07 June 2017

Britain's Brexit (or not) election

Comey's testimony is not the only important political event tomorrow.  The UK is holding a snap election, called by Prime Minister Theresa May in April.  At the time it was expected to be a blow-out win for the ruling Conservative party, but things have gotten a little more complicated.

May called the election largely because of carping from the opposition Labour party over her handling of negotiations with the European Union about Brexit.  Surveys at the time suggested that voters would give the Conservatives an even bigger majority in Parliament than they currently hold, thus delivering a powerful endorsement from the people for May's tough approach.  It didn't hurt that the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn (who would become Prime Minister if his party won), is generally viewed as a far-left figure too radical for most mainstream Brits.

Since then, however, two other factors have intervened.  First, May has blundered in a number of areas, partly in proving to be a poor campaigner and partly in pushing unpopular policies such as a tax on elderly people's houses to cover the costs of their health care (she later backed down on this, humiliatingly).  Second, of course, the Manchester and London terrorist attacks changed the subject from Brexit to national security.  Security is usually an issue on which the right does well with voters, but May is vulnerable to the criticism that the attacks happened on her watch.

Unfortunately for Labour, Corbyn is not the best person to capitalize on this.  He's notorious for having called the killing of Osama bin Laden a "tragedy" (what he actually said was that it's a tragedy that bin Laden was killed outright rather than being arrested and put on trial, but that hardly seems any less fatuous).  In the wake of the Manchester and London murders, British voters are unlikely to be in the mood for such talk.

We'll find out tomorrow.  It's near-certain that May will win.  The real question is whether she can still achieve the enlarged Parliamentary majority she originally hoped for -- and if so, what exactly it will constitute a mandate for, given the shift in the electorate's attention after the recent attacks.

[Apologies for any glitches in this post.  My computer is out being repaired and I'm using a much less familiar machine.]


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for the read (of course I watch this stuff). Corbyn an "extreme left wing radical"? ... todayz society of mainstream institutionalized thinking, everyone who thinks different about anything or speaks in question is a "radical", Hell, non- human effigies and Teddy Bears are extremists, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh {:-) I can only imagine what kind of sane loving rational they consider May as ... I actually like Corbyn, even though I may not agree with him everything, as far as May ... I will say she has great legs (Legs- it, remember) ... sorry, just call me a sexist, I dont mind {:-)

08 June, 2017 09:35  

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