What a week.
We’ve voted to leave the EU, David Cameron has resigned, Corbyn’s leadership capabilities are under suspicion, and our economy is in a constant state of disarray. All in a week in British Politics, and by the time I’ve finished writing this, it will most probably be out of date.
This was the first Prime Ministers Questions since Britain decided to Brexit on that fateful Thursday night/Friday morning, and the anticipation of what was to come from this session was strongly felt in all corners of politics, and it started out pretty calm, only to erupt partway through with Cameron shouting ‘For heaven’s sake man, go‘ – insinuating it was in the national interest to have a united party, capable of at least forming an opposition.
100 years but not 100 per cent
The session started with a nod to the fact that this week will be the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, a battle infamous for the sheer amount of casualties. This mention immediately felt like a blow to my heart, and here’s why. (Warning: Brexit opinion ahead)
Throughout the EU referendum, a lot of people were caught up in their patriotism. Often quoting that the men of our country did not fight for our country to be part of Europe, but instead fought for our freedom.
Now, I don’t know where these people were sitting in history class (possibly asleep behind a book) but for me, learning about both world wars as a student was incredibly harrowing. The men of this country did go and fight for freedom, and the interest of human rights, but not for the British, for Europe. Have we forgotten that we only got involved in the first place to protect our fellow allies? We chose to fight as an allied force, to fight for a better world in which we all as citizens of Europe, and by extension citizens of the world could live and unite. We fought against Hitler for the benefit of the people of Germany who were being ostracized and dehumanized, we fought for the freedom of the Czech and the Polish people, for their right to life, something some people have forgotten about whilst slurring racial abuse and vandalising the Polish Cultural Centre, which is completely unacceptable. After these wars we worked together to set up institutions that allowed us to work together, to release tension and heighten security for those involved. The UN, NATO, and by extension the EU. Since its conception, no EU country has ever attacked or threatened the security of one of its fellow members, something we seem to have forgotten about, instead, a lot of people used our tarnished history of an Empire to promote Nationalistic pride which has no place in such an increasingly globalised world. But anyway, back to the subject at hand.
No longer united
The beginning of the session felt incredibly solemn and subdued, the majority of MP’s having backed the ‘remain’ campaign, and David Cameron himself seemed like a bit of a puppet, the head of a government he has already chosen to abandon. His post a bit redundant, he found himself agreeing with ‘the honorable gentleman’ Mr. Corbyn quite a few times on the subjects of credit ratings and the despicable racist behaviour we have been seeing a lot of, that until the subject of child poverty was brought up and the question of David Cameron’s legacy introduced. Although Dodgy Dave, for old times sake, decided to spout a few statistics about poverty in Britain instead of focusing on the very real problem of an increase in child poverty – perhaps this is because he can’t really produce anything tangible, considering his position as Prime Minister is being fought over as it is – his pride was very much hurt by the (sort-of) leader of the opposition, telling him that although it was in his party’s interest for him to stay, the national interest was to have a viable opposition and pretty much told him to fuck off. Things seemed to liven up a bit there, with even Labour MPs seemingly agreeing with Cameron, not surprising considering most voted that they had no confidence in the Labour Leader – despite many of them (looking at you Eagle) praising him for his commitment to the cause a few days before.
Angus at it again
My all time favourite rebel-rouser made an appearance again this week, and how could he not considering the overwhelming result for Scotland in favour of the EU. Not only did every single constituency in Scotland vote in favour of remaining, but so did every single SNP member of parliament. Nicola Sturgeon even headed to Brussels to try and start negotiations between Scotland and the EU, unluckily the leaders of France and Spain respectively disagreed – Scotland is still part of the UK, and unless that changes, there would be no negotiation. Ouch. Robertson did allude to a possible referendum, suggesting that if the UK was not properly looked after, there would be options looked into. But no matter how much Scotland wants to be independent and an EU country, there’s no telling whether a speedy entrance into the EU would even be possible, leaving the Scottish public and parliament in a state limbo. I’m all for a European, independent Scotland, but its something that needs to be thought out thoroughly and carefully, and preferably without plunging the rest of the country further into political unrest.
And none for you-KIP.
I think my favourite thing that happened this week was the booing and heckling of the member of parliament for UKIP. Whilst I’m usually not an advocate for the childish behaviour of the lower house, I must say I shared the sentiment of the majority of MPs. The guy even looks poisonous. Speaker Bercow finally piped up though, stating that the ‘honorable gentleman’ (that phrase is used way too much considering the reality of who the term is applied to) will be heard and that they better simmer down.
All in all, this half an hour was a strange one, and with the weirdest week in politics continuing, I have no idea what the sentiment or either the line-up is going to be next week, we might have a whole new shadow cabinet or even cabinet by then. Only time- and by ‘time’ I mean a few hours/days- can tell.