Lloyd Evans

Magic Grandpa to Free Stuff: The A to Z of the 2019 general election

Magic Grandpa to Free Stuff: The A to Z of the 2019 general election
Text settings

A is for Alliance. All across the country voting pacts and tactical deals are being fixed. These arrangements are helpful to cash-strapped smaller parties who can save money and present their thrift as a statesmanlike decision to ‘withdraw for the good of the country.’ For activists, voting pacts may be problematic. The deals rely heavily on opinion polls. And opinion polls are heavily influenced by false answers given by the kind of activists who arrange voting pacts.

B is for Balance or ‘fair reporting’. The Beeb gets it right every time by interviewing a fixed number of Remainers and an identical number of Leavers who have switched to Remain.

C is for Climate crisis. Green politician Caroline Lucas recently announced that she’s been helping to deepen the emergency by flying to America on the oil-quaffing jets she wants banned. Couldn’t she get a few tips from international yachtswoman Greta Thunberg and learn to sail?

D is for Disconnect. The minor players in this election are holding a secret contest to see who can defy the voters most blatantly. The Liberal Democrats want democracy dead. The SNP plans to disregard two referendums and take Scotland back into the EU despite the strong chance of a Spanish veto. The People’s Vote believes the people can’t be trusted to vote while lobbying for them to vote again. The winner of the competition is likely to be Plaid Cymru, ‘the party of Wales’, which ignores Wales’s pro-Brexit stance and supports Remain.

E is for Election. But not this one. The Labour leadership contest which may get started as early as Christmas. John ‘the Don’ McDonnell has already shafted Keir Starmer and any other male hopeful by declaring ‘it should be a woman’. Labour feminists want the party to adopt a dual leadership, like the Greens or the Kray gang. Tories are praying that the ‘dream team’ will be appointed. Diane Abbott and Jess Phillips in the top slot with Dawn Butler and Angela Rayner job-sharing as shadow chancellor.

F is for Free stuff. Nationalised broadband? Sounds terrific. In fact it commits a Labour government to providing every voter with free porn, free beheading videos and free live blogs of mass shootings. Classy.

G is for ‘Get Brexit Done’. We’re cordially sick of this three word mantra and some fear it might do for Boris Johnson what ‘Strong and Stable’ did for Theresa May. But there’s a difference. ‘Strong and Stable’ instructs the voters to trust the government. ‘Get Brexit Done’ instructs the government to trust the voters.

H is for ‘Homeless politically’. Sulking parliamentarians like to claim they’re roughing it in the wilderness. In fact they’re admitting they have no confidence in their ability to win an argument with their colleagues. The crisis of self-doubt has spawned new political formations which seem highly unstable. This always happens with new parties. They attract the easily disillusioned who are easily disillusioned by the proximity of the easily disillusioned.

I is for Ignorant voters. In 2017, the people of Beaconsfield elected a Tory MP, Dominic Grieve, committed to delivering Theresa May’s Brexit. What they got was the Brexit-blocker-in-chief whose own party has now rejected him. Grieve’s duplicity may explain the Remain doctrine that voters don’t know what they’re voting for.

J is for Jo Swinson. With her shiny hairdo, toothy grin and ego complex, the Lib Dem leader is the ghost of Blair reawakened to haunt the 21


century. She took to Twitter to exclaim, ‘Boris Johnson only cares about Boris Johnson.’ A week earlier she’d posed for photographs next to a portrait of herself on the side of a battle-bus dedicated to ‘Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats’.

K is for Kicking – as in ‘giving this useless parliament a’. The fun is already underway in the blood sport known as opinion polling. Lying politicians get a dose of their own medicine at the hands of lying voters.

L is for Lily Allen. The millionaire pop star wept on the morning that Labour published its zillion-pound programme for government. ‘The best manifesto I’ve ever seen,’ she sobbed. It’s said that Boris was also struggling to contain his emotions that day and was heard repeating Allen’s words while skipping uncontrollably around the cabinet table.

M is for Magic Grandpa. There’s a paradox at the heart of Corbyn’s spending plans. The enemy of capitalism needs capitalism to pay for his programme. And by promising more than the Tories, Magic Grandpa has shown a far deeper faith in the power of the markets than any leader since Maggie.

N is for the Northern stronghold, also known as Labour’s base or the ‘Red Wall’. This notional electoral bulwark is likely to prove as resilient as strawberry jelly.

O is for Ohmygod. As in ‘ohmygod Diane Abbott’s son has just been arrested for biting a policeman’.

P is for People’s Vote. Brexit-blockers maintain that the 2016 referendum was just a preliminary round which put Brexiteers through to a play-off against Remain. If the People’s Vote ran the Olympics, Roland Rudd would be an automatic finalist in every event.

Q is for Queen’s speech. Jeremy Corbyn affected ignorance of the 3pm time slot traditionally assigned to Her Majesty for her Christmas Day broadcast. He might as well have claimed not to know which deceased mariner surmounts the tallest plinth in Trafalgar Square. Jezza should have admitted the truth. The only Queen’s speech he wants to hear is the one in which she renounces her current role in favour of president Len McCluskey.

R is for Reality. As in the ‘BBC Reality Check Unit’, a crack squad of activists hired to present the Beeb’s prejudices as Euclidean certainties.

S is for Scottish independence. A referendum is the price Nicola Sturgeon will demand for propping up a minority Labour government. Jeremy Corbyn says he’ll resist Sturgeon’s request for at least two years. Two minutes more like.

T is for Time off. Lots of it. Labour’s vow to introduce a four-day week will mean 52 new bank holidays a year. And Greta has already guaranteed a sabbatical every Friday for teachers, dinner ladies and school maintenance staff. Workers haven’t enjoyed such short hours since the 1970s. Who would have imagined that Labour and the Greens would unite behind Ted Heath’s signature policy?

U is for Unblocking Brexit. Tony Blair spoke an inadvertent truth when he said that ‘unblocking’ the impasse would mean ‘sending it back to the people who mandated it.’ The people who mandated it, he seems to have forgotten, were David Cameron’s majority government.

V is for Venezuela, the socialist paradise which Labour wishes to establish in Britain as a staging-post to the full Marxist-Leninist nirvana enjoyed by the Soviet Union for 70 years.

W is for Written constitution. Supposedly a cure for all our Brexit woes. But the experts appointed to draft the constitution will be denounced as a cartel of bunglers and placemen, perhaps in the pay of foreign speculators, hellbent on destroying our ancient liberties. This won’t end Brexit. It will be Brexit times ten.

X is for X on the ballot paper. The cross used by voters to express their electoral preference dates from the middle ages when illiterate peasants validated a legal document by marking it with the Christian symbol. This divisive practice is in need of modernisation. Voters should be allowed to use any device they choose. Gays can draw a rainbow, Muslims a crescent, atheists a question mark and eco-warriors a white rhino’s hoof print. Remainers can do a mini-sketch of a rich lady standing outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

Y is for Youthquake. Some youngsters like democracy so much that they double their efforts on polling day and vote twice. Students are encouraged to practise electoral fraud. ‘You can register at both your university and home address,’ says the government website invitingly.

Zzz is the sound of reviewers dozing through the memoirs of discarded politicians. Anticipating a Tory victory, a major publishing house has offered Corbyn a contract for his autobiography. The Labour leader agrees it’s a credible deal but declines to say if he’ll accept it.