Welcome to my day: 17 January 2022 – “I wanna be the Leader

Roger McGough wrote the poem which, perhaps, sums up the current Conservative dilemma better than most;

I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Promise? Promise?
Yippee I’m the leader
I’m the leader

OK what shall we do?

Johnson became Leader, because he was seen to be a winner of elections – and when you look at his previous opponents, you could see why. His record of actual achievement in office? Not so great but, if surrounded by good people, it could work. It cannot now be said that he is surrounded by good people.

But what is the alternative, and is the poisoned chalice that is the current situation one that would attract a credible candidate? Inflation over 5%, little prospect of energy prices falling back towards their former rates, tax and NIC hikes in April – as an inheritance, they aren’t kind. Any new leader might normally expect a honeymoon period, but they’d have to have a plan to at least mitigate some of these. And, whilst there are plenty of predictions as to the impact of Brexit, it isn’t obvious, at least to me, that these are recognised by ordinary voters… yet. If the gloomy predictions for the British economy come true, there’s still more pain to come.

It’s a big day at Westminster, as Andy and Caron have already noted. We’re apparently expecting as many as eleven votes in the Lords today, as Peers have the opportunity to strike out a series of egregiously awful measures from the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. And, unlike the usual situation where any such defeats can be overturned in the Commons, these can’t be as they weren’t on the face of the Bill when it was sent to the Lords by the Commons.

In the Commons, the Elections Bill, another truly dreadful piece of legislation, will likely be whipped through in the face of Opposition dissent. I’m a former member of the Council of Unlock Democracy, and their view of the Bill neatly sums up the problems with it.

On this day in 1547, Ivan the Terrible crowned himself as the first Tsar of Russia, whilst, in 1707, the Scottish Parliament ratified the Act of Union. 315 years down, how many to go? And, finally, but in similar vein, on this day in 1896, the Cymru Fydd (The Wales to Come) movement suffered a fatal setback at a meeting of the South Wales Liberal Federation. What might have been?…

There’ll be plenty happening today, and we’re still bedding in our new changes, so do bear with us. Part of that requires a more proactive commissioning strategy, which in turn requires time for its effects to trickle through. Your tolerance and forbearance are greatly appreciated.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice. In his spare time, he is the Chair of Creeting St Peter Parish Council.

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  • The 1707 Act of Union and the (then undemocratic) Scottish Parliament, Mark ?

    A careful and reflective re-reading of Robert Burns is a useful early morning corrective : “Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation” .

    Some things haven’t changed much in the last three hundred and fifteen years in Westminster.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 17th Jan '22 - 1:35pm

    @ David,

    Corrupt Parliament or not, it had the power to make the decision it did. And whilst I’m sure that Robert Burns had an elegantly phrased view on the matter, that’s all it represents.

    Regardless, I don’t think that the Westminster Parliament of 1707 has much to answer for here…

  • @ Mark What you say, of course, is entirely legally correct, Mark, …… as was slavery and executing witches at the time.

    However, given it consisted solely of wealthy landed aristocrats and bankers – including slave owners about to be personally bankrupted because of their own greed and folly – it was somewhat different to a parliament elected nowadays on a universal franchise including 16 year olds by a form of PR.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 17th Jan '22 - 4:43pm

    @ David,

    Indeed, but it doesn’t change what happened, did it?

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