paris Climate Agreement and the rebuilding of the American economy and jobs after the financial disaster of 2008. Trump has ensured that he has either destroyed or perverted these achievements in order to give the appearance of taking action, but in fact, all he is doing is taking the American people back to the pre-Obama era.


Let us start by first discussing the changes in healthcare that Donald Trump as stuffed down the that of the America. The logic behind the changes that the Republicans (yes it’s not just Trump but the whole of the GOP) want to make are, actually fairly reasonable. Obamacare is not perfect, some are left with insurance that they don’t want or need and others are not insured at all. These are obvious flaws to the system. But at no point was it said that this system would be perfect, but rather it was a stepping stone to achieving universal healthcare. Now, part of the reason that Obamacare did not go further is that it was not allowed to by the GOP. It is impossible to say what the bill would have looked like if it had the support of both the senate and the house but I feel that it would be fair to say that it would have helped more people.


At this point though that argument doesn’t matter. One of Trump’s key messages throughout the election was that he would “repeal and replace” Obamacare, stating that he would introduce healthcare reform that would benefit more people than Obamacare. Given what is included in the “Trumpcare” bill it would seem to appear that that was a lie. There are so many ways in which the new healthcare bill disadvantages working class people and benefits the rich that it is scandalous. Millions will be left without insurance, people that have underlying conditions will have to pay extremely high premiums and the rich will, essentially, get a tax break.


The worst part of this is how quickly this has all been done. When Obama brought his bill to the House the GOP stalled on it, adding amendments and so forth. This went on for a year. A year. At the time they claimed that was because of due diligence, ensuring that it was the best bill for the American people. Now you would expect that when it came to repealing and replacing they would spend the same time ensuring that it was for the benefit of the public. Alas, no. The bill was rushed so that it would be pushed out within the first 100 days of Trump’s term. And the haste at which it was produced shows. Either it is extremely visible sign of the administration incompetence or, more worryingly, it has been designed to be detrimental to the most vulnerable and beneficial to those who do not need any more benefits.


The next part of Obama’s legacy that Trump has targeted is the Paris Climate Agreement. This is the largest agreement of its kind ever. When the agreement was agreed only two countries did not sign up to it; Syria and Nicaragua. Syria did not sign due to the still ongoing civil war which has deviated the nation. However, Nicaragua’s reasoning was that the agreement did not go far enough, as it did not punish those that failed to adhere to its rules, so decided not to sign it but is still committed to lowering emissions. Now the USA has announced that it will be pulling out of the agreement. This decision has been based on Trumps belief that the agreement is detrimental to the US workforce and economy. One of his targeted sectors was coal miners during the election. Now, helping out an underrepresented group is definitely a good thing but not the way in which it is being done.


Renewable energy is the future. There is no doubt about that. Fossil fuels will run out and, in the meantime, are destroying the planet. The correct way to help miners would be to help transition them into new jobs. Preferably in renewable energies. Train them in these new skills whilst also adding more jobs for those that are graduating from university and college. Use this opportunity the same way that China are, by growing an entirely new sector of the economy. One that can provide jobs in the short term, prosperity in the middle and benefit the entire world in the long term. So much for the US being world leaders.


Now I think the most perverse way that Trump his destroyed Obamas legacy is how he has targeted unemployment rates and the economy. Trump has repeatedly said how the US economy is failing and the unemployment is rising when, in fact, fixing the economy and lower unemployment to record levels was, in my opinion, Obamas greatest feat. The US deficit is near the lowest it has ever been and yet Trump continued to go on about how it was being overrun by foreign entities. At the start of his presidency, he also boasted about how he had raised levels of employment almost immediately. Now, this would have been a great start, if the numbers hadn’t been for the last quarter of the Obama administration.


No matter how you look at it Trump is either dismantling or claiming all of the best work of the Obama administration. It almost seems as though it is a personal vendeta. Imagine how Mr Obama must feel, to see his name slandered by Republicans whenever they abolish his greatest achievements. For me, every time I see it makes me want him back a little more.

Is Theresa Mays image worse than Jeremy Corbyns?


If you had asked a Labour supporter what they would have wanted from Jeremy Corbyn’s first manifesto you would have expected them to bite your hand off. Nationalisation in several different sectors? Check. Slightly increaing tax on the rich to maintain lower it for the poor? Check. Guarantee the triple lock on pensions and more free childcare? Check and double check. So why then are Labour voters, those that have supported the party both pre- and post the Blarite revolution, suddenly abandoned their side at this vital time?


Well, thats can be answered in a single word; image. Corbyn doesn’t have the same smooth talking style of Tony Blair. He looks awkward in a suit. You can just tell that he would rather be wearing his mums’ homemade jumper, in which the wool is naturally sourced, instead of the suit that was most likely produced by a sweatshop that he is morally obliged to be disgusted by. He doesn’t even attempt to put up the same sort of centrist front of his predecessor, poor old Ed. Unlike the last generation of Labour leaders he has something else. Strong beliefs. Beliefs that he has held dear all his life. An end to inequality, not just at home but all over the world. The belief that the state should be there to protect those that cannot protect themselves, such as the poor. This is what could make him such a revolutionary leader. The fact that he is not campaigning on policies that have been developed by think tanks aimed at attracting the most voters, but that he is campaigning on principles. The same principles which he has had for decades. Principles over which he defied his party countless times, not because he was being a tricky backbencher, but because he was representing the people of his constituency.


So why then has Corbyn have an image problem? People just don’t trust him. Sure he might have some of the most progressive views in modern British politics but with almost a quarter of the electorate being over 65 he just doesn’t appeal to enough people.That’s why in recent weeks he has been trying to connect with what would be his key demographic, the 18-25 year olds. Meeting with grime artists such as JME and Stormzy has given Corbyn a new platform from which to spread his message. But he cannot stop there. In order to win this election, he has to be seen with more and more celebrities in order to attract more young people, but he also has to start appealing to the older generations. And Theresa May has just given him the perfect opportunity to do so.


Everyone fears death and everyone hates tax. So the Tories “Death Tax” could not have come at a more perfect time for Corybn. They’ve also pledged to take away the winter fuel allowance for, potentially, millions of pensioners. I say potentially as the government will attempt to make the allowance means tested but have yet to indicate what these means will be. The triple lock on the state pension is also to be removed, downgrading to a double lock. This will be of concern to those that are starting to think about accessing their pension, as it could mean that they have to work longer in order to have enough on which to comfortably retire.


This marks a Tory shift away from focusing their policies on the older generations but it does not mark a shift towards targeting young voters. This can be seen in the Tories total lack of credible policy when it comes to housing for young people. Remember this is the party that has changed the system so that those under the age of 21 are not eligible for housing benefit, effectively creating a new generation of homeless. It also seems that food banks are being so successful that May feels that the government should no longer give out free school dinners for those children in the most vulnerable households. And a free vote on fox hunting on reversing the ban on fox hunting to top it all off. Ask yourself how many votes that is likely to win. Is that really putting the nation first, or is that peddling to the “strong and stable” donators of the Tories that are trying to push their own agenda?


Now read this article again and ask yourself this; who really has the image problem?

Scottish nationalism need not be dominated by independence

First of all, I feel we should have full disclosure: I am a Scottish nationalist. “Boo, hiss” I hear you say. And given the recent rise in Scottish nationalism, I can understand why you might fail to understand my point of view. Independence, in any form, is a bit of a touchy subject (just take Brexit for an example). So let us tiptoe around it no longer, and instead run head first into one of the most contentious issues north of the border.


Nationalism is defined as “patriotic feelings, principles or efforts”. When I have feelings of patriotism it is not for the Union or the Empire, it is for bonnie Scotland. From my own experiences, I would say that a majority of my peers feel the same way. Yes, I will support Team GB at the Olympics but I get annoyed when Andy Murry is referred to as a Brit at Wimbledon rather than a Scot. I harbour no shame in believing that Scotland is the best nation in the world.


That being said I don’t believe Scotland, in the current geopolitical climate, should divorce itself from the UK. The UK as a whole is in a state of political flux and until the dust has settled it would be foolish to try and leave. There is no way of knowing what the outcome of Brexit will be, whether or not a deal will be struck or indeed if any deal will benefit the people of Scotland. Now, this doesn’t mean that I think independence should be totally abandoned. Instead, the timing should be reconsidered, preferably until such a time as Scotland is capable of self-sustainable independence.


The SNP is still by far the largest party in Scotland, there is nobody that can deny that. They have the most seats at both Holyrood and Westminster. Everyone knows that their endgame is independence from the Union, which I believe to be a reasonable goal. I just wish they wouldn’t be so hell-bent on achieving it as soon as possible. The Scottish public tends to be a far more left wing in their views when compared to England. I wouldn’t read too much into the recent Tory revival in Scotland as it seems to me to be more of a protest vote against the incessant beating of the #indyref2 drum.


In order for the SNP to make up for the recent losses in the general election, they need to start focusing on other issues that concern the Scottish public. Personally, I feel that they should look to develop industries that will create jobs in the short-term and give Scotland a better chance of success if we ever do become independent. Investing in renewable energies, so that we can become leaders in developing renewable technologies and electrical production could be one way this could be done. If you have ever been to the west coast you know how the howling wind can blow you away, so why don’t we start to use the natural resources that we have to our advantage?


Speaking of natural resources, it is time that Nationalists stop using North Sea oil as the engine that will keep the Scottish economy running. Everyone and their Gran knows that oil is a finite resource. Nobody, not even my Gran, knows how long we’ll be able to sustainably drill for more black gold. The reason that nationalists are doing this is because it is the only way that they can justify independence immediately. Who knows, maybe it could finance us for the next one hundred years. Or maybe it could run out in ten. The point is there is no way of telling, so why would you risk the future of your own people just to stick it to the man.

Leaving the EU is also a fabulous opportunity for the SNP. It means, if they take their time developing business, they can learn from the mistakes of the Brexit. They can demand negotiations about key issues be started before any vote so that the people know what they are voting for. The biggest disaster of Brexit is that people voted for something which, not only they but nobody had any ideas what the consequences would be. If Scotland can develop their economy to the point where it is more successful than that of the rest of the UK they will have the upper hand in any talks that are heard.

It boils down to this; the SNP can forever go on with their Braveheart mentality fighting the supposed oppression of the tyrannical English, or they can play the long game and get on with the job at hand. They can build Scotlands economy, educate more young people to a higher standard and be in a stronger position in ten to twenty years than they are now. They just need to broaden their horizons.

Theresa May can still save her premiership, just not alone.

Theresa May has, almost single-handedly, destroyed her own premiership. And that is no easy feat considering that the polls had Labour around 20 points behind her when she announced her vanity election.  The only good that could possibly come from a result such as we had would be the humbling of a Prime Minister that thought she was above the scrutiny. It is the only way that she can prevent herself from being remembered as the PM that had it all and gave it all away.


In order to show her new-found humility, there are some views which she must change. At this point, it will not look like the U-turn of a weak PM, but instead the pragmatic choice of a leader looking to serve a nation. If this election has told us anything, it is that there is no appetite for the “hard Brexit” of which many speak. The idea that no deal is better than a bad deal is simply ridiculous as without a deal the people of the UK would suffer in numerous ways.


So, how would she be best going about these negotiations? First of all, she has to understand that she does not just represent those that voted for her party and for Brexit but the rest of the electorate as well. She needs to start a dialogue between all the devolved nations and their respective governing parties. She also has to include Labour in the negotiations to ensure that she is taking all opinions into account. She should ask for a delay in the beginning of negotiations in order to find some on what way the negotiations should go. If not she runs the risk of alienating a substantial portion of the population.


The problem with this though is that she cannot be seen to be favouring the priorities of her vote share. Because of this, she would have to appoint someone outside of the Conservatives to oversee the negotiations, ensuring that everyone’s values are being respected. This would require someone of absolute morals, that understands Europe and the implications of any deal that would be made. The newly re-elected Vince Cable would fit that bill perfectly. What a perfect opportunity for one of the giants of our democracy to firmly cement his name in the history books. It would more than make-up for David Cameron looking past him during the coalition of 2010. He has the experience, with a PhD in economic integration, a subject that will surely be tackled during the negotiations.


Even if the Tories don’t go for this option, they must find the pragmatism that they so often herald as their superiority to reach out beyond party divides, to work together for the betterment of this nation. If they do not, then the consequences could be disastrous, not only for the Conservatives and Theresa May but the entire country.

Election Photo Oppertunities: The Best and The Worst


David Miliband really doesn’t like surprise birthdays


It is astonishing how important image can be for politicians. Photo ops are carefully crafted, with whole teams dedicated to ensuring that their candidate will not end up looking foolish. Its not hard to remember some of the more recent gaffs; Ed Milband eating a bacon sandwich, his brother David being terrified of ballons or Gordon Brown looking ridiculous wearing a helmet spring to mind. And while the most memorable photos from campaigns tend to be the leaders looking silly some can show the true nature of the candidate. Here is a look at the best and the worst.

Nicola goes bowling


Dope new album dropping soon

Nicola Sturgeon went bowling last week and it provided a number excellent photos. However, this was by far my favourite. Here it looks like she’s trying to appeal to both young and old by combining a sport in which participants tend to be older, whilst also looking as though she’s about to release the sickest grime album of the year.  It’s the expression, the hands and the jacket that all combine so perfectly. Also, the fact that she genuinely looks as though she’s enjoying herself brings this one higher in the rankings. All she’s lacking a gold chain. A stroke of genius. 8/10


Tim gets chased by a dog


Tim prances through a field


This one is harder to judge. Tim Farron either looks like he is having the time of his life or he was traumatised by a dog at a young age and that’s the reason for the brown trousers. Either way, it makes him look human like he can experience emotions like happiness or fear. You know, like a normal person. Connecting with the electorate was probably one of the Lib Dems leaders problems but this picture definitely helps solve that problem. 6/10

Willie meets some floating voters


Can you spot the odd one out?


While on the subject of the Lib Dems here is a picture of their Scottish leader, Willie Rennie, with two alpacas. I’m not quite sure what the context is here or if this a good or a bad photo. With his eyes not looking at the camera, it looks like he’s spotted an even better looking alpaca in the distance meaning that he’s going to abandon these two, leaving them to fend for themselves. Or perhaps he looks like one of Cruella DeVille’s henchmen and he is leading them to the slaughter for her new coat. Who knows eh? 7/10

Jeremy plays ball


Arsene Wenger is keeping tabs on this excellent English prospect


Pardon the pun but Jeremy Corybn has scored an own goal with this one. A middle age man, no matter what his profession, should not be playing football, with a shirt and cream trousers on, in public. I can understand the awkwardness of this photo. He most likely had arrangements later and he can be showing up caked in mud. What baffles me, even more, is why he made the choice to go in goals? Surely he’s capable of playing the same flowing, passing game of his beloved Gunners. Instead, he shot himself in the foot. 3/10

Theresa tries to act normal


All she’s missing is a pint and she’d be the spitting image of Nigel Farage


Eating. Nobody looks good eating. So why when you know the nation’s media is watching you would you go on an eat in public. Its never going to end well. To be fair, at least she’s not been caught mid-bite and is eating something relatively normal. Although I can’t say I can imagine Theresa May eating chips t any other time than during an election.  5/10

Jeremy wins the heart of the nation


Whisper sweet nothings to me.


Oh Jezza, what a heart throb. Look at how intensely he’s smelling that rose. If only he could give it to the entire nation then, maybe, just maybe, we might all fall in love with him and not just his progressive policies. 9/10

Tim sells his used car


I wouldn’t buy a used car from him.


There is nothing in this picture that is good for Tim Fallons image. The handshake and the smile make it look like he’s just managed to get rid of a banger that won’t even make it to the end of the road. Or perhaps as he’s gone to shake this ladies hand he’s done a very audible fart which everyone is now laughing at. Either way, this is a masterclass in how not to look like the next leader of the country.

Theresa’s 9th of June

On the back of an election defeat which she should have won, Theresa May contemplates what went wrong.

It was the next day and she was still in shock. Twenty points ahead when she announced the election. How could she have lost such a resounding lead? Theresa knew where she had gone wrong but there was nothing that she could do about it now. Fox hunting, it had all started with fox hunting. She couldn’t help it if she loved the sight of one beast tearing another to shreds. I mean, it goes down better in the opinion polls than ripping poor children apart. And the public could never know about how she fantasised about that, just like they couldn’t know the pleasure that Dave gained from buggering that pig. She supposed that hadn’t been his final blow. But that had been where it started.


It was all the small things that built upon each other until the public’s opinion became insurmountable. Who would have thought that people, rich and poor, would not want their family homes taken while their bodies were still warm? Worse still was the u-turn and, worse yet, the fact the public had figured out that it wasn’t even a u-turn.  She would have to ensure that Rupert had calibrated his societal brain conversion rags properly next time. She knew that after that fiasco she hadn’t looked “strong and stable”, that she had started to lose control.


As she sipped on her brandy her hand began to shake. She was thinking about the man who stole it, her premiership, away from her. Jeremy. Holier than thou, Jeremy. He was everything she wasn’t. Principled, able to smile and, the trait she hated most, one of the people. Theresa couldn’t get his socialist ideals out of her head. Who would have thought that he would have made sure that his manifesto had been fully costed? Who would have thought that he would pledge not to snatch lunches from almost one million children, build more houses for the young and that the vast majority of people wouldn’t mind taxing her pals a bit more in order to fund the NHS. Never mind that he believes that the Human Rights Act was a good thing. Typical Communist.  Theresa still couldn’t believe it. He was supposed to be the one running the dysfunctional party, not her.


The party machine had thought it would try a new way to smear Jeremy. He had been in contact with members of the IRA around the time of the Good Friday Agreement. Their friends in the press had pressured him about this. But he was prepared. He pointed out the hypocrisy of the attacks on him for talking to members of the IRA while the government actively supplies the Saudi Arabian government with tanks, aircraft and weapons to fight illegal wars. No attempt was being made to try and discuss a peaceful settlement. Surely that must be worse than conversing with IRA affiliates he said? Theresa had tried explaining that we needed the money from the Saudi’s so that we could fund services like the NHS, without taxing her fox mauling pals more.


Panic overcame her like the landslide the day before. How was she going to explain the extra nine-hundred-million that had been added to the deficit? She had only been in power for a number of months, true, but she had been part of the government for the past seven years. She had wasted millions on trying to curb immigration, was all but useless when campaigning against Brexit. She was as guilty as Hunt and Boris. She would have to deflect, be strong, be stable.


Theresa had decided that she would remain the leader of the conservative party, the only remain that she had ever felt strongly about. She had only been the leader for a matter of months. Her species life span would be able to survive for a great number of year, meaning that she could slowly wear down the electorate, until such a time as Rupert could be relied on again. Until then, she decided, she would have to re-enter her tomb. And wait.