Saturday, 10 June 2017

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Movie: Brexit, The Movie  starring Meryl Streep.


  Main theme. Titles roll as... A ministerial car with its train of motorcycle outriders sweeps in triumph along the route from Buckingham Palace, passing hordes of cheering crowds waving Union Jacks and throwing flowers into its path.  The car turns into Downing Street where the door opens and we see Theresa May emerge with her husband Philip, waving and greeting the adoring throng. She steps to the microphone, a hush falls over the crowd, and she calmly announces that following her landmark election victory, giving her an unprecedented 200 seat majority, she'd be off to Brussels to negotiate the Hardest of Brexits her adoring public have voted for. To a cacophony of cheers and clicking cameras she graciously disappears into Number 10.

Cut to: Suburban living room, day. A glum faced Jeremy Corbyn, now former Labour leader, watches the live broadcast on his television and wipes away a tear. Where did it all go wrong? 

Cut to: Drawing room of Bute House, Edinburgh. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon drains her glass of Glenlivet and glares balefully at the reinvigorated Prime Minister preening on her television screen. On the wall behind her, the Election Night constituency map bristles with a forest of little blue flags. On the floor below, the trampled remains of the little yellow SNP flags they have replaced. With her party and cause so comprehensively trounced her position is no longer tenable. How did it all go wrong? She takes up her pen and scratches her signature on her resignation letter.

CUT

OK, that didn't happen. But that was the script the Tories had written and aren't you glad the electorate didn't fall into line? We have a lot to be glad about this weekend.

When I watched Theresa May announce the snap election back in April I felt sick to my stomach. It's taken me until now to work out exactly why I had that emotional reaction. The results in Scotland have been distressing, but when we consider the circumstances they were better than the unionist parties planned.

From the outset the SNP were on the back foot. With the mandate for a second indyref on the table there would be no avoiding the issue in this election campaign. Unionist parties talked of little else, highlighting it relentlessly in their flyers. 'Send a strong message to Nicola Sturgeon - NO SECOND REFERENDUM'. So, like it or not, this would be a de facto referendum, but with the disadvantage that Brexit negotiations have not even begun yet and nobody knows what Brexit will look like, or even if it will ever happen.

Yet despite that the SNP still won the election. The message the unionists so badly wanted us to send to Nicola Sturgeon turned out to be 'We DO want a second referendum'.

Not that the loss of 21 seats doesn't sting a bit, or even a lot. I'm not going to theorise about which groups voted for who and why, there's plenty of that elsewhere. What I will say is the expectation that the SNP could come close to repeating its phenomenal 2015 win was completely unrealistic. 

In 2015 we saw a 'perfect storm' for the SNP. The indyref was only a few months past, feelings on the issue still ran high. Expectations about the now discredited 'Vow' and subsequent Smith Commission gave the SNP a unique selling point of 'holding Westminster's feet to the fire' in delivering new powers. We'd seen the departure of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, damagingly complaining about the UK party treating Slab as a 'branch office'. Bitterness about Labour's role in Better Together, their uncharismatic new leader Jim Murphy, all contributed to the collapse of its vote. In stark contrast to the incumbents the new SNP candidates seemed young and energetic, a breath of fresh air. And the attractive new SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wiped the floor with her rivals in televised debates.

This time round the odds were not so favourably stacked. Once bitten, twice shy, the unionist parties pulled out all stops to make damn sure they regained some ground, with not a little help from a sympathetic media and underhand tactical voting. Issues were helpfully muddied as the SNP was constantly attacked on irrelevant Holyrood policy rather than UK wide issues.  

Yet, despite the weight of all that, they still returned a very respectable 35 MPs. And given the hung parliament those 35 will likely wield more influence than the 56 in the previous parliament. Brexit still looms and May will find it harder to get parliamentary approval for whatever deal she brokers. Deals will be offered, concessions will be demanded. That's not a bad place for the SNP to be.

So, a day on from the election result I'm finding reasons to be cheerful that May was denied her landslide. And if the SNP lost theirs, well maybe that was a price worth paying.



Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Mystic Sandra's Election Forecast

So the Election Day countdown begins. Are you getting excited yet? Or even mildly curious about the eventual outcome of this very peculiar election campaign where no two polls seem to agree about anything?

Well you should be. Because this is likely to be a defining moment in British history. In years to come, college lecturers yet unborn will  scribble "8 June 2017" onto whiteboards before their comatose classes and circle the date so emphatically their magic markers will squeak in protest.

"This day," they will say, "was the Beginning of the End."

Or not. Who knows? Certainly not the polls.

You'd have thought with such a disastrous campaign Treeza Mayhem would have blown her chances of being returned with the landslide majority she clearly anticipated. Not many prospective PMs have U-turned on their manifesto promises before the actual election. Mind you, not many prospective PMs had the dumbfuckery to put such suicidal policies as the Dementia Tax in the bloody manifesto to start with. It really is a corker. After half a century of telling the electorate they weren't worth a tuppenny damn unless they owned their own home, after assiduously encouraging them to scrape and starve to pay off a fucking mortgage just to live up to that ideal, after assuring them it was all worth it because they'd have something to pass on to their loved ones when they were gone. After all that up they pop without a word of warning and whip the old Homestead out from under their devoted core voters to pay their social care bill. And even more astonishing was May's clueless reaction to the predictable horror with which this proposal was met. Such a monumental level of political ineptitude has caused some to suspect she's deliberately hobbling her own chances to get out of the poison chalice of Brexit negotiations.

So, you'd have thought she'd be toast by this time. But tory voters are nothing if not resilient. Most of them would gladly pay the dementia tax and sell their own offspring into slavery to keep Corbyn out of Downing Street. So with the polls giving us no clue we can only turn to the ancient art of scrying, which is what I did.

First up is the traditional crystal ball. I'm getting ...someone with blonde hair. Boris for PM? No, high heels as well. So who does that leave? Anna Soubry? Esther McVile is standing too, I'm told. Or maybe that mop haired prat whatsisname...Michael Fabricant.  Shit, I'm not very good at this. Maybe because my crystal ball is less a crystal ball and more the side of a chrome kettle. 

Never mind, there's always the tarot cards. First card up is the Devil.  Hmm. Could be anyone. Although he does look a bit like Treeza doing one of her girning faces. According to my Dummies Guide that means greed and attachment to worldly wealth. Definitely a tory then. Next card is the nine of swords...the nightmare card. Chances of a tory increasing. Bloody hell, I don't think I want to look at another one.

Ah, well. If all else fails try the tea leaves. I've got two lumps, one big and one small. Could be UK leaving the EU? Or Scotland leaving the UK? Or maybe I should just stick to tea bags in future.

So, as you can see fortune telling is no easier to interpret than the polls. But in the spirit of blagging something to finish this blog, here is..

Mystic Sandra's Prediction for the 2017 General Election 
A tory win, but with a majority reduced to one. Before tory central office have popped the first bottle of champers Mayhem will be unceremoniously dumped and replaced by someone much more charismatic like Boorish or Hammond or the Downing Street cat. Such will be the bitter in-fighting in the leadership contest we could even end up with someone outrageous like Baroness Mone or Roof Davidson, neither of whom are MPs but by this point nobody would care. After six months of clusterfuck u-turns and a No Deal Brexit disaster the country will be plunged into eye watering recession. The social care crisis and Dementia Tax issue will be solved overnight as greedy relatives bump off granny and make her into soup as they can no longer afford to buy Campbell's cockaleekie which by now costs £1000 per can. Brexiteers will be lynched and hung from street corner lamp posts and the furious masses will rise up and storm the gates of Downing Street demanding yet another election which will see Comrade Corbyn sweep to a landslide victory before he is assassinated by infuriated Blairites and replaced by an iPad.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

That Theresa May Leader Interview in Full

Andrew (hopefully soon to be Lord Brillo) Neil: Mrs Mayhem, why have you crashed and burned so spectacularly in the polls?

Treeza Mayhem: It's very simple, Andrew. This election is about trust, and clearly nobody in their right mind trusts Corbyn.

AN: Isn't it right that you went off half cock with a lot of half baked manifesto promises you've now had to go back on?

TM: Well, what I'm finding on the doorsteps is the whole country is concerned about how dreadful Corbyn would be as PM.

AN: Don't give me that bollocks. Your manifesto is a pile of crap, isn't it? And it's so rubbish you've had to U turn on social care.

TM: Nothing has changed, Andrew. What I find talking to people on the doorstep is they want a leader they can trust. We have taken all the steps necessary to create a strong and stable government that can manage a strong and stable economy and not the disaster that would befall us under the evil terrorist sympathiser Jeremy Corbyn. 


Controversial tory manifesto
pledge to cap Corbyn.
AN: But it has changed. You've introduced a cap. What will be the cap?

TM: Well, Andrew. What I find is the people of Britain expect a good British cap. So when we finally decide what cap it will be you can be sure it will the right strong and stable cap for Britain, and not that trotskyist cap Corbyn's always wearing. 

AN: Your party has run the economy into the ground. Why should anyone trust you?

TM: Well, what we find is people need strong and stable leadership they can trust, and elections are about making decisions. More ordinary working British people are just about managing thanks to my plan for a strong and stable economy. Which is more than you can say for Corbyn who just wants to give all our nuclear weapons to the IRA.

Coming up later on BBC 1:

The Darling U-Turns of May

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Theresa's Secret Election Diary

Monday

Elections are about decisions. One has to weigh up all the pros and cons very carefully. Which is why I spent half the morning trying to choose between the Jimmy Choo patent leather kitten heels and the Valentino slingbacks. In the end I ditched both in favour of the Versace pumps, mainly because when you face a tough day at the coal face of photo ops comfort really counts.

Tuesday
Three hours on the phone last night. What a nuisance Ruth Davidson is becoming. That's the trouble with encouraging her sort, they haven't the good taste to know when friendliness becomes stalking.  It's my own fault, of course. I should never have invited her to my little do at Crathes. The things one has to do for the Party. Unfortunately she now thinks we're best mates. 

Lynton says it's no bad thing to be photographed next to someone with less dress sense than Worzel Gummidge. Easy for him, he doesn't have to put up with her endless TA anecdotes. And her pathetic desire to please it starting to get on my nerves.  I've told him straight, if she says "Dinnae worry, Treeza, ah'll soart oot the Nats fur ye" one more time I may just lose my cool.

I've a horrid suspicion she's angling to get invited back to Checkers post election. No Thank You Very Much. Once was more than enough. Stomping up and down in her Doc Martins, leaving muddy boot prints all over the Chippendale furniture. And sitting up till all hours drinking brown ale and having farting competitions with the domestic staff. I've known dogs with better manners.


Wednesday
Everyone's been phoning to say what a triumph Philip and my appearance on the One Show was. I have to say I took some convincing, but Lynton assured me it would be relatively painless. "I've taken care of everything. Just remember to smile and relax and be yourself."

Easy for him to say. I haven't a minute to 'be myself' and when I do it rarely involves smiling. So he organised some 'smile coaching' from a toothy Australian called Barb. After a week of that my face is in agony and I shall probably never smile again. "No change there, then," quipped Philip.

Anyway the One Show malarkey was relatively painless, apart from the facial rictus, and after Philip's astonishing claim to five million viewers that he takes the bins out I can let the Polish girl go.


Thursday
My post One Show glow didn't last long. Still feeling flush and emboldened I foolishly let my guard down and ventured out to where the public were at large only to be ambushed by a complete nobody, whining about her disability allowance being taken away and what was I going to do about it. I mean really. Don't these people think I have enough serious business to deal with without having to hear the mundane details of their dreary lives? 

And she didn't look very disabled to me, although I was the soul of tact, managing to appear concerned despite the fact absolutely NOBODY was taking any notice of my Vivien Westwood jacket. I sometimes wonder why I bother.

Friday
Honestly if I never have to fight another election it'll be too soon. Lynton booked me onto a thing called 'Facebook', which is an internet thingy for youngsters and layabouts with nothing better to do than send each other pictures of their cats. Seeing I was less than enthusiastic about the idea he roped in his old mate Peston to field the questions, a handy way to filter out the dross and awkward bits, or so he claimed. 

"Just remember the magic words" he said, for the umpteenth time. Then he got that headmaster look in his eye. "What are the magic words?"

"Strong and Stable, Sir" I said.

"Good. Don't forget to get them into every answer. If you dry up Bob's been prepped to give you a cue. OK?"

So it all sounded straightforward, and started out plain sailing. Just as I was starting to get bored up pops Comrade Corbyn with one of his cheeky 'when are you going to start doing something for poor people instead of your rich city mates' questions. You'd have thought they would have kept the riffraff out for the main attraction but apparently anyone can go on this Bookface thingy. Sometimes I really do pine for my quiet life at the Home Office.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Guest Post: Newly Elected Conservative Councillor Brian McDamage

Fuck off. It's coonsellor Brian McDamage to you, mate. Following ma historic victory kickin' the shit oot o' the SNP.

Here's ma victory speech:

Get tae fuck, get tae fuck, get tae fuck
Get tae fuck, get tae fuck, get tae fuck
Get tae fuck, get tae fuck,
Nikla Sturjin get tae fuck

Here's me on ma way to the hustings. Clock the yoonyin jacks. That means British first an' last. Foreign scum can get tae fuck.

To be honest it was a bit disappointin' when we got there. Ah took ma knuckledusters, thinkin' it'd be a great chance to put the boot in, but some fella in a suit said that's no' allowed, just say yer piece. Well ah didnae bring a piece so instead I stood up an' telt them about how ah hate the SNP an' we're no' havin' any mair Referendums an fuck the fuckin' Eeyoo an' a' they fuckin' foreigners can get tae fuck.  An' fuck me if they didnae elect me onyway.

See the tories, ah fuckin' love them noo. Ah aye thot they were just a bunch o' wankers, poncin' aboot in their posh suits, stopping' yer dole an' my girlfriend Chelsea's housin' benefit an' tax credits an' thanks tae the fuckin' rape clause she'll no' let me near her in case she gets up the duff again. But they telt me it's no' like before, it's "Roof Davisons Scottish Conservatives" an' that Roof Davisons seems like a sound bloke, drivin' aroon' in tanks an' putting' the boot intae Nikla Sturjin a' the time. An' noo ah'm a coonsillor ah'll no' be needing' the dole anyway.

So noo ah've got tae hang aboot at the City Chambers an have meetins an' decide stuff an' that. Ah'm no sayin' it'll no be a challenge, ken, cos ah've never hud a job for mair than a week. Shood be a laff,  an' if ah get a chance ah'll put the boot in the SNP.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Labour Can Win Every Seat In Scotland, Says Kezia Desmond

" Scottish Labour has always been big," said party leader, Kezia Desmond, posing on the grand staircase at Labour's headquarters on Sunset Boulevard. "It's Scotland that got small."

Dugmond was answering questions on the future of her party's Scottish Branch Office following its trouncing in last week's local elections. "Labour is now the second party in Scotland," she said,  going on to explain that by 'second' she meant 'second to the runners up, the Ruth Davidson UKIP Memorial Party'.

"The SNP are in steep decline," said Desdale. "They can barely scrape together enough votes to take over from Labour in councils the length and breadth of the country. And by country I mean the United Kingdom which Scotland will always be a part of. The SNP are finished. Nobody votes for them any more. It's only a matter of days, or even hours, or even minutes before Scotland rejects them completely and comes flocking back to Labour. We are confident of winning every seat in Scotland. The surge is coming. I can hear it when I'm lying awake in my bed at night. The roar of the crowd, the adoring fans, the swell of the orchestra. Yes. They're still out there, all those Labour voters. They're coming. Those wonderful Labour voters out there in the dark. ...Alright Mr Roden, I'm ready for my close up."