UK Election: Tory Landslide All But Certain On 8 June

A SURPRISE General Election in Britain is certain to gift victory to Theresa May’s Conservative Party, and will as reliably hand Labour its worst loss since 1935; whilst strengthening May’s hand in negotiations over the UK’s exit from the EU has been given as an ostensible pretext, this election is about poleaxing an opposition led by an irrelevant radical socialist and extending the Tories’ hold on office. On both counts, it will succeed convincingly.

It’s an unexpected post from me this morning, as I try to juggle other commitments and obligations with the desire to maintain a regular flow of comment through this column, but if anything could shake a spare hour free to publish something, my favourite political hobby-horse — electoral politics in the United Kingdom — is just the thing to do it.

By now many readers will know that over the past 36 hours, an extraordinary political heist has been engineered by British PM Theresa May; after nine months in office marked by incessant refusals to call an election, and guarantees that the House of Commons would run its full term until 2020, Mrs May has — against a backdrop of 20-point leads over Labour across most reputable opinion polls, and in the face of pleas from her MPs to capitalise on the apparently sunny electoral weather the Tories currently enjoy — called an election for 8 June after a seven-week campaign.

I have held off posting for an extra day pending the result of a vote in the House of Commons, which was needed to set aside the Fixed Terms Act insisted upon by the Liberal Democrats as part of their price for installing the Tories (then led by David Cameron) in office after the inconclusive election of 2010; that ballot was carried overnight in the Commons by a 522-13 margin, removing the only hurdle Mrs May faced in calling a snap election.

Remarkably, the opposition Labour Party — facing annihilation under the pointless leadership of widely disliked radical socialist Jeremy Corbyn — voted for the motion, and frankly, there is something abjectly pathetic about the sight of lemmings lining up to leap gleefully over a cliff. More on Corbyn and Labour shortly.

But first things first: for fellow junkies of British politics, the Telegraph is publishing some excellent rolling coverage that can be accessed here; a small selection of other content can be accessed here and here — we recommend The Spectator as the best boutique source of coverage during the campaign — whilst an excellent consolidated psephological resource I’ve grown well acquainted with over the years, operated by YouGov’s Anthony Wells, is a handy reference point and can be found here, but of course there is plenty of other good material in the market (or keep an eye on my Twitter feed to see who I’m following and what I’m reading from the UK @theredandblue).

I’ve struggled a bit to think of the last time an incumbent government looked as unassailably certain to smash its opponent into a thousand little pieces as Mrs May’s does.

Margaret Thatcher’s landslide in 1983 comes to mind, as does the re-election of Ronald Reagan in 1984; closer to home, it’s hard to ascribe the same upfront inevitability to John Howard’s 2001 and 2004 triumphs, for the Coalition spent much of 2001 looking like losing, and started the 2004 campaign trailing in the polls. State governments led by Labor in Queensland in 2001 and  Victoria in 2002, and by the Liberal Party in Western Australia in 2013, are perhaps nearer the mark.

But the Conservative Party begins this election campaign, on average, nearly 20 percentage points ahead of Labour once the various individual polls are examined and aggregated; in Britain’s first past the post election system, this lead — rounded to 43 to 26 — suggests a thumping Tory victory if replicated on 8 June, and it should be observed that 43 to 26 amounts to a better position than that recorded by Mrs Thatcher in 1983, which resulted in a 144-seat majority and almost 400 seats (397 in fact) in the 650-seat Commons.

Where the polls are concerned, the Tory position ranges from 38% in yesterday’s Opinium survey (which almost identically replicates the actual result of the 2015 election) to 46% from ICM and ComRes. The Opinium poll yesterday is the only survey tabulated in the past ten weeks by any of Britain’s five major polling houses to find Conservative support below 40%, and it will be a sobering fact for anyone looking for a Labour victory to know that at every election since (and including) 1992, opinion polls have consistently overstated eventual support for Labour whilst understating the Tory vote.

So far in 2017, just five of the 36 published opinion polls on Westminster voting intention have found support for the Conservative Party below 40%, and none have found the Tory vote at levels at or below the 37% that delivered a slim majority two years ago. By contrast, just four of those 36 surveys recorded Labour travelling better than the 29% it recorded in 2015, and of those, three found the improvement to be a solitary percentage point.

In other words, Labour is set for the belting of its life: worse than 1983, and worse than anything it suffered in the 1950s; I’m looking at the Tory win of 1935 (which saw Labour emerge with 154 seats in a 615-seat House of Commons) as the benchmark for expectations, although  the 1931 election, which was even better for the Conservatives (470 seats), looks a bit silly in terms of a precedent this time. I do, however, think the Tories stand an excellent chance of recording a 400+ seat haul on 8 June.

The pretext offered by Mrs May to justify the election — that a stronger and renewed mandate would in turn strengthen Britain’s hand at upcoming negotiations over the UK’s pending exit from the European Union — is easy enough to accept, but only on the surface; the truth (as her opponents noted yesterday) is that even with their present slender majority, the Conservatives have faced no parliamentary refusal to trigger the “Brexit process,” and that EU bureaucrats are likely to be just as hostile toward the British position irrespective of whether Mrs May holds office with a majority of 15 or 150.

The real reasons for this election are more base, and not particularly difficult to divine.

Cameron must have been unable to believe his luck two years ago, when the defeated Labour Party chose as its leader a radical socialist of the far Left whose 32-year parliamentary career had thitherto been entirely spent on the backbench; the Tories must have been even more disbelieving when the new opposition leader chose, as his shadow Chancellor (the equivalent of a shadow Treasurer in Australia) another arch-Leftist with decades of experience in the political wilderness, John McDonnell. Both men are, among other things, apologists for the IRA, with little discernible connection or relevance to mainstream British society or to the majority of the people living in it.

One abortive attempt to get rid of Corbyn last year by rebellious Labour MPs had the unintended consequence of strengthening his position; another attempt has been rumoured ever since. The temptation to lock Corbyn in place with an election date has clearly proven irresistible to Mrs May and her strategists, who — unlike their Coalition counterparts in Australia last year, where Bill Shorten was concerned — will now “do” Corbyn properly in such a fashion as to kill him off as a political force altogether.

Even on this point, Labour is proving to be the gift that keeps giving; faced with a slaughter, Corbyn has made it known he plans to remain leader after the looming massacre on 8 June. That event can only be exacerbated by what is already becoming a stream of Labour MPs, flatly opposed to Corbyn’s leadership and disgusted by the direction in which he has taken their party, who are refusing to stand again in their seats — and offering free, vicious and very public character assessments of their leader on the way out the door.

May, like Cameron before her, has been the beneficiary of an economy that has proven surprisingly robust; for much of the past five years the British economy has been the fastest growing in Europe, and at one point was the fastest growing of all OECD nations (including Australia). Predictions of a sharp downturn in the aftermath of last year’s successful referendum to leave the EU have consistently failed to eventuate, although with a growing number of economists forecasting a downturn in the next 18 months (which, to be fair, would affect the rest of Europe as well), going to the polls now rather than in three years’ time makes sense: especially when there are other factors, such as the EU negotiations, which can be used to provide the veneer of legitimacy for doing so.

With the Scottish Nationalist Party’s stranglehold on Scottish seats showing little sign of being broken (apart from an outside chance of Tories picking up an extra couple of seats north of the border), Labour’s scope to make gains at all is severely limited; in a region that traditionally provided a bedrock for British Labour, it currently polls just 10% in Scotland: a situation once unthinkable.

Elsewhere, the Conservatives’ grip on the country appears so unshakeable that I’ve seen credible modelling to suggest the Tories may be on track to win a string of seats in coal mining areas in northern Wales — an outcome, if it eventuates, that was once as unthinkable as Labour being wiped out of Scotland — and if they can take seats from Labour in the Midlands and major centres outside London (Birmingham, Manchester, even Sheffield), the Tories’ victory on 8 June will be a massive one indeed.

The one potential cloud on the horizon in terms of the scale of their win — some unforeseen, colossally destructive (albeit unlikely) campaign gaffe notwithstanding — lies in the dozens of seats the Conservatives won from the Liberal Democrats in 2015; many of these sit on razor-thin margins, and a lot of them were harvested from regions (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset) that long remained good for the Lib-Dems (and the Liberals before them) when the rest of the country abandoned them. Should the Lib-Dems win a solid number of these seats back, it will obviously dull the magnitude of the Tory triumph: not enough to stop it, but perhaps just enough to deny Mrs May the invincibility enjoyed by Mrs Thatcher after 1983.

With seven weeks to go, I will aim to include comment on the British election as we go: as well as keeping an eye on what’s happening here in Australia, and on that score, I should be back within the next day or so.

But if ever there was a case of the planets aligning perfectly for a jaunty field trip to face the voters, Britain’s Conservative Party enjoys exactly that: and whilst it’s never over until the votes are counted, a huge win for Mrs May and the Tories — mirrored by defeat and humiliation for Labour — are in no way in any doubt.

If anyone wants to take a shot at me for making such an unqualified and unilateral prediction, just hold off until 9 June. I’m sure, on that day, you might have second thoughts about doing so.

 

Warning Sign: Trump Win A Klaxon Siren For Libs, ALP

THE BOILOVER that saw Donald Trump elected US President on Tuesday is not confined to America, is not a vote “against women,” and is not an illusory phenomenon; people across the Western world are serving potent notice to their leaders they will not tolerate government by the United Nations, being brainwashed, or being marched around with templates for thought, speech and action. Politicians in Australia must take note — or pay the price.

One of the conversations I have had since the stunning triumph of Donald Trump’s Republican juggernaut this week centred on whether Trump was “destined” to win the US election, or whether the Democratic Party’s selection of Hillary Clinton as its candidate sealed the deal; my thoughts — in short — were that Hillary was certain to have been a decisive factor in some of the states that flipped, handing Trump the Electoral College votes required, but that endorsing “a human being” instead of a compromised, scandal-plagued insider might well have yielded a different result for the Democrats.

Welcome to the new world: across the globe, scribes will spend a fair chunk of time in the coming months intermittently dissecting what went on in America this week searching for “answers” as to how someone like Trump could be elected to the most powerful position in the free world; I don’t think it’s a rocket science study, and whilst I don’t mean to simplify complex questions into idiot-simple answers, the warning signs of Tuesday’s boilover have been writ large for years.

Richard Nixon — who, had he been better than a petty crook, might have been viewed by history as one of America’s greatest presidents — often talked of the “silent majority” in the United States; it echoes Bob Menzies’ “forgotten people,” and that cohort — working and middle class, aspirational, rooted in traditional values and yearning for optimism about their lot — can be found today in just about every Western country grappling with 21st century problems of economic restructuring, “disruption,” high immigration, and the odious slithering creep of the diktat of hard socialism.

When I see footage of young activists associated with America’s Democratic Party going on rampages through US cities, chanting “Kill Trump” and other incendiary slogans, I see proof that the purported voices of moderation, tolerance and reason of the Left are only sober and civil if they get their way; there is a difference between “protest” and “incitement to riot.” Nobody would object to a peaceful protest by these people. Calling for the assassination of their President does not constitute a “peaceful protest.”

One of the criticisms I made of Malcolm Turnbull back in 2009, when he was initially the leader of the Liberal Party (and a couple of years before I started this column) was that he was determined not only to minimise the differences between the Coalition and the Rudd government, but to do so by moving too far toward the ALP position; there are those who countered that politics is too confrontational at the best of times, and that Turnbull should have been commended rather than pilloried for his actions.

Yet politics is adversarial by nature — you cannot have a “battle of ideas” without comprehensively thrashing those ideas out — and in the end, public opinion aligned with turbulent unrest on the conservative wing of the Liberal Party to see Turnbull ejected from his post. In some respects, we are seeing a repeat of the process now, albeit with much higher stakes and against the backdrop of a far less forgiving “silent majority” in this country.

Much of the problem, as I see it, emanates from the United Nations; established in the aftermath of the second world war as a mechanism to prevent a third, this undemocratic and fundamentally anti-democratic body has extended its tentacles into the daily governance of member states to the point governments in the West are obliged to comply with UN treaties before they embark upon sovereign legislation of their own.

Tellingly, a lot of this is centred on social policy — human rights, immigration, aid for the third world and so forth — that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with preventing a war between the US and Russia. Certainly, it has never stopped regional wars and insurrections (the Middle East being a residual case in point) from breaking out.

But the point is that the UN has strayed so far from what it was set up for that it is now regarded, rightly, as a de facto One World Government by its critics and certainly, a lot of what drives the popular revolt against so-called “elites” these days in Western countries derives directly from the insidious crawl of the UN further and further into the governance of those countries.

What, pray tell, does a body charged with averting a world war have to do with mandating binding targets on the environment and climate change? Despite the ridiculous soothsaying of the most ardent climate change zealots, the answer is “precisely nothing.”

Britain — voting earlier this year to leave the European Union — signalled its intention to dispense with a localised European equivalent; the small matter of the UK paying the largest annual contributions to the EU aside, that lamentable body has regulated everything in Britain from immigration to industry, affecting everything from the rights of British fishermen to limits on what vacuum cleaners may be sold in British shops. EU regulation has stifled (if not crippled) huge chunks of British industry, whilst flooding the country with “free movement” of people to whom the British government is obliged to pay welfare and social benefits. Anyone interested in more on this issue should spend an hour watching the excellent Brexit: The Movie, which can be accessed here.

Yet the Left (of which the lamentable Hillary Clinton is a standard bearer) refuses to accept the referendum result; some in its midst seek to build “momentum” for a second referendum, with the intellectually insulting implication that those who voted to leave might belatedly come to their senses; others have seen fit to go to Britain’s High Court, with the result that any attempt to trigger Article 50 of the EU charter (the mechanism by which formal disengagement will commence) now requires a vote in the House of Commons to ratify.

This is dangerous ground, and the Conservative Party — less open to accusations of softness or leftward tendencies under the leadership of Theresa May — will almost certainly go to an early election next Spring on this issue; if it does, the opposition Labour Party, which ranks among the worst offenders for trying to obstruct Brexit proceedings, is likely to be absolutely slaughtered in one of its worst results since Ramsay MacDonald first formed a Labour government (in coalition) more than 90 years ago.

But the risk of electoral annihilation is no deterrent to the Left; it argues — fatuously — that a 52-48 result on 72% voter turnout, in a country where voting is optional and the population is 65 million, means only a quarter of Britons actually support leaving the EU. Had the result been 52-48 the other way, however, they wouldn’t utter a word about such dubious mathematics. Yet “the will of the people” is, once again, a disposable concept when it comes to the dictatorial agenda of the Left.

Even if it wasn’t, British Labour is a battle-hardened agent of the disgusting elitist filth spreading like a cancer throughout Western society; it threw hundreds of billions of pounds in bribes at minorities to purchase and seal their allegiance, and saw to it that Britain’s door was open not just to those it was obliged to accept from Europe, but from far beyond — keeping that door closed to easier entry for Australians, or New Zealanders, or others with a genuine claim to common culture and history — in a determined campaign to inflict “diversity” on the UK irrespective of what others thought; it fostered the oozing socialism of political correctness that seeps like toxic sludge through the public institutions it is calculated to diminish and break down. It oversaw the separation of “elites” in the media, the public sector and the ruling class from a population that would do what it was told. And the same vile lexicon of abuse that has become familiar here in Australia was deployed against anyone who dared to speak against it.

It is no wonder British Labour now faces a poleaxing for defying the will of the people that will make its humiliation at the hands of Margaret Thatcher in 1983 resemble an act of leniency.

Across western Europe, the same pattern has been followed: in socialist France, where a government sympathetic to such rubbish exudes neither an inclination nor an ability to respond — and is facing an involuntary fall from the cliff when it faces voters next year. In supposedly conservative Germany, whose Chancellor opened the floodgates to almost unrestricted Muslim immigration triggering social problems on a hitherto unimaginable scale, as instances of immigrant men raping young girls in public swimming pools and other atrocities are desperately hidden from public view, the government responsible for bringing them to Germany in the first place faces a rout.

Look across Europe: in Belgium, in Holland, in France, in Germany and elsewhere, the old world has become a powderkeg: its people taking aim at governments for selling them down the river (with the EU a central player in this process), whilst outsiders and a chosen few within their borders are feted with more privileges and rights than those who made those countries what they were in the first place.

Almost every aspect of what I have described was present in the boilover that saw Donald Trump elected on Tuesday.

The notion of government “of the people, for the people and by the people” is a noble sentiment indeed — one that can and should have application in every democratic society in the world.

Hillary Clinton didn’t lose to Trump because she is a woman, or because of “misogyny;” she didn’t lose because Americans are racist, or bigoted, or homophobic, or “deniers” on climate change (with the unspoken imputation they should face the Inquisition) or any of the other bullshit the Left bandies about to bully ordinary decent folk, or to justify its inevitable failures.

She lost because a) it was her personally, which is pertinent because b) Hillary Clinton is probably the highest-profile figurehead in the world for all this garbage.

And as I said in my post-election piece on Thursday, the US public — fed to the teeth with the Clintons and everything they stand for, after decades of scandals, crises, and a litany of misdemeanours that seemingly drags on forever — finally decided to simply say “no.”

This brings me rather neatly to Australia, where a government led by a proven sympathiser with most of the garbage now attracting electoral retribution abroad was lucky to be re-elected narrowly four months ago.

In the red corner sits a self-professed champion of everything ordinary people have just about had enough of: being told they’re “racist” for not wanting unlimited Muslim immigration. Being told they are “bigots” for not supporting same-sex marriage. Being told they are “sexist” and “misogynist” if they don’t support women being given jobs based on gender irrespective of whether they are the best fit for those roles or not.

It is an indictment on Bill Shorten that despite his claims this week to be “calling out” sexism — by ripping into Trump, jeopardising Australia’s relationship with the United States in the process, to continue a partisan battle on Clinton’s half that is already irretrievably lost — he’s never “called out” the CFMEU thug who called a female Fair Work Australia inspector “a fucking slut.”

It is an indictment, too, on the miserable scum lurking in some sections of the press who overlook such omissions out of herd-like solidarity.

Like all of the spearheads of this leftist elitist disease, Shorten’s adherence to “principle” is a flexible, elastic concept.

Meanwhile, over in the blue corner, sits Malcolm Turnbull: not an abusive specimen at all, but an ardent proponent nevertheless of the pet issues of the Left that the silent majority in Australia have come to bitterly resent. Climate change. Gay marriage. “Diversity,” with its overtones of involuntary enforcement and the message that objections will fall on deaf ears. Slavish adherence to the illegitimate United Nations. On and on it goes. If Turnbull wonders why his popularity has returned to the S-bend — where it has traditionally resided — he need look no further than this agenda, which might play well in his trendy electorate around Bondi and Randwick and Kings Cross, but which is reviled beyond their latte strips.

In the process, politically correct, socialist obscenities abound, unhindered and unrestrained by an allegedly conservative government.

Gillian Triggs, even after an outrageous report into child detention deliberately calibrated to transfer opprobrium from the socialist Gillard government which locked the kids up to the Abbott government that had released most of them by the time it was tabled, and after the disgusting fiasco of an ambit section 18c discrimination case at the Queensland University of Technology, has still not had her plum statutory appointment terminated.

The so-called “safe schools” programme — designed to brainwash kids about gender to destroy traditional values — lives on, despite the withdrawal of government funding: some states have picked up the cudgels; in others, variations of the scheme are taught anyway. Outraged parents (and I’m one of them) get no say over the crap their kids are being “taught.”

And as ever — in the examples we have already looked at, and in others unique to Australia — people in this country are increasingly face legislation (and hysterical bullying drummed up by irresponsible sections of the press, social media, the churches and the education sector) that governs what they may say, think, and do.

There is a difference between common decency and thought Police; there is a difference between genuine respect for each other and parroting prescribed lines that enunciate approved terms of reference for interaction.

And there is a limit to how much of this rubbish people will stomach — especially whilst watching their political masters rort entitlements, expenses, staff appointments, and shovel billions of dollars out in the interests of buying the loyalty of minorities — whilst they are told (almost in as many words) that their opinions do not matter, and neither do they.

Right now, the Liberal Party and the ALP — to varying degrees — are both guilty of perpetuating these fancies; the ALP because it means it, and the Liberals because the quislings advising it are too terrified of risk to properly or effectively stand up to it.

I saw a meme last week: it is instructive to share it now.

Image result for political correctness is totalitarianism pretending to be manners

Frankly, there is no credible argument against it.

The ALP (and Shorten) is a lost cause; a basket case that on current trends will fall into office again only on the receiving end of a backlash against Turnbull and his refusal to do more than mouth platitudes to assuage the conservative wing of his party. Even now — with a healthy election-winning lead across all polls — the ALP can’t do better than about 38% of the primary vote. The cultures of division and complaint are central to its success. The pursuit of of the PC socialist agenda, both in 1996 and in 2013, were central to its demise.

But the Liberal Party is able to do something about it: I am not advocating a change in the leadership; not today, at any rate.

But the party that is the usual guardian of individual opportunity, freedom of choice, traditional values and national pride has taken its eye off the ball.

Ordinary folk — that silent majority of forgotten people — are being priced out of essential services as cheap, inexhaustible coal is phased out in favour of unreliable and ultra-expensive renewables that would be dearer still if government didn’t shovel countless billions of dollars out in subsidies to make them “viable.”

They see an Australia where freedom of speech and freedom of thought are open only to people they are told they must unquestioningly accept — even if those minorities are, in fact, wrong — and an Australia where an opinion running contrary to this diabolical regime elicits a lawsuit from a government-sponsored body.

They see jobs disappearing at the same time family reunion schemes for refugees bring thousands of people to Australia who will probably never contribute economically: it is these people who are the target of complaints about migrants and welfare, not the ones who come to Australia (from literally anywhere in the world), join in with the rest of us, and work like the rest of us.

They see an Australia where a cabal of figures in the media, Parliament, its advisors, unions, government-funded social lobby groups and other fellow travellers smugly decree what is and isn’t acceptable, and where it is literally their way or the highway.

The rise of figures and parties on the far right are the confused embodiment of their resentment; One Nation, the Australian Liberty Alliance, and more extreme groups like Rise Up! Australia garnered more than 10% of the Senate vote between them at the July federal election, and enough in the lower house to influence many contests — in most cases, against the Liberal Party.

If the Liberals do not recalibrate their policies and public messages with mainstream conservatism to replace the broad capitulation to the PC agenda it has made in recent years, it will be unable to fend off the far Right in the medium to longer term.

Amateurish outfits like One Nation might be a political pain in the arse, but they have limited reach; at some point, however, someone is going to find a way to craft a vehicle of the radical Right that actually has mass appeal, and if and when that happens, the Liberals will be helpless to avoid the electoral consequences.

These are not necessarily my personal views, even if I’m a mainstream conservative frustrated by the direction (or lack of it) emanating from the corridors of power; rather, they are a snapshot of the contact I have with thousands of people each year (I almost live in two states, and make regular forays into two others) from all walks of life, spanning university-aged people to senior citizens. Today’s article simply reflects my observations, an assessment of the likely electoral repercussions, and a juxtaposition of these onto what is happening elsewhere in the world.

To make a penultimate point, we’re not that different to people in the UK, the USA, or anywhere else where the eventual effects of all this crap are now playing out.

And this is why the election of Donald Trump in the United States cannot be dismissed, explained away or ignored; the same forces that have propelled him to the White House are at work right here in Australia.

Australian politicians ignore the warning signs at their peril. Like a Cold War nuclear attack drill, the klaxon siren is blaring; if the warhead detonates, the status quo that will be obliterated: not the Trump-like agent of change, whoever it (or they) might be. The silent majority is restless, restive, and has had enough. The major parties must change — or pay a heavy price indeed.

 

Back In The Saddle: Restarting The Conversation At The Red And The Blue

AFTER A MONTH which has topped off the bulk of a year in which imposts on my time have prevented me from commenting as often as I would like on Australian and international politics — or at all, for most of the past four weeks — those pressures have finally eased, meaning that over the next few months, the conversation we have maintained for many years in this column will resume. I ask all readers, lapsed and continuing, to rejoin us.

I must assure readers that I am perfectly all right and, contrary to some queries I’ve fielded directly, have not pulled the pin on this column; on the contrary, the pressures of time (to which I have alluded, sporadically, over the past 18 months) reached something of a peak last month, and the result of that was to stop — temporarily — my ability to spend the time on political comment that I would have preferred to make.

As I have always been clear about, those obligations related to earning a living (I do have to eat, after all) and otherwise advancing my lot must come first: and this has meant that The Red And The Blue, along with a separate lifestyle-based column I attempted to launch (and which fell victim to the same time constraints), and other personal pursuits have all been pushed down the priority list.

However, having cleared a small set of milestone obligations in another place this week, the notion of “free” time will actually now become truly free once more; and whilst I still have a couple of things that must be cleared on other fronts, it means that I will be able to resume comment on the matters going on around us in the political world at present.

There is, to be sure, an awful lot going on, and whilst we have missed it here, I have certainly been keeping an eye on things as they happen.

Does it come as any great surprise that having lost a referendum vote, the “Remainers” in the UK are now hellbent on preventing Britain’s departure from the European Union from ever taking place? No, no, no. And it should surprise no-one that the unelected EU chief bureaucrat Jean-Claude Juncker is now proclaiming that Britain will “never be allowed” to leave the EU: a disgraceful position that, if anything, merely underlines the importance of the UK getting out and reclaiming control of its own destiny.

The US presidential election is now only a couple of weeks away and, disturbingly, appears set to see Hillary Clinton handed the keys to the White House. Troglodyte socialists, finger-shaking “SJWs” and other contemptible specimens are pointing to some admittedly filthy banter Donald Trump has been found out for engaging in about women, and decrying him as unfit for presidential office as a consequence.

Yet Clinton — variously a corrupt alleged violator of national security, a nuclear war threat for her pronouncements and past dealings with Russia, a Washington “insider” of the worst kind, and a member of this insidious cabal concerned only with its own continuity to the exclusion of the national or international good, and apparently a seriously ill woman — is hailed by these people, lauded even, and her pending arrival in the presidency held up as evidence of some ground-breaking triumph of democracy. It isn’t, and it won’t be, and the United States and the rest of the world will soon enough rue the day she was charged with the most important elected post on Earth.

Closer to home, Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs must surely, finally, have her papers stamped; the revelation that she not only misled Parliament, but accused journalists of fabricating reports of her that were proven false by a taped recording of her own voice, provides the pretext for the Turnbull government to get rid of this insidiously biased socialist from the public payroll once and for all. Light will be thrown on the efficacy of Malcolm Turnbull’s government — and the ability of Turnbull to preside over a government at all — by the manner in which it responds to this latest outrage from a Gillard-era relic who has no business purporting to impartiality at all, let alone serving as a public official in the first place.

And speaking of Turnbull, there are signs — as long forecast, and as I have feared — that he simply isn’t up to the job. More of the so-called moderates loyal to Turnbull and charged with the execution of government business have shown themselves to simply not be up to the task (Kelly O’Dwyer, I’m looking at you) and the government itself is showing signs it has learned nothing from its misadventures since coming to office in 2013, and certainly since Turnbull’s leadership treachery two years ago.

Clearly, we have much to discuss, and from this weekend onwards — perhaps a little slowly to begin with, and then resuming some semblance of our usual historical frequency — we’ll start to look at some of these issues in greater detail.

In the meantime, I remain active on Twitter, and you can follow me @theredandblue: it is one of those ironies that just as I have had little time for writing comment pieces in this column, the relative brevity and simplicity of Twitter has meant I can still make some comment as things happen, even if it is limited to 140 characters at a time.

And as ever, the ABC’s loathsome #QandA programme has continued to come in for a melloring on that front, even if I’ve missed the odd episode: even if it’s complete rubbish — and it usually is — it is nevertheless important to remember that if we are to take on the insidious socialism that is slithering almost unchallenged through our national polity, it is also necessary to know what the socialists are talking about, and that particular abuse of the national broadcaster for a one-hour propaganda session every week is an excellent place to start insofar as keeping track of the Left’s agenda is concerned.

I’ll be back, with something issues-based, within the next day or so.