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The morning after the night before

It is clear now that Britain has spoken and they want the Conservatives in power for the next five years. As a believer in democracy I respect that decision and because I have to live in this country I hope that Boris Johnson doesn’t make as much a pig’s ear of running the United Kingdom as I currently fear.

History will judge Jeremy Corbyn kindly. His solutions for fixing Britain are the right ones and eventually we’ll get there. It will just take us longer to get to a society where everyone is valued, everyone plays their part and everyone shares in the rewards. That’s the socialism in my heart and the socialism that I will always fight for. It’s the socialism that Jeremy believes in too, that’s why I voted for him as leader in 2015 and 2016. It’s not a job or a game, it’s something he needs to do, to help people achieve more together than they are able to do individuals.

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, I was involved in a local election in Scotland and tasked on election day with knocking up in a couple of council estates. Surprisingly I wasn’t given a list of which households to go to, “Just do every house, they all vote Labour there” was the message from the old-timer running the committee room. And they did, both wards returned Labour councillors with well over 70% of the vote. Maybe they moved to more modern campaigning but eventually in 2015, those estates stopped voting Labour and it came as a shock.

In 2013, the tale being told about the South Shields by-election was that David Miliband had bequeathed his successor in the seat a contact rate of 1%. Such a pitiful connection to the constituents didn’t stop Emma Lewell-Buck winning the seat, but it allowed the rot to set into the floorboards. All across the country (not just in the Midlands and North) good working class people realised that Labour wasn’t speaking for them anymore. Even that was okay in terms of Labour getting elected because the Tories didn’t seem to speak for them either. But then Boris came along with his simple message, “Get Brexit Done”.

It didn’t matter that the “Get Brexit Done” slogan didn’t mean anything. It was like the Underpants theory from South Park, the promise is that everything will be okay once the UK Brexits. It’s hope and it’s hope that can be distilled into a soundbite on the news and repeated to every interviewer’s question. Labour’s manifesto was well thought out, ambitious but the scale of the country’s problems demand that, but as the length of this piece shows it can’t be distilled into an easy explanation of how voting Labour would mean a better life for the 99%. Four years before the SNP had done the same trick by claiming that independence would be the panacea of all ills. Theresa May tried to sell the same message in 2017 but wasn’t convincing enough to do it as she was at heart a Remainer. Boris led the Leave campaign, he was better at his lines.

Overall I don’t think this is Jeremy’s fault. No Labour leader would have got an easier ride from the press. Remember how much bad press Ed Miliband got? And I don’t think it’s the manifesto, the individual policies are popular. Maybe the fact we had so many of them crowded each other out. I can blame the lying Tory spin machine and the unwillingness of our state broadcaster to call them out on it but that’s like a sailor moaning about the sea. I admire Jeremy’s insistence of running a positive campaign. It probably wouldn’t have been effective running an equally dishonest one. But it did feel like a boxing match where one guy can punch below the belt while the other one isn’t allowed to punch back at all.

But that’s not all past. What now then? Now Boris owns Brexit, he’s got a huge majority in the Commons, he can pass any Brexit he likes. There’s no-one he can blame if it all goes wrong although I’m sure that he’ll try. I want the Labour Party to stay united and be an effective, harrying opposition and not do what the Conservatives would love and become a circular firing squad. I have a couple of favourites for the soon to be vacant leadership but am genuinely open-minded. Even MPs from the pragmatic centre would be fine if they have integrity and positive ideas on Labour being a governing party of the left.

There will be around 200 Labour MPs on the green benches by the looks of it, they must work together in the spirit of socialism. There is still half a million Labour members that will support them every step of the way if they do.

The next general election is less than five years away, we can win it.

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Starter Question of the day

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The Early Bird

So what can be African, Emperor, Little or Macaroni?

African springs to mind elephants but there no Emperor Elephant, there is an Emperor Penguin and I think there could be a Macaroni Penguin so I think I’ll go with that. But the early bird catches the worm and I don’t think that worms are the main diet in the Southern Seas. I’ll still go with Penguin for the lack of any better thought. Good job I’m not a codebreaker really.

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The decline of the US Presidency

Once, this man was considered too goofy looking to be President

Now, this man is President

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Go Tigers

When Channel 4 started showing American football I didn’t know anything about the sport so I got a book. There among the pages on rules, equipment, positions and the NFL were a couple of pages on college football, a world completely unknown to me. This book had been published a couple of years before as the then current National Champions were Clemson. This stuck in my head because I knew where New York, Dallas and San Francisco were but where on earth was Clemson?

Fast forward about 32 years and I’m doing what 12 year old Andy would have found amazing. Up at 4:30am and watching the 4th quarter of the national championship as the Clemson team comeback against powerhouse Alabama. A little cheer as the Tigers score the deciding touchdown with one second on the clock. Congrats on your second national title Clemson Tigers. 

Photo attribution Matthew Blouir via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 2.0