How has the mighty Great Britain fallen so far from grace that embarrassment exudes from all corners of our green and fertile lands?
I sometimes get lost in thought as to how it is even possible Britain can hold such great power being that it is a small and seemingly unassuming island in the North Atlantic. Historically we have been at the centre of global economics and politics, and presently that is where we are currently clinging onto.
Of course, there are a many multitude of reasons for the UK’s growth and as new generations rebuff the old and reshape our culture, social responsibilities and sensitivities, so to we realise the unacceptability of the ‘ways of old’.
But without wanting to get into a debate as to how we got here, it is quite incredible that we are and maintain our position of influence on this beautiful rock, third in from the sun.
And yet, with great power comes great responsibility, and as we have all seen in the past few years, that doesn’t automatically mean common sense is following or prevailing.
I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say – to those who voted to leave Europe in 2016, I hope you got what you wanted. Because the majority, and I believe it is now a majority, who wished to remain are just cringing and crying at the utter debacle and shambles that has followed in British politics since.
It is my opinion that the campaigns leading up to the fateful 2016 referendum on Europe caused a divide in this country that is usually somewhat uncommon. Certainly there have been close elections between two opposing political parties, obviously implying the nation is divided as to which path to follow. But the referendum campaigns were blighted by lies. And it is those lies that enraged, belittled and confused the nation.
It is also possible that it is lies that continue to blight our nation’s credibility and the government’s ability to, well, govern.
Since 2016 the political stability of the United Kingdom has been shaken at best. Conservative leader David Cameron stood down when he realised he wouldn’t be able to deliver on the referendum result, handing the baton to Theresa May who achieved no better. A general election somehow ended up with a continuation of Tory leadership, this time with the utter embarrassment that is Boris Johnson. And when his cabinet finally realised this an internal party contest led us to having the shortest term for a Prime Minister ever, Liz Truss. A month-and-a-half, for those who are counting.
In this time Brexit happened. Boris Johnson likes to say he delivered Brexit, but I do not understand his definition of delivered. Yes, we did leave Europe. But that is hardly an achievement, it was set in law to happen on January 31st 2020. Any other idea of delivering is beyond my scope of the English language.
And of course there was a major global pandemic which is still ongoing to a degree, although largely no longer featuring so regularly in the UK media. I will say, on the balance of fairness, our vaccination rollout was pretty impressive. May I take a moment to thank Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of orchestrating the initial programme, and of course to the brilliant NHS and the thousands of volunteers who actually made it happen.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has served as a sidebar in recent events. Not to make it seem unimportant or a non-issue, because it clearly is very important. But I describe it as a sidebar to recent events because the UK is not directly involved. We are not sending troops to Ukraine, we ourselves are not being directly invaded. But a moment again if I may to say that I hope the UK continues to support President Zelensky and the people of his nation.
The cost of living crisis has been borne out of Russia ransoming resources and grain, the fact we are no longer in Europe and because the world’s economies are still recovering from the pandemic.
And to cap it all off, Liz Truss tanked the economy, thus causing global concern and various interventions to prevent catastrophic meltdown. To say this is embarrassing is an understatement. To say the government have further added to the already deepening crisis is accurate.
All of the above was under a Conservative government. Of course I’m not suggesting for a second Boris Johnson should be blamed for the pandemic, only his complete and utter mismanagement of the response and his government during it.
So why am I focusing on the negatives?
I believe – and bearing in mind Liz Truss only resigned a handful of hours ago – that if the UK public were polled right now, three words would stand out.
General Election. Now.
How is it possible that after the scenes of even just the past 24 hours that the Conservative party are allowed to remain and will choose a new leader by means of an internal contest and vote?
The Tories will not call an early general election; they know what the electorate will do, they know they will lose their right govern. So the people of this country have to continue with the ongoing shambles of a government taking this country further and further down a rabbit hole of insecurity, incompetence and frankly, insincerity.
It is about time the Conservative party stood aside. It is about time a method for allowing the electorate to force a general election (in exceptional circumstances) be created*.
I said it on the day that followed the Europe referendum, and I repeat it today, as I have done so many times in between:
I’m embarrassed to say I am British.
*The reigning monarch can invite someone who would gain confidence of Parliament to form a government, but it would require a vote of no-confidence to set this in motion, and new PMs are protected for a year. At least, that is my understanding of it. Either way though, incredibly unlikely to happen on all counts.