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Thursday, May 23, 2019

An extraordinary time in politics

In the near 40 years I have been in politics I have never seen anything like the mess we are currently in as a democracy and as a nation. As somebody who has studied history, I am struggling to find precedents for the extraordinary chaos that exists in the two main parties, the rise of the far right and the deep divisions that blight our country. The nearest I can come to it is the fall of the Weimar Republic, but we certainly do not want to go down that route.

The unrest in the Tory Party reached unprecedented levels yesterday with Cabinet Ministers staying away from Prime Minister's question time to make their point, the 1922 Committee meeting to consider changing the rules to enable them to get rid of Theresa May, the resignation of the Leader of the House of Commons and the Prime Minister herself allegedly hiding away in 10 Downing Street and refusing to meet with her own ministers in case they told her she has to go.

Apparently, if Theresa May lasts until Wednesday, she will have outlasted Gordon Brown as Prime Minister. If she survives for another fortnight, she will have served longer than the Duke of Wellington. To be frank, she seems more in tune with the Grand Old Duke of York, marching her troops up and down a hill with no purpose and no prospect of a successful resolution to this crisis.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party, who still claim to be the official opposition, are so riven by their own divisions that they appear incapable of taking advantage of the situation, and continue to plummet in the polls. While, the one party which is benefitting the most from the Tory collapse, the Brexit Party is mired in its own controversy over funding.And talking of the Brexit Party, reports from yesterday had Nigel Farage hiding on his bus in case he had more milkshakes thrown at him.

I disapprove of this trend of throwing things at politicians, not least because it fails to advance debate, but also because it undermines the political process. A milkshake today could be a stone tomorrow, or even a bullet. Violence is not the answer, and we should remember that just three years ago we lost an MP after she was shot in the street in her own constituency.

Only the Liberal Democrats appear to have come out of these elections with their reputation enhanced and with more support. Their clear message on Europe has resonated with many voters and I was proud to cast a vote for the Welsh Lib Dem team earlier today.

But what happens next is anybody's guess. I am certainly not going to try and predict events.
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