Bristling Brock speaks out...

 

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Now that the rumpus of the election campaign is over, we might consider what we have got and, perhaps equally significantly, what we have avoided.

The Tories will no doubt claim that they now represent the biggest majority of the voting public since the 1980's.  Statistically that may well be true, but how many folk out there voted Conservative due to tactical considerations rather than a comfy/glowy feeling about Tory leadership and policies ?  Quite a few, BB suspects.   Nonetheless, The Tories continue in government.  The Opposition parties did much less well - by definition - with the exception of the SNP who now find themselves emboldened by a larger share of the Scottish vote and twitching to bring about a second independence referendum.

The Tories may not be everyone's cup-of-tea - even Bristling Brock squirms a little at the shabbiness of the whole electoral process and its in-built flaws and lack of clearer proportionality.  Not everyone will like the Tory manifesto - including the Brexit pledge - yet our much savaged political system needs to move on, and move on in a way that begins to recognise the need for reform.  That reform should not solely be about proportional representation, it should be about the methods by which candidates for election are selected, about Party whip measures, about how the Commons and Lords interact, our constitution and much more.   So moving on should not mean just more of the same, it should be that light-bulb event when the political establishment fully appreciate that the capricious voting public do hold the reins at critical times in our governance and that change, reform, update, reboot - call it what you will - is long overdue.  The new government is in power pretty much because the alternative Opposition model was comprehensively rejected by tactical voting, and that knowledge alone should be sufficient for the drive to bring our political processes into the 21st Century.   Should be !  We will have to wait a little while to really see whether that lesson has been learned. 

On Brexit, that eternal word...  It will, of course, continue for some years yet.  The new government may well pass the Withdrawal Agreement through quickly - which technically exits us from the EU - but ahead lies an equally dense minefield of European negotiations upon trade, tariffs and on that rather important subject, who shall be the King of the Financial Markets - London, Frankfurt or Paris ?   Clearly for Britain, the drive has to be to maintain London as the European hub - after all it's 85% of our GDP being generated through this financial sector (which in itself needs plenty of reform and update).  So Brexit will persist for quite a while.  There'll be meetings, negotiations, summits, compromises and, we might well imagine, a good deal of political squirming ahead.  There's no easy way through, so tighten your seat-belts and prepare for the ride.

Leaping back to the Scottish question, the successes of the SNP reflect a growing desire in the far north for independence - or so the numbers would suggest.  Nicola Sturgeon has made it her life mission to push further for independence, much as Jeremy Corbyn made it his mission never to admit to any wrong-doing in the Labour Party, so she has nailed her colours to the independence mast.  Historically, of course, Scotland used to be an independent nation with it's own monarch and government which, over the centuries melded with England, Wales and latterly Northern Ireland to be the United Kingdom.  But much as Brexit has been driven by that sense of self determination, Scottish independence is being driven by a very similar, yet unquantifiable force.  Britain has pushed for Brexit (amidst some influential opposition) and will see some form of it actually take place within the months ahead; it is therefore likely that the Scots will get their chance to vote again and make a determination as to where their best interests are perceived to lie - Britain or Europe.  And we should not resist that desire to put the question to the test once again.  The reform of the political establishment discussed above should reflect upon what the United Kingdom is and what it aims to achieve, and indeed, what it frustrates.  No institution lasts unchanged indefinitely and we should embrace changes that are innovative, practical and sensitive to our cultural ways.  We should not block a Scottish departure if that is what is chosen.

So the new Tory government has a busy time ahead.  Bristling Brock fervently hopes that it will bring about political and constitutional reform, expand its social agenda and see iteself as a government of realistic practicality with all the people's interests at its core.  It'll be tough for a while, but it's the road we need to follow - it is the road we have to follow.