One week to go to a critically important election, which is not, for me anyway, about that excruciating divisive dilemma, the Brexit thing, but how our country will be run for the next five years. What do we want? Boris Johnson’s vision or Jeremy Corbyn’s?

So here re: their visions, are a few points and thoughts (this is going to be a short piece) with Johnson first.

Johnson’s Brexit and getting it done etc – er, no it won’t be finished. It’s kind of the end of the beginning as if he got in with a reasonable margin he might get his version of the Withdrawal Agreement past the post and ‘leave’ in January. Then it is important to realise that there is a transition period before we leave properly on 31 December 2020 which btw, is a date that the EU says they won’t extend.  Throughout these months we are still abiding by EU rules and regulations and to top it all our future trading relationship will be negotiated.  And that you think will be done?  You think that’ll be done without us hearing about it? In actuality Brexit will continue to be a huge shouting match. And if it’s not sorted we will crash out with a ‘no deal’. So there will still be a Brexit black hole, which will suck the life out of every policy that might or might not be good for our country.

Johnson’s promises – I’m not giving a blow-by-blow account of these, but suffice to say, you hear he’s putting x number of teachers, police, prison officers and nurses plus gazillions of money back into the pot. But this does not catch up with the 10 years of austerity and cuts the Conservative government instigated.

Johnson’s take on the NHS that it’s safe and not for sale etc etc – no, no, no. The NHS is already up for sale because it is the law to do this. What an unregulated out-of-the-EU Britain is vulnerable to are trade deals with the States that will inevitably include the drugs bought from the States – we’ll be in plenty of trouble when that happens.

Johnson’s teflon abilities – everyone knows he’s a blustering not as-bright-as-he-likes-to-think-he-is immoral charlatan who’s done much that’s wrong and yet, he’s still getting off lightly. I watched Johnson’s interview on Sunday. For those of you outside the UK Johnson’s weazled out of so many interviews, and especially the one with Andrew Neil who’s a doughty and quite aggressive interviewer.  No, he’d only have Andrew Marr who’s good but polite. Oh no, you can’t do that said the BBC, no, absolutely not, oh alright then. So Marr it was. And Marr was good in that he did pick up on the lies but he’s got a softer voice, so Johnson carried on lying aplenty, shouting over Marr and denying any knowledge of the previous 10 years insisting he would do it differently and above all get Brexit done which is a total lie, but clever.

Those lies – they’re woven throughout the entire campaign and especially this lie, that Labour caused the economy to crash in 2008 and if you vote for them it’ll all go the same way – heard that on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour only yesterday. In actual fact there was a global recession caused by the banks which hit the entire world. Labour had f… all to do with it. Although anyone remember Gordon Brown’s efforts?

Now it’s Jeremy Corbyn’s turn – sigh.

Corbyn’s Brexit is to negotiate a new deal with the EU and then have a referendum with the deal and remain as the two key questions. Well, good luck with that although if we have someone like Sir Keir Starmer at the head of the negotiating team I think it could just about happen. And then a referendum – which seems a good idea? Although, like this election it’ll be close run thing.

Corbyn’s promises – the Labour manifesto is radical for some with its re-nationalisation of rail, mail, energy and water and tax rises (for the rich) but in comparison to some European countries it’s kind of ordinary democratic socialism and I see the Financial Times published a letter from 163 economists who praised Labour’s manifesto giving it their broad support as Britain needs a ‘serious injection of public investment. For me personally, I want the country to  be run differently. I want an end to the vilification of the disabled, I want the end of the Windrush scandal, I want money to be invested in our public services.  I want this.  However, if by some miracle Corbyn got a significant majority do you  think that the rich will stand by and let themselves be taxed?  I think money will pour out of the UK into tax havens – just saying.

Corbyn’s take on the NHS – well they say that they’ll end the contracting out of services. That’s excellent if the NHS Act is repealed but re: the existing contracts I rather think that much money will be made by contract lawyers.

Corbyn and the mud-slinging media, social and otherwise. Unlike Johnson who seems to get away with saying whatever he pleases and still is ahead in the polls, there’s a lot of, I would argue, outrageous bias against Corbyn.  He’s not overly liked by any of the news media. But hey you don’t have to like a party leader, it’s the policies of a party you need to look at.  And if you click onto anything in this piece, please, I beg you, have a look at this Australian cartoon which says it all, and is also funny.

Then there’s the elephant in the room, which I haven’t mentioned before, but perhaps I should, the charge of antisemitism against Corbyn and the Labour Party. OMG I’m going to try and unpick this.

No-one should ever be racist or antisemitic, end of

Is Corbyn any of the above? No

Is his party any of the above?

Well there are some idiots, no, morons, who muddle up Israel’s policy towards Palestine (which they’re against) with being Jewish, and some of them have been and/or still are in the Labour Party.

So what is the Labour Party doing about that? As I have said before the Party had many rules and regulations when I was a member and I shouldn’t think any of that has changed.  I also have some knowledge of how complaints currently (not about anti-semitism) are dealt with not that well and definitely not quickly. Apparently this is being sorted and fast-track expulsions for antisemitism should be happening.  Note that there is governing body of the Labour party (the NEC) that oversees procedures and policy making and that Corbyn had to go through a process of submitting a proposal about this before anything could happen. Perhaps you can see why dealing with the stupidity of some people has been slow and tortuous – the Labour Party has not helped itself by this.  And in addition, Corbyn is not good at bouncing back accusations against himself personally either.

And why do these accusations keep coming?

Well racist morons exist everywhere including may I say, the Tory Party, but also Corbyn fully supports Palestine and that is beyond the pale for some. Anything to keep him from power. And note that I too fully support Palestine and its continuing existence. All nations should have their policies to neighbouring states scrutinised and criticised if need be, all nations, with no exceptions, I won’t go on, but you get my drift.


And that’s enough. Apologies for not mentioning the Lib Dems who seem to have shot their bolt or the Greens with their one lovely MP, nor the DUP (ugh) or the Brexit party (even more ugh) but we have a big election coming up which I predict will get us nowhere.  I reckon despite Johnson being ahead in the polls just like last time the gap between Labour and Tory is narrowing, and consequently, just like last time, there will be anther hung Parliament.  So there will be more uncertainty and shouting, but nothing will be resolved.

Penny Kocher 5th November 2019

P.S. And apologies for my tone but I’m beyond exasperated

Further reading:  Smoke without fire: the Myth of a Labour Antisemitism Crisis. Jewish Voice for Labour

The above is a long read but has masses of research and data – it’s worth a glance


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11 thoughts on “One week to go – some random thoughts

  • 5th December 2019 at 13:45

    Penny, thank you. I personally am so desperate that the conservatives should not get in that I’d endure a hung parliament. In fact if the choice is that or a conservative majority I’d welcome it. Ideally of course I want Labour to win and start reversing the wicked – I use that word deliberately – austerity policies of the present bunch. One moment of pleasure today listening to the World at One, four MEPs have sabotaged the appalling Farage and his Brexit party, but if this helps the Tories it’s a hollow victory.
    I have never been so depressed with politics. David Cameron and the conservative government have a lot to answer for.

    • 6th December 2019 at 08:32

      Hello Kathy
      I have exactly the same thoughts as you – please let it be a hung Parliament. Thanks for the comment and for that last sentence of yours. David Cameron is a hollow waste of space and actually I think he knows it.

  • 5th December 2019 at 13:52

    Thank you Penny –
    You give a very good analysis as usual – very succinctly.
    I love the Australian cartoon. Have you put it on Twitter? I’m going to see if I can.
    Your comments about how slow the Labour Party is in dealing with complaints of anti-semitism is true but contrasts with how quickly they managed to expel Alastair Campbell when he recently said he’d voted for LDs!
    Thank you for all your efforts.
    Happy Christmas

    • 6th December 2019 at 08:39

      I did put the cartoon on Twitter – the cartoon is always excellent but this time it felt so apt and correct.

      I’m not excusing the Labour party one bit and yes, on re-reading I think I was quite soft about the antisemitism in the Labour party. They have dealt with it so badly and consequently have not helped themselves one bit, but meanwhile the Tory party gets away with its rampant Islamophobia and the blatant racism emanating from Johnson through his writing. The bias is extraordinary.

      You have a great Christmas – we’re having a quiet one which is really nice.

  • 5th December 2019 at 16:54

    I’m from North Carolina and clueless. Why would it be bad to get medicines from the U.S. ?

    • 5th December 2019 at 17:07

      Nancy, I’m replying immediately as it must sound a bit rude and aggressive when I say we’ll be in trouble if we have trade deals with your country. But we are right to feel worried. At the moment i) we are safely tucked away in the EU so all trade deals with the States comes through the EU and ii) Here is a direct quote from one of our newspapers as to what might happen once we are out of the EU:

      “NHS staff and health campaigners fear the US government and its powerful pharmaceutical industry want the health service to pay more for their drugs, which are much more expensive in the US. Currently, the UK can block American drugs not deemed “value for money” and allow cheaper alternatives to be prescribed to patients which save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year. However, the system could be under threat under a new transatlantic trade deal.”

      So at the moment we do not pay what you and your institutions pay for meds manufactured by the States, and indeed the NHS can decide to use different drugs made elsewhere. One of the many lies from Johnson is that the NHS is not on the table when the UK talks to the States about trade deals. But evidence has been found that there have been 6 sets of talks that include the NHS in a trade deal. And the news is very ‘dumb’ as it always talks about selling the NHS – and never says it’s about the price of drugs we might have to pay. Truly I hope we never have a deal that involves drugs/meds as it would bankrupt our beloved NHS

      That’s the context of my rather abrupt sentence.

  • 5th December 2019 at 18:03

    Thankyou for explaining. We have been told that you’re drugs are cheaper because you’re government buys in huge bulk. We do pay huge prices for drugs. I have union benefits so I have somewhat of a cushion. My husband has this benefit also. Some purchase from Canada though it is illegal. The poor in our country sometimes take half doses or skip doses entirely. Recently, there was a large increase in the price of epipens. Parents who kept several in different locations for their children’s allergies can now only afford one at a time. Some of the drug companies offer hardship funds.

    • 6th December 2019 at 08:50

      What a situation be in re: your health and the meds you need. If I was American I’d be old enough to be cushioned a bit I think, but even so, if you need insulin or an epipen you need it, end of.

      The thing with the NHS is that before any drugs are bought for the nation a body (NICE) looks at all the drugs that the NHS needs and does many tests including a cost-benefit analysis so their decision is where do we get these drugs for the nation at the best cost? And they could choose anywhere, any country. Our fear is that if we become a small unregulated country (as in no more protection from the EU) desperate for a trade deal the much stronger US will say yes you can trade x with us but to do that you must buy these drugs made in the States at this particular cost. And as we know (watched many documentaries and read all the articles) drug companies in the States are totally profit orientated.

      Dear me, I don’t think anyone thought of this when they voted to get out of the EU. And a good chunk of the population is still not thinking about this

  • 5th December 2019 at 19:49

    Dear Penny,
    You have no idea how reassuring your blog is.
    Yes I’m surrounded by partner, friends etc who feel pretty much as I do and unless I’m totally misunderstanding you, you do too. A belief in something better for all of us.
    I am a woman of colour, born and bred in this country. I have lived through race riots, Enoch Powell, marched against the NF, danced with the ‘rock against racism’ and worked in the NHS and fought for 40 + years as a front line clinician against inequality .
    Never have I felt as frightened for this country, my country as I do now.
    The austerity, the poverty the rise in violence against ‘ the other’.
    I also feel frightened for myself something I have not felt since I was a child and stood up in front of my class and told them they should not go ‘paki bashing’ ( as a few boys had threatened to do), as this was awful and they all knew my dad and he was from Pakistan. I was about 8 years old and can still remember the red flush on Miss McCardles neck as I spoke. But she said nothing. Later in the week we had a firework posted through our letter box.
    This is the level of fear I am in touch with now and I can only hope something will drastically change to at least see a hung parliament. The thought of a gloating Johnson with an overall majority terrifies me.
    I just wanted to share this and wonder if it co necks with other women too?

    • 6th December 2019 at 09:09

      Oh gosh, Shahin, I feel the same way about our country and the direction it has taken since the Referendum. Civilisation is very thin, and there always has to be example and leadership from our government and that has completely gone now with the racist and elitist Johnson. But Mrs May instigating the hostile environment and the Home Office’s behaviour towards West Indians? I worked with many West Indians, actually not at St. Thomas in the mid 60s, but at the Maudsley yes. And then you only have to watch 24hours in A&E (St. George’s) to see half the staff is from somewhere other than the UK – geez the NHS would collapse without them. Consequently I feel utter disgust at the way the country is going, not my country. But I don’t feel that same fear because of my heritage (Scots) what I feel is deep shame that you feel that way.

      While there are the morons out there we are rather like the States, a divided country. So that means there’s a lot of us about who feel the same way, we don’t want Windrush – how dare they harass those old people – we don’t want a hostile environment and in the meantime what about taking on more refugees – that’s another disgraceful act of ours to have taken in so few.

      I think the thing is we have to stay vigilant. We do not turn our heads away. We look, we see, we act, or in my case, I write.

      In solidarity my friend, take care x


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