Ilargi: Will Austerity Be the Straw that Breaks the EU AND the UK?

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By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at

From where we’re sitting, the biggest victory in the May 7 British election will turn out to be not that of the Conservatives, but of the SNP, the Scottish nationalists. The party took 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in the United Kingdom’s Westminster parliament in London (with just half of the total votes..). Perhaps even more significant is the increased divide between Scotland and ‘the rest of the UK’.

While Cameron’s ‘unexpected’ victory marks a sharp turn to the right, the SNP’s landslide win sets the Scots on a course that’s close to a 180º opposite, even sharper turn to the left. Or in other words: while Britain voted for more of the same, Scotland voted for change. And never the twain shall ever see eye to eye again?! The left side of the spectrum was represented by the SNP, not by Labour, who Tony Blair now claims should run even more to the right – which he calls center.

Perhaps it’s nice to start off with a more philosophical angle about the future viability and/or inevitable fate of the United Kingdom. Just to set the overarching and underlying tone. Ian Jack had this for the Guardian yesterday:

.. what some of us were in Denmark to consider is the now almost-conventional wisdom about British identity: that it rose and fell with the empire, and with the empire’s going the United Kingdom will almost inevitably break up. Stuart Ward, professor of global and imperial history at Copenhagen University, reminded us of this theory’s several advocates, from Tom Nairn, writing presciently in 1977, to Linda Colley in her book Britons, published in 1992.

David Marquand took the idea to the extreme when he announced in 1995 that shorn of empire, Britain had “no meaning” and it was therefore impossible “for Britain as such to be post-imperial”. In a what-goes-up-must-come-down way, it looks a plausible argument. The logic is, as Ward said, that if you can demonstrate that the empire forged an idea of Britain, then Britain’s vanishing two centuries later “is merely a question of the laws of physics – remove the load-bearing pillar, and the structure falls”.

Is Britain destined to fall to pieces? Are all empires? How long can the center hold?

There are more interesting angles besides these, not least of which is the similarities between Greece vs Eurozone and Scotland vs United Kingdom. The keyword in this is ‘austerity’. The Greek people voted en masse to end it, and so did the Scots. Here’s what SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon had to say post-election:

“Scotland has given the SNP a mandate on a scale unprecedented for any political party, not just in Scotland but right across the UK. “We will use that mandate to speak up for and protect the interests of Scotland. “Let us be very clear, the people of Scotland on Thursday voted for an SNP manifesto which had ending austerity as its number one priority, and that is the priority that these men and women will now take to the very heart of the Westminster agenda.” Ms Sturgeon said: “After Thursday, and as I told the Prime Minister when I spoke to him yesterday, it simply cannot be and it will not be business as usual when it comes to Westminster’s dealing with Scotland.”

Sturgeon has hinted that she aims to end austerity across the UK, not just in Scotland. That may be a bit much to ask given that her mandate is limited, but at the same time it’s hard to see how ending austerity only in some parts of a union would work out in practice. The EU certainly doesn’t seem eager to grant Greece an austerity-free status, and how Cameron would tackle this mandate issue is unclear. Can he abandon austerity in Scotland and continue it in the rest of the UK? And if he can’t do it in Scotland, then how can he in Wales?

Cameron thinks he’s riding a major victory, and he will now be called upon to deliver on his election promises, which just so happen to include a deepening and acceleration of austerity measures. At a time when we can see even such sworn antagonists as Steve Keen and Paul Krugman agree on the failure of austerity as a financial/fiscal policy measure, David Cameron insists on inflicting more of it on Britain in the exact same way that the Troika insists on more of the same for Greece. And he’s not kidding.

Here are two British pieces on the topic; first the Mirror:

George Osborne is preparing to drastically speed up the pace of £12 billion in brutal spending cuts. Before the election, Tories feared proposals to slash cash from the welfare bill would have to be watered down under any coalition deal. But now the party has a majority, the Chancellor plans to race ahead with his austerity cuts to meet his pledge of eliminating the deficit by 2018. Senior Tories revealed how ministers would try to push through the majority of the welfare cuts within two years instead of the original three-year timescale.

But Prime Minister David Cameron hopes to kick it off with a 100-day policy blitz. One senior party source admitted: “When it comes to cuts, we want the pain to be out of the way long before the next general election. Without the restraint of the Lib Dems, it means we can go further and faster when it comes to controlling the welfare bill.” The new Conservative Government is due to present its programme of legislation to Parliament through the Queen’s Speech on May 27. But officials are already drawing up worrying plans to squeeze a host of benefits.

Ministers are looking at means testing unemployment benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance, according to a document leaked earlier this year. Other proposals to slash the £125 billion welfare bill include limiting Child Benefit payments to the first two children and taxing Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments. The Tories also want to reduce the maximum any household can receive in benefits from the current £26,000 a year to £23,000. Other cuts include a £3.8 billion raid on tax credits, which are relied on by millions of families on low wages.

The number of people who get Carer’s Allowance could also fall by 40%. Such moves are likely to pile the pressure on food banks and charities as the cost of living crisis deepens. Senior Labour MP John Mann warned: “People don’t realise what’s going to hit them. The entire benefits system is going to crumble and almost everyone will lose out apart from private landlords who will remain untouched. It will be a return to the Victorian age.” “Everyone will have to stand on their own two feet, even people with no legs.”

And second, this is from Here Is The City:

Either the poorest in society or the “hard-working people” courted by the Conservatives face being targeted under the party’s commitment to £12bn of welfare cuts, experts have said. One way of achieving the £12bn goal could be by reducing the £38bn cost of out-of-work payments to working-age families, for example by cutting entitlements to a third of the recipients, according to John Hills at the London School of Economics.

“But that would mean hitting lone parents and disabled people and create pressure on food banks and hardship on a scale that would be hard to imagine,” Hills said. “Alternatively you could take it from hard-working families who rely on housing benefit and tax credits. That’s a lot of pain from a large number of people who have just voted for you.”

[..] To justify the cuts, the Tories are likely to employ a narrative of skivers v strivers, suggesting a clear division between a large, permanently welfare-dependent group and the rest of the population who pay taxes to support it. The Tories know this is a fiction, but it is a politically useful one. Welfare is mainly about taking money from those of working age – when incomes are high on average – and giving cash and services to older people, and families with children.

A DWP paper setting out options was leaked to the BBC in March. [..] if the BBC’s document is any guide, George Osborne – reappointed as chancellor – could look to strip £1bn from carers’ allowances; means-test national insurance-backed unemployment benefits, saving another £1.3bn; and tax disability benefits to raise another £1.5bn. Then there’s limiting child benefit to two children – affecting a million families to save another £1bn.

The Institute For Fiscal Studies noted: “These may well not be the decisions that a future Conservative government would make. But it is likely they would have to make changes at least as radical as this to find £12bn a year.” Not all these changes would require a new bill, but if past form is anything to go by then the Tories would want to lay a trap for their opponents with new legislation so as to paint anyone who votes against it – such as the anti-austerity Scottish Nationalists – as pro-welfare parties prepared to spend lavishly on the idle poor.

How this will not end badly and ugly is hard to see. As we quoted in an earlier article, the number of foodbanks in Britain went from 66 to 421 in the first 5 years of Cameron rule. How many more need to be added before people start setting cities on fire? Or even just: how much more needs to happen before the Scots have had enough?

Very much like the Greeks, the Scots unambiguously voted down austerity. And in very much the same fashion, they face an entity that claims to be more powerful and insists on forcing more austerity down their throats anyway. It seems inevitable that at some point these larger entities will start to crack and break down into smaller pieces. As empires always do. Now, the EU was of course never an empire, there’s just tons of bureaucrats dreaming of that, and Britain is a long-decayed empire.

Larger entities like empires are more powerful only for a limited period of time, for as long as the center can make the periphery benefit; once the center starts ing off the periphery, the endgame starts. This can take a while, but it will happen, it’s a law of nature. When periphery regions figure out they have nothing to lose by splitting off, they will elect to stand on their own two feet and be their own boss.

And it’s not as if either Scotland or Greece lack a history of fighting for their independence. Just a reminder.

What’s next for Greece is by now anybody’s guess. And a whole other story too. What’s next for Britain and Scotland is or seems -for now- somewhat less convoluted.

Nicola Sturgeon will have conversations with Cameron. Who will offer her more ‘autonomy’ for Scotland. But the budget, also for Scotland, is decided in London, not in Edinburgh. How Cameron’s austerity 2.0 can be made to fit with the SNP’s anti-austerity message, their number 1 priority in last week’s elections, is hard to fathom. Label us curious to see what happens.

It would seem that there are two referendums in Britain’s future. First, the EU in-or-out referendum Cameron promised his voters. It looks like the majority of British voters will opt to leave the EU, or at least partially; things may change if or when Cameron convinces Brussels to change the entire concept of the Union to ‘pacify’ the UK. But that majority will probably come from England only. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will -almost certainly- choose to remain in the EU. And it just so happens that Sturgeon in the Guardian in no uncertain terms:

There are huge issues and challenges ahead – not least the looming question of the UK and Scotland’s place in Europe. A key requirement of the prime minister’s in-out referendum should be a “double-lock” requiring the assent of all four UK home nations before any withdrawal from the EU..

It doesn’t look like there will a general endorsement for the Tories’ vision for leaving the EU. So what’s your run of the mill Cameron to do? Ignore the Scottish demand for that ‘double-lock’? That wouldn’t be very democratic, and it would raise the chance of the UK falling to pieces. No easy choices, no easy pieces for David.

The other referendum, brought closer, as time passes, by Cameron’s multiple conundrums, is of course about Scottish independence. If London holds on to its position on austerity, it’s hard to see how there can not be another of these plebicites, soon.

Granted, it would depend on how much of a warrior Nicola Sturgeon is. Just like in Greece, the outcome of the Syriza vs Troika battle depends on how much chutzpah each side carries. And how much integrity. That last one should be an easy contest. London and Brussels have none, Athens and Edinburgh may yet find some.

All in all, yours truly is going for the center cannot hold.

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25 comments

  1. john

    The notion that ” Britain voted for more of the same” rather objectionable. It did not if only because the Tories will intensify austerity but more importantly it panders to a myth of democracy in the UK.

    The Tories came into power as a quirk of an electoral system that heavily pushes a divided opposition. In the Tories gained barely half a million votes while their coalition partners were blown to the winds, losing 4 million votes. If you want to talk about the UK election please don’t dress it up in the language of a spurious democracy it does not possess. The plain fact is the system has allowed 11.2 million voters to chose a government that will have near unchallengeable power over the 36 million that did not vote for it.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      One might argue a vote for Labour was a vote for more of the same. The “new left” might be cuddle than the Tories, but Milliband droned on about the national debt and presented policies which were Cameron’s with tinkering. Milliband moved to count votes to oppose a direct military intervention in Syria, but one it came only after popular outrage (this is a country outraged by the Iraq War; Blair is vilified outside of the elite, more devised than Thatcher) and Milliband has been silent on arms shipments to radical islamists from the UK. This could have been Axelrod’s advice, but 70% of the voting electorate voted for those two parties.

      Let’s not forget, Labour’s whining about the Chilcott inquiry. Protecting war criminals is more important to the Labour Party than positive policies.

    2. hunkerdown

      You didn’t get the memo. If people pull the lever, they are responsible for everything the government does. That the government holds guns to the people’s heads is, bizarrely, COMPLETELY immaterial.

  2. steviefinn

    I would add Northern Ireland as a possible flashpoint, particularly as the majority are now Catholic / Republicans, & Sinn Fein could make large gains in the Republic in an election, whose last possible election date coincides next year with the centenary of the Easter rising. The word on the street here is increasingly frustrated in the sense that where it matters – their votes counting for nothing. Depending on circumstance the call for a United Ireland could grow ever stronger which is guarenteed not to go down too well with Loyalists.

    It strikes me that the dickheads in Europe couldn’t be doing a better job if they actually wanted to ensure chaos & fragmentation, never mind the wide scale misery.

    1. EoinW

      A push for a United Ireland will be inviting a blood bath as Loyalists aren’t magically going away. Better to continue to gradually change the facts on the ground. Let the Unionist/Protestants continue to live in the twilight of the British Empire. Personally I think the best route forward is county referendums. Perhaps chip away one county at a time. But to be fair to those opposing a united Ireland, they used to look south and see a country run by the Vatican. Today it’s run by Brussels. Why would anyone want to unite with that? Better to have an independent Northern Ireland run from Stormount then to have the province run by corrupt bankers in Dublin.

        1. steviefinn

          I agree on all those points especially the loyalist one. It’s the reason I am working towards moving back to England. As for the South it’s Hobson’s choice in terms of being run by the EU or in the North being run by Tories where your vote counts for nothing. The Shinners are nothing else but patient & personally I don’t think the EU will last & maybe SF also has that consideration in it’s calculations.

  3. Mary Wehrheim

    We have spent the past four hundred years moving from Royal Absolutism to various forms of representative governments often through the tool of revolution. Perhaps we went at it backwards…we got the feudalism structure pushed out of government but not out of the economy. We took agrarian feudalism and sort of retooled it to fit over a urban industrial setting in the form of capitalism….the corporation in basic hierarchical function replacing the manor house…rulers=shareholders, lords=high officers, knights= middle management, peasants = laborers. It is time for an economic revolution…the problem is how? The good ole days of loop off a few crowned heads, scatter the army and Bob’s your Uncle….are gone. The powers that be tolerantly let the American peasants compulsively build up their little flotilla of small arms, knowing full well in the end errant peasants can still be easily subdued. Elites have had a great ability to deflect the onus of blame from themselves on to the lower classes…divide and conquer. That is were their true power lies. So how to wake up us peasants from our stupor and stop voting for the prosperity of the elites under whatever name…Tories, GOP, Neo-liberal democrats, conservatives etc? The GOP is well aware of this threat…hence their frantic efforts to disenfranchise citizens who tend to vote for the pitchfork class. This strategy is working very well in my state of Kansas where Kobach has pulled over 20,000 voter registration apps as being “questionable.” Brownback won by about 28,000 votes.

  4. Christopher D. Rogers

    OK, where to start with this analysis?

    Lets set the tone, for the past few months I’ve been active in the UK General Election and make no secret of the fact, as an ardent Left-winger (socialist), one batted for the left, in this instance the Green Party, yet come the night, vote was cast for Labour despite being a Green Party member – old loyalties die hard and my heart is still very much Labour, Old Labour that is.

    This election in the UK was like none I’ve ever participated in or followed, and this includes the ascent of Thatcher and Thatcherism in 1979. In last weeks election 5 major political parties were vying for votes and all Polls showed it to be a tight race – the Polls regrettably for me were way out, so whilst not shocked the Tories won the highest Number of seats, a foregone conclusion, most shocked they won a majority – did not see that one coming.

    As a result of this election and the vote itself the UK is a highly fractured and splintered nation, the Conservatives dominate in the South east, South West and rural constituencies of the nation, in the North east – the part closest to Scotland, the UKIP are the second party of choice in many constituencies, this in what was pre-7 May Labour’s heartland, as was Scotland and most parts of Wales – despite its vote actually going up, Labour took a drubbing, the Green vote was up, more than 1 million voted Green and the UKIP vote was staggering to say the least.

    A quick recap of the figures to let you all know what a drubbing the anti-Conservative forces took last Thursday. On a 66% turnout – yes 1 in 3 could not be arsed to vote – nearly 37% cast their votes for the Conservatives, the figures are worse when you take Scotland out of the equation and this percentage increases further in England and Wales, not only this, but the UKIP gained approx. 13% of the vote, much of this in England in Wales.

    Complicating matters, the Liberal Democrats, the coalition partners in the last government were obliterated, down from 50 MPs to single digits – moral of tale, never get into bed with a Tory as it’s a death sentence, as both Labour and the Lib Dems found out to their peril, Labour in Scotland, as with the Lib Dem’s it was wiped out with the SNP gaining 57 seats out of 59 and more than 50% of all votes cast – in last September’s Indy ref, the “Yes” vote was 45% on a 80% turnout, actual turnout of electorate for Scottish vote higher than England & Wales. However you cut it, Scotland has now voted to be independent, that is independent of a Tory Westminster Government and without a Federal solution the “Union” is doomed – I give it two years at best.

    The actual sting in the tail is this, the rightwing parties in the UK – Tories and UKIP now constitute a majority of the votes cast in England and Wales, that is the combined vote, excluding Scotland is in positive territory above 50%.

    For the Left, the figures are daunting, particularly if we exclude the % of Lib Dem votes cast, essentially, the combined Labour vote and Green vote do not exceed the votes cast for the Tories, never mind those cast for the UKIP – less than 37% in fact. Its winner take all in the UK under its first past the post (FPTP) system, the same that you have in the USA for Presidential elections, hence, by targeting key marginals, particularly those of its coalition partners, the Lib Dems, the Tories now have a working majority of MPs, more than 330, and of those 330+ some 20% are vehemently anti-Europe – this in a Party that is backed by big business which is all in favour of EU membership – can’t make it up can you.

    Cameron, the Tory PM, promised a EU referendum by 2017, most say now this will take place sometime next year – and commentators are split on the outcome, me, as with the Author here, I have a gut feeling that the UK electorate will vote for BREXIT and that this will cause a constitutional crisis. Even without BREXIT, the Tories are now going to slash and burn for the next two years, they have form in doing this, and the cuts will be brutal – so expect an increase in riots in the UK – like our Southern European and French peers we are now protesting and rioting, expect much more, similar in fact to 1981 UK riots and 1989/90 Poll Tax riots.

    Given the prospect of BREXIT and the full knowledge that Tory cuts will be greater than those promised in the GE campaign, and with little effective opposition in the UK Parliament, the SNP having only 57 seats in an Assembly of 650 – expect fireworks by late 2016 and exit from the Union in 2017.

    As for Wales, regrettably my Welsh peers like suckling an English teat too much for my liking and are too addicted to Westminster and English oversight, so BREXIT or No Brexit, it will remain part of the Union for some considerable years to come.

    An essay I wrote in May 2010 was actually quoted by Lord Devine, a famed Scots Historian, in the Scottish Herald, funny to say, but in the analysis then, both he and I were most on the spot, quite surprising given i’d forgotten about – which means I’m not as daft as I come across.

    1. susan the other

      My g-g-g-grandmother came from Pembrokeshire c. late 1840s with her father and her brother. Ann Rogers. Father and brother both died from disease in the first year and she joined the Mormons in their trek west, marrying one of the high mucky-mucks and becoming his 6th wife. She left Wales to escape the poverty and wound up building her new life with her bare hands. Lived to be 100 and always blamed illness on eating too much.

      1. Clive

        Wow Susan, with your family history we may very well be distantly related ! Who knew ? :-)

    2. begob

      And the effect on sterling, the base rate, git yields. I suspect the Tories will welcome the chaos – they are that bloody minded.

    3. hunkerdown

      With respect, have you considered that loyalty to authority is what got the whole world into this mess and is exactly the opposite of what’s going to get us out?

      And “couldn’t be arsed to show up” is what people tell themselves to avoid the realization they’re being pointedly snubbed.

      1. Christopher D. Rogers

        Hunkerdown,

        As a UK Socialist I have zero loyalty to authority, I do however have loyalty to my “class” and in the UK, unlike the USA, we not only have a class-based society (me, I’m working class), but we have a large working class identity with people knowing they are working class via our accents, where we were born and where we were educated – all this aspirational shit you hear off New Labour and the Blairites is just that, bullshit and disgusts me for essentially its just Toryism MKII.

        Now, unless I commit to revolutionary change, in which case under the current snooping charters in the UK, I’d be imprisoned rather quickly, then one imposes change via the ballot box. Now, I call all those who vote Tory “FUCKERS”, I do not profess to be a Liberal and actually, if I had my way, and given the serious existential threat facing our planet, I’d hang all those who do not utilise the vote that my ancestors in the working class bloody well laid down their lives for – the vote was not handed us on a plate, see Newport Chartist Uprising 1839 to get an idea about that in Wales.

        The analysis I give is not a pretty picture, I don’t expect ‘Union” to last much longer, and I fear the UK will exit Europe – a major disaster given the USA could not give a toss about the British – this is a reality, one our political parties fail to understand – There is no “SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP”.

        Now, we have 5 years of the most reactionary governance our nation will suffer since the horrors of Lord Liverpool after 1812, we shall see massive austerity – far more than the £12 billion promised during the election campaign, and our NHS, already under huge financial pressure caused by the ConDem coalition, will be privatised.

        To be blunt, I don’t aspire to be like the USA, quite the reverse, i’d like to kick its malign influence out of my country, that namely being neoliberalism, which is anathema to many in Europe thank God.

        I trust that clears up any misunderstanding you may have about “can’t be arsed” quote you referenced.

        1. Praedor

          The US IS class-based but the people are too stupid to see it. They literally believe in the objectively false “American Dream” that “hard work” will make you rich (in essence). As for the “special relationship” between the US and UK, it does exist…so long as the UK is appropriately acting as the US poodle as your side of the Atlantic puts it. If/when you go off-script vis a vis US “requirements” the “special relationship” will evaporate.

  5. steviefinn

    ” The actual sting in the tail is this, the rightwing parties in the UK – Tories and UKIP now constitute a majority of the votes cast in England and Wales, that is the combined vote, excluding Scotland is in positive territory above 50%. ”

    The above is a large coin you have dropped on my head – Scary stuff.

  6. Carla

    Wikipedia’s count of UK food banks is more than double IIargi’s:

    “There has been rapid growth in the provision of foodbanks since hunger in the UK became a prominent issue with the financial crisis and the austerity that followed it from late 2010. As of January 2014 there were close to 1,000 UK food banks.”

    and

    “Before the financial crisis, food banks were “almost unheard of” in the UK.[39][40] In 2007–2008, there were 22 food banks in the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network; by early 2011, The Trussell Trust supported 100. As of May 2012, they had 201. By August, 252. The rate of increase had been rising rapidly. In 2011, about one new food bank was being opened per week. In early 2012, about two were being opened each week. By July, The Trussell Trust had reported that the rate of new openings had increased to three per week. In August, the rate of new openings spiked at four per week, with three new food banks being opened in that month for Nottingham alone. By October 2012, the rate of increase had fallen back to about two or three per week.[41][42][43][44][45][46] According to a May 2013 report by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty, about half a million Britons had used food banks. The Trussel Trust reports that their food banks alone helped 346,992 people in 2012-13.[47][48]”

  7. susan the other

    If this is a mopping up after Empire, kinda like some final reckoning, why do not just the old Empire but also the old Colonies find it so hard to become modern? One analysis on RT had it that the strife in the Middle East was “Post Colonialism” now – each country learning to be independent. That learning seems to be a form of creative progress whereby everything old becomes useless and everything new must be invented – politically. But all the old political structures seem to demand austerity – which is a long shot from modern thinking. It’s practically dark age thinking. That it is being practiced in the heart of modern “First World” countries is an oxymoron.

    1. hunkerdown

      why do not just the old Empire but also the old Colonies find it so hard to become modern?

      Because progress is not inevitable nor necessary? Because the belief that it is inevitable is merely a trick by which the labor of the working-class is directed toward the ends of the useless classes? Because the Whigs were delusional fantasists? I suggest the question isn’t even the right one, because you’re asking those who don’t share elite viewpoints (such as that the exercise of authority is a right, not a privilege — which in and of itself leads to insane societies) to conform to them against their own interests.

      1. susan the other

        There was a time when all this injustice went down without a relentless, wide-spread protest. But not anymore. Witness the protest at Cameron’s election. The famously contained British bobbies were clubbing and smashing people right and left. Not exactly old school.

  8. steviefinn

    As CDR mentioned the atmosphere appears to be getting more like the time of the poll tax etc. Trouble has stated to brew in Brixton against gentrification is one example & yesterdays anti-tory demo seems to have been spontaneous, which judging by the footage, gave me the impression that the police were caught off guard – it will be a different story at the planned official demo, which will also have a posse of media gimps anarchist hunting.

  9. Oregoncharles

    ‘George Osborne is preparing to drastically speed up the pace of £12 billion in brutal spending cuts.”

    They’re trying to make “V” come true. Without Natalie Portman, fo course.

    Seriously – the last time they tried this, they had MAJOR riots. Are London and Manchester going to burn?

    I’m not there, i can’t tell how mad the poorer Brits are. Just the Scots, who will be laughing as the Sassenachs self-destruct (in case you couldn’t tell, ALL my British ancestry is either Scots or Cornish). Scotland has all that oil, after all. When do they embargo England?

    I guess I agree with the point of the article: this election set up a crash-and-burn.

  10. RBHoughton

    Thank you for that Yves. The London Editors seldom speak so frankly and candidly.

    It seems the Tories did not enjoy a victory. Rather they have been sentenced to a Sisyphean task.

    How right you are to accuse them of a lack of integrity. The other parties and independents will now stand back, play golf, drink dance and be merry, whilst the winners drink the poisoned chalice.

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