Thu. Aug 11th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

HOLMSEY: Listen to the people

3 min read

T’was the morning after the night before, the Conservative party had tanked in not one but two dismal by-elections.

Bob had something important to say. “My campaigns for the Island will continue,” he asserted. That Devon loss was historic, the safest of safe seats, gone because the people of Tiverton and Honiton wanted to send a very clear message on behalf of the nation.

Bob said he “Talks to minister’s every week”, and will “…keep doing so, to get a better deal for the Island.” I’m one of lacklustre Bob’s most consistent critics, but I’d like to thank him. No, honestly. He’s been our MP for five years now, and to keep hectoring ministers day after day as they hussle past him along the corridors of power, with absolutely nothing to show for your efforts shows astonishing resilience and fortitude. It must feel like banging your head against a brick wall.

Despite the dreadful by-election defeats, Bob’s boss, Bulldozer Boris was in no mood for contrition either. Under pressure, he reverted to Maggie’s “We fight on, business as usual” mantra, as if that’s what we actually want them to do.

Boris and Bob pretend not to get the message, but the message couldn’t be clearer: reduce the cost of living. I just paid £120 to top up my already half full car. At the pump, I started looking underneath it, I thought the tank must have sprung a leak! People live in fear of food bills and the fast-rising cost of everything else they need.

Like immigration, inflation is hopelessly out of control; housing is unaffordable, with particularly young people having little hope of ever getting one. The NHS is broken, probably beyond repair. It’s reported a third of us will likely go private in the coming years, because that’s where the doctors went too. If you’re burgled, the police don’t bother turning up; over 90 per cent of Island burglaries are going unsolved. Thank goodness for speeding tickets; they continue to issue those efficiently if you stray a few mph over the limit. Oh, and between us we’re losing £3 billion a year in fraud.

Honestly, what have the Tories got right? Whatever happened to ‘strong and stable’? Boris remains in power because there’s no obvious successor. One by one, his supporters have fallen away. It’s hard to find anyone still backing him, although Priti Patel keeps going because he’s her only hope of keeping her job. Ex-party leaders, including Cameron and May want him gone, but our Bob remains unashamedly loyal, pinning his hopes on that fantastical Island deal.

If we had a strong Lib-Dem candidate here, the Tories stonking majority would be in serious jeopardy. If, as planned, the constituency gets split in two, he’ll be toast. Empty promises only get you so far, Bob; in the end people want results. A frequently non-operational refurbished choo-choo train limping from Shanklin to Ryde every hour or so won’t convince many voters.

The Tories have been in power for 12 long years, and mostly they have Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn to thank for that.

In the wake of these dire by-election results, Kier Starmer was in triumphant mood, excitedly claiming, “We’re going to be the next government.” Oh dear, Keir, I’m no gambler, but I really can’t see your lot forming a government mate, not unless you make an election pact with the Lib Dems. Most of your shadow cabinet are as unimpressive as their witless Tory counterparts. Would any of them make good one-for-one swaps?

Boris and Bob need to understand the people are hurting. A ‘business as usual’ message just isn’t going to cut it.