09 June 2017

May's misfire

Well, that was unexpected.  The British Conservative party not only failed to enlarge its majority, it lost enough seats that it now falls short of a majority and has had to form a coalition with a minor party from Northern Ireland to remain in power.  The pound dropped a little following the shock result, though this will probably prove as transient as the economic turbulence following the original Brexit referendum last year.

Enemies of democracy and independence will probably claim this as a repudiation of Brexit, but that's unlikely.  The electorate favored Brexit in the referendum by a margin of four percentage points (larger than the margin by which Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the popular vote here), and the bullying behavior of the European Union oligarchy since then seems almost calculated to turn even more British voters against them.  It's much more likely that the outcome was a reaction to the Conservatives' policy of "austerity" or pervasive spending cuts -- ironically, the same kind of policy which the EU forced on southern Europe for years with disastrous results, and which Republicans are trying to impose in the US.  Even the recent jihadist attacks in Manchester and London make cuts in spending on the police look unwise, regardless of whether or not better-funded police could really have prevented them.

Still, this is going to mean more muddle and delay at the worst possible time.  May may well have to resign, as party leaders in the UK traditionally do after a bad enough election result, and the new party leader would become Prime Minister.  With a shrunken coalition majority to pass whatever Brexit agreement is reached with the EU, the leadership can't afford defections.  The EU side is not happy about any of this either -- having accepted that the UK is leaving, they want to get the departure done with.

There are a few positives.  The number of women members of Parliament has risen to a record high (207 out of a total of 650).  The dramatic gains by the opposition Labour party (though they still have fewer seats that the Conservatives) confounds the conventional wisdom that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's radical-left image would be rejected by mainstream voters.  And austerity is once again shown to be politically toxic pretty much everywhere where people get a chance to vote on it.

[Again, hoping this posts without any glitches -- still don't have my regular computer back.]


Anonymous NickM said...

Well, first off. No glitches.

Second: I wasn`t surprised. May campaigned entirely on herself as though this was a US-style Presidential and this did not go down well. If you campaign entirely on your personality it is best to have one ;-) Corbyn didn`t do this and actually looked he cared whereas May gave the impression it was her coronation. Labour also had one or two ``killer`` causes that were very well targetted. The abolition of University tuition fees appealed to the young (and their parents!) and also renationalising the railways to a lot of pissed-off commuters in the Home Counties.

09 June, 2017 10:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It sounds like the same lesson as from Hillary's "defeat" by Trump -- no matter how dominant the personality thing seems to be, always campaign on issues not personalities, because voters just aren't moved much by the latter.

And it sounds like Corbyn has his act together more than anyone gave him credit for.

09 June, 2017 15:18  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I was laughing when I heard this news ... alot of folks were surprised and their house was shaking. You think it's the austerity eh? ... sounds reasonable. Alot of folks sick and tired of some of the crap going down (not just UK either) ... so they are going to resist stuff too. People are already pissed enough over there about the fiddling with the NHS (you can bet United Health Care has their hands in that pie), selling off facilities to raise money (from the people that milked the money at that ... exactly what we are seeing in damn near every democracy) ... borrow 50 billion pounds to pay back 300 billion down the road, I mean, they're actually burning us worse than payday loan joints or underground loan sharks. The UK, US and all of us that have anything of value (including our values) are being robbed blind ... I mean ... like this crap is in high gear now. Yeah, I'm curious about Brexit ... but listening to some folks over there, they still want to stick with it. Thanx for the read Infidel ....

10 June, 2017 05:21  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

I've also been reading that a higher turnout by young voters helped Labour (as NickM alluded to). That's clearly key to what we need to do better over here next year and beyond, to have any hope of turning things around.

10 June, 2017 08:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: Yes, I think it was austerity. People in the UK don't like seeing the NHS messed with, nor the various benefits they paid taxes all their lives to have available.

As for Brexit, the only party that took a really anti-Brexit position this time was the Liberal Democrats, and they did really badly.

Hackwhacker: It makes sense. And we could revolutionize this country if the youth vote turnout really went up.

11 June, 2017 19:04  

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