This time, as in 2015, the no-hoper I intend to ensure will receive at least one vote in Suffolk Central will be the Liberal Democrat. I suppose voting for them in two general elections in a row (plus one about twenty-something years ago) means I should begin to see myself as a Liberal Democrat voter, but in truth I don’t – not yet. Last time it was as a reward to them for joining the coalition despite the dangers to themselves, and I knew they would suffer for it while their erstwhile coalition partner prospered. This time it will be all about Brexit. The Liberal Democrats have called for a vote at the end of the process and by so doing have shown again that they are prepared to stick their necks out for sanity. I find it odd that people cannot see the reasoning behind a second referendum when the details are known. If you enter into a contract for a lot of things these days you are given a period to reconsider. If you are allowed a cooling off period when buying a vacuum cleaner, why not for a pig in a poke? It matters not that I am one of very few people who is prepared to encourage them in this way, as my vote was pretty worthless in the first place.
In my blog of 19 April, just after the election was called, I predicted that someone on the Labour side would make the claim that we owed the Health Service to Labour. Today Jeremy Corbyn went a step further and claimed it was all Labour’s idea. I’m not going to go over old ground about the Beveridge Report of 1942 and all the parties’ commitment to a Health Service free at the point of delivery. I’m not even going to point out that Beveridge was a Liberal and the majority in the Commons that approved it were Conservatives. What Labour did do after 1945 was adopt the most unwieldy and centralised model that for a time alienated the medical profession. Though having said that, and having worked in the NHS, there’s no way of not alienating them sometimes as they can be an unreasonable and arrogant bunch when they want to be.
I’m quietly amused by Labour’s sudden support for the police. When I lived in East London in the late 70s and 80s several of my friends were Labour activists and police were the mortal enemy, or at least the Left felt obliged to claim they were. And some on the Left most definitely did support terrorism, not only by looking admiringly at Jerry Adams and Co (the body language in the photos bely any idea that they were just sounding them out with a view to negotiations) but to the extent that they thought it funny when Airey Neave was blown up outside Parliament and again when Lord Mountbatten and some of his family (including children) were murdered by Irish Republicans. It shook me at the time and still does, though one later claimed that it was simply the bravado of the weedy. Some people like sucking up to gangsters because it makes them feel more macho than they are. The closer in spirit (though never physically!) you were prepared to get to violence the more left wing and militant you must be, and all Brownie points stemmed from that. I thought those nasty, silly days were gone, but over the last couple of years they seem to have returned. It seems we have to go through the same experiences again before the lesson is learned.