It’s not Brexit day (again) but for many it is the first day campaigning for the December 2019 election. Yet the BBC says that up to 50 MPs are standing down. Some are obvious candidates, such as my MP Nicolas Soames, who lost the whip earlier in the year and is way past his sell-buy date in any case.
Others appear to be standing up for their “conscience” and leaving politics at a time when it’s seen to be at an all-time low. Even Boris Johnson’s own brother, who resigned from the cabinet, has now decided to call it a day.
It’s normal for this to happen, however. The BBC report details that around 90 MPs left before the 2015 election and a whopping 150 left in 2010. It’s got to be a tough job being an MP. Days away from your families, constant travelling, interviews, meeting people you hate and the sheer boredom of the commons chamber sometimes. I admire those that truly do make a difference, like Jess Phillips, and MP based on Birmingham.
But while we a say a fond farewell (or a good riddance) to some MPs we need to be careful what we wish for. MP selection is a party political process and in today’s climate will be as Machiavellian as possible. I’m prepared for a complete SHIT to be the Conservative choice for my neck of the woods. Is have no idea who he/she they will be but they will be completely pro-Boris, pro-Brexit and terrifyingly right-wing.
My heart will always be socialist, but they will never win in this location. So, do I tactically vote for the Liberal Democrats and possibly tip the apple cart, or do I vote with my heart and symbolically “piss into the wind”. I did vote Lib Dem before, in 2010 and Nick Clegg sold the party for a few pieces of silver and suffered the consequences.
My Lib Dem MP put a flyer through my door the other day. The first I heard of it was it hitting the doormat. No cold call to chat over the issues. No-one does that anymore. Instead politics becomes the topic s du-jour of local facebook groups. Left and Right slug it out, amidst neighbours trying to sell last-years tat in order to give their kids a more extravagant Christmas.
This year my local group has put up a referendum on whether political posts will be banned from the group. So far it’s looks like a complete ban is likely. It’s going to be an enormous job for the group admins. Some people will just not take NO for an answer and there are some particularly unpleasant people in the group. I was an admin once. Never again.
Today Twitter have announced that all Political Advertising will be banned globally. Of course they are thumbing their nose at Facebook who recently said they will allow fake-news adverts. Plus unpaid opinion (like this one) will probably go unchecked.
So where will we get the unbiased news? The critical comment? The deep dive into the carefully crafted sound-byte? Well not the tabloids that is for sure as yesterday’s headlines showed.
Now is the time for us to be critical of everything we read. If in doubt ask yourself “who gains from this”. Buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride.