Thursday 29 February 2024

The true history of Brexit Britain: the real coalition


 I've been busy with the glue and paste and I've manged to piece together another section of the New Oxford History of Brexit Britain written some time after 2050. Read it ONLY HERE:

When people talked about ‘the coalition’ in the 2020s, they invariably meant the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government that ruled from 2010 to 2015, but the real coalition in British politics was the one between two ostensibly bitter rivals, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. And although, the Labour Party was an enthusiastic participant, this coalition was fiercely conservative, resolutely blocking the changes that Britain needed, to solve its deep-seated, long-standing problems.

The Labour-Conservative coalition obstinately defended Brexit even when most British people had long ago realised it was a terrible mistake, and that it had been imposed on them by a political process that could most kindly be described as ‘unsatisfactory’, and which had effectively been ruled illegal.

The Conservative-Labour coalition also fought like tigers against any reform of the undemocratic ‘First Past the Post’ voting system, which constantly awarded virtually absolute power to politicians most voters had rejected.

So more than 63 per cent had voted against the notorious Conservative government of 2015 that implemented the disastrous Brexit referendum, while more than 56 per cent had opposed Boris Johnson’s vacuous ‘get Brexit done’ regime in 2019, and in the three supposed Thatcher 'landslides' of 1979-1987 she never won more than 43.9 per cent of the vote. But Labour also benefited from this undemocracy, with Tony Blair gaining his first ‘landslide’ in 1997 with only 43 per cent of the vote, and his last election victory in 2005 with just 35 per cent. In other words, nearly two-thirds of voters opposed him.

As the 21st century progressed, there was more and more agonising and hand-wringing from Labour and Conservative politicians about how voters were ‘alienated’ from the political process and about how dangerous this was. Yet it seemed to occur to few of them that constantly imposing on the British people governments they did not want would surely cause ‘alienation.’

As we now know, this fierce conservatism over Brexit and the electoral system would have severe consequences for both parties, and, sadly, for the people of Britain.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

I-Spy Turin! Roman remains + thank you Stanmore!


The Palatine Gate (above) is pretty much what is left of Roman Turin. The northern entrance to the old city, it has been, as you might guess, substantially restored, with extensive works during the 15th century. It was due to be demolished in the 18th as part of a major redevelopment, but an architect and engineer saved it. Fortunately - because it is one of the most impressive sights in the city, and you can see it free. You might even get a nicer day than I did.

* Belated thanks to Stanmore & District u3a for hosting my talk on my book Assassins' Deeds. A history of assassination from ancient Egypt to the present day (Reaktion books)There was a good audience who asked some interesting questions.