Saturday, 25 March 2017

But for the Grace of God

Let’s get something clear right off the bat. This wasn’t the piece I was expecting or even planning to write.

I wanted to do a piece about how I didn’t want to hear any more about Khalid Masood/Adam Ajao. That I didn’t care that he was just “one of the lads” and played five a side football. That I wanted nothing more but to expunge him, permanently from the national consciousness and focus instead on the things that really matter. The people he killed, the people he hurt and the people who helped them. He doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t matter. They do.

But then I realise how wrong that view was. We need to know what he was like growing up, because it helps us understand one very important thing. Nobody is born wanting to do something like this. He liked football, like thousands of other people. He drank down the pub, like thousands of other people. For most of his life he was just like the rest of us. And then something changed.

This is something we need to hold on to if we are to follow the Prime Minister’s call to remain undivided as a nation. There are already people both in this country and abroad, who want to turn us against one another. Who want us to fear those neighbours of ours who go to a Mosque instead of a Church. Who wish to continue stoking up xenophobia and Islamophobia for their own political and monetary ends. The more we let them do that, the more divided we become.

The aim of these people – be they idiots on Twitter or muppets on the far right – is to make us see terrorists not as people, but as some strange monolithic Other, who all think and feel the same way and have all been bought up to hate those they are fighting against. While that may be true, we also know that lumping everyone together on basis of a shared religion is a ridiculous as claiming everyone in Manchester is a Man United fan on the basis of a shared city. Everyone who commits an act of terror, made the journey from normal citizen to terrorist in their own way, and while I am not condoning them in any way shape or form, the more we see them as people, each with their own thoughts and agendas, the easier it will be to find a way to defeat them.


I would still prefer to focus on the story of PC Keith Palmer or the heroics of Tobias Ellwood MP, but I have come to realise that the more we understand about Khalid Masood, the more we understand what drives a person to commit such a terrible act. And – at least as far as I am concerned – we learn how close any of us could come to going to same way, were it not for the grace of God and a handful of different choices. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Back on the Road to Power.

The Labour Party has a problem. A big one.
I’m not just talking about the current leadership battle between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith and the all-out war that seems to have broken out between the Corbynistas and the rest of the Labour Party though that is a problem. I’m talking about a problem which Ed Miliband’s policy chief Jon Cruddas identified in his post-election inquiry.

Labour is losing the support of its base.

This was demonstrated with startling and painful clarity during the EU referendum. If you look at the results almost all the areas that voted most heavily in favour of leave (with the exception of course of London and Scotland) were Labour heartlands in the north of England and Wales. In his speech to the Mile End institute in September last year Jon Cruddas described the problem like this
 Labour is losing its working class support and UKIP benefits. Since 2005 voters who are socially conservative are the most likely to have deserted Labour. They value home, family and their country. They feel their cultural identity is under threat. They want a sense of belonging and national renewal. Tradition, rules and social order are important to them. Labour no longer represents their lives.”

Cruddas’ point was quite clearly that those who Labour used to rely on to get themselves elected can no longer be relied on automatically. Of course there are still half a dozen donkey seats out there but no-where near the number that there once were. During the Blair years Labour ran after the middle class commuter vote with such fervour that it left its main support behind. But that’s not the only problem. Those old supporters could probably be tempted back into the Labour fold if Labour actually stood for something, but at the moment it appears people struggled to understand what Labour is for, beyond just being against the Tories. In the same speech Cruddas’ also had this to say.

“Since 2010 Labour has marched decisively away from the views of voters on issues that are fundamental to our electoral prospects: immigration, personal financial interest, welfare, public services, and business. In short, that Labour is out of step with the wider electorate and this divide is growing.”   

So this is Labour’s problem. It doesn’t have half the support it once did, and those that do support it don’t know where it stands. If at some point in the future Labour hope to be in government it has to stand for something, and something that is uniquely Labour.

So how does it go about doing this?

I think Owen Smith has made a good start talking about a “British New Deal” and stating that he wants to rewrite Labour’s sacred clause IV to talk about inequality. But it’s easy to talk about inequality and harder to deal with it. So how should Labour go about dealing with the staggering levels of inequality in this country? How do you create a manifesto dedicated to eradicating inequality?

For me you have to go back to Beveridge.
For those who aren’t ware the Beveridge Report was a report put together by social reformer William Beveridge which served as the cornerstone for the Attlee Governments welfare reforms. In it Beveridge identified what he called “the five giants of evil,” ignorance, want, disease, idleness and squalor.
Those five giants while much weaker than previously I think are still very much prevalent in this day and age. This is what I think a manifesto based around Beveridge’s ideas would look like.
Ignorance
Education, Education, Education was one of Tony Blair’s famous lines. Education has to be one of the most important and vital things that a government can invest in. Decent education easily available to all can be the key to turning someone’s entire life around.   A Labour party that invests heavily in education will be one that has demonstrated its interest in levelling the playing field. However this cannot just involve putting people on the school to university conveyor belt. Resources needed to be invested in apprenticeships, diplomas and further education so that everyone can find the form of education that suits them.
Want
The gap between the rich and the poor is widening as well know, and food bank usage has risen by a startling amount. Any future Labour government will need to address this, presumably with spending on the welfare state. However as was pointed out in Cruddas’ inquiry one of the things that concerns people about the Labour party is that they just wanted to give people money for nothing, so the party will have to come up with a way to make work pay, while still leaving a suitable safety net in place for those with no other option but to rely on welfare.
Disease
The National Health Service is one of Labours proudest achievements and so it should be. But it cannot be denied that it is also to a certain extent overworked and underfunded. A future Labour government will have to find ways to increase funding and recruitment to the NHS as well as at the same time investing in its future, in new hospitals and new technology. This may mean some form of public/private partnership but this does not mean that the NHS should be privatised. Whatever happens it’s free at point of use nature must be maintained.

Idleness

For many people, especially those out of work, lack of something to occupy time is a great problem. A future Labour government should seek to invest in new volunteer schemes, possibly tied into the welfare system in order to help give people a purpose as well as extra skills that they can use to find a job. It should also work with local councils to invest more money in sports clubs and local events to give children and young people somewhere to go and something to do as well. This will in turn hopefully create a sense of community cohesion, as well as keep young people off the streets, which may help reduce crime numbers.

Squalor

Housing is an issue that needs to be addressed. Not only do more houses need to be built, but with regards to the rental market, a future Labour government would be well placed to introduce new regulations for landlords in order to ensure that their properties are well maintained and suitable for habitation, as well as new laws regarding rental prices, in order to prevent the exploitation of the young. However squalor does not just refer to housing. It would also be sensible for Labour to look at urban regeneration projects in the future, in order to improve towns and cities, especially looking at the state of council estates. Again if fresh life was breathed into these places and people took pride in where they lived, this may help with crime figures.

Above all though, Labour should bear in mind the old saying that “all politics is local.” For too long, politicians from both parties, have attempted to create one size fits all laws, forgetting that the needs of Hull are different from the needs of Cambridge and the needs of York are different from the needs of Truro. Any future government should work with the local governments (preferably devolve more powers to them first) and help create laws and policies that fit what the country is actually like, not just what policy makers think the country is like.


Of course all of this is just my opinion. But it is one way that Labour could get out of the ditch it is currently in, and get back on the road to power. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Redkip, Middle Class Labour, and a possible realignment.

If the recent referendum has shown one thing, it’s that the traditional beliefs about where our political parties draw their support from are beginning to fray at the edges. In fact it could even be said that they are unravelling rather quickly. I believe that somewhere on the horizon is the biggest realignment of British politics since the First World War. So what does this realignment involve and why has it happened?

The Conservatives
On the surface the Conservatives appear to be a rock solid party, the rock around which the shifting sands of Westminster move. To an extent that is because the word Conservative means many things to many people and the Tory party contains many differing groups, from the One Nationers to the Thatcherites and everything in-between. But the basic concept of allowing people to get on without too much government interference and not trying to change anything too quickly, appeal to a lot of people. This softly softly ideology is another reason I think why the Conservatives continue to hang on. 

The UK is by its nature a conservative country. While we may occasionally adopt a more left wing outlook, when the going gets tough we inevitably return to the safe arms of Nanny. This may well explain why in the 71 years since the end of the war, the Tories have been in government for 41 of them. While on the surface it may seem as if all Tories are aristocrats and lawyers we must remember that Mrs Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter and John Major’s working class roots were the centre point of the 1992 general election campaign. Conservatives can be found anywhere, and so they have a permanent source of supporters to mine.

Never has this been made clearer than by the European referendum results. If you look at areas that voted most heavily for Leave with the exception of Scotland, they were right in Labour’s heartlands, Wales and the industrial north. The places Labour need to take in order to win back power. This is on top of the Scottish Conservatives becoming the official opposition in Scotland earlier in the year. I suspect in the next few years we will see both the Conservatives and other right wing parties chip away at Labour support in these areas.

This does not mean however that I don’t think the Tories are indestructible. While I will go more into the future of UKIP below, I believe that it is likely that following the EU referendum we will see a large influx of former UKIPers returning to the Tories. This influx of hard line Eurosceptics, who will almost certainly fall into the “Faith, Family and Flag” camp. Nick Boles has already suggested the creation of a National Liberal party as a conservative counterpoint to Labours alliance with the Co-Op party and I believe that as the Tories head further to the right, this party may take off, taking with it the majority of One Nation Tories.
Labour
Labour on the other hand is in some serious trouble right now. As mentioned above while Labour is largely a Europhilic party, the areas that that they rely for their bedrock support have quite clearly gone the other way. This combined with the fact that they have been all but eliminated in Scotland by the SNP means that Labour will possibly struggle in the near future to gain power, unless it can figure out why they have lost so much support.
So why have they?
I believe the problem lies with Tony Blair’s New Labour. Following eighteen years of Tory government Labour were desperate to get back into power, however they knew they could not do it solely through their industrial heartlands and so they moved right in order to appeal to the commuter belt in the Home Counties. And for thirteen years, with the Tories in disarray it worked, and they didn’t worry about their old stomping grounds, believing (mistakenly) as it turned out that they could hold onto them, as they had no-where else to go. However those communities have begun to feel neglected and used and are now starting to pledge their loyalty to other parties, leaving Labour with no support upon which to call. So what’s the solution?
As strange as it sounds, I think Labour are going to have to take a leaf from the Lib Dem’s book. Accept that they may not be in government for a while, maybe for the next ten years, and focus on building up community support and community leaders. Show people that Labour are capable of running local government and then go from there. Stop taking activists for granted and respect the opinions of the members. However loss of support may not be Labour’s only problem.
Jeremy Corbyn has a massive mandate from the people. While his views may not be that of the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (as this last week has shown) or even that of a majority of the population, this mandate must be recognised. Labour must find some way of reconciling its left and right wing, and finally ending the battle between them that has been going on for decades. If they don’t then they face a situation worse than that of the 1980s. There is a very real chance that the Labour party could split, very soon, which would not only guarantee Tory dominance for decades, but possibly remove left wing opinions from the national debate.
What could such a split look like? I suspect the line would be drawn between the old left wing socialists like Corbyn and the Third Way Social Democrats (the so called Blairites). So instead of one whole Labour party we would end up with say a small Socialist rump, and a larger Progressive Party which would probably hold onto the majority of the Labour party machinery, but would find itself discredited in the eyes of the electorate and which may struggle to define itself as a separate entity.
The Other Parties
With the announcement yesterday that Nigel Farage is stepping down as leader of UKIP, the parties future is a lot less certain than it once was. Once I would have said that with the UK about to leave the EU, UKIP would wind itself up, its lifetime aim having been achieved, but I think that is less likely to happen now. It will stick around if only to act as a pressure group during Brexit negotiations. But what form it will take and what ideology it will pursue depend on who is elected leader.
The Nationalist parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are likely to go from strength to strength.
The wildcard here is the Liberal Democrats. I think the Lib Dems have the capacity to do quite well in the coming years. They have the advantage of being able to be all things to all people, with their views on electoral reform, clean energy and civil liberties, appeal to the middle class graduate set and their community activism allows them to tap into less well-off areas too. However the stink from the coalition, and the fact that they are positioning themselves as pro-European shortly after membership in the EU was rejected may cause problems. In a few election cycles though, they may be worth watching, especially if Labour continues to splinter.
One Final Option
One final option of course is a new political party, not just spun off from one, but from many. A centrist party made up of liberal Tories, right wing Labourites and the Liberals. However this is extremely unlikely to happen, and will probably remain a fantasy of armchair analysts and counterfactual history fans.
In conclusion, it is difficult to predict what Westminster will look like in ten years. It may well look exactly the same. But I am fairly convinced that the ideology of some mainstream parties will have changed and that some new parties may well have emerged. We, who are interested in this sort of thing, can only wait and see what they are like.


Redkip, Middle Class Labour, and a possible realignment.

If the recent referendum has shown one thing, it’s that the traditional beliefs about where our political parties draw their support from are beginning to fray at the edges. In fact it could even be said that they are unravelling rather quickly. I believe that somewhere on the horizon is the biggest realignment of British politics since the First World War. So what does this realignment involve and why has it happened?

The Conservatives
On the surface the Conservatives appear to be a rock solid party, the rock around which the shifting sands of Westminster move. To an extent that is because the word Conservative means many things to many people and the Tory party contains many differing groups, from the One Nationers to the Thatcherites and everything in-between. But the basic concept of allowing people to get on without too much government interference and not trying to change anything too quickly, appeal to a lot of people. This softly softly ideology is another reason I think why the Conservatives continue to hang on. 

The UK is by its nature a conservative country. While we may occasionally adopt a more left wing outlook, when the going gets tough we inevitably return to the safe arms of Nanny. This may well explain why in the 71 years since the end of the war, the Tories have been in government for 41 of them. While on the surface it may seem as if all Tories are aristocrats and lawyers we must remember that Mrs Thatcher was a grocer’s daughter and John Major’s working class roots were the centre point of the 1992 general election campaign. Conservatives can be found anywhere, and so they have a permanent source of supporters to mine.

Never has this been made clearer than by the European referendum results. If you look at areas that voted most heavily for Leave with the exception of Scotland, they were right in Labour’s heartlands, Wales and the industrial north. The places Labour need to take in order to win back power. This is on top of the Scottish Conservatives becoming the official opposition in Scotland earlier in the year. I suspect in the next few years we will see both the Conservatives and other right wing parties chip away at Labour support in these areas.

This does not mean however that I don’t think the Tories are indestructible. While I will go more into the future of UKIP below, I believe that it is likely that following the EU referendum we will see a large influx of former UKIPers returning to the Tories. This influx of hard line Eurosceptics, who will almost certainly fall into the “Faith, Family and Flag” camp. Nick Boles has already suggested the creation of a National Liberal party as a conservative counterpoint to Labours alliance with the Co-Op party and I believe that as the Tories head further to the right, this party may take off, taking with it the majority of One Nation Tories.
Labour
Labour on the other hand is in some serious trouble right now. As mentioned above while Labour is largely a Europhilic party, the areas that that they rely for their bedrock support have quite clearly gone the other way. This combined with the fact that they have been all but eliminated in Scotland by the SNP means that Labour will possibly struggle in the near future to gain power, unless it can figure out why they have lost so much support.
So why have they?
I believe the problem lies with Tony Blair’s New Labour. Following eighteen years of Tory government Labour were desperate to get back into power, however they knew they could not do it solely through their industrial heartlands and so they moved right in order to appeal to the commuter belt in the Home Counties. And for thirteen years, with the Tories in disarray it worked, and they didn’t worry about their old stomping grounds, believing (mistakenly) as it turned out that they could hold onto them, as they had no-where else to go. However those communities have begun to feel neglected and used and are now starting to pledge their loyalty to other parties, leaving Labour with no support upon which to call. So what’s the solution?
As strange as it sounds, I think Labour are going to have to take a leaf from the Lib Dem’s book. Accept that they may not be in government for a while, maybe for the next ten years, and focus on building up community support and community leaders. Show people that Labour are capable of running local government and then go from there. Stop taking activists for granted and respect the opinions of the members. However loss of support may not be Labour’s only problem.
Jeremy Corbyn has a massive mandate from the people. While his views may not be that of the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (as this last week has shown) or even that of a majority of the population, this mandate must be recognised. Labour must find some way of reconciling its left and right wing, and finally ending the battle between them that has been going on for decades. If they don’t then they face a situation worse than that of the 1980s. There is a very real chance that the Labour party could split, very soon, which would not only guarantee Tory dominance for decades, but possibly remove left wing opinions from the national debate.
What could such a split look like? I suspect the line would be drawn between the old left wing socialists like Corbyn and the Third Way Social Democrats (the so called Blairites). So instead of one whole Labour party we would end up with say a small Socialist rump, and a larger Progressive Party which would probably hold onto the majority of the Labour party machinery, but would find itself discredited in the eyes of the electorate and which may struggle to define itself as a separate entity.
The Other Parties
With the announcement yesterday that Nigel Farage is stepping down as leader of UKIP, the parties future is a lot less certain than it once was. Once I would have said that with the UK about to leave the EU, UKIP would wind itself up, its lifetime aim having been achieved, but I think that is less likely to happen now. It will stick around if only to act as a pressure group during Brexit negotiations. But what form it will take and what ideology it will pursue depend on who is elected leader.
The Nationalist parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are likely to go from strength to strength.
The wildcard here is the Liberal Democrats. I think the Lib Dems have the capacity to do quite well in the coming years. They have the advantage of being able to be all things to all people, with their views on electoral reform, clean energy and civil liberties, appeal to the middle class graduate set and their community activism allows them to tap into less well-off areas too. However the stink from the coalition, and the fact that they are positioning themselves as pro-European shortly after membership in the EU was rejected may cause problems. In a few election cycles though, they may be worth watching, especially if Labour continues to splinter.
One Final Option
One final option of course is a new political party, not just spun off from one, but from many. A centrist party made up of liberal Tories, right wing Labourites and the Liberals. However this is extremely unlikely to happen, and will probably remain a fantasy of armchair analysts and counterfactual history fans.
In conclusion, it is difficult to predict what Westminster will look like in ten years. It may well look exactly the same. But I am fairly convinced that the ideology of some mainstream parties will have changed and that some new parties may well have emerged. We, who are interested in this sort of thing, can only wait and see what they are like.


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Leaks and Populism

Sorry it's taken so long to post this.


What links Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange with Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. On the face of it, not very much but I think there might actually be a link, however small.

If we could go back to the beginning of the summer and ask people what the likelihood was that a seemingly life long, left wing backbencher would be elected Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition by a larger margin than Tony Blair they would most likely tell us that we were crazy. That it wasn’t going to happen. But it did.

Similarly if we could go back to last year and tell people that the person coming in second behind Hilary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination would be self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders – and what’s more that a few weeks ago he was within seven percentage points of her in the crucial state of Iowa - once again we would probably be told that we were engaging in a bit of wish fulfilment. But that’s what’s happening.

This is the world we now live in, where the populist politicians who speak their minds, hold to their own views and aren’t tied to the party line seem to be doing well, seem to be being successful, whereas the career politicians and the party loyalists – at least in Labour’s case – can’t break through.

But the question therefore becomes where this populist support come from has. It seems that those who aren’t talking business as usual are finding support that previously was not there.  So what has happened in the intervening years?

Now I’m not saying that the actions of Snowden, Manning and Assange have contributed to this, but over the last few years the various files that have been leaked by Edward Snowden and by Julian Assange through WikiLeaks have revealed several things about world governments and how they have been acting, which while many of them may have been perfectly legitimate, - depending of course on your point of view – has left many people feeling unhappy with the their current governments and how politicians act and behave.

Therefore it makes at least some sense that come the Labour leadership election and the Democratic primaries – the first real opportunity in the last couple of years to change the direction of major governing parties – that those speaking against “business as usual” would start to come out on top. They are tapping into the dissatisfaction that younger people feel about the state of the world, as shown quite starkly in the leaked documents and reminding them that there is another option available.

Now I am not suggesting that this is the only reason for the sudden success of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, nor am I even suggesting that it is the reason. Rather I believe that the actions of Snowden, Manning and Assange contributed in at least some way to the political earthquakes that we now see going on around us and in America.

 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Rhodes' Statue must Stand


Let me start off by stating categorically that I am not a racist in any way and I do not agree with or condone the actions of the apartheid government of South Africa. But I am also someone who has a big big problem with and anyone who thinks we can or should ignore the past.

This is why I have a problem with the campaign to remove Cecil Rhodes’ statue from the front of Oriel College Oxford.

I can understand why of course the students who have started this campaign have started it. I can imagine it must be hard to walk past it every day. But let’s be honest for a minute. If we start taking down every statue in Oxford of someone with a dodgy past or who has done something that will upset someone, then we might as well start taking them all down. To quote Alexander Pope, to err is human. Yes the things Rhodes may have done were bad, but nowhere near as bad as the actions of others.

And let’s look at exactly what he did. While it is claimed that Rhodes is a founder of Apartheid, this is not born out by facts. In fact while it is true that he did enact certain rules during his time as Prime Minister of Cape town, that could be considered the beginnings of Apartheid, such as restricting who could vote in South African elections, he was really only one of the architects. Another was Winston Churchill while he was undersecretary for colonial affaires. And no-one is going to start calling for the removal of Churchill’s statue from Parliament Square are they?

 Rhodes was no more racist or imperialist than anyone else at the upper echelons of British society was at that time. In fact when he died he was buried in what is now Zimbabwe and was the first white man to ever be given the Ndebele people’s royal salute. To argue that because Rhodes held view typical of the time his statue should be taken down is about as fatuous as those suggestions that any buildings or streets in Bristol connected to slaver be renamed. It’s history. It’s our history. We should learn to respect it, even if we aren’t proud of it.

In fact if Rhodes is going to be remembered for anything today, it should be for the scholarship endowment that bears his name. The Rhodes Scholarship is meant to allow students from around the world to come and study at Oxford in the hope that they can return to their native countries and make them better places. In Rhodes words he hoped that the scholarship would help to “render war impossible.” Notable Rhodes scholars include former US President Bill Clinton and Bram Fischer, anti-apartheid activist who incidentally had no problem taking Rhodes’ money and running with it.

I would argue that any sins Rhodes may have committed have long since been paid for by the good work done by Rhodes Scholars. This is what he should be remembered for. As for his statue, it should be left in peace.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

It's the Taking Part that Counts


It hasn’t been a great summer for British sport. England falling before the quarter finals at the World Cup, Andy Murray crashing out of Wimbledon and Mark Cavendish taking himself out of the Tour De France in the first stage have all, I would suspect, left British sports fans very unhappy.

And yet……

And yet despite the failure of our national teams, this hasn’t seemed to stop people from rolling out in force to support our boys regardless of the end result. Thousands of pounds were spent on tickets for Wimbledon and the World Cup, not to mention the amount spent getting football fans to Brazil. And the coverage of the first stage of the Tour was staggering to watch. Crowds packed three or four layers deep lined the route, not only in the towns that the cyclists passed through, but out in the countryside as well. In fact, on the moors the crowds were so large that there was only a very narrow gap for the competitors to pass through.

What is it about sport that seems to inspire this much devotion in the populace? The same was true of the Olympics two years ago. Even people like me – who find sport confusing and really really don’t get the appeal of it -  found ourselves drawn to the Olympics. Not just the opening and closing ceremonies mind, but the actual events. “How did we do in the X?” words that the rest of the year rarely leave my mouth suddenly became a central part of my vocabulary.

I imagine that in the end it is all about togetherness. Sport can be the ultimate unifier. Most sports – with the exception of some like grouse shooting and polo – are unaffected by such things as class, education or background. At a football match it doesn’t matter if you are high flying city stockbroker or a milkman. All that matters is which team you support and what goes on down on the pitch for ninety minutes. Then at the end of the day, regardless of where you are going home to, all that matters is who won and who lost.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we aren’t disappointed when we lose. We still want to win of course, to show that we are better than everyone else – especially as we invented most of these sports – but at the end of the day, as cliché as it sounds, it really is the taking part that counts.

Sport brings us together in a way that not much else can. It gives something solid, real and straightforward to invest our collective belief in. At the end of the day, whatever else happens, someone will win, someone will lose, and we’ll either be miserable or ecstatic. But whatever the result, for ninety minutes, or four or so hours, or however many sets, the country will be joined together, all believing in something, all able to forget the scandal and the austerity. And maybe in this current climate, we all need something to do that.