Last Tuesday, the Prime Minister of the UK, Teresa May, decided to call a snap election. It had been rumoured for a while that there may be an election before 2020, but this had always been denied by Number 10, and it seemed nothing would stop the ‘May Team’ from achieving their goals. They had survived the High Court Ruling, rebellions in the Commons and to much more of an extent, the Lords and had invoked Article 50. The time for weakness seemed to have passed, and divisions were being healed.
Or so we thought until lo and behold the election was proposed for the 8th of June. I need not explain the seriousness of such an election – all general elections are key events, and that one should follow so soon after Brexit and the Scottish Nationalists calling for another “independence” referendum combines the event into a momentous decision. While it might be somewhat over-simplifying the issue to say this is both Brexit and the Scottish Independence referenda being refought all over again, it regrettably seems to be the case that it will be.
UKIP were known as the “One-Policy Party”, but they achieved something that was, quite frankly, remarkable in the whole of British Political history. With the mainstream support of a great portion of the Conservatives (who played the greatest role, but I am sure we would never have had the EU referendum had it not been for UKIP) and a number from nearly all other British parties, including the SNP and Lib Dems they achieved a revolution in the country. I would without a hesitation echo the description of the Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg who described it as a “glorious restoration of the British Constitution”, if I remember his words correctly.
The Conservatives are clearly the largest party, and stand the most to gain but also loose in this election. Currently polling at around 50%, the highest since the Khaki Election, they clearly offer something the voters want: stable and responsible government. They have traditionally been the ‘Party of the Commonwealth’ with many notables – including May’s own hero Joseph Chamberlain. This Commonwealth & international spirit was kept alive on the back-benches for many years of front-bench Eurocentrism in many successive government from both major parties. It has also bloomed in many cases – not least the letter calling for the ‘Commonwealth Immigration Que’, the ‘Speical Passport Area’ and indeed Boris Johnson’s announcement that free movement between the CANZUK nations would be good thing. The Conservative Party has been the home of action in this respect, and all of the signatories demanding the visa rules to be reviewed for Commonwealth Citizens were Tory MPs. 58% of Conservative voters in 2015 support CANZUK Free Movement and unlike nearly all other parties, many of their MPs are listening to their constituent’s position on this issue. It is also to be greatly hoped that if Mr. Johnson retains his ministry that he will continue his support for that popular policy as he is the only cabinet or shadow cabinet member to support it to date.
Yet now we seem to face two more “one-policy parties”; the Liberal Democrats seem determined to throw away the rich history, culture and ethos of the British Liberal Tradition and to turn the party into a reactionary Eurocentric party seeking to deny the wish of the British public. There is a great role for Europhilia, but trying to re-rerun the referendum will, I fear, not be in anyone’s best interest. Remaining close economically to the EU, attempting to keep EU citizens out of the negotiating process, and others are worthy goals, but their doing so in a rather puerile and petulant manner is unhelpful and counterproductive. It is most clearly not seasoned statesmanship, which our nation to needs at this time.
The SNP for their part are only interested in Scottish “independence” so they can place Scotland at the feet of European Federalists such as Verhofstadt, Junker and others. These ‘gentlemen’ are aiming to create a punitive Brexit and harm Scotland greatly, despite Sturgeon’s “generous” offers. To quote the SNP’s old catchphrase, It would seem to be Scotland’s Oil, but not Scotland’s fish. Again showing their true colours for the world to see, the SNP are using any excuse to further their goal of Scottish “independence” without caring for the Scottish people, over whom they have lumbered the largest deficit in Europe.
This is all a long-winded introduction to explain why I have not published the fifth article in the Commonwealth Series here at the Daily Globe. The next article was to be the history of the Commonwealth from 1932 to 2015 or the current date, but events have transpired to create the option to write a different article: The History of the Commonwealth in the British Election of 2017.
I have been honoured by being offered the position to orchestrate a united Pro-Commonwealth Campaign during this election, and I have accepted it with relish. The Daily Globe is a forward-looking newsite, and I am humbled by the offer. The proposed campaign, which is still very much in the development process will consist of:
- Connecting together the various CANZUK & Commonwealth Realm supporting groups
- The creation of a unified set of proposals which we plan to put to all parties, MPs and candidates to gauge their support. These would include, but not limited to:
- CANZUK Free Movement, as proposed by CANZUK International
- The “Special Passport Area” to ease visits, immigration and trade between all of Her Majesty’s 16 Realms
- The reviewing of the current immigration and trade policy of the government, and to emphasise the role and importance of the Commonwealth
- Cease the discrimination against Commonwealth residency applications which began with the Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1962 and ensure equality for all applicants for residency and jobs in the UK
- Remove the current process which persecutes Commonwealth Students studying in the UK which when the basic tenets were proposed, was vetoed and decried by Enoch Powell. (The same as gave the infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech)
- Simplify the visa application process for Commonwealth citizens trying to visit, and do business in, the UK
- Work towards the creation of Commonwealth Free Trade Zones and bilateral partnerships, to ensure that development is shared equally
- Raise awareness of the Commonwealth and its importance in the British political scene
- Support candidates who support these proposals
- Work together with the new government to achieve the best possible solution to the UK in the Post-Brexit world but also to ensure nobody is left behind: the much commented feeling of being second-class citizens because of Commonwealth background or ethnicity must be curtailed and ended.
While many of us feel that, due to the number of Conservative MPs who have expressed support for many of these proposals, a Conservative government would be best suited to put these ideas into practice, we remain very open irrespective of political position (including over Brexit) or party membership.
Again, these are proposals and we remain intently interested in all comments and questions which all readers may raise. Because of the sudden arrival of the election, we have not finalized our proposals, yet we feel it would be wiser to invite interested parties to join at this stage to assist in formulating our campaign & goals. I would encourage & ask that these to be raised in the comments below. We are also looking for others who feel passionate about these issues to join and support such a campaign.
Further details will be posted on the Daily Globe during the development of our Campaign and especially during the campaigning period, as we seek to generate public debate over the issue and heal the wounds of the past half-century.
In conclusion, the Commonwealth – and especially the Realms – in the UK has been the birthplace of tolerance, valuing others, true multiculturalism and unity in the face of adversity. We believe it is time for those, truly the cream of ‘British Values’ , to again be brought to the fore in British cultural awareness. I would like to end with a line, which I think sums up what we feel we can achieve and our invitation:
“Onward, then, ye people;
Join our happy throng.
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song”