This week Parliament breaks up for the Summer recess and not a moment too soon! MPs from across the floor are tired and fractious and need to regenerate themselves before an Autumn session when difficult decisions will have to be made. The election brought unexpected results; in fact, most parties were losers in different shapes and forms. But there was also a new unpleasantness from people, some of whom who had threatened or intimidated prospective MPs. Even I found it necessary to block several people from my Twitter feed. Political opinions that are different to my own are not a license to be personally abusive even when they come from constituents. Downing Street is now to hold a review following complaints across the House. There is also a possibility that electoral laws could be tightened amid fears that vandalism of Tory campaign posters was deliberately orchestrated for party or personal political gain.
After the election came the DUP deal which also proved controversial. I have written about this extensively on my blog, but my basic belief is with Britain embarking on momentous changes in its trading and diplomatic relationships the last thing this country needs now is another general election. With the most seats and most votes, and ignoring the spin from Jeremy Corbyn’s cheerleaders, only the Conservatives actually had the ability and legitimacy to be able to form a Government.
Next came the Labour amendment, tabled to a Queen’s Speech debate, about public sector pay. I did not support this because it would have meant a pay rise for ALL public sector workers including all those who already receive an automatic pay rise and some extremely highly paid public sector executives. This would have a devastating impact on our country’s finances particularly since our national debt still stands at nearly 1.9 trillion. For the moment I respect the independent Pay Review Body process and its recommendations. The Government, however, may feel that some pay rises are due, but if we need to maintain deficit reduction, we might have to look at some modest tax increases.
As for abolishing austerity I will quote David Cameron from a speech he made recently in Seoul: “The opponents of so called austerity couch their arguments in a way that make them sound generous and compassionate. They seek to paint the supporters of sound finances as selfish, or uncaring. The exact reverse is true. Giving up on sound finances isn’t being generous, its being selfish: spending money today that you might need tomorrow.”
Lastly, Theresa May. I’m not denying there are issues around her leadership. But her vilification is damaging our prospects as a nation. There is no knight-in-shining-armour statesman or woman waiting in the wings to replace her. For now, we need to reconcile ourselves to practical governing as the Brexit process grinds on. She may have her faults but she is also dutiful and she is diligent and she deserves our support during these difficult negotiations.