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  • Lawrence Bailey

There’s nothing magical about majorities

No apologies from me for returning to the subject of Brexit - or commenting on the shambolic situation that currently prevails.

The only good thing to be said about cabinet wrangling over strategy is that it at least reflects the level of disagreement among the rest of us.

That seems to be lost on the “We won, you lost, move on” brigade, some of whom have taken exception to my views.

Clearly they don’t grasp the nature of politics which is that the losing side in any election starts working to reverse things within moments of the result being called.

And while we’re on the subject, there’s nothing sacred about a mathematical majority either. A majority once thought the sun revolved around a flat earth. A majority supported the invasion of Iraq because they were told the place was bulging with weapons of mass destruction.

If democracy is about anything then it is the freedom of citizens and the media to question whether past choices were based on flawed information.

I’ve spoken with people who thought the EU referendum was no more than a vote for deregulation; a move away from pesky eurocrats. No-one mentioned ‘divorce bills’ or a further prolonged period of austerity to pay for it.

I hear references to ‘sovereignty’ by a MP who happens to own a sizeable chunk of Buckinghamshire. What he doesn’t mention is that so-called sovereignty began to disappear the moment a batch of privatised UK water companies got sold off to a French-owned consortium – and in which the MP’s family happens to have substantial offshore interests.

Yes, I’m angry that we’ve come to this pass because David Cameron thought it was an expedient wheeze to juggle his party’s ideological infighting with the nation’s economic future.

I’m equally peeved at suggestions within Labour that its politically disloyal or divisive to proclaim the act of leaving to be a stonking great mistake.

One of the hardest things for anyone to do is to admit that they’ve been taken for a ride. But regardless of how sincere the views involved may be, those who still insist on pushing the car over the cliff should not expect help.


What’s driving the green machine?

There’s been quite a lot of media coverage lately about the growth of the electric car business. What intrigues me though is how the impetus has suddenly switched from manufacturers to governments.

The prospect of France and the UK banning new petrol and diesel motors within a couple of decades is challenging enough.

But it’s the switch by smog-bound Chinese consumers where things get complicated. That’s because an upsurge in demand for electricity would fall on predominantly coal-fired power stations.

Neither the US government or its motor giants appear signed up to the new all-out green agenda. Hybrids currently rule the niche market there.

Wall Street is also nervous about geo-political ripples that could topple a few Middle East governments. Witness, they say, what’s happened in Venezuela ever since oil prices started to fall a few years ago.

The feeling is that is one of those instances where technology produces unintended consequences and politicians only have half the picture. It’s hard to disagree.

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