Pants on Fire

A beautiful but cold evening here in London tonight. I’ve spent the day at home, not travelling far in any direction but still overachieving my daily step count goal. There were local elections across the U.K. this week. Boris Johnson, a London based politician whose acquaintance with truth is fairly loose, tweeted that he had been out to use his vote. Only when it was pointed out to him that there were no elections in London for him to vote in, did he take that tweet down. There was surprisingly little coverage of this. BoJo, like Farage, gets an astonishingly easy ride in the media. Or maybe it’s just that we are so used to BoJo’s pants being on fire* we don’t think of it as news anymore.
When the results came through it was clear that the Tories were massive losers, over a thousand council seats down. Labour lost around about a hundred, but all the news I listened to kept repeating that both main parties had suffered great losses. I’m not saying Labour did well, their losses compared to the Tories were in a different scale.
The parties who made great gains were the Lib Dems and the Greens, both support remaining in the EU. However, both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn interpreted the results as a call from the country to ‘get on’ with Brexit. Theresa May said it was a clear message. Really? There are any number of ways you can interpret the results, but it seems our politicians are still as keen to project their own thoughts onto the voters as ever, like those MPs who claim they know what their constituents wanted when they voted Leave, as though they had visited each one and had a good chat with them. Nonsense.
Local elections are about local issues – recycling, lighting, library services, street cleaning. If people were voting to express how they feel about Brexit, it would seem that most people want to remain in the EU. Being pig headed is not the same as being strong.
The ‘get on with it’ interpretation is worrying because it makes it sound so simple, like finishing painting the spare bedroom. Even if/when a deal is agreed, there will be years, decades of impact before there is any hint of the sunny uplands Leave voters were promised. Unless of course you think that dismantling the NHS and handing our health care into the hands of private, profit driven companies is a positive, or the poorest getting poorer, food standards being lowered so we can make deals with countries less stringent than the EU.
I don’t.
So much time, money, energy has gone into this fiasco so far. Surely after nearly three years most people, even politicians, can see it’s a disaster. Wouldn’t it just be better to recognise it was all a mistake, to learn the lesson, and stop making the hole we’re in even bigger? We could revoke Article 50 and start to deal with the important issues of poverty, saving the NHS and the planet, addressing homelessness, hopelessness, the issues that largely lead a frustrated and disenfranchised section of electorate to vote Leave in the first place.

*cockney rhyming slang: liar = pants on fire

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7 thoughts on “Pants on Fire

  1. Thanks isobel. I think the point about labour is that normally you would expect opposition to gain huge numbers of seats when the government in power is out of favour with the public. So although Labour’s losses may be small, it’s extraordinary that there are losses rather than gains.

    I so agree with your analysis that assuming these results mean that the voters are saying “get on with Brexit” is ludicrous. However, as various commentators have pointed out, everyone can make an argument that these results support their position, whatever that position may be. For example, from my point of view, these results are clear mandate for a second referendum!!

    • Yes, I understand that, but the way it has been presented it has sounded as though the two parties lost an equal number of seats, and that is very misleading. Way down the list of reported points is how UKIP we’re, in percentage terms, the greatest losers.
      I just say forget the whole BRExit thing and restore some sanity, take note of people’s dissatisfactions n with things in the country, stop pointing the finger at Brussels and put our own house in order.

  2. I agree with Octavia that we should have expected all those lost votes to go to Labour. I am a great fan of Corbyn but at that special moment when he should have pushed for a referendum with full force, he dithered. That gave the Liberals and the Blair gang a chance to do it instead. Do not expect the media to look at things rationally. Those days are long past. Everywhere.xx

  3. There is certainly resorting of the old traditional allegiances in politics – in your home place and mine. Look to history and for the time being, have a springtime G&T. Its my only solution for the daily catastrophe.

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