Oh, where to start?
I think I’ve banged on enough about the EU Referendum, for now at least.
But, before I stop…here’s an “at the time of writing” overview of the present situation:
On Sunday, Ian Duncan Smith appeared on the Andrew Marr show, and claimed that the Leave campaign had “never said” that the oft-cited £350 million a week the UK would save by leaving the EU would be given to the NHS
Coincidentally, the official Leave campaign has now wiped almost its entire website from the internet in an effort to stop any more of these pesky lies, which they definitely didn’t make, being uncovered.
Thing is, they forgot one teensy thing:
Because over the weekend, this picture became one of the most shared images on social media platforms:
Mmm-hmm. So, no. Course they didn’t promise that at all, did they?
Chancellor George Osbourne has announced that taxes will need to be raised and public services cut – still further – as a result of the Referendum result. I’ll start clearing my desk.
Boris Johnson, surely the most high profile champion of the Leave campaign, couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to the House of Commons for the first meeting of Parliament since the result.
Despite this, Rupert Murdoch has announced that Boris Johnson would be his preference for the new leader of the Conservative Party/Prime Minister, which is no surprise, given this pre-referendum quote from the Evening Standard:
Meanwhile, reported incidents of racist abuse in the UK have increased by 57% since Friday. Which is good, because that finally puts to bed the myth that there were any racist elements involved in some – not all – people’s pro-Leave vote (sense the tone).
The Conservative Party is in utter disarray, divided on what to do next in the Brexit process, as Cameron stands down and the in-house fighting about who will succeed him starts. Ordinarily, this would normally make me very happy indeed, a silver lining to the dark clouds that seem to hovering over the UK at the moment, like they think we’re Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Time for strong, effective opposition then. Nuh-huh. For mere days after the result, the Labour Party decided to press the self-destruct button, firstly with a whole raft of high profile resignations and the occasional sacking from the Shadow Cabinet, followed by an overwhelming vote of no confidence against leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour MPs. Labour have decided that instead of seizing the moment, they’d rather implode instead.
Harold Wilson was right, it seems: a week really is a long time in politics.
The main thrust, as far as I can see, for this uprising is that Labour MPs felt that Corbyn wasn’t high-profile enough in his backing of the Remain campaign, and to an extent, they have a point. But when the whole of the British media pretty much ignored him, preferring to focus on the likes of Cameron, Johnson and Farage instead, who
lie better give much ‘better’ soundbites, what was he supposed to do?
Earlier this month, Angela Eagle, Labour MP – now one of the dissenting MPs arguing Corbyn should go for exactly the reasons I’ve just cited – said this:
I knew what his position was – that he thought there EU was far from perfect, but felt the best way to work for change was from within, not outside, of it – and it seems to me that such a position would have resonated with a great many voters, had the media actually taken the time to report it. Which they didn’t because it wasn’t in their interests to do so.
But that’s all a smokescreen: Labour MPs have been dissatisfied with Corbyn from the moment he was voted in by the swelling ranks of the Labour Party not 12 months ago. They think that having a left-wing leader is a step away from the more central/right politics implemented by Tony Blair and his ilk which brought them to power in 1997.
They seem to have missed the point that many Labour Party members voted for Corbyn for precisely the reason that he doesn’t play the game, that he doesn’t bow to the press, that he offers an ideological alternative to the other main parties. And whilst I have seen quite a few high-profile Labour voters, with admittedly heavy hearts, say that in the face of such opposition from within his own party, perhaps it is time for him to stand down, I’m not sure it’s that straight-forwards. I saw one poll earlier which indicated that if there was to be another Labour leadership vote, then Corbyn would still get 68% of the vote. Which would leave us, and him, almost exactly where he is now: in a totally unworkable position.
When the last Labour leadership vote happened, I made the point on these very pages that whilst I broadly backed him as a candidate, I worried that Corbyn might turn out to be another Michael Foot, who led the Labour Party from 1980 – 1983, just after Thatcher swept to power, a man much admired for his left-wing principles and rhetoric, but a man who was consistently derided by the media, and who turned out to be utterly unelectable. Which seems to be exactly where we are now. I hate being right sometimes (that’s right with a small ‘r’, as in correct, as opposed to with a capital ‘R’, which isn’t).
In a little under two weeks, the Chilcot Report, which for years has been investigating whether or not Blair took us into an illegal war in Iraq – a political rhetorical question if ever there was one – is due to be published. One has to wonder about the wisdom of attempting to realign the party with Blair’s ideals right now.
Enough, already. No more. This is doing nothing for my blood pressure.
Luckily, I have something else to be pissed off about.
On Monday night, I, like many other English football fans, settled down to watch England play Iceland in the last 16 of Euro 2016, currently being held in France.
I hadn’t expected England to win the tournament. I hadn’t expected them to progress any further than the quarter finals, if they even managed to get that far.
But I really hadn’t expected what happened on Monday night to take place.
Whilst nobody thought the game was going to be easy, I, and many others, thought that on paper, England should progress: they have a team packed with young, fast, highly talented, highly paid players from what is supposedly the best league in the world, compared with Iceland, a team of part-timers and, with the odd exception, lower league players, from a country with a population roughly the same as Croyden, playing in a tournament for the very first time.
But we all know that saying about the game not being played on paper, right?
After 4 minutes, England took a 1-0 lead, and the nation seemed finally to be about to have something to collectively smile about.
Needless to say, it didn’t last long.
After 6 minutes, it was 1-1. After 18 minutes, it was 1-2. And so it stayed for the rest of the game, with the England players abjectly failing to play as if they’d ever met before, let alone having worked, played and trained together for the past month. It was a spineless, humiliating exit.
Iceland deserved to win. They played better, fought harder, wanted it more, had a system the players understood and knew how to implement – dammit, had a system! The opposite of the England team, in other words.
You have to question not just the tactical naivety of England Manager Roy Hodgson, but also his selection. It was apparent that with our full backs not managing to get up the pitch, that we had no width. Look to the bench for a winger to bring on then – ooops! None there.
Before the tournament, Hodgson had insisted that his squad selections would be based on who was in form: those who were, would be in, those who weren’t, would not. Which makes his decision – and I say this not because one is a former Spurs player and the other is a current Arsenal player – to leave winger Andros Townsend (on fire for Newcastle at the end of the season, despite them ultimately getting relegated) at home, and take Jack Wilshere, who had played just 141 minutes of competitive football all season, all the more inexplicable. And then to bring Wilshere on for the second half instead of, say, Adam Lallana, who’d been one of England’s best players up until then….grrrrrrrrr!!!
(I appreciate that one of the things that makes football such a beautiful game is that every fan has an opinion. Whilst we may not agree about the EU – although I know very many who visit here do, and thank you for all of your kind messages, by the way – I bet there’s very little I’ve just written that any England fan disagrees with.)
Moments after the final whistle, England manager Roy Hodgson resigned. Although…since his contract expired at the end of England’s involvement in Euro 2016, I’m not sure it can technically be called a resignation – he was already out of the job.
In his remarkably quickly written ‘resignation’ speech – it seems the only tactic he was sure of was that he would be getting his coat after the final match – Hodgson said the team had been “fantastic” and had “done everything that was asked of them”. Which begs the question – what were they asked to do??
I wasn’t going to write about this. But then I had a text from my Dad, suggesting a song, which I couldn’t resist. The irony of it being by a Welsh woman is not lost on me:
I hope I’m not jinxing them, but good luck to Wales this Friday. You have my full support, and we all know how well that usually works out, right?
Hopefully, I won’t be posting “It’s a Heartache” come Friday night/Saturday morning.