25th January, 2016
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall
What can we expect to find in the political tea leaves this year? For sure it promises to be a drama-packed and controversial sequence of “events” which will play out before our mesmerised eyes.
Let us indulge in a piece of constructive fantasy and conjecture to see if we can discern a window into forthcoming attractions that threaten to be as riveting and game-changing as some seasoned observers predict.
If Cameron gets the “deal” that he yearns for from his co-partners in the EU we may very well get the EU Referendum in the summer of 2016. This would dominate the entire political landscape relegating every other topic into the shadows of insignificance. In that painful scenario we could witness a deeply polarised debate which will split opinions, allegiances, friendships and indeed the entire country right down the middle.
Where have I heard that before?
Do we the people really deserve such hardship, conflict and injury so soon after the recent bitter and highly damaging Scottish independence referendum that almost led to the break up of the United Kingdom?
Perhaps not, but many will say that is the price of maintaining democracy, vested interests and party agendas that we pay the piper for.
What we can be certain of is that either an In or Out vote in an EU referendum will redefine the structure and purpose of Britain’s sovereignty on the world stage and irrevocably shape the course of Europe’s future.
There is no progress without pain, and no discovery without pushing the boundaries of our minds and imaginations. Whatever happens in this referendum things will never be quite the same again. The political schisms inevitably opened up during the divisive campaign may never be healed come what may.
Moving on a bit, all possibilities already exist that are a tantalising sideshow to the main event. We may even see a leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn coming from the moderate wing of the party.
Rumblings of discontent and conspiratorial talk within the Blairite camp of Labour may well take shape, especially if Labour bombs in the 2016 local elections in May. A stalking horse may emerge from the pack to provoke another battle for the heart and control of the Labour party. In that event, the Blairites may field a single credible candidate to attempt to dislodge Corbyn from power and prevent the hard left from getting an irreversible grip of Labour and thus wrecking the party’s electoral prospects for the foreseeable future.
Such a contest is bound to be bloody, savage and defining. Who is the person most capable of mounting a successful challenge to Jeremy Corbyn from within the centre ranks of the Labour Party? What will be the likely outcome if this comes about?
Meanwhile across the Atlantic we may also see an equally brutal and divisive Presidential election for the very soul of America and its continued relevance on the world stage. Main protagonists as things presently stand are expected to be the abrasive and pugnacious Republican businessman Donald Trump and the combative Democrat former secretary of state Hilary Clinton.
Will we get another Clinton in the White House ? Or will Trump roll back the frontiers of Obama and become President 45 in the Oval Office? Or is something else entirely on the cards?
By Peter Paton