Donald Trump will be the Republican’s Presidential nominee. Bernie Sanders is giving Hilary Clinton a real fright in the race for the Democrat’s nomination. Jeremy Corbyn astonished the commentators with his victory last year in the Labour leadership contest. The Austrians have just chosen a radical green candidate for President over a far right alternative. The middle of the road Austrian parties were nowhere to be seen.

All this tells us that there is deep disillusionment with conventional politicians. People don’t believe they have the answers. Why is this? I think the underlying economic reason is that Europe and North America are mature economies now. The post war boom when we dominated the world is long gone. Children will no longer be richer than their parents because the easy economic gains are no longer available. The global economy means that developing countries are, rightly, taking a bigger share of the cake. They are building the ships, finishing textiles, producing the raw materials. We have to focus on sophisticated added value goods at the high end of technology and intellectual property.

Economies are subject to global forces. No individual politician can promise to resist. Their power is diminished but they keep on promising and disillusionment has set in. At the moment the party system in Britain remains intact but it is not fit for purpose. We need a four party system in England, not two. Conservative right, Conservative left, hard left and a centre left could end the frustration people feel at the moment.

More immediately the American political system is under strain. Donald Trump should really be running as an independent, the Republican Party may not survive his candidature. Sanders styles himself as a socialist. Perhaps America needs a Corbyn type party to offer a radical alternative to what many young American Democrats regard as the uninspiring position of Hilary Clinton.

Finally we must acknowledge that a contributor to the disillusionment is the internet and social media. It is right and welcome that there is a much wider discussion and scrutiny of politicians. It is also true that the commentary can be ill informed and destructive based on a belief that anyone in public office is on the make or self interested.

The current EU debate with its increasingly aggressive tone and overblown claims won’t be helping our increasingly fragile politicians.


Do you remember the huge debate over whether we should bomb Syria? The Prime Minister got his way. Reporters were dispatched to Cyprus to see the first planes fly out, then silence. Are we still bombing? How frequently and to what effect? The media caravan does move swiftly on.


The coverage of the Premier League really is disproportionate in our media. Division 1 and 2 is particularly badly covered. BBC Radio Five Live have been running a promo this weekend saying the domestic season is done and dusted. Well not for the Green Army it ain’t.

I support Plymouth Argyle who are off to Wembley on Monday for the Fourth (let’s call it what it is) Division Play Off Final. 40,000 members of the Green Army may be there with a sizeable contingent from AFC Wimbledon. How much coverage will we get in the national papers and on Radio Five Live?

Not much if the coverage of our semi final duel with Portsmouth is anything to go by. Over thirty thousand people watched the two legs between these old dockyard rivals, yet barely a mention on national radio and TV.

The nation will want The Wombles to continue their fairytale rise to play Milton Keynes (let’s call them what they are) in Div 3 (let’s call it what it is) next year, but I’m hoping for victory for the Green Army.





What an appalling start to the New Year it has been for British politics.

David Cameron’s decision to allow Cabinet members to split on the E.U Referendum is a flat contradiction of what he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr a year ago. The Prime Minister is a brazen pragmatist. What he said yesterday does not matter. He can busk it with his effortless Etonian charm. Now we must wait and see how many Cabinet Ministers take the opportunity to rubbish the deal Cameron gets from his negotiations. If Home Secretary Theresa May, and careerist Boris Johnson join the perennial anti EU Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling then the Prime Minister has a serious problem and so do those of us who want to stay in. Cameron will deserve it if the campaign becomes acrimonious and the Tory Party is split for a generation.


That is what happened to Labour soon after Harold Wilson allowed his Cabinet to split on the 1975 referendum. Within six years Cabinet members who had campaigned to stay in formed the Social Democrat Party whilst the Labour Party descended into faction fighting. It vowed never to return to those days when it won power sixteen long years later but this week we have seen in the longest reshuffle in history that Labour is going to be unfit for office until 2025 or 2030. What a betrayal of working class people! From the Blair-Brown feud to the current shambles, both left and right in the party have let ordinary people down big time.


Apart from the EU Referendum which is likely in June, what else have we to look forward to this year?


Kennedy, Bush, Clinton; it is amazing that in a country of 320 million people that it is quite possible that between 1989 and 2024 either a Clinton or a Bush will have been President of the United States apart from Barack Obama.

It looks almost certain that Hilary Clinton will win in November because the Republicans have narrowed their support base at a time when America is becoming more multicultural. It is possible the Republicans will choose Donald Trump but even if it is Florida senator Marco Rubio, they are still likely to be handicapped by their reluctance to accept the USA as it is.


Labour are likely to be heavily beaten in the Scottish government elections but if they can win the London Mayor race and hold their very strong position in local government in the North, there will be no immediate pressure on Jeremy Corbyn.

Locally interest will focus on Liverpool where Joe Anderson is due to stand again for mayor of the city. As he has recently taken over as chair of the Liverpool City Region which is due to elect a mayor for the wider area next year, he may stand down. It is difficult to see how elected mayors in Liverpool and Salford will sit happily under mayors for the larger combined authorities.

Meanwhile Leeds, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria will be looking to conclude devolution deals.