Solving the Age Problem

This week, Theresa May’s cabinet became even more brittle with the loss of the one time ship steadier Michael Fallon. However, this week also heralded half of cabinet members being from the 2010 intake with the likes of Gavin Williamson, Priti Patel and Amber Rudd.

While this may show the old grey image of the Tories slowly evaporating, what’s the image like in the Labour Party? Well the average age of Corbyn and McDonnell is 67 just above May and Hammond’s 61. The likes of Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott hardly bring down the age of the bench.

Around the time of Milliband, we had the youngish faces of the Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Ed Balls. These names have all but disappeared to a mayorship, a select committee chair and the Strictly dance floor. Now, however, what are the fates of the intrepid and outspoken backbenchers like Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Stella Creasy. In any past Labour top team, these would be the shining stars being beamed out to the electorate – instead we have Emily Thornberryand Diane Abbott dominating the media waves with the Northern voices of Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Raynor sometimes having their moments of fame.

 I’m not denying that the Tories don’t too have an age problem. I suppose there’s hope that whenever May finally succumbs, a youthful face will appear. No I’m not talking of the Moggmentum. How long will it take for Ruth Davidson to fly down and save the Tories from impending, crippling doom?

Cabinet Photo

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Bracing for the Repeal Bill

The political silly season has been and gone. Theresa May has spent the summer securing her and her party’s foundations before the Repeal Bill is brought before Parliament with Jeremy Corbyn swearing it will bring another snap election. But what are the chances of a government defeat on such a momentous bill?

June’s election gave Theresa May a measly majority only with the DUP’s help. With this, the government will be on a knife-edge for the course of the Parliament with scenarios reminiscent of the 1974 minority government. This is the least Theresa May wants when she is trying to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU.

There are individuals poking Theresa May’s back pestering for a soft Brexit – names like Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke. Will they however be emboldened to destroy the Repeal Bill’s passage knowing their actions could fracture the entire Tory government? Would they really want to risk yet another election with opinion polls already painting a positive picture for Labour?

Yet for the Repeal Bill to the provoke chaos, the parliamentary arithmetic dictates Corbyn must capture some support from the Tory benches. If this isn’t possible, I suppose there is always time to conjure up a highly hypothetical what-if scenario relating to the power of Sinn Fein.

The first abstentionist MP of Sinn Fein was in 1917 with this practice continuing up to the present day. Despite their abstentionist policy, Sinn Fein achieved their best ever result with seven MPs. Imagine if on the day of the vote on the Repeal Bill these seven sneaked into the chamber, cloaked by Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbott with the sole purpose of defeating the government.

Sinn Fein are no more opposed to the Tory/DUP agreement than Labour is – they despise the influence their enemy has on government policy. With this act, they could kick out the Tories and at the same time halt Brexit given their Remain stance in the referendum.

Even with this very much imaginary support of Sinn Fein, could Labour manage to be truly united for once? It is difficult to picture arch-Brexiteers such as Kate Hoey halting the Repeal Bill in its tracks. One must not forget the hoards of Labour MPs that would chirp that the will of the British people must be respected.

With Labour’s continuing quibbling, I would say that Theresa May’s main worry should be her position as Tory leader rather than a grave governmental defeat. Or is Theresa May’s leadership a topic to be left to the silly season?

Theresa May Article 50

Where next for the GOP?

The GOP must be kicking themselves: look who is figure-heading their campaign – the indomitable Trump. How must the party change to prevent more embarrassment in 2020?

It now seems ages ago: the invisible primaries and their debates featuring countless Trump alternatives. Anyone of them could have been the eventual nominee. Instead, the party found Trump – a bundle of sexism, homophobia and racism. With this in mind, the GOP must surely improve their system for nominating their candidate. Should they take a leaf out of the Democrats’ book and find super-delegates to do the electorate’s job?

That, however, is thwart with problems too. The Democrats realistically had two options – Sanders or Clinton. One, a socialist with little chance of the Presidency; the other, a hated banner of the establishment. Meanwhile, party followers were put out by super delegates ignoring huge swathes of Sanders’ supporters.

What if in 2020, the GOP has a new system for the primaries with designations to eradicate Trump – like characters? Discord will surround the party just like the Democrats at the moment where Sanders’ supporters were left without the burn.

Another hypothetical – what if the GOP finds themselves with two equally unelectable candidates? No amount of party control can pick out a candidate with broad support from the electorate.

There must, however, be cries of relief from GOP chiefs. The year they somehow nominate such a horrendous candidate is the year that they are lined up next to Clinton. A candidate seen as untrustworthy and unfit for office. At least, Hillary’s nomination provides a weak surface for Trump to bounce off.

In anticipation of 2020, the GOP supremacy must scurry around to find a candidate who will ring bells with loyal party followers as well as the wider electorate. Without these two qualifications, the GOP will face yet more embarrassment – that is unless another Clinton like figure rises to the Democratic stage.

where-next-for-the-gop

 

What if Trump reaches the Oval Office?

The checks and balances of the Founding Fathers haven’t stopped Donald Trump get this far but what about once he gets to the White House?

Since 2008, we have seen Barack Obama’s many struggles to actually make a difference. On January 25th 2007, Obama made a speech calling for “universal health care.” He said his proposal wouldn’t collapse “under the weight of Washington politics” once he was elected. Well, it very nearly did.

The Affordable Care Act was scrutinised and amended hugely with seven votes being required despite the Democrats holding both the House and Senate at the time. In addition, a number of high profiled Supreme Court cases almost ground Obama’s dream to a halt.

A President Donald Trump may also suffer the same fate. A gerrymandered House should guarantee that a President Trump has some friends in Congress but not enough. If the Senate goes back to the Democrats, then Trump wouldn’t have a chance of filling Antonin Scalia’s shoes with a conservative justice.

Even if the GOP retains both the House and Senate, then they may simply water down Trump’s policies so much that they won’t reflect an ounce of his promises so far. Just look what happened to Obama’s Affordable Care Act – the Founding Fathers almost stopped that. What is to say the Founding Fathers’ checks and balances wouldn’t stop Trump making America ‘great again?’

Trump Oval Office

Why Owen Smith must be the Brexit sceptic

We know that for Theresa May, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ For Jeremy Corbyn, he is 7.5/10 committed to the European Union. Meanwhile, Owen Smith would call for a referendum on the Brexit negotiations.

In the 2020 general election, a Eurosceptic Conservative Party will be pitted against the Labour Party whose party members will determine its level of Euroscepticism in this summer’s leadership election. If Corbyn stands next to May in the TV election debates, then where do staunch EU supporters turn to?

The only major party in England offering a remain stance would be the Liberal Democrats. After the Lib Dem’s electoral desolation in 2015, Labour should be the icon for the liberal brigade of remainers rather than the anaemic banner of Tim Farron. Labour should be able to wipe out the Lib Dems in one foul swoop by being the Brexit sceptics.

Owen Smith may not offer Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘refreshing’ style of politics, but he offers a perspective on the European Union which is essential if Labour are to succeed in 2020. If the two main political parties are Eurosceptic in nature, then where do 48% of the electorate, who voted remain, turn to?

A YouGov poll has shown that 65% of Labour members voted to remain. I make a plea to this core of the Labour Party: If you want to see your party rise as the opposition to the Eurosceptic Tory party and then defeat them in 2020, vote Owen Smith. If you want to see the Lib Dems return to the political scene, vote Jeremy Corbyn and watch ‘Brexit mean Brexit.’

Owen Jones

Farage and Trump: The Terrible Twins?

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage both regularly mention the establishment and their loathing of it. They both call for change: a new America; a new Britain.

In a speech yesterday, Farage called for Trump’s supporters to have faith in their leader’s dream. Even if the polls were stacked against them, there was still hope. This was the story of Brexit and may also be the story of the 2016 Presidential election.

Ever since Clinton’s post-convention bounce, the Trump campaign has lacked any momentum in the antithesis of polls showing swing states turning blue in their masses. Prior to the EU referendum, people were scared to admit their Brexit tendencies – just like ordinary Americans are scared to admit their support for Trump. Now, Farage has come onto stage with a rally cry to believe in the Republican nominee.

Polls showing Trump’s success will ensure people come out and disclose that they would actually vote in the Republican ticket in November. With the horrendously long and arduous election cycle, momentum is essential in keeping Trump’s campaign afloat with more buoyancy than Clinton’s.

Trump being pitted against Clinton of the dynasty is perfect. Trump must sink Clinton’s ship by poking holes in the establishment and presenting the United States as an oligarchy dominated by the political elites. Didn’t Farage characterise Britain as an oligarchy of political elites before sinking Brussels’ ship – the heart of the European establishment?

Trump vs Farage

Who should Congress Republicans support?

Donald Trump is a Republican so you would expect Republicans in Congress to whole-heartedly support him. Well, they shouldn’t.

Imagine a Trump presidency? It would blight the Republican Party forever. Trump’s views are not the views of the Republican Party. A Trump presidency would guarantee electoral success for the Democrats for years to come. With Trump as President, Congress would soon fall to the Democrats, and stay that way. With three Supreme Court Justices now over 70, the court could soon become a liberal stronghold.

Instead, Republicans must focus on retaining their majority in the House and Senate while Clinton is inaugurated as a lame duck President straight-away. Since the beginning of 2015, Republicans have realised the influence they can have, even if they aren’t in the White House. Endless blocking and filibustering has ensured that Obama is truly powerless.

With a Republican House and Senate, and a Clinton Presidency, efforts can be focussed on battering Clinton’s every legislative step. Only then can Republicans focus on finding a Presidential nominee who can distance themselves from Trump. Maybe the likes of Marco Rubio – a Latino who could bulldoze any imagery of the Mexican wall.

Republicans can’t waste anymore campaign finance on a fruitless mission to elect Donald Trump. Instead, spend it wisely and keep on blocking and filibustering!

Congress