The real reason for this snap General Election: Tory Election Fraud

Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election has nothing to do with stability or Brexit – it’s a trick to outmanoeuvre the Crown Prosecution Service’s investigation into Tory Election Fraud at the 2015 General Election.

Last June I wrote about the excellent investigative journalism carried out by Channel 4 and the Daily Mirror regarding Tory Election Fraud at the 2015 General Election.

Many media outlets still feel uncomfortable talking about this subject, primarily because the Crown Prosecution Service have not yet published their judgement on the 20+ Conservative MP’s who were investigated over election fraud. Commenting on alleged criminal activity is always risky for the press, especially when it comes to MPs (who are quite adept at taking libel cases).

To recap – it’s alleged that over 20 Tory MPs benefited from having national campaign resources diverted to their local campaigns in the 2015 general election, thus overspending on their campaigns. Electoral law is supposed to prevent candidates from outspending their rivals and ensure that the outcome of an election is a democratic one, not influenced by the relative wealth of a candidate or their party.

With only a 12 seat majority, if even half of those Tory MPs were found to have broken the law, then the Government could end up losing its majority through a series of by-elections.

The Tories aren’t stupid – they know the risks here. They may have even had some private indication of the CPS judgement. Clearly, Theresa May and her colleagues have concluded that the only way to prevent losing their majority in the electoral fraud fallout is to call a general election.

She would not have taken this decision lightly and in many ways (despite the polls) it represents a nuclear option for her politically, for a number of reasons:

  1. Polling accuracy: While the polls may currently show an historically high lead for the Tories, the pollsters’ reputations have not yet recovered from their failure to accurately predict the outcome of either the EU referendum or the 2015 general election. In the past, the pollsters have admitted that their main error was in underestimating Tory support and overestimating Labour support. It’s quite possible that after two major failures, the pollsters have now adjusted their methods and could be (conversely) overestimating Tory support and underestimating Labour support.
  2. Lib Dems: It’s claimed that the Tories recently commissioned some private polling – which showed them losing dozens of seats to the Lib Dems if a snap election were called. Back in 2015 nearly all the gains made by the Tories came at the expense of the Lib Dems. If the Lib Dems can win back some of the support they lost in 2015, they could cost the Tories some key seats.
  3. Election fatigue: The UK had a general election in 2015, a referendum in 2016 and now another general election in 2017. If voters feel that they are being made fools of by trotting out to the polls on the whim of a leader who simply wants to shore up their power, they may well vent their frustration at the ballot box.
  4. Brexit no longer being the only issue: The Tories seem adamant that this election is a simply a mechanism to give them a mandate to carry out their vision of Brexit. But the public, who (according to some recent polling) feel Brexit is a ‘done and dusted’ issue, may see this election as a chance to return to familiar themes – like the economy, housing and the NHS. Regardless of their own hyperbole, the Tories do not have a good record on these things. They have made no headway into the housing crisis since coming to power in 2010 and the public still do not trust them on the NHS. They claim to be the party of financial competence and yet they have already abandoned all the financial commitments they set for themselves in 2015.

And yet, regardless of all this uncertainty, Theresa May has chosen to call a snap general election. In the context of the risks they face around the electoral fraud case, it’s clear that this election has nothing to do with stability or Brexit. Instead, it’s a trick to make sure the Tories keep their majority in parliament and stay in government even if they are found guilty of breaking the law and cheating their way to power in 2015.

Last June I said that it was the job of citizen journalists, bloggers and anyone willing to spread the word to keep this story alive and move it into the public consciousness. That sentiment applies again now – otherwise, without the mainstream media’s involvement, this story runs the risk of disappearing without a trace.

So please do your bit – tell your friends and family about what’s really going on, use the hashtag #ToryElectionFraud and get the truth out there. The public need to understand why they being dragged out to the ballot box for a farce of an election – an election that is nothing but a smokescreen for a devious political party who ignore the law and believe they can buy, lie and trick their way to power.

Labour’s loss in Copeland shows we’re still living in Tory Brexit la la land

The EU referendum result allowed the Tory party to effectively win a landslide victory against itself. Instead of being viewed as an incumbent party with 6 years in office, they are instead being treated as a newly-elected government. This honeymoon undoubtedly helped the Tories win a seat in Labour’s backyard – but it may not last long.

It’s not surprising to hear many commentators hailing Labour’s loss of Copeland as an historic defeat and a portent of doom at the next election. Conventional wisdom says that by-elections are voters’ opportunity to lash out at incumbent governments. To see a so-called Labour safe seat change hands to the Tories after 6 years of Conservative rule is understandably worrying for the Labour camp. But in this post Brexit, post Trump world, so much pre-held political wisdom must now be considered obsolete.

For Britain, everything changed on the June 23rd 2016. With the resignation of David Cameron and the subsequent removal of almost his entire cabinet, the Tories effectively re-branded themselves as a new government – with Theresa May appointing her new cabinet of Brexiteers and behaving as if she’d just won a general election.

The Brexit vote was such a watershed moment for the Tories (and for the country), that the continuity that would normally happen when a leader hands over power to their successor (i.e. Blair/Brown) was simply not present.

To the general public, Theresa May and her government represent a brand new Government – marking a clean break with the Cameron ministry that preceded it. That they are in fact one and the same (with a new leader) is a technicality lost on the public. They perceive May and Co with the same sense of novelty and vigor normally only enjoyed by a party winning power after years spent in opposition.

In effect, the Brexit result allowed the Tory party to win a landslide victory against itself – and reap all the benefits (their showing in the polls and this by-election win certainly bears that out.)

There’s no doubt that at the next general election, the winning party will be the one deemed most able to manage and deliver Brexit. The Tories already have a huge advantage here, because in the eye’s of the public they own the issue of Brexit – it is as much their pet project as the NHS is for Labour. The figureheads of the leave campaign were all Tories (with the exception of Nigel Farage) and now some of the most fervent breixiteers (David Davies, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson) occupy senior cabinet positions.

But just as this Brexit rebirth has buoyed the Tories to heights not seen in decades, their self-assuredness may yet backfire. Their popularity stems from their clear message that we will be better off out of the EU than in it.

But the public’s view on what ‘better off’ really means may not match the eventual deal that the government delivers. For many leave voters, the leave campaign’s pledge to divert £350 million a week to the NHS was a strong argument for leaving. Even stronger was the pledge to significantly reduce immigration in the short term. The government are now saying that neither of these things may be deliverable.

Eurosceptic stalwarts like Daniel Hannan argue that these were never the core arguments for Brexit – and that ‘taking back control’ from Brussels and reclaiming our democratic independence were always the priorities. But this is a fantasy. While these may have been long held ambitions for some Tory backbenchers, there’s no doubt that without UKIP’s anti-immigration rhetoric, the question of EU membership would have remained a minor issue in the eyes of the public.

The period between the referendum result on June 28th 2016 and the triggering of Article 50 at the end of March 2017 may come to be seen as the ‘phoney war’ period of the whole Brexit saga. Until the Government’s ‘have our cake and eat it’ plan is put to the EU 27, there can be no certainty of the government achieving any of the aims it has spent the last 8 months filling the airwaves with. If things go sour, and leave voters feel they’ve been hoodwinked on the NHS and immigration promises, then this Tory fairytale that delivered them Copeland could well come to a sudden end.

The UK needed a referendum – not on EU membership but on devolution

The EU referendum saw a forgotten, marginalised segment of British society send a vote of no confidence to the political establishment. Devolving some genuine democratic power back to these communities would be a positive show of respect from a distrusted elite.

The Brexit vote was a shock for most. But the outcome would have been the same for nearly any wing of the political establishment that dared to present itself for public judgement. That the EU happened to be the chosen bogeyman for this particular exercise in binary democracy is almost immaterial. A referendum ballot that read ‘do you have faith in the British Parliament to effectively carry out the will of the British people?’ would have probably fared no better.

For a long time, the perceived wisdom of modern politics was that the status quo had a built in protection – that when confronted with a choice between the safe, understood reality and the unknown, risky alternative – people would follow their human instincts and choose the path they already knew. For people to go against their nature, to ignore their leaders and experts, shows just how utterly broken status quo politics must have become in Britain.

Much of the support for Leave came from some of the poorest, most rural, deprived, working class communities in Britain. These communities have been in decline for decades. The disappearance of the UK’s heavy industries (mining, manufacturing, steel works, ship building, etc.) over the last 30+ years began this trend, but continued lack of investment from successive governments only worsened it.

When UKIP started banging the drum of immigration and EU membership, these became simpler targets to blame than the complex economic realities of liberalised markets and globalisation.

But rather than defang the political establishment and take back some control, this referendum outcome is empowering an even more centralised, authoritarian and right wing government.

Much of marginalised today’s Britain finds itself in a similar situation to Scotland during the 80s and early 90s, when an entire country was being unfairly penalised by a remote and unrepresentative political class – a class of people imposing their will on those they neither represented nor had any affinity to. In the case of Scotland this discontent sowed the seeds for the eventual rise of the SNP who now dominate Scottish politics.

The EU referendum was primarily about immigration, that is clear. But a great deal of the language of the debate was focused on power – where it resides, who wields it and whether those people are accountable. Imagine that the referendum in June 2016 had not been about leaving the EU but had instead been about devolving power to the UK regions. The electorate would have had a genuine opportunity to strip some of that perceived power away from the Westminster elite and back to them locally. Framed in the right way, this would have been an easy argument to win – a clear message about the nature of power and the positive values of sharing and democracy.

In France, Germany and many other European nations, a decentralised, federalised infrastructure already exists – where regions have genuine autonomy over their local economies and decisions. A devolved Britain would be a fairer, more equal society – both financially and socially. Gordon Brown is one of the few mainstream politicians to champion this view. Sadly he is not being widely listened to by others.

The so-called Northern Powerhouse project championed by the Tories was never more than a crowd pleasing slogan adorned with a few empty promises. And though there are some so called ‘devolution deals’ being offered to regions in the UK, in reality they are piecemeal financial tokens – worth only a tiny fraction of the actual tax revenue generated by each region. But these attempts show at least a vague awareness that Britain needs a better, fairer system of sharing economic and democratic power outside of London.

Westminster politics are often referred to as a bubble. Outside of this bubble, the rest of Britain (and especially those who have lost their opportunities for social mobility) live in a political void. Their only hope is for a mainstream political party to be brave enough to burst the bubble – to share power with the people they represent. This would not diminish the power and effectiveness of parliament but rather legitimise it.

Releasing control to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions would not only be a show of faith in our democracy but also one of respect to the people who live within it – because inviting people to participate is surely a better solution than ignoring them and waiting for them to revolt, which is exactly what happened when Britain voted to leave the EU on June 23rd.

This isn’t a referendum on the EU, it’s a choice between a moderate right or a hard right Britain

Far from being an exercise in pure democracy, the EU referendum is effectively a power-grab by opportunist forces of the hard right within the Tory party, cheered on by UKIP. Their post-Brexit ‘New Britain’ will be a Disneyland for neo-liberals, big corporations and the super-rich – with much of the social progress we have made in the last 50 years lost forever.

Much has been written about the potential damage that could be done in the event of a Brexit vote. Most of the discussion has been framed around the economy – falling house prices, the pound in freefall and the risk of being pushed to the back of the queue for international trade.

But there’s a far more worrying outcome to a Brexit vote – a substantial shift in the political landscape of Britain, one that could see us lurch drastically to the hard right as a nation. It could well be a shift so severe that it changes the political landscape forever. All that the labour movement has worked for over the last half century could be lost – social justice, social mobility, workers’ rights and equality, all fuel for the potential bonfire of rights that the Brexiters will set ablaze if they get to run the country.

Much of the blame falls squarely at the feet of the Conservative party and its inability to reconcile its natural eurosceptic position with the need to appear as a centrist, modernist party in order to appeal to the electorate.

This identity crisis could have gone unchecked if not for the rise of UKIP – who have blamed rising inequality on the changing demographics of modern society (specifically immigrants). UKIP have successfully sold much of Britain on a promise that Brexit will stop immigration and therefore provide the secure jobs, affordable housing and higher wages that poorer communities in Britain have seen disappear over the last couple of decades.

The opportunist hard right of the Tory party has also flocked to the Brexit bandwagon, with the likes of Johnson, Gove and IDS much happier to blame immigrants for the UK’s breakdown in social mobility than accept that their own brand of Thatcherite, neo-liberal economics is the real culprit.

The Tories still have no answers to this great flaw in their ideology: that more liberalised market economics has ultimately brought about greater inequality, not less. Endless privatisation and austerity has simply exacerbated the problem and many smaller, rural or working class communities (where inequality is greatest), are ready to vent their frustration by taking aim at the target UKIP has painted on the backs of immigrants.

This referendum has become an opportunity for all of those that feel forgotten or left behind to stick two fingers up to the establishment by voting to leave. The more they hear politicians bleat about the risks of leaving the EU, the more inclined they are to vote leave.

But what few seem to be concerned about currently (especially in the midst of referendum fever) is who will build this new post-Brexit Britain if we leave and what will it look like? It certainly won’t be the forces of socialism or any group remotely on the left. It’s going to be the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and Nigel Farage.

This ‘New Britain’ will be a Disneyland for neo-liberals, big corporations and the super-rich. The few checks and balances that held these forces in check will disappear – as will the workers’ rights so hard won by the labour movement over the last half century.

The secure jobs, affordable housing and higher wages that the Brexiters promise will inevitably fail to materialise. No doubt PM Boris will blame this on factors outside of our control – an international slowdown in the markets, the EU bullies giving poor little Britain a hard time by refusing to strike trade deals.

By then it will be too late. The Brexit brigade will have achieved their ultimate aim – they will have shifted the political goalposts in Britain irreversibly to the hard right, meaning they can finally fulfil their wildest fantasies: Completely privatising all public services (including the NHS), giving big corporations free reign to buy Britain wholesale and turning the UK into a playground for tax avoiding millionaires from across the globe. Meanwhile the rest of Britain will continue to see their job prospects diminish, their wages stagnate and housing becoming almost completely unaffordable.

‘If they fail us, remove them from power’ you may say – but if there’s one thing that hard right, fascist governments do excel at, it’s corrupting and fixing the system so they cannot be removed from power. Democracy will be the first thing they sell off once they make their big power grab.

If this referendum had been called by a socialist government on the grounds that we wanted to make a Britain that had better workers’ rights than the EU, banned any sort of TTIP deals and abandoned the EU’s acceptance of austerity economics – this would be an entirely different situation. But that’s not what’s happening here – this referendum is a choice between a moderate right or a hard right Britain.

Both the leave campaign’s immigration argument and the remain campaign’s economic argument may leave a sour taste in the mouths of those on the left – but a vote to leave the EU is ultimately a vote for a Tory Brexit and for a Britain that will be a far more unequal, far crueler country than the one we live in today.

Tory Election Fraud has the potential to bring down the UK Government

Far from being a minor embarrassment for the Tories, the election fraud scandal could bring about the systematic collapse of the Cameron government. Yet without mainstream media coverage it’s entirely possible that this story could vanish without a trace.

There are currently 19 Police Forces in the UK investigating 28 Conservative MP’s for election fraud. It’s alleged that a number of Tory MPs benefited from having national campaign resources diverted to their local campaigns in the 2015 general election. This number has grown considerably over the last few weeks and may continue to grow.

Looking at the coverage this story has received from the mainstream media, you could be forgiven for thinking this was simply an administrative error on the part of the Tories. Their position (currently) is that this is a misunderstanding – specifically over whether a Tory campaign ‘battlebus’ (which shuttled campaigners around the county to whichever marginal seat needed supporters) counted as a local or national spend.

Critics argue that the battlebus is just one of several pieces of local campaign spending that was deliberately labeled as part of the national campaign in order to avoid going over the spending limits for local campaigning. The principle of the laws governing election expenses is that no one party should be able to outspend all the others in the run-up to an election and effectively ‘buy’ a victory.

If Tory MPs are found guilty of not having declared their full local campaign spending (which may well mean they broke the spending limit) the consequences could be severe. It is a criminal offence for candidates to fail to declare their campaign spending in full and can carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail, or at a minimum fines.

This alone could be explosive for the Tories and in particular any MPs who are found to have broken the law. But beyond the mere embarrassment of having politicians being fined/going to jail, this story has the potential to be the most devastating scandal a government has suffered in a generation. And this relates directly to the small, 12 seat majority that allowed the Conservatives to form a government after the 2015 General Election.

Consider if just 12 of those 28 MPs being investigated are found to have broken the law. That would mean that David Cameron formed his government based on fraud. The very mandate that the Tories used to enact a rash of unpopular legislation (including the EU referendum itself) would be in tatters.

There is no precedent in modern British politics for a governing party discovering that its mandate to govern is illegal. All legislation passed since the Cameron government’s formation in 2015 could be open to forms of legal challenge. The scope of this situation is enormous.

A slew of byelections followed by a vote of no confidence in the government could bring about a snap general election – well before the next one is scheduled to happen in 2020.

With all this potential fallout it’s clear just how serious this story is – and yet it is not making the headlines. Some stories have appeared in the press (especially in the Mirror and Channel 4 News) but it has not received anywhere near the level of coverage that similar stories have done in the past (Plebgate, MP expenses, Cash-for-questions etc.)

The Guardian called this “a very legally sensitive story” and said that it is “difficult to write reams and reams of speculation.” What that means is that any mainstream newspaper even alleging that an MP has broken the law could be taken to court for libel.

In fact, it’s unlikely the mainstream media will move on this story until there are actual charges made by Police Forces against MPs. However, by then it could be too late.

The Conservatives are trying everything they can to make this story go away before any charges are made. They have already sent top lawyers to block a Police request for a time extension needed to investigate these allegations. Though their attempt failed and the police were granted their extension, there can be little doubt that behind the scenes at Conservative party HQ, teams of paid staff and legal professionals are working tirelessly to bury this story.

The hashtag #ToryElectionFraud has been trending across social media for the last few weeks and though people are discussing it, this is merely within the confines of social media – which simply does not represent the wider reach that the mainstream media has.

So it’s the job of citizen journalists, bloggers and anyone willing to spread the word to keep this story alive and move it into the public consciousness – otherwise, without the mainstream media’s involvement, this story runs the risk of doing exactly what the Tories want – disappearing without a trace.

A coalition may be Labour’s best hope of winning in 2020

With a virtually impossible 40% target and a quarter of voters now supporting smaller parties, Labour may need to consider a formal coalition deal if it is serious about defeating the Tories in 2020.

A recent analysis of the 2015 election result by Lewis Baston claims that in order to win even a small majority  in 2020, Labour will need a bigger swing than it achieved in its 1997 landslide victory.

That’s a sobering fact to absorb. It means that rather than the 35% vote share that Labour targeted in 2015, it’s going to need to aim for 40% instead.

The problem is, the evidence is starting to suggest that NO party in Britain now stands much chance of winning at least 40% in an election – chiefly because of the the rise of smaller parties.

Consider that the Tories won only 36.8% of the vote in 2015. A result this low would have lost them every election prior to 2005. With the economy still on thin ice, the deficit still unpaid and many unanswered questions around EU membership, immigration and Cameron’s successor, it would seem unlikely that they are in a strong position to better their 2015 result in 2020. Their win last May was no landslide and did not happen because of a resurgent wave of English conservatism amongst the electorate (it had more to do with the collapse of the Lib Dems and the success of the SNP).

Meanwhile 25% of the 2015 vote went to smaller parties (i.e. not Tory/Lab/LD). Back in 1997 that figure was less than 10%. With the continued levels of support that the SNP and UKIP seem to be enjoying, there’s every reason to think that this trend will continue. Indeed, the continuing success of nationalist parties across Europe as a whole shows no signs of abating.

It’s futile to imply that there is a magic strategy that Labour can employ to win over voters from such a disparate range of parties (Green, SNP, UKIP, Lib Dem) while also winning Tory/Labour swing voters. Labour can’t appeal to all those groups (who want and represent different things) and have coherent policies.

This challenge would exist for whoever took over as Labour leader last year – swapping Corbyn for Burnham or Cooper would not change or solve the problem.

Instead it may be time to genuinely start thinking about coalitions and alliances. Labour’s natural ideological allies are the Lib Dems and the Greens – parties who are unlikely to do well on their own, but if voters know they are part of an alliance (and could end up in government) could perform much better (especially if deals are made to not stand against one another in key seats).

But all this would need to happen well in advance of the 2020 election. Without a plan and a proper agreement, the right-wing press would use the opportunity to sow seeds of fear amongst the electorate – just as they did last year when the possibility of a Lab/SNP coalition became apparent.

Some within Labour may wince at the idea of shacking up with the Lib Dems (probably less so the Greens) but the idea is not without precedent. Prior to the 1997 general election, Labour held talks with the Lib Dems about a potential Labour-Lib Dem coalition. Back in those dark days of the early 90s (after John Major’s surprise 1992 victory) there was a view among the broad left that nothing could budge the Tories from power.

Fast forward 20 years and we find ourselves in a surprisingly similar situation – an unpopular, ideological Tory government presiding over damaging cuts and a teetering economy – shoring up their position by gerrymandering the UK’s democratic process (boundary review, electoral register changes, etc.) There are fears among the left that the Tories will engineer a political status quo whereby it’s almost impossible for them to be removed from office (barring a catastrophic economic disaster on their part).

If Labour is serious about defeating the Tories in 2020, then a coalition may be the answer they are looking for. It’s an uncomfortable truth to accept – but as many of the anti-Corbyn wing have said: Labour should primarily be seeking to govern, by any means necessary. And in the 21st century, that probably means making alliances with smaller parties, not playing a game of leadership musical chairs.

If Jeremy Corbyn is serious about nuclear disarmament, he needs a strategy

Presented as an in/out choice, it’s unlikely the British electorate would vote to scrap nuclear weapons. This could be a thorny issue if it become a cornerstone policy of a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party. But a proper strategy, with a timetable for downgrading the UK’s nuclear status could be a better way of winning the argument.

It’s now becoming clear that one of the key pieces of ammunition the Tories will use against Jeremy Corbyn (should he become Labour leader) is that his anti-nuclear weapons position is a threat to the UK’s security.

Much of the British public are resigned to the belief that nuclear weapons are a necessary evil – ensuring no enemy would ever dare attack us for fear of nuclear retaliation. This view persists as the status quo – regardless of the fact that nuclear weapons have been of little value in any British military conflict in the last 30 years.

A YouGov poll from 2013 found that only 29% of the public were in favour of scrapping nuclear weapons altogether. One reason the pro-nuclear view has taken hold so firmly, is because the possession of nuclear weapons is usually presented as an ultimatum – you either have them or you don’t. And as one of the five NATO nuclear-weapon states and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it’s long been taken as a given that the UK will always remain a nuclear-armed country.

However, there is another way this issue can be approached – one that specifically side-steps the in/out conundrum. Instead, a roadmap to British nuclear disarmament could be presented as a staggered, strategic process that could see the UK gradually downgrade its nuclear weapons status over a number of years.

A framework for this already exists (albeit in a patchwork fashion) within NATO. Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey are all part of NATO’s nuclear weapons sharing programme. Under this agreement, the United States loans weapons and launch equipment, but the equipment remains the property of the US. Considering Britain’s Trident missiles are already wholly manufactured by a US company (Lockheed Martin) and the nuclear warheads are co-manufactured by the USA and UK – this move to weapons sharing rather than weapons owning would not be as dramatic a shift as it sounds. Most importantly, it would be highly symbolic of Britain’s aspiration towards disarmament.

Germany’s participation in NATO’s nuclear weapons sharing programme is the most useful precedent though. The German reunification treaty of 1990 made it a permanent Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone. This means that the Germans take the weapons sharing relationship a step further than the other four members – with the German army being a non-nuclear force (US-loaned or otherwise). It does however, posses a number of weapons systems that could be adapted to deliver nuclear weapons. If war was declared and a decision was made, Germany could very quickly take delivery of nuclear weapons from another NATO state or even manufacture its own – Germany certainly possess the resources and technological expertise to do so.

The German scenario shows how Britain can continue to present itself as an effective part of NATO, even without nuclear weapons stored and armed on its soil. This ability to quickly go from non-nuclear to nuclear-armed in a relatively short space of time, would appease the more hawkish voices in Britain but still be a dramatic step away from the current status quo.

The above suggestions could seem like a big set of compromise to those fully committed to complete nuclear disarmament, but small steps in the right direction are better than no steps at all. And considering how entrenched in British minds this issue is, a complete overnight disarmament would never take hold with voters. But a strategic downgrading – first moving to a NATO weapons sharing arrangement, then to maintaining only launch systems (with no weapons) and finally a removal of the launch systems all together – represents the kind of journey the British public could conceivably take. And in this case, a slow journey is preferable to a quick ultimatum – especially when you know the answer will be no.