Queen’s Speech passed.

The minority Conservative government, propped up by the DUP, have managed to pass their first big test in The House of Commons by getting the Queen’s Speech through.

MPs votes saw 323 to 309 in support of the legislative package that was cut back to the bone after the Tories lost their overall majority.

The 1bn pound deal with DUP for their votes was definitely a good investment. However some of the big ticket items from their manifesto were thrown out.

The Tories planned social care policy was shelved, also new grammar schools and the anticipated changes to free school meals were gone.

 

 

But Theresa May can sleep well tonight due to the apparent rescue plan making waves. Speaking to her cabinet a few days after the election result. She said “I got us in this mess and I will get us out of it.”

This moment for the prime minister can’t be over stated. She has been described as a “dead women walking” by some high ranking members of the Conservative Party.

And I’m sure that The Houses of Parliament are full of chatter in the many tea rooms or side corners with potential coos or leadership challengers.

 

 

But today the prime minister on the face of things, has been able to recover some of her statesmanship. Even though it was a rushed Queens’s speech. May has taken, what looks to be her first baby steps into the next long five years.

Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party in deadlock.

Time is running out.

The Northern Ireland political parties only have a few hours left to find an agreement until the clock runs out at 4 PM today.

If they fail to reach an agreement Northern Ireland could face a period of direct rule from Westminster. Something that has not happened for years.

The two sides have been in long talks throughout the night without reaching a compromise.

What’s stopping the two parties from reaching a deal?

Northern Ireland politics is very different to ours, it’s all based on trust and power sharing. And trust has broken down between the parties since the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal last year.

 

 

The deadlock is over nationalist demands for an Irish language act, which might not sound very controversial to us. But the DUP is proposing a “hybrid model” which would incorporate the Ulster-scots language into the act.

It’s all very complex and hard to get your head round it. Only about ten thousand people actually speak the Irish language, which makes me wonder would it really have that much of an impact on Northern Ireland?

 

 

Really someone should ask the children of Northern Ireland what languages they want to learn.

What I know for sure is when you have a country of over a million people to run, you need to focus on the issues that really are effecting the people you serve.

My five top hammer blows in the tory Campaign.

May calling the election in the first place.

I am not sure how Mrs May came to the conclusion in calling this election. Was it her cabinet egging her on because Labour was doing so badly in the polls? Was it her aids? Or did she call this election because she really was worried about the other parliamentary party’s trying to frustrate the Brexit negotiations.

We will never know. But what is clear to me is in life, if you are seen to have repeatedly said you’re not going to do something, then you do it, in my experience it never goes down well. May must have not got that memo.

The manifesto.

In an election the manifesto is like the holy bible. It’s your official document that lays out your vision for what you want for the country. It’s the chance to engage with the public whilst journalists read and scrutinise. The 88 page launch of the manifesto itself was quite good.

Mays speech was strong and she was able to answer the questions put to her by journalists. The manifesto was not all about Brexit either. There were some really big changes she wanted to tackle like the changes to social care.

But all the way through May claimed that she was the only one who could be trusted with the Brexit talks and she went on about the “mainstream” something or other. She wanted to break the cycle of political tribalism.

This really left me confused for a few reasons. We are having this election because May had failed to bring parliament together by acting in a presidential way.

The UK is about to enter the toughest set of negotiations since World War 2. In my view the country has become more tribal. And when she left the launch there were protesters booing her and chanting. May had a mountain to climb on that one.

Theresa May launches Conservative manifesto film from ITV.

The TV debates.

Out of all the points you will read in this article this point I feel was the arrow through Mays heart. By not turning up to the debates she completely discredited herself and this made her look weak.

If I was one of her aides or trusted ministers in the cabinet, I really would have dragged her on that stage. May had called this election on the expectation that she was a “strong leader” and the “only person who could deliver Brexit” but she could not even turn up and debate against the potential coalition of chaos.

The social care cap malarkey.

The disappearance act with the TV debates may have been the arrow through her heart but the social care policy was a hammer blow to the head. When I read this policy I was left feeling confused about how much you would have to pay or who would be effected.

And then Mays U-turn, which wasn’t actually a U-turn about the cap, left me even more baffled. I spoke to some of my friends who were conservative campaigners and they said “this policy is going down like a cold bucket of sick on the door step.”

Mays U-turn.

Mays Performance of TV interviews.

Mays started this campaign as a strong and stable leader but she finished looking like a piece of weak and wobbly jelly and a huge part of this was down to her TV persona.

Being the leader of a political party in a campaign must be a tough gig and the British public expects someone who is, well, not like the rest. This might be unfair of us but May walked into this trap from the get go.

She decided to focus this campaign on her leadership not her policies or her party. And the hard truth is, she just couldn’t hack it.

I remember how robotic she came across in the Andrew Neil interviews. How flustered she look at the Wrexham speech. And let’s not forget her one show appearance where there was no reference to her vision or policy. Too many wasted opportunities to get through to the people.

Andrew Neil interview

 

 

DUP and Conservatives finally agree a deal.

It’s been a long two weeks since the shocking election result and I’m sure that the Tory’s are glad they now have the numbers in the House of Commons to move forward. But have the Tory’s had to pay a big price for this cooperation. What are the implications for us?

 

The key things which were agreed.

-The 10 DUP MPs have agreed to back the Tories in key Commons votes.
– Northern Ireland will receive £1bn extra funding over the next two years.
– The triple lock guarantees of at least a 2.5% rise in the state pension each year.
– Winter fuel payments will not be means tested and payments will be kept throughout the UK.

My first thoughts about this deal.

I feel that May has just played another power play or her final hand. Time will tell. But a £1bn pound deal is a very high price for just ten votes. She should have tried a buy one get one free approach. But I imagine that the Democratic unionist party are jumping for joy.

Leader of the DUP Mrs Foster said “”This agreement will operate to deliver a stable government in the United Kingdom’s national interest at this vital time,” But all this deal has shown me is that you can buy off the democratic process by buying votes.

Con Overall Majority

In the weeks ahead I’m sure that the Conservatives are going to have to answer awkward questions about where this money is coming from. Maybe the Tory’s have their own money tree. Who knows? What I know for sure is other nations will be asking for a better settlement from Westminster. Has May in her attempts of clinging onto power plunged the nations of the UK against each other? If the 10 DUP MPs are worth 1bn how much are the SNPs MPs worth?

I’m sure that the British press will be doing a lot of digging, can the DUP MPs hold up against this more intense scrutiny. Doubters may be anticipating cracks to start appearing between this new union, we will have to wait and see.

What’s the offer for EU citizens?

Since the Brexit vote last year millions of EU citizens living in the UK have been living with uncertainty, with the prospect of not having their rights guaranteed.

 

 

Yesterday talks finally got under way, giving EU citizens and the estimated 1.million Britons living across the continent some detail about their status.

The 3 million EU citizens living in the UK will be able to settle here giving them a “settled status”, allowing them to have similar rights that they enjoy now, as long as they have been here for 5 years.

PM addressing Parliament on EU citizens rights.

But here is where it gets a bit murky. There is an unspecified cut-off date where citizens who have been here for under five years can go on a path to “settled status”.

Confused yet? This means that those people might have to have a form of identity card.
EU citizens have moved from being unsure about their status to becoming gambling chips in the Tories game of poker with the other 27 countries of the EU.

 

 

This deal already might be in some trouble. Chief negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier has tweeted that “More ambition, clarity and guarantees are needed than in today’s UK position.”

Mr Barnier wants EU citizens’ rights to be guaranteed by EU law, this would mean the European court of justice over seeing this, which is a big no-no for Mrs May.

 

Although a better relationship seems to be growing between the two with Theresa May saying “This issue is a top priority”, or does this simply suggest with Mays authority damaged, the EU is revelling in walking all over her, respectfully of course.

The winners look like losers and the losers look like winners.

If you have been watching the TV news coverage of the election results and the political fallout, you might have thought that the Labour Party gained the most seats and that Corbyn pulled off the most surprising election victory of recent times. But you would be wrong. You might ask the question then, why does the Conservative party look so bewildered.

Let’s rewind the clock back 6 weeks to the 18th of April when the Prime minister surprised everybody and called a snap election despite repeatedly saying she would not. Watching her statement live, it became clear to me that she would be fighting this election on one key issue. Yes you guessed it. Brexit.

Brexit

Throughout her statement she called for the British public to “strengthen her hand” and that we face a stark choice between a “strong and stable Conservative government” compared to “the weak leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and a coalition of chaos”. There was no reference to domestic issues at all.

The prime minster blamed the other Westminster parties for “political game playing” and said they were deliberately trying to frustrate the Brexit process. I’m sure that the huge 20 point lead in many of the polls predicting a Conservative landslide had nothing to do with her calling this election.

Polling graphHowever there was one thing that the polls, the Conservatives and probably many Labour MPs at the time were not expecting. Jeremy Corbyn running a very good campaign and Theresa May appearing weak and wobbly, leading one of the worst Conservative Campaigns potentially ever. George Osborne who was the previous chancellor and now editor of the Evening Standard said on the Andrew Marr show that Mrs May, “was a dead women walking”. Not a vote of confidence there then.

Jeremy Corbyn flipped the cards and changed the whole focus of this election campaign on domestic issues, focusing on NHS, nationalisation programmes and free tuition fees. The famous money tree promised lots of high ticket items. It seemed to strike a chord with the people.

But that’s the point. This election was so different to any other election we have ever had because the pollsters and the main stream media had created this expectation of a land slide victory. And this is why May appears to have lost this election.
May was expecting to gain 50-100 seats however she stands before us as a weakened and humiliated Prime minister by a net loss of 13 seats for the Conservative, angering many of her own MPs.

When the result became clear on election night it left many people shocked. May and Corbyn had switched places, with many Conservative MPs calling Mays leadership into question. MP Anna Soubry said at her count that Mrs May is ‘in a very difficult place’ following a ‘dreadful campaign’. And that she should “reconsider her position”

Post-election Mrs May has ended up with potentially having to create a government being supported by the DUP. And her own leadership has been called in to question where as Corbyn has come out looking victorious, addressing huge crowds and growing in confidence. How long can May now last.