Is nationalisation really making a comeback? Don Brind doubts it.

October 9th, 2017

I’m a bit of a fan of the old Clause Four  of Labour’s constitution drafted by Sidney Webb in 1918. I love that line about securing “for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry”. Pure poetry.

And the idea of getting “equitable distribution … upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange,” is a good one. I believe, too, that each industry or service should have “the best obtainable system of popular administration and control”.

Note that there was no mention of nationalisation in Clause Four. But nationalisation was what we got from the great reforming Attlee government. Tools developed in wartime were used to carry out the massive reconstruction and social transformation which inspires modern Labour.

By the mid 50s, however, there were concerns about how these ‘vast, bureaucratic public corporations” operated. In 1955 the academic and future Cabinet minister Richard Crossman said “failed two key test for socialism, “a state-owned industry should be fully responsible to Parliament and give a share of management to its workers.”

Tony Benn was more pithy in his 1980 book . After five years as Energy and Industry secretary he observed ‘nationalisation plus Lord Robens [the moderate erstwhile chairman of the NCB] does not add up to socialism’.

Nationalisation became a dirty word and the Thatcher/Major privatisations of the 80s and 90s were left largely untouched by Blair and Brown.

But fast forward to 2017 and not only are Tony Benn’s apostles Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell  proposing to take privatised industries back into public ownership but the policies are popular.

According to a Populus poll, for the Legatum Institute, a majority of voters hold a more favourable view of ‘socialism’ than ‘capitalism’ and more than 75% of voters want to water, electricity, gas and railway (76%) in public hands.  Majorities also favour wage caps for CEOs and worker representation at and board level, stricter regulation and the abolition of zero hour contracts.

The Tories are worried. Chancellor Philip Hammond told business people who turned up for £400-a-head dinner at the Tory conference in Manchester. “You have to decide to combat this menace or collaborate with it and let it get into power.”

It’s a problem of the Tories own making, says the Guardian’s Aditya Chakrabortty, because  “modern-day Conservative leaders aren’t much cop at capitalism.”

He says voters are not being ideological but entirely pragmatic in rejecting the Tories and a form of capitalism offered to them – “one that cannot provide them with wage rises, secure homes or decent care for their loved ones.

The Conservatives have ended up defending capital rather than capitalism. They have championed finance and pretended it stands for all business.”

He says Labour’s election manifesto proposed a bigger public sector, higher taxes and a promise to borrow more to invest. “That is capitalism, of a kind that Angela Merkel would know.”

My hunch is that despite its apparent popularity the re-nationalisation will be a relatively small of the Corbyn and McDonnell’s economic strategy.

An interesting analysis in the Financial Times shows how ‘light touch’ regulation has made some utility deals extremely lucrative for foreign investors . It says “Lax regulation has turned Britain into a rentier’s paradise”, because in setting tariffs regulators have become “over influenced by the demand of utilities and City investors to provide generous financial terms … rather than securing efficient services and value for money for consumers.”

Re-nationalisation and stricter regulation are not mutually exclusive but it’s the regulation that is more likely to be effective in stopping these industries ripping off customers.

Donald Brind


The real loser in all of this is the Tory reputation for competence

October 9th, 2017

It has long been argued by myself and others that the key characteristic that voters look to when whey make their choice is their desire for competent government. We might not like what a party is proposing but most of all we want politicians who are ready to take unpopular decisions which are right for the country.

One of the characteristics which has always been a strength of Tories has been the reputation for providing just this. The Thatcher government is a classic case. It did many things that large number of people were opposed to but it gave the impression of being competent.

The long period of Tory rule which had begun with Mrs. Thatcher’s GE1979 victory ended in 1997 because the huge divide by then over Europe allowed Blair to portray it as incompetent and that the Labour he led was able to provide a competent alternative.

Clare Foges, a Number 10 speech-writer during the Cameron era sums it up well in the Times this morning.

” The Conservative Party does not need to worry about being likeable. Its currency is not likeability but respect. For decades there has been a belief that while you might loathe the Tories, they get the job done. Yes, they could be arrogant, high-handed bastards but at least they were competent bastards. They were capable. They could envision and see through big, nation-changing projects. This is the fatal thing about the current state of the Conservative Party. The reputation for competence is gone — and with it the grudging respect that brought millions of people to vote Tory.

Looking back I think the moment Tory reputation was lost during this year’s election campaign was the Monday after the controversial manifesto launch and the U-turn by Mrs. May on the dementia tax.

My initial reaction to the proposal was that it showed a government that was willing to make highly unpopular decisions on what is one of the biggest issues of the day which other governments of all shades had been avoiding for decades. I thought it was an election winner because of the messages it sent out about competence and willingness to take tough decision. which would be unpopular with core Tory voters. Then the policy was watered down and TMay has suffered ever since.

Mike Smithson


Picking up the pieces. Disintegrating Europe

October 8th, 2017

For 160 million years, overlapping substantially with the age of the dinosaurs, the entire landmass of the world was gathered together into a supercontinent called Pangaea.  And for much of the last 30 years, many devotees of the EU have imagined a single supercontinental system of government, as first western Europe and then much of eastern Europe has gloopily coalesced under a twelve-starred flag.  Laggards were expected to be absorbed over time with improvements in governance or, in the very long term, with an increased recognition of its virtues.

It hasn’t worked out that way.  Britain has voted to leave the EU, destroying the aura of inevitability around ever-closer union.  At a subnational level, the stresses have been seen in other areas too.  Scotland came close to voting for independence in 2014 and a large minority are as enthusiastic for that cause as ever.  Catalonian nationalists are wrestling with the Spanish government to secure independence at the moment, the Spanish government having decided to take a far more confrontational approach to assertive nationalists pushing their luck than the British coalition government ever did.

Spain seems intent on a course that will provide it with either with a province that will at best be bitterly resentful and at worst ungovernable or with a new neighbour with a grudge against it that will last for decades.  Through mismanagement, a difficult but salvageable relationship now looks unsalvageable.

Three looks like a trend.  It’s a trend that might not have ended yet either.  After an informal independence referendum in 2014, Veneto is holding a formal referendum at the end of this month on a proposal for further autonomy.  So is Lombardy.  Opinion polls suggest that support for independence in Sardinia is at a level comparable with that in Scotland and Catalonia.  Flemish nationalism remains strong.  Pan-Europa is fissuring.

Why?  No doubt whole books will be written on the subject.  1066 And All That joked that the Treaty of Versailles was the cause of increased geography.  Certainly it was the spur for a bout of nationalist country-making. Numbers of states then stayed relatively stable while the pressures of outside forces (Russia and Germany before 1945, Russia and the USA afterwards) made co-operation between national groups essential.  With the collapse of the USSR, the defensive need for nation size lessened sharply, and as a result much smaller countries emerged in the early 1990s, feeling comfortable sheltering under transnational groupings like NATO and the EU.

After a 20 year pause, the process of fragmentation has restarted.  Perhaps it’s no coincidence that it has restarted in the west of the continent, far from a militarily resurgent Russia that is eagerly egging this fragmentation on.  It seems to reflect in part a lack of interest in wider international responsibilities that western European countries might be perceived to have.

Mere cultural difference isn’t enough – Welsh nationalism and Scania separatism, to take two examples, have not yet really taken flight.  I note that in every case where separatist sentiment is surging (bar Sardinia), the secessionist part is at least as rich as its host.

The strident nativism that has been seen at a national level in France, the Netherlands and Germany (to name three) seems to have been driven by the poor, the old and the uneducated.  Brexit seems to belong with this nativist trend.  Likewise, Lombard and Venetian demands for greater autonomy are led by the Lega Nord, kindred spirits to UKIP. On the other hand, Catalan nationalism, like Scottish nationalism, has dressed to the left.  There is more than one component to the centrifugal forces.

Paradoxically, it is potentially easier for unhappy regions within the EU to break away from their existing national boundaries.  The EU provides an outer framework or safety net to break the fall.  Scottish nationalists never found a good answer to the question of what currency they would use after independence, while the question simply doesn’t arise if everyone around you is using the Euro. 

But that is only true if the seceding state is allowed into the EU.  Again, Scottish nationalists struggled (ironically with hindsight) to answer the question of how it would deal with the disruption to its EU membership.  Would Spain veto Catalonia’s membership of the EU, and if so for how long?  Would other member states tolerate it doing so?

The EU has a tightrope to walk, therefore, between not interfering in member states’ own affairs and not irrevocably alienating potential future member states.  It has not yet found the right institutional tone in relation to Catalonia, failing to comment on Spain’s disproportionate use of force against citizens, though as events unfold it no doubt has further opportunities to tack according to the prevailing winds.  Meanwhile, Europe – including Britain – continues its descent into introverted identity struggles.

Alastair Meeks



For everyone’s sake, Mrs May shouldn’t demote Boris but engineer a job swap between her Foreign Secretary and the editor of the Evening Standard

October 8th, 2017

Mrs May attempts undo the strangest political appointment since Caligula wanted to make his horse a Consul

When Theresa May’s political obituary is written people might conclude she destroyed her premiership within minutes of becoming Prime Minister when she fired George Osborne as Chancellor and appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

At a stroke she made a needless enemy and compounded that mistake by appointing a blunderbuss as Foreign Secretary when the United Kingdom faces arguably its greatest foreign policy challenge since the second world war.

Where Boris Johnson should be bringing harmony, truth, faith, and hope, he seems to be bringing discord, error, doubt, and despair, as evidenced, for example, by talk of the French President administering world war two era punishment beatings over Brexit or that ‘joke’ about dead bodies in Libya. Michael Gove’s derailing of Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016 should have given Mrs May pause for thought before she appointed Boris Foreign Secretary.

Last week The Sunday Times reported that Boris Johnson was struggling to live on the £141,505 annual salary of a Foreign Secretary because of his extensive family obligations, he has four children with his wife, and a daughter from an affair, once again the political ambitions of ‘Bonking Boris’ might be curtailed by his inability to keep the snake inside the pet store.

Freed from office and The Commons, George Osborne is earning, inter alia, £650,000 per annum for one day a week, if Boris wants to earn that kind of money, then the solution is obvious for Boris, as being Prime Minister doesn’t pay much more than being Foreign Secretary.

So instead of demoting him later on this month as today’s Sunday Times alludes to, where by demoting him she will create another needless enemy, she should help him realise his earning potential outside of politics, she should point out he has more journalistic experience than George Osborne had when he was appointed editor of The Evening Standard.

With the actions of Boris having so destabilised Mrs May and the Tory conference, you can see why it might be in everyone’s interest that the Conservative party’s colossal Johnson pulls out of professional politics.

If Gordon Brown can bring Peter Mandelson back into government despite their long standing issues, then Mrs May can bring back George Osborne into government. It would show Mrs May is the bigger person. I’m sure George Osborne, a man who loves his country and party, would be willing to serve for the national interest.

I suspect it pains him to see all the hard work of David Cameron and himself to detoxify the Tory party undone by Mrs May, and he’d want to restart the detoxification project, that would also appeal to him.

As the only Tory to win a majority in the last twenty five year, David Cameron can attest that Osborne gives unwavering loyalty and support to a Tory Prime Minister, something Mrs May currently lacks, he’d also bring the vision thing, something which Mrs May’s government lacks.

Over to you Mrs May, hiring George Osborne might be the only way to save your Premiership.



The more a challenge to May’s leadership looks likely the less the chances of Corbyn becoming next PM

October 7th, 2017

TMay needs to remain until next election if the LAB leader is to become next PM

For some time now the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been the favourite in the betting markets on who will succeed Theresa May as prime minister.

The trend is featured in the chart above and I think that punters have got this totally wrong.

The most likely situation in which Mr Corbyn becomes the next occupant of number 10 Downing Street is if Labour wins a general election. It is hard to envisage the circumstances under which he becomes next Prime Minister prior to that.

The blunt fact is that that Labour is 66 seats short of the Tories in the House of Commons and the numbers simply aren’t there for him to get the call from the Palace.

    Having called an election once before and having got it disastrously wrong it is hard to see Theresa May doing the same again in this Parliament. If she’s allowed to remain leader she’ll stay put till 2022.

The essential requirement of Corbyn succeeding May at Number 10 is for her to remain.

One thing that the past few days have scotched, though surely, is the idea that Theresa May will be able to do this. She’s going the main question being when.

Given Labour’s polling position Corbyn still has a good chance of becoming PM but not the next one. There almost certainly needs to be another CON leader in between and the danger for the red team is that the political environment could change.

Mike Smithson


Safe for now – but for how long?

October 7th, 2017

A good whipping operation can delay but not prevent the inevitable

Napoleon famously demanded that his generals be lucky. It’s a wonderful attribute to have but the emperor really should have been more specific. What’s important is being lucky at the right time. On that score, Theresa May has fallen short and it will cost her her premiership.

That’s not to say she’ll lose it today or tomorrow, or even this year. An effective pre-emptive strike against Grant Shapps ensured that his attempt to force a change was still-born and almost certainly prevented other critics from breaking cover. You do not go for the kill if you aren’t sure you have the resources to carry it through. (Shapps did, of course, continue what might well have become a suicide mission but he’d already been exposed, leaving him with only the options of pretending he hadn’t been orchestrating it – a line that would no doubt have fallen apart faster than a conference set – or holding firm despite his obvious isolation).

For all that though, her luck has deserted her when she needed it and it’s left her so badly weakened that it will be almost impossible for her to recover he authority. She got lucky in the leadership election when all the other candidates took each other, or themselves, out – but opinion polls put her ahead among party members even before Boris withdrew. She got lucky with Corbyn as Labour leader but she inherited a majority, if only a small one: whoever led Labour after 2015 could have only carped from the sidelines unless she gave them an opening.

But since the election, where she pushed her luck too far, she’s been anything but the commanding presence she was before May and now, when she needed a break, her luck has deserted her.

The conference was the best opportunity she’s had since the election to relaunch her premiership, which had become mired down in the bog of Brexit. In the text of her speech, she did just that: restating the priorities she put forward on entering Number Ten and making a strong philosophical and practical case for them (though not necessarily a great campaigning case). Unfortunately, people stopped taking in what she was saying to concentrate only on how she was saying it. The story was of her delivery, the interruption and the set design. Her best chance has now gone and it’s back to the day job.

And the day job brings continual challenges: not necessarily of the direct form that Shapps adopted but the day-to-day stuff that firstly brings endless opportunities to slip up and which secondly can easily get – and until now has got – in the way of the big vision stuff. It still will. May doesn’t have the authority to impose that programme while people are looking to a time beyond her departure and it’s not been sufficiently well-sold for it to develop organically.

    The big danger for her is that once a narrative of her being under pressure is created, it will become very difficult to dispel, not least because she’s not extrovert and she does act defensively.

The media also love a narrative that they can shoehorn events into – and there are always events that can be shoehorned.

Sooner or later, this will take its toll. Given the dismissal of the Shapps plot, don’t expect a downfall within days but she’s not safe for the rest of this year yet, never mind beyond. Never forget that the Tory leadership rules can swing into action within hours, that there is no need for MPs to go public and there is no need for challengers to champion an alternative leader until the No Confidence vote is concluded (though this last fact is only partially true: in practice, MPs will always be thinking more than one step ahead). Whether an internal falling out, a fluffed set-piece or something else, opportunities to challenge will arise. The only sure defence against them is to be delivering as leader: no-one is talking about challenges to Corbyn any more.

Can she deliver the turnaround that Corbyn did? I can’t see it. Corbyn had, and took, the opportunity to play to his strength, as well as being granted an extraordinary opportunity by the Tory manifesto. May’s strength – calmly getting on with the job – simply does not have the same capacity to change minds, particularly when, for example, so little progress is being made on Brexit, the economy is slowing and the NHS is about to enter the pressures of winter. Leaders have to be able to lead as well as to manage.

Napoleon’s maxim is both trite and truthful at the same time. No-one is inherently lucky; the best that anyone can do is make the most of their luck. The French emperor, for example, was not unlucky that Russia proved a rather more resilient foe when fighting on its own ground than he’d assumed, nor that he didn’t prepare properly, either in resources or in strategy.

Having fluffed her own March on Moscow (or at least, Bolsover), Theresa May is a much reduced figure. The lack of an obvious replacement shields her to a degree, as does what in normal circumstances would be very good polling (YouGov had the Tories back in at 40 yesterday, only 2 behind Labour). However, the responses to the subsidiary questions are deteriorating and the Tory vote share must be considered soft.

These last couple of days have proven that Conservative MPs are not yet in a mood to panic, which may be a human response to events outside the PM’s control. That will not always be the case.

David Herdson


Local By-Election Review : October 5th 2017

October 6th, 2017

Mash Barn on Adur (UKIP defence)
Result: Labour 490 (49% +25% on last time), Conservative 384 (39% +17% on last time), Liberal Democrat 89 (9% -14% on last time), Green Party 31 (3%, no candidate last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -41%)
Labour GAIN from UKIP with a majority of 106 (10%) on a swing of 4% from Conservative to Labour

Borehamwood, Kenilworth on Hertsmere (Con defence)
Result: Labour 383 (38% -9% on last time), Conservative 341 (34% -19% on last time), Liberal Democrat 144 (14%, no candidate last time), Independent 91 (9%, no candidate last time), UKIP 54 (5%, no candidate last time)
Labour GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 42 (4%) on a swing of 5% from Conservative to Labour

Burnham, Lent Rise and Taplow on South Buckinghamshire (Con defence)
Result: Conservative 699 (66% +14% on last time), Labour 166 (16% unchanged on last time), Liberal Democrat 136 (13%, no candidate last time), Green Party 60 (6% -7% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -18%), (No Independent candidate this time -10%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 533 (50%) on a swing of 7% from Labour to Conservative

Stoneleigh and Cubbington on Warwick (Con defence)
Result: Conservative 502 (53% +13% on last time), Labour 311 (33% +16% on last time), Liberal Democrat 113 (12%, no candidate last time), Green Party 29 (3% -10% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -30%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 191 (20%) on a swing of 1.5% from Conservative to Labour

Burbage, Sketchley and Stretton on Hinckley and Bosworth (Con defence)
Result: Conservative 822 (39% -5% on last time), Liberal Democrat 785 (37% +8% on last time), Labour 321 (15% +2% on last time), UKIP 120 (6% -8% on last time), Independent 57 (3%, no candidate last time)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 37 (2%) on a swing of 6.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Crewe East on Cheshire East (Lab defence)
Result: Labour 1,174 (61% +15% on last time), Conservative 542 (28% +6% on last time), UKIP 158 (8% -15% on last time), Green Party 59 (3% -6% on last time)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 632 (33%) on a swing of 4.5% from Conservative to Labour

Claremont on Salford (Lab defence)
Result: Labour 718 (47% +2% on last time), Conservative 447 (29% +9% on last time), Independent 171 (11% no candidate last time), Liberal Democrat 162 (10% +4% on last time), Green Party 46 (3% -3% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -22%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 271 (18%) on a swing of 3.5% from Labour to Conservative

St. Germain’s on Redcar and Cleveland (Lib Dem defence)
Result: Liberal Democrat 661 (38% +8% on last time), Labour 368 (21% +1% on last time), Independent 261 (15%), Independent 225 (13%), Conservative 174 (10% -3% on last time), Green Party 31 (2% -10% on last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -16%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 293 (17%) on a swing of 3.5% from Labour to Liberal Democrat

Party Conference Index Update
Liberal Democrats: +9.59%, Labour: +8.52%, Conservatives: +3.39%, UKIP: -13.12% (in all seats) -12% (in contested seats)
Scottish National Party conference October 8th – 10th 2017, Plaid Cymru conference October 20th – 21st 2017


A European Strategy?

October 6th, 2017

It was Napoleon who famously described the English as “a nation of shopkeepers”, not meant as a compliment, one imagines.  Still, a bit rich coming from someone who sold Louisiana to the US to enrich his Treasury and help create a rival to England.  The English may have paid others to do their fighting for them, usually against the French, but they have yet to sell bits of their country off.  (The easily offended should look away now: dare I suggest that selling the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone to Ireland might solve quite a few problems for today’s rulers?)

Still, pragmatism is traditionally the English virtue and grand ideas are for Continentals.  And yet in the tiresome to-ing and fro-ing which seem to constitute the Article 50 negotiations, a fair amount of cross-dressing is going on.  It is the Europeans who are determined to get their pound of flesh, deliberately oblivious to any wider considerations for themselves (let alone Britain), and the British urging imaginative solutions and making grandiloquent statements about shared futures and challenges, seemingly untethered from any consideration – or even knowledge – of the practical realities involved in extracting a country from 43 years of EU engagement in a little over a year.

Easy to poke fun at the British position: whatever merits there may have been (and may still be) in withdrawal from an entity in which Britain has never been entirely comfortable, they have been subsumed into – and probably irretrievably tainted by – a meaningless slogan and the leadership psychodramas of the Tories.  Britain needed two things only on 24 June, 2016: a sober, serious, hard-working, competent, details-obsessed analysis of the choices, the trade-offs, the costs, the timings and politicians with the ability, courage and authority needed to develop and explain to British voters, all of them, and the EU a coherent, fair-minded and realistic policy for how to implement the public’s decision.  It got neither.

And the EU needed this too.  Easy for their politicians to look on in wonder, bewilderment and contempt.  But let’s poke fun at them for a bit: a big, serious, important country in which many EU citizens work and live decided after 43 years of the EU experience to reject it.  This is on any reading a failure for – and by – the EU, however much they may choose to view it insouciantly as British eccentricity.

It is a failure because the EU – for all its very English talk of clubs and rules and membership – has always been an evolving organisation.  And it should have been one capable of and willing to evolve into something where Britain felt comfortable and valued.  But it has been one which never fully understood Britain’s different approach (history, law, view of the nation state, memory of WW2) and never really understood the need to adapt itself to make Britain more at ease within it or and indeed learn from it (aided by Britain’s begrudging approach to the whole project throughout).

It remained a Franco-German marriage throughout.  This has been one of the EU’s strengths but also one of its weaknesses, particularly as it expanded. The Franco-German experience of WW2 and its aftermath and approach to politics, to law, to the role of state, to the balance between state and individual is not that of Britain.  But is not that of Eastern European countries either and there are already signs of the stresses this is causing in Poland and Hungary and their reactions to the EU’s attempts to deal with migration from outside its borders.

A wiser EU would understand that the larger an organisation gets the more flexibility and emotional intelligence is needed.  It is, sadly, doing the precise opposite – at least as evidenced by Juncker’s latest speech.  A wiser EU would understand that the nexus which created it in the 1950’s needs changing in the 2010’s.  (One of the ironies of last year’s vote is that it will likely entrench French uniform top down etatisme within the EU, rather than dissipate it.)

A wiser EU would understand that a Britain leaving in chaos will do nothing for the EU’s image or claim that it is a force for stability.  Britain never has been, is not now and will not be any old third country.  Barnier’s statement that there is no alternative to the Canada or Norway options is the auditor’s answer, looking at what is not at what might be.  Why shouldn’t there be a different arrangement for an ex-member?  It is after all precisely what the EU is seeking for its own citizens in Britain, a special position for EU citizens  which they do not get in Canada.  It is not just Britain which likes cherry-picking.

And now?  Whatever happens post-March 2019 the EU will still be there.  Britain will still be here.  We still need to establish a working relationship.  Something more than simply a trade deal.  A European strategy for how we interact with and deal with a powerful, united neighbour – whether it is a unitary state, a federal state, a collection of states or some other combination.

This is the perennial question of British foreign policy and the Brexiteers’ delusion is to imagine that removal of ECJ jurisdiction, say, or controls over who comes here from Romania resolve it.  How the EU interacts with Britain is – or ought to be – also a question the EU should be considering, beyond the mean-spirited “Britain will regret it” response by Juncker.  Only President Macron has given an indication of even beginning to address this.

And in developing such a strategy, it should not be beyond the wit of those with big dreams for Britain and Europe to come up with an arrangement, a structure, an association in which both Britain, the Eurozone and those EU states outside the euro could happily co-exist, much as those with similar dreams came up with the original idea decades ago.

The chances of this happening in the immediate future are, I realise, the same as the likelihood of me winning next year’s London Marathon ie zero.  Still, even in politics “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”  I may be a dreamer.  But I hope I’m not the only one.

Time for new dreams and fresh thinking.