A fairly bland couple of weeks in Parliament since my last article. We have had no votes on anything, and just the usual Ministerial questions and time-filling debates on little that is going to make much difference to us in East Kent. A frustrating time.
In the background, talks are apparently ongoing with Labour to try to achieve some type of agreement on a Brexit deal that may command a majority in the House of Commons. I’d hugely recommend the fly on the wall documentary ‘Brexit: Behind closed doors’ available on BBC channel 4 on catch-up TV. Fascinating, and shockingly revealing confirming what I’ve been saying for years – the EU has no desire for a good deal, merely a punishment for daring to implement a democratic decision. Time to walk away with a managed no-deal. It is now the only logical solution.
Given that Labour’s demands are likely to entail a Customs Union with the EU or something similar under a different name, and a second referendum, it seems to me, if agreement is reached, which seems unlikely, to be a sure fire way of encouraging even more Conservative MPs to stand firm against anything that offers Brexit in name only, referred to as BRINO. We await developments, and you can be sure I’ll be reporting back to you with my analysis and comments.
Whichever way I might try to spin it, the national local election results were poor for the Conservatives and similarly uninspiring for Labour as well. In Thanet, which had its own oddities of the UKIP effect in 2015, leading to their short-term control of the Council, the Blue vote held up with some resilience, with 3 additional Councillors elected for the South Thanet wards. We missed out on a couple more by single figure votes. I always enjoy electoral analysis, and I calculated that 43 votes differently cast (or encouraged out) across just three wards would have given Councillor Bob Bayford overall control of the Council. Turnout was appreciably lower than usual, and there was an obvious ‘none of the above’ vote, meaning Green Councillors elected for the first time locally and also a substantial vote for Independent candidates, including the ‘Thanet Independents’. This effect was seen nationally with the election of non-aligned candidates in many places. There is no easy interpretation, but the trust in the main parties has been diminished over Brexit shenanigans and promises not delivered. I hope the new Council will work constructively for the good of our area, and put ‘yah-boo’ politics aside to deliver good outcomes.
I am hugely encouraged by the state of the economy: growth continues, unemployment reduces and optimism is there. I had an interesting meeting with a new local business group that would like to facilitate micro-investment in new local start-ups, perhaps following a business angel formula. Start-up investment is always difficult to move a business idea into action due to inherent risks. I’m here to help.