Turkey’s Voting For Christmas

Many people will have views about how the result of the 2019 General Election came about. Pundits will be trawling over Boris Johnson’s successful campaign, and the failure of Jeremy Corbyn’s and Jo Swinson’s failure to make headway against a fractured governing party in a time of real crisis.

People have had doubts about Jeremy Corbyn from day one of his leadership of the Labour party. His past affiliations to groups have been regurgitated so many times in the press and on social media over these last years, you can’t help thinking that the establishment really didn’t want him to win. 

Let’s take one of the accusations about Corbyn head on. At the time he was talking to Sinn Fein in Ireland in front of the camera, Margaret Thatcher’s government were doing exactly the same thing behind closed doors. So, why was he different to Her Majesty’s Government in his attitude and actions to the Northern Irish issue?

Put simply, the press and right-wing commentators have colluded in scuppering the chance of any left-wing leader of the Labour party ever getting elected. I remember Michael Foot being lambasted and lied about in the early eighties very clearly. And following him, Neil Kinnock never stood a chance despite the Tory’s going through hell and high water in power. Not until Labour elected a more right-wing leader in Tony Blair, did the press and powers that-be take note.

Corbyn’s flim-flamery over the subject of the day cost him dearly. Wanting another referendum, but not saying which side of the argument he would stand, allowed his critics to attack him daily. How he thought that policy would bring in Leavers and Remainers, I’ve no idea.

Jo Swinson’s attempt at all-out remain failed dismally, although they did increase their share of the vote. That doesn’t always help in a First-Past-the-Post-Election. Swinson herself lost her seat in Scotland.

The SNP have gained massively in Scotland. A second independence referendum will be called for, and given no matter what the Tory leader says, in the coming years. And the break-up of the Union is most definitely on the cards, especially with Johnson negotiating a Withdrawal Agreement that effectively separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the Union.

I have written about the Tory’s nine years in power elsewhere and about Johnson’s failings. But in saying these things and writing them down in this blog, I can’t help thinking that the Turkeys have voted for Christmas. Clearly, the UK public have voted for more of the following:

These are just a few things that I can illustrate. There are more. The promise of getting Brexit done shouldn’t have been enough for the Tory’s to regain power and dump Labour to its worst performance since 1935.

If it was the Brexit confirmation election, and only time will tell on that one, then the British electorate have a lot of confidence in one issue to correct the ills of this country. I wish them luck!

This post was originally written & posted: 13 Dec 2019

Anyone But…

Politicians have for many years manipulated figures or told fibs. We’ve come to expect it. But now, it seems, we’re residing in a world where Stalin would be ashamed.

For years our present Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has peddled truth and mistruth as if they co-exist in the same reality. He has annoyed, vexed and downright sought to besmirch sections of society in ways only an extremist would find acceptable.

Let’s look at some examples of Good Old Boris just being Cheeky-Chappy Boris. Surely there’s no harm in him?

  • At a Conservative fringe meeting in 2017, Johnson said the following regarding Libya: ‘They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai… The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away.” Insensitive? Crass, maybe? You decide.
  • If Boris Johnson is to be elected PM, I would suggest you don’t get put in a foreign prison when you’re innocent. His lack of detail and support has left Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe struggling in an Iranian jail after the authorities lengthened her sentence following loose remarks made by the then Foreign Secretary. Responsible? Maybe not.
  • Foreign policy obviously isn’t his strong point? When you search Johnson it’s not hard to find gaffe-prone gold! For example, Johnson won a £1,000 prize for a limerick in the Spectator magazine, about the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, having sex with a goat. Not very statesman-like, I would have thought. Or is that just me?
  • Or maybe this further example of foreign relations not being his strong point might surprise you. In 2007 he likened Hilary Clinton, the Democratic hopeful for President, to a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.
  • Further, he thinks that referring to people with ‘Watermelon Smiles’ and ‘Piccaninnies’, or people wearing burkas as looking like ‘letterboxes’ is satirical. Some may not. They may see these comments as unhelpful and offensive. I know which side of the fence I sit on…
  • His homophobic slurs are well known. His reference to gay men as, ‘tank topped bum boys’ is an absolute disgrace and will not be accepted as right by A. P. Grozdanovic.
  • In a 1995 article for the Spectator he said, single mothers were raising a generation of ‘ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate children’. Quite a sweeping statement and certainly ill-advised and offensive to the people concerned. Perhaps you’re not one of those people and you’re not bothered. I’ll give you some advice, you should be.

And what about his flagship ‘Let’s Get Brexit Done’ mantra? Well, he still hasn’t got it done, despite getting his Withdrawal Agreement passed in Parliament. 

In fact, he has failed at every turn since he was installed as our Prime Minister by a handful of aging Tory members.

And then there is the record of Tory rule over the last nine years, something I have written about previously. Through their policy of austerity, they have butchered the idea of this country as a caring, progressive place to be and head to.

In this election campaign I have watched as he heartlessly waved away pictures of a child lying on a hospital floor; how his party have not just manipulated news but down right lied about things that have happened; promised to sort Brexit out when he has proved time again he isn’t up to the job. 

I have been filled with incredulity that this once great country is being led by this patently inadequate Tory Prime Minister, a Brexit Prime Minister who can’t deliver Brexit!

But unlike the loud and proud right-wing press that many of my readers devour and regurgitate daily, I will not be advocating a vote for ALEXANDER BORIS de PFEFFEL JOHNSON. In fact, it will be anyone but Boris! 

This post was originally written & uploaded: 11 Dec 2019

Be Careful What You Wish For

Following the first results of the Conservative Party’s leadership race, you wouldn’t have to be a modern-day Nostradamus to see the country is heading yet further towards the Brexit rocks. 

The first three candidates to hit the buffers were Harper – who accepted that Brexit couldn’t happen by 31 October, Andrea Leadsom and the ex-TV host, Esther McVey who both stipulated that Halloween will be our leaving date come what may. And today, Nick Hancock, the Health Secretary, dropped out, citing his candidature was about the future, and his party was looking towards a leader for the here and now.

The remaining, I use the term loosely, candidates are Johnson, Hunt, Gove, Stewart, Javid and Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary. We will have to wait until the coming days to find out which two will go forward to fight it out among party members. 

My views on the process of choosing a new PM like this can be found elsewhere…

The winner by a fox hunting country mile in the first round of voting was the former London Mayor & Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. Not only was Johnson the clear winner in the vote amongst his fellow Tory MP’s, he is the clear leader with the bookies too.

But party members, and more importantly the wider electorate, should be careful what they wish for. There are just 160,000 Conservative Party members who will choose not just the party leader, but the next Prime Minister of this country. 

Johnson’s main selling point to party members and a portion of the electorate is obviously his stance on Brexit. He has announced that we will leave the EU on the 31 October, deal or no deal.

Apart from the fact no one can predict what a no deal Brexit will look like – except people looking into a crystal ball and seeing a land of milk & honey, where Britannia rules the waves and Victoria, in the persona of Gemma Coleman, reigns – this is definitely a leap in the dark.

At present a no-deal Brexit is a perpetual fantasy, and Johnson is a master at the make believe. Just look at the fact check Channel 4 produced. It basically illustrates that what good-old Boris promises, doesn’t actually come to fruition.

Take a look at what he has said or written. Likening Africans to piccaninnies. Writing offensive poems relating to the president of Turkey. But there are a litany of things he has said and done which we should think very carefully about before contemplating allowing this man to hold the keys to 10 Downing Street.

The decision on who runs this country cannot be decided on just one issue, Brexit. This person has to be competent and have a real-world vision on where the country is heading. The new Prime Minister will have to have the gravitas to bring people together after the divisive Brexit referendum. Something that Theresa May failed to do. Boris Johnson has proved he is not that man. He is a small-world Trump-like figure who will sew division for years to come.

This post was originally written & uploaded: 14 June 2019

Time For Labour To Stand Up

Brexit, in all shapes and sizes, looks to be a complete dog’s dinner. It’s hard to look at it any other way.

While we have a government led by the ineffectual Teresa May, leaving the European Union with a good deal looks about as distant a prospect as man landing on Mars.

Since taking over the Tory leadership she has misfired at every turn. She called an early general election (despite fixed term parliaments being a Coalition success) and lost a Commons working majority. She then effectively handed control of Brexit policy to the DUP and the right-wing Brexiteers in her party (not to mention noises off, Farage). And since then she has limped from one Brexit crisis to another. 

How humiliating must it have been to have Brexit Secretary, Davis and the blonde mop and dinner party raconteur, Johnson, resign over her Chequers deal. And then have it effectively thrown in the incinerator by European negotiator, Michel Barnier

The vision of Brexit by its champions is one of nirvana. The It’ll Be Alright on The Night Brigade never seem to deliver a coherent picture of life outside the European Union. Yes, they point to better trading deals with countries like the USA. But do we really want to be standing alone in a trade deal with someone like Trump in the White House, slapping tariffs on anything that takes his fancy? By pulling the drawbridge up on Europe, our biggest free trading partner, does that make Britain great again? It’s a big question. 

And it’s an even bigger question when time and again reality bites and warnings are delivered as to the what will happen if a cliff-edge no deal wins the day.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (who work towards eradicating poverty in the UK) say families will continue to struggle regardless of a Brexit deal.

In a survey conducted by Odgers Berndtson of a hundred UK business leaders over 50% wanted to stop Brexit altogether.

Jaguar’s boss warns of high job losses with a bad Brexit deal.

Honda’s European boss says the company would lose tens of millions of pounds.

These are obviously selected clips from what the hard Brexiteers would call Project Fear, but when you consider recent polls by Yougov showing public opinion is drifting away from Brexit, things begin to look different. Do people still think that this is the future they want for Britain? Maybe it isn’t.

In a Yougov survey of 2,700 members of Unite, Unison and GMB it showed a clear majority for staying in the EU. This is just over two years since the narrow victory for Vote Leave. 

Times change.

It’s time for Labour to stand up and be counted.

We now have a convincing majority of Labour members who want their party to opt for the so-called People’s Vote. The enthusiasm for this is now charging forward apace.

With all this evidence – business, Union and public opinion – shouting from the rooftops that they want a new vote now the reality of Brexit is knocking at their door, it is incumbent on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to be the trusted opposition to a catastrophic hard-Tory Brexit. 

By changing their policy and supporting a People’s Vote (and writing it in their manifesto), Labour will give people a real choice at the ballot box. Because Brexit is the only game in town. Get that right and you can begin to move on and work towards a better health service, a world class education system and quality employment. The things this government and Brexit has derailed.

This article was originally published on 22 September 2018

Stalag Britain

The following is an extract from Stalag Britain, a short story by A. P. Grozdanovic, that is available on Amazon Kindle…

’On this historic day, the twenty-six of June 2016, the British electorate has spoken,’ the news anchorman declared, ‘and it’s a definitive rebuff to the Remainers. The UK has turned its back on the Prime Minister and the European project. By a margin of 51.9% to 48.1% Brexit is now a reality. For some analysis on what this means, we’ll go over to Darren Reynolds, our Chief Political Correspondent, in Downing Street. So,’ the anchor momentarily paused in thought, ‘what does this mean?’

The camera cut to the reporter in Downing Street.

‘Put quite simply, Michael, no one knows. We can take a wild guess: market turmoil, factory closures, years of renegotiating trade deals, university funding cuts due to the number of foreign students falling. The list of negatives seems endless. 

‘But, of course, some will see this as scare-mongering. They say that this is the beginning of a whole new chapter in the relationship we have with the entire world, not just Europe. One where the British people decide for themselves what they want. From trade to immigration, from law to subsidies. And there are champagne corks popping across the country in celebration at this new opportunity.’

‘And what about the Prime Minister?’

The reporter gave a definitive, ‘He’s toast! The Prime Minister staked his whole political career on a referendum that many new he couldn’t win. Polling shows that not only were the electorate voting to leave the EU, they were also voicing their dissatisfaction with the government and its austerity package. Quite simply, he put himself in a no-win situation.’

The camera cut back to the studio.

‘Do I smell the whiff of resignation?’

The camera returned to Downing Street.

‘It’s more a stench than a whiff, Michael. Some say the Prime Minister won’t last the day.’

The camera cut back to the studio.

‘So that’s it, folks. Once Britain triggers its formal intention to leave the EU the countdown begins. Historic times indeed. Goodbye from us.’

To read more of Stalag Britain visit: