...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 5961: The Tories: Wrong. Unstable. No Leadership.


Theresa Mayhem says that she needs to win a General Election to be a “strong leader”.

Well, if she’s not strong enough to cope with a Parliament that will only back her 522 to 13, then she’s really pretty WEAK indeed.

She wants you to believe that she thinks the polls are wrong and that Hard Labour have a chance of winning. Which is about as credible as a promise written on the side of a bus.

This election ISN’T about picking who’s the Prime Monster. It’s about picking a PARLIAMENT that is able to HOLD HER TO ACCOUNT.

After five years when the Coalition was starting to put Britain back on the right path, when inequality actually fell, and jobs and wages were coming back, we have had a Tory Government that has been all U-Turns, broken promises and backstabbing.

How is THAT “stability”?

And there was a lot of fuss over a poll saying that now people thought that the referendum got the answer wrong by 44% to 42% - missing the BIG picture that the country remains MASSIVELY SPLIT, right down the middle. And that Mrs Mayhem and the extreme Brexiteers are MAKING IT WORSE.

How is THAT “leadership”?

Do you want to give a BLANK CHEQUE to the Tories?

I mean it’s a good job Mrs Mayhem doesn’t have a record of saying one thing and then doing the other.

Except for her U-Turn on not holding a General Election before 2020
Except for her U-Turn on remaining in Europe
Except for her U-Turn on not raising the National Insurance Tax
Except for her U-Turn on raising the National Insurance Tax
Except for the Tory U-Turn on PIP payments for the disabled
Except for the Tory U-Turn on working tax credits
Except now she wants to break the triple lock on pensions

A STRONG leader needs a STRONG Parliament to make sure that the KEEP THEIR STRONG PROMISES.

Mrs Mayhem has caved in, again and again, to the wishes of her Extreme Right-wing backbenches, and to the whims of a handful of billionaire tax-exiles who control – unaccountably – the right-wing newspapers.

And what about that DEAL with the European Union?

How is Mrs Mayhem going to cope when negotiating with the European leaders, who are a bit less likely to roll over than Uncle “strong message here” Jezza and the supine Labour Party?

So far, in fact, it’s Mrs Mayhem who has caved in on every issue she’s tried to force: settling the rights of British Citizens in Europe before trigging article 50 (non); parallel trade negotiations (nein); Gibraltar (viva EspaƱa). This does not bode well for her “deal making”.

Meanwhile, Bojo “Punishment Beatings” Johnson has been made the Old English labradoodle of President Trump: told to “sit and stay” when he was supposed to be off to Moscow; admitting that it would be “very hard not to join in” if the US wanted to fire off another volley of high-explosives into the Syrian war zone. And for all the hand-holding and the fawning Gove, Britain still got bumped to the back of the queue – sorry “line” – for the Americans to make a trade deal with the EU first.

“Take Back Control” turns out to mean “Do what Donald says (and like it)”.

If Parliament’s “meaningful vote” on the final deal is going to be, well, meaningful, it needs a Parliament that is strong and unafraid to ask questions, to speak up for ALL the different views, Remain and Leave, and the different ideas and then try and bring us back together.

That’s why you need to vote for the LIBERAL DEMOCRATS.

Liberal Democrats believe in a Parliament that represents ALL opinions – even ones we don’t agree with. Liberal Democrats believe in a democracy that means ALL voices can be heard – not silencing people we don’t agree with, not “Crushing” the Opposition. And one that trusts the people, not taking them for granted.

Weak leaders are afraid of questions.
Weak leaders are afraid of TV debates.
Weak leaders are afraid of Parliament.

Don’t give in to weakness. Don’t give Mrs Mayhem a blank cheque. Vote for a Parliament that is STRONG and hold the Tories to account for their promises.


Monday, April 03, 2017

Day 5932: The Firebird and the Dragon


So it has happened. Theresa May has sent the “dear John” to Donald Tusk (good elephant name, just sayin’) to let him know we are all shooting ourselves in all of our flappy feet by triggering Article 50.

Remember, if we all get BEHIND the Prime Monster, then when SHE goes over the cliff… we DON’T have to follow!

The Brex Maniacs tell us to be optimistic. So I’ll tell you what I am optimistic about: we CAN turn this around. We can FIX this. WE CAN WIN.

Let me put it in a story:

Never upon a time… the Island of Briton was without magic or stories. And the people were sad and angry.

So the King and the Queen put up a proclamation and asked: who among the free citizens will go to faraway lands to return with a magical animal to bring stories to the people.

From the people who stepped forward, the King chose a rich country squire, who spoke with clever words how he knew better than anyone what the people needed. But the Queen picked a stable lass who came from the city with a lot of pluck and a cheeky wink.

So each went out on a boat.

The rich man, who was very old and very wise, sailed off to the lands of iron and gold and returned with a Dragon. And the maid who was younger but some would say wiser, set her boat towards the sun and returned with a golden Firebird.

And the King said to the Queen, the Dragon is very large, and very cunning and very very strong: it can protect us from all of our enemies and they will fear and respect us. What good is your songbird, then?

And the Queen said to the King: what use is a land ravaged by your Dragon. My Firebird will sing and give people hope.

And the Dragon was just as large and just as cunning and even stronger than the King had said, but it was also envious, and avaricious, and gluttonous, and full of angry fire. And it ravaged the land from end to end, eating many of the people and stealing all of their money, before crawling into a deep cave and coiling up to sleep on its huge hoard of stolen gold in the dark heart of its dungeon lair.

And the people heard phoenix song and had hope.

The Dragon woke up angry and afraid. It didn’t like this at all. And it flew out of its cave in a fury to find the Firebird and burn it to ashes.

But from the ashes, the Firebird was reborn to sing its song again.

This made the Dragon even more afraid and even more angry and it came and burned the Phoenix to ashes again. And stomped on the ashes for good measure.

But you cannot kill a song like that. And the Firebird was reborn to sing once again.

Time after time the Dragon burned the Firebird. And time after time, the Firebird came back. Hope born again and again, in spite of every defeat.

And seeing all this, the people started to sing the Phoenix song. Just a few at first. But more and more. And this made the Dragon so frightened that it went away and hid.

And the people were able to live in hope and happiness, at least for a while, until enough of them might give in to greed, or fear, or envy and the Dragon might come back.

Because Dragons live forever. But hope never dies.

We are the Firebird, the Bird of Freedom; however much they burn us, we keep coming back. And we can beat the Dragon of fear and anger. With hope.

As a fluffy elephant, inheritor of the WOOLLY MAMMOTHS, I might just have a better claim to be a NATIVE Briton that any of you monkey-people who wandered here over the Doggerland in the last Ice Age or the many peoples, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Normans, and all the rest who migrated here since.

I am English, and like most English I am a bit of a MONGREL. I’ve been a Londoner, an East-Ender; my Daddies are from Stockport; one is half-Scottish half-American; the other is of Yorkshire stock; we are from ALL OVER.

But Europe is my home and my family, a family that has spent my entire life – and my DADDIES’ entire lives (which is AGES!) – working for peace and prosperity, through art and science, through learning and living together as much as through trade. We make each other so much better off in so many more ways than just money. We show the World that there is another way, a better way, than wars and dictators.

The Leave campaign – never fact based – placed its great emotional appeal on two weapons: the grass is always greener and nostalgia for a better past.


I want people to remember the great days, the glory days when stopped being the SICK MAN of Europe and started to get better off, when we could AFFORD an NHS that treated people on time, when we could HALVE child poverty, when we could SAVE Bosnia AND protect the Falklands, when we could confidently INTRODUCE Human Rights and Freedom of Information, when we could feel we were good.

I want to them to remember ECONOMIC MIRACLES and COOL BRITANIA and remember that they happened WHEN WE WERE IN THE EU.

But this doesn’t need to be just nostalgia.

Europe will evolve without us, they have to, and hopefully they will become both a stronger economy and a fairer democracy. We have forfeited our right to be part of leading that change. But that does not mean we cannot continue to engage, to listen to what Europe wants, learn from them, help if we are able, if we are asked. Europe will be the green and pleasant land 21 miles away across the Channel.

The Tories have such a NARROW and PETTY vision of Britain, not a Great Britain but a GREY Britain, a cold offshore tax haven, under the choke of the Dragon.

But we can be BETTER THAN THAT. We WILL be better than that.

Tell the story of a Britain that listens to HOPE, not to FEARS, and takes our place again among the family of nations. The story of a people who are look bravely outward to new challenges, not inward to past failures. The story of how we can become again that Great Nation that leads in Europe, no need to cower away.

Tell them we ARE the Firebird. And we can SING.