Jim O’Neill says the snap general election shows the arrogance of the Prime Minister, and the First Minister’s attitude shows her hubris. Labour must stand up to them both.
So, in the middle of the local authority elections, which only Labour seem to be making about the delivery of local services, and Nicola seems to trying to drown in another demand for Indyref2, the bold Theresa, who time and again (watch my lips) said there would be no General Election until 2020, called a General Election for June 8, THIS YEAR!. Of course, it had nothing to do with the current polling gap with Labour. Such is the arrogance of power that brought down David Cameron and now has the potential to do serious damage to Theresa May.
So, in UK terms, what should this election be about? First it should be about the arrogance of the Prime Minister. She lied to us about never holding an election until 2020. She lied to us about looking after the “just about managing”. She lied to us about opposing Brexit, when she was never seen during the campaign. She lied to us about a Brexit for all of the British people, the 48% as well as the 52%. Of course, we are now faced with the hardest of hard Brexits, already alienating our 27 closest allies in the world. She lied about a compassionate Conservatism, while developing benefit plans that demand that women prove they have been raped before being eligible for benefits.
So, in UK terms the election is about the trustworthiness of Theresa May and her government, developing into the most right-wing government we have seen since just after the 1914-18 war. Can we trust anything she says? My view is no, and I hope that comrades in England and Wales can shout this from the hills and promote the string of fine policies that have come out of Corbyn’s office over the past two weeks. You would think that they had psychically received advanced warning of this “snap” election.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, we have a different task. While we can make all the same points to Ruth Davidson and her cohorts, we are faced with the fact that we have only one Westminster seat in Scotland. Our success or failure will be assessed by our ability to increase our number of MPs – to start the comeback. At the same time, we are fighting a vital local government election which some (misguided and excitable) commentators suggest will lead to the end of the Labour Party in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon has already stated that this will be about the primacy of the Scottish Parliament in calling another Indyref. This makes her government’s performance fair game.
OK. First, the economy is tanking. In the last period it declined by 0.25% taking it to the verge of recession. The new whizz kid Finance Minister, Derek Mackay, blamed Brexit but the rest of the UK increased by 4.8% under the same Brexit conditions. Go figure. The heath service, the jewel in our crown, is tanking. I know. Two of my siblings are nurses and the SNP have been so good at managing the sector that they have induced the least likely trade union to strike, to consult the least likely group of workers to strike: nurses. That is true quality management! And transport is tanking. Strike action is being considered on the Virgin East Coast route, and the Ardrossan and Arran decision had to be taken by the Cabinet Secretary, Keith Brown, rather than the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf. (Where was he?)
Meanwhile, where was Nicola through all this chaos? Sunning herself in California trying to convince a bunch of young American students that Indyref2 (or 3 or 4) was essential. Then she appeared at an event in New York under a massive backdrop saying “Queen of Scots”. Talk about hubris. And her Social Security Secretary has gone quiet about what the Scottish Government will do about the rape clause, given their new powers over benefits.
All of these questions are relevant during the Westminster election and must be put to the candidates. Get yourself down to a hustings and watch them try to bluster their way out. The arrogance of the governments of both Nicola and Theresa deserved to be exposed.