If an alien landed here next year and said “Take me to your leader”
who would you take it to? (a short blog with more questions than answers)
With all the problems piling up in the (dis)United Kingdom as it hurtles towards leaving the EU this is a problem which doesn’t seem to be being talked about much. Where’s the leader? Theresa May holds the position of Prime Minister but has never shown any leadership qualities. Even last week, when taking a decision which has the potential to spark World War 3, she was running away from scrutiny and failing to show leadership. Jeremy Corbyn seems to have to wait until the public lead him to the positions he should take. Vince Cable is liable to be the beneficiary of the “Anyone but Labour&Tory Leavers” campaign in the forthcoming by-elections in England. But he’s not a leader either.
The UK is now less than one year away from leaving the EU and the need for leadership has never been more pressing. And, if you think forward one year, then the question about “who will be the leader?” becomes more worrying. The UK as a minority Tory Government kept in place only by a deal done with the DUP of N.Ireland. (The DUP have their own problems with “Cash for Ash” still dogging them). So logically the ‘Leader’ ought to be someone from the Tory Party. But who? Theresa May got the job when David Cameron cowardly ran away from the consequences of his actions. She was the least offensive/divisive candidate to the Tory Party – when no-one else wanted to take the poisoned chalice from Cameron. Since then we’ve had Boris Johnson strutting around making troublesome pronouncement after troublesome pronouncement. Jacob Rees-Mogg is in the frame. Really? Only a right wing Tory could ever think of him as a leader. A year from now the UK is likely to need someone who can truly unite the country as it finds its place outside the EU. Again, logically that will be someone from the Tory party. But who would you take the Alien to? Who is there that will have the trust of the people in the UK and just as importantly the trust of the rest of the world whom we are seeking trading relationships with? Who do we think the German Government, French Government, EU officials will trust? I can’t see anyone in the Tory party who can do this.
Labour might be different – but they are not in Government and there’s no current possibility of them being so.
But Scotland and Wales are different. In both countries there is leadership being shown. Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones have formed an unlikely alliance to protect the devolution arrangements for their countries. That looks like leadership. As I write this, the UK Government is reported to be going to take both the Scottish and Welsh Governments to court. Astonishing. If the Supreme Court (which was created by Tony Blair!) judges that the Scottish and Welsh Governments are acting within their legal powers then the Tory Party’s whole approach to Brexit is likely to be holed beneath the waterline – in terms of the future trade deals they hope to arrange. If the court rules in favour of the UK Government then the devolution arrangements are destroyed. Such a result might be the trigger the SNP has been waiting for to start up “Indyref2” in Scotland. I’m not sure where this will leave Wales.
So, to answer the question “Take Me To Your Leader” – I’d take the alien to Bute House in Edinburgh to meet Nicola Sturgeon.