Twenty years ago, not altogether long after Blair’s landslide election victory, and with William Hague driving around the country in a rather mad “Keep the Pound” white van, I happened to go on a school sixth form trip to be in the audience on the BBC’s Question Time.
The result of the Peterborough by-election has come as a surprise to some, and a relief to others. The by-election was called after the local Peterborough residents utilised new rules to recall their sitting MP, Labour’s Fiona Onasanya, after her conviction for perverting the course of justice. For the newly formed Brexit Party, this was a golden opportunity to gain a seat within parliament, allowing them to claim they were a national party in the UK, not simply a protest vote in European elections.
He referred to Meghan Markle as “nasty,” called London’s mayor a “stone cold loser” and, between official events, found time to lash out at Bette Midler, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the media.
When the prime minister applied for and got a second extension to the Article 50 period, she did so because she wanted to save the country from the disastrous consequences of leaving the EU without a deal. She did the right thing, putting the country first.
The last decade of politics has been shot through with examples of the shortcomings in Britain’s democratic process.
Must our politicians disappoint? That is the question that is keeping some of us on the liberal left up at night. The latest let down is Justin Trudeau. While Trudeau was never as left wing as many of us economically, his leadership style on social issues did seem like a breath of fresh air. He appeared to be willing to take action that went against the narrative of the day, making genuinely tough decisions on issues like immigration where the easy option would have been to turn people away.
This will come as a disappointment to the US president, but his views won’t affect British politics much. Donald Trump’s endorsement of Boris Johnson won’t change the outcome of the Conservative Party leadership contest. His childish insulting of Sadiq Khan won’t stop the London mayor being re-elected next year. And his advice on the UK’s negotiating tactics is hardly going to decide whether – or how – we eventually leave the EU.
The other day I saw a report of an airstrike hitting a medical facility in Idlib, killing a paramedic and an ambulance driver. Not a legitimate military target, but a medical facility. Then, shortly after, an airstrike hit again.
Theresa May never seemed to appreciate the importance of tempo in politics. She was not good at surprising, disrupting and confusing her opponents. Boris Johnson has learned from her mistakes.
Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to hold a new referendum on Scottish independence. The first minister told the Scottish parliament she will soon introduce legislation to prepare for another vote by 2021 if Scotland is taken out of the EU.