The fight of our lives
Boris Johnson has finally achieved his life’s ambition. The votes of just 160,000 Tory Party members (that’s less than 0.3% of the UK’s electorate) have secured for him the keys to Number 10. And with the keys, the Brexit mess he and his fellow hardline Brexiteers have created: a divided country, an imploding party and a dangerously uncertain future for Britain in Europe, and in the world. Boris Johnson has come full circle - he created the Brexit shambles, now it is time for him to own it.
And his Cabinet appointments shows he is digging in, not reaching out - rewarding long-time fellow travelers and recent self-serving cheerleaders with plum jobs. The only qualification for high office is an unswerving devotion to the ideology of “No Deal”, regardless of the fact that this was never “the will of the people”. It is not a government of reconciliation and renewal, but one of enmity and entrenchment. As the US President so eloquently named him - he is ‘Britain Trump’.
Our local MP, Dominic Raab, is now Foreign Secretary. He revealed his vision for the UK in his own short-lived leadership campaign: happy to prorogue Parliament and shut down democratic representation to achieve his own ideological ends; eager to blame anyone but himself - civil servants, the Irish, the EU - for his own shortcomings as Brexit Secretary; or because the Brexiteers never had a plan. The zeal with which he swung in behind Johnson in the aftermath of the leaked cables from Kim Darroch - siding with President Trump rather than backing a distinguished public servant - may tell us something about his view of public service.
These are anxious times for those of us who see our relationship with Europe being key to our economic prosperity, a bulwark against populism and an agent of peace. Our Government now doesn’t even pretend to represent that other half of the country - that 48% - which in this constituency is 60%, but has gone all out Brexit. The threat of no-deal is ever greater and Boris Johnson in his appointments has fired the starting gun for the fight of our lives. There is General Election coming and it is soon and now you know the cast list. This won’t be called a second referendum - but it is in all but name. Boris Johnson will be leading the charge, advised by Dominic Cummings, with Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Priti Patel at his side, probably in an electoral pact with Nigel Farage and the Brexit party.
So now is the time. All the protest, marching and petitions to our elected representatives, comes to its climax. Now is the time for action. We must not give up hope or lose energy. Now is the time to make our voices heard. This is our country and our democracy. A cabal of hardliners have taken control with no mandate and we must resist them. We owe it not only to ourselves but to our children.
Already the constituents of Esher and Walton - a remain constituency - are signaling which way they want to go. Once one of the safest of true-blue Tory seats, residents here are telling me on the doorstep and in polling that they are fed up with the Conservative government putting their party before the country. They are disgusted by the naked ambition of politicians, appalled at Brexit, and desperate to be represented by someone who will put their interests first again. This constituency saw the largest decline in Tory vote share in the country in the local elections, and in the European elections the Liberal Democrats took 39% of the vote here. Poll after poll, week after week, puts us ahead. Yesterday’s YouGov poll put us in the lead in Esher and Walton at 38%. Dominic Raab ignores his electorate at his peril.
As Jo Swinson has said - shouting at the TV is not enough. It’s time to do something about it. Get in touch via monicaharding.org; become a Lib Dem member; offer whatever you can - time, expertise or money - to help my local campaign and to ready ourselves for a General Election.
Working together, we can start to put things right again - starting right here, on Dominic Raab’s doorstep. Let’s return to sensible, moderate, rational politics rather than ideology. Let’s start building a future our kids will thank us for. Let’s turn Esher and Walton yellow.