So, it’s that time again. It’s time to elect a parliament for the United Kingdom.

There can be few people unfamiliar with the old jokes about elections which go: “never mind the candidates, the electorate can’t be trusted either. That’s why the pencil is tied to the voting booth.”

 As the comedian Micky Flannigan would say: “That’s something you don’t see nowadays -Pencils!”

Every tradesman and shopkeeper’s assistant used to have one behind their ear, ready at a moment’s notice to do the marking, measuring, weighing and totalling the cost of anything and everything.  

Anyway, back to the barely containable excitement of the pending UK election.

Thursday 04 July has finally been announced as ‘democracy day’ when every UK citizen who has registered to vote gets to mark an X on a piece of paper to indicate which person claiming to best represent their interests is the least offensive to their personal values, ethics and prejudices and also most likely to prevent the person most offending these from winning.  It isn’t only us that be at it.

Here the excitement boils down to the number in terms of internal politics. The Great British parties confine themselves to Great Britain, bar the odd Tory.

Nonetheless, the DUP put paid to the notion that who we elect has no impact on the UK government.

Sinn Fein will want all SF heads counted to maintain its ‘we are the champions of the world’ stance.  Three veterans standing down will not significantly affect matters for the party faithful but the election may come too close to their less than honourable participation in Joe Biden’s St. Patrick’s Day /election campaign bash.

The SDLP may attract some once in a life time votes for being better on Palestine than Sinn Fein or Alliance.

Fermanagh South Tyrone may be in the balance on that basis, especially if the Ulster Unionist candidate gets a free run.

The SDLP will concentrate on returning their two sitting MP’s and having fewer wealthy Zionist allies in America, might be cash strapped in contesting every seat.

The real interest will be how the DUP fares overall and especially in East Belfast and Lagan Valley.

The determined effort of the media to promote the Alliance party as the new norm may not yield the results desired and prophesied results.

Sinn Fein was not the only party to wipe their Covid WhatsApp!

The electorate may also be kinder to the Minister of Health who at least stepped back from the day job for the duration of the election than the Minister of Justice who won’t.

Moreover, Gavin Robison as DUP leader isn’t as slow as he walks easy, and has been an active and competent MP both in the constituency and in London.

With the anti-union vote less concerned about Westminster, we might easily see the Minister of Justice back to work after the July holidays.

Lagan Valley will be interesting where two young candidates will vie to increase their vote and profile. There are no transfers in this election. My money is on the DUP candidate.

For the same reason, the Unionist Party and the TUV will be listed as ‘also ran.’

The UK remains largely a two-horse race and like the USA both horses are the property of the same owner.

(The second tired election joke: the worst thing about voting is that you still end up with a government!).

Despite the traumatic impact of the years of austerity, Covid, the Cost of Living crisis, and internationally, a world galloping towards disaster both in terms of war and rapid climate changes, the UK is doomed to return either Keir Starmer’s ‘reformed’ right-wing Labour, a conservative government still at war with itself or a coalition government.

In the event of Mr. Starmer being the next prime minister, it is unlikely he will repeal the Legacy Act as he has promised.

Being a lawyer, he will want to examine the case. When he sees what the Government is hiding, he may well decide to delay any repeal - for the lifetime of the parliament!

Otherwise the ICC may be issuing warrants for political and military leaders closer to home than Israel.

If by 04 July, the international context is getting worse, don’t rule out the possibility of a coalition between Starmer and who ever emerges from the mess the original Tories are in under the guise of a ‘National Government’  to deal with it.

There are one hundred and ten wars being waged across the world right now, forty five of them in the Middle East /North Africa region. Israel’s continuing genocide with USA protection does not bode well for peace. The USA keeps sending weapons.

Palestine may not matter to Keir Starmer but it matters in the Middle East and North Africa.

The USA is sending weapons and preventing peace talks in Ukraine The war in Ukraine is only one of seven wars / armed conflicts in Europe since the ‘regime change’ of the fall of the Soviet Union.

In either case, very little escalation could bring both or either region into one bigger war.

In Asia, there are twenty-one armed conflicts, and nobody in Europe is paying attention to the other thirty-five ongoing armed conflicts across the rest of Africa.

Most of this conflict arises from the outworking of historic British/ European colonisation policy or directly from more recent USA foreign policy of ‘regime change’ which means the USA decides who ought to be running those countries, starts wars, topples governments and then walks away.  

The world is at war while the planet burns and drowns.

Both Political parties in the USA (Democrats and Republicans) see the USA is the new world colonial power and the USA it makes its money from weapons and finance.  Wars fought on any continent other than North America are good for the US economy.

Rishi Sunak’s last minute policy of military service for 18 year olds may well have been to gently warn of the proximity of a British war intervention.

That rather than who wins Lagan Valley is what keeps me awake at night.