The extraordinary General Election results showed we are splitting into three and a half nations.
London, the biggest and the richest and the best, towers over our DisUnited Kingdom. It has the largest population, the highest standard of living and a GDP which mocks the rest of our nations. As our only truly global city it has been hung out to dry with a basin full of Remain pegs. The next mayor must ask for much greater powers. Sadiq Khan has basically sat on his hands.
Our finest politician week in, week out, has been Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader. She has presided over a country wanting to Remain and to be removed from the DisUnited Kingdom. It would be hard now not to oppose her wishes for a second referendum and if not granted she may go ahead anyway. I am already dusting down my Scottish ancestry papers.
We are two down with one and a half to go. Whither Northern Ireland? Surely it, too, must be allowed to join back up with its southern cousins.There could be some renewed outbreaks of fighting between the two communities in Belfast which will test the PM’s nerve. A thirty year joint proposal for a unified Ireland needs to start as soon as possible.
This brings us to a new political party known shortly as the English Nationalist but currently referred to as the Conservative Party. It has just six seats in Scotland, none in Northern Ireland and fourteen in Wales. It is anti Remain in a way I had not appreciated, living most of my adult life in London.
Mr Johnson has his work cut out. Our major cities need huge investment, our schools are in a terrible state of repair and our hospitals are woefully short of qualified staff. For nine years this scenario has worsened under previous Conservative leaders. The newish PM can now become a reforming one as he has an overriding mandate to refresh the nation in a way his rival, Mr Corbyn could not, as he was offering a look backwards to a neo-Stalinist state of yesteryear.
People voted for certainty. They wanted an end to the Brexit debate once and for all. The English National party could now reign for some considerable time. Labour has been living in a bubble since 2015. Its leadership reminded me of the captain of the Titanic. They have just busied themselves rearranging the deck chairs on the upper deck. It offered old ideas which have seen their day. PM Blair showed us what you needed to do to win the middle ground. That was never Corbyn’s raison d’être. The narrative ought to have been not ‘New Labour’ but ‘Brand New Labour’ offering digital choices in a smaller state. I hope it does not tear itself apart but earlier this year I was told nearly one hundred middle ground politicians from three main parties were prepared to jump ship. They never had the courage and they have been blown away.
Of the Liberal Democrat’s what now for them? They started the campaign well and the polls were in their favour but Jo Swinson was facing hostility at home in Scotland and some tougher choices in small enclaves in our more well to do city suburbs. The message of Remain needed to be shared with old Labour but as I have said before politicians like Mr Corbyn who want to walk in the middle of the road, generally get run over. And so it has proved.
Mr Johnson has a carte blanche agenda to match the shock of his hair. He will be busy. He most certainly will not be spending it with all his children. And we must tip our collective hats to his fortitude and vigour. He will surprise us still more.