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

Spare Us The Claptrap!

Boris Johnson has got his Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in place inside two months, something his predecessor in failure only managed in two years. But is it his own deal? Well no, not exactly.

The agreement with the EU that he is asking Parliament to ratify shows very little difference from May’s doomed attempt. Only fifteen core pages have been renegotiated, along with the political non-binding declaration. Eleven pages have been jettisoned. That’s out of nearly six hundred pages! I’m just wondering why negotiators have had to fly back and forward to Brussels when they could have just exchanged texts!

In reality Mop-Top Johnson, who looks as statesman-like as Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances, hasn’t really negotiated a full deal at all, he’s just tinkered around the edges with a pair of nail scissors. Those edges, he’s hoping, will encourage enough MP’s to vote the agreement through.

I suspect he’s on a hiding to nothing. 

The DUP have already said they won’t vote for the agreement. Jeremy Corbyn, the Brexiteer in sheep’s clothing, is saying Labour won’t back it. With Jo Swinson’s, Conservative-lite, Liberal Democrats advocating remain come what may, alongside the Greens and the SNP, Johnson hasn’t got a cat in hells chance of winning the vote this coming Saturday.

But as we know by now, Brexit voters will shout from every rooftop that the referendum should be honoured whatever the costs, this tawdry story is going to run and run.

The fact I don’t believe he’ll get it through a Parliament elected after the 2016 referendum, for me, has never been in doubt, but he’ll try anyway. Johnson and his staunch Brexit cabinet will blame everyone under the sun but themselves for the situation the country is in if it is voted down. Chief among them the EU, remain voting MP’s, Remoaner-voices-off. He may even stoop to blaming the Chief Mouser in residence, Larry, if everything goes pear-shaped.

With the passing of the Benn Act, which was introduced to avoid a no deal Brexit and Johnson’s ultra-commitment to leave on the 31 October the two sides are polls apart, and they don’t appear to be getting any closer.

I myself have a view on Brexit, which I try not to push too much here on APGrozdanovic, but it’s imperative that the two sides find a way to come together for the good of the country. To say we have to Get Brexit Done, or to pummel the airwaves with the only way to move forward is a People’s Vote is misreading the mood of the nation.

A recent YouGov poll of polls shows an increased backing for remain, but the country will still be fractured after Brexit is done or not.

What we need is statesmen/women who will move this country forward together, for the benefit of everyone. This has proved elusive for the past two incumbents of 10 Downing Street. And as I have argued before, it’s time for radical thinking. And these politicians have proved time and again that they can’t change their spots. We have to move on, forward, together. If that means an election, give us one. If it means a People’s Vote, give us one. But above all, spare us all this claptrap that the referendum of 2016 unleashed.

This post was originally written & uploaded: 18 Oct 2019

Radical Thinking

It’s now 3 years since the country voted to exit the European Union. Two Prime Ministers – and counting – and we still inhabit the Brexit wasteland. Remaining in, but endlessly sat in the departure lounge. 

And what of the two sides?

There seems to be no coming together of the Remain and Leave side of the Brexit argument. In fact, most people, and this is only anecdotal, have simply dug their heels in. They are either Remain (not Remain and Evolve) or Leave (at all costs). 

No fan of Theresa May, I think we can all agree she wrecked any chance of a Brexit compromise with her Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union. (Did you read all 500+ pages of the agreement? No? Neither did I!) She satisfied neither side of the Brexit divide. Her whole Premiership will be seen by historians as a complete and utter failure to bring Parliament and the people together.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Leader, seen by many as a Remainer, although I don’t know why, has completely failed to take his party with him on Brexit as well. His policy of constructive ambiguity, whatever that was, has seen the Fourth Estate portray him sitting on a splintered fence leaning towards Remain. I’ve never seen it that way. In all circumstances, Corbyn has re-iterated that the result of the referendum should be honoured. I ask myself, how can that be a Remain position? Where people get confused, and right-wing pundits bellow it from the rooftops, is that he doesn’t advocate a Tory hard Brexit. And to them, that equals Remain. They somehow miss the point that he continually says he will negotiate a better deal if he becomes Prime Minister. Those are not the words of a Remainer. However, he will support a second referendum on what he sees as a bad deal put forward by any Tory government. But that does not make him a supporter of Remain.

Alternatively, we have Farage shouting down BBC microphone’s at every opportunity like some demented Shakespearean tragi-character threatening the wrath of the people if he doesn’t get the Brexit HE wants. Every time the megaphone agitator appears on TV I can’t help thinking, ‘O for another series of classic Spitting Image’. I suspect he’d be sat in Trumps breast pocket while in the other would be ‘Mop-Top’ Johnson, the likely new Tory leader and PM.

And on the other side of the Brexit chasm we have the Liberal Democrats – Conservatives-Lite in another dictionary – fighting for the pro-Remain votes with the Green Party led, inexplicably, by two people. Not forgetting the SNP up there in Scotland. Agitating for an IndyRef2 if they don’t get a People’s Vote to Remain.

Common ground in British politics has been burnt at the Brexit stake.

Whilst here at APGrozdanovic we try to be impartial, it is sometimes hard to pull off that particular trick, of arguing for both sides in such a divisive matter. But here goes, I have readers of all persuasions…

It’s high time for radical thinking. 

The country needs our political representatives to speak for us and act in our best interests. Not for their own narrow interest group within a party. 

Brexit voters conveniently forget what we were promised during and after the ballot. Note the ambiguity of the £350m we could spend on our NHS emblazoned over a big red bus. John Redwood saying on 17 July 2016, that ‘Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy.’ Or Michael Gove pronouncing on the 1 June 2016 that, ‘We can easily conclude a new settlement with the EU…’ These and other things have proved to be pie-in-the-sky.

On the Remain side, although they lost the referendum, I still don’t think they are putting the case forward well enough for people to re-imagine a world where a new ballot can relieve citizen’s doubts about the EU and the advantages of staying in. The political soundbite ‘Project Fear’ still resonates, no matter how many reports show Brexit impacting on the economy and jobs. For their argument to prevail, they have to step up to the plate and explain better the reason for staying.

In my fictional book, Stalag Britain, about a Brexit that goes catastrophically wrong, I wrote about job losses in various areas and shortages in the health service. The rise of racism. Governments failing. This wasn’t hard for me to imagine and include in my story, so why is it so difficult for others?

I think the time has come to think beyond Brexiteers & Remainers. It’s now an opportunity for a new Prime Minister to be radical. And I don’t mean to raise the flag for one side or the other. Whether it be ‘Mop-Top’ Johnson or ‘Entrepreneur’ Hunt who becomes the next PM, they have to jettison the idea of Brexit on 31 October, pause Article 50, and form a government of national unity. One where people of all sides of the political spectrum, including voters, can work out where we want to go as a country. That may end up in Brexit. It may not. But at least we will have clarity and agreement on the road we are travelling. We have to remember that the future is not ours, it’s our children’s and grandchildren’s. It’s our duty to leave them a prosperous future of opportunity, where doors are open in friendship and not closed because we have cut our nose off to spite our face.

I raise a glass in Hope…

This post was originally written & uploaded: 22 July 2019