What does this election result teach us?

It would be tempting to conclude that this snap election was fought explicitly along “Brexit” lines. For those that voted to leave in last year’s referendum, this election was regarded as an endorsement by Prime Minister Theresa May of the chance to improve upon the Tory mandate. For those that voted to stay in the EU, they were given a welcome opportunity to undermine the referendum result. Divisions assumed to have cooled simply simmered under the surface. Our cost, dear reader, is a hung parliament and a potential Tory minority government.

I doubt that we can simplify the election in this way. Older voters were probably not complacent, since rural England and Wales had long suffered under governments that championed the forces of globalisation. The plutocrats won continually at the expense of the peasantry — and the referendum chanced a peasants’ revolt. Nor does this political rift indicate that “Brexit” sentiments have dwindled. Indeed, this result shows that pro-Remain voters must have been more willing to support the Liberal Democrats and their leader Timothy Farron, who staked his claim as the only politician in Westminster representing the “losing side” in the EU referendum.

Looking to Scotland for clarity may be a red herring. It takes no brainiac to realise that a vote for the Scottish Nationalists was one step closer to secession. All the SNP offered on this issue were sanctimonious lies, frankly. Coupled with the growing exasperation of Holyrood governance, the growth of the Scottish Conservatives reflects less an appeal for “Brexit” and more an appeal for Unionism.

So, once again, we look to the journeys charted by Labour and the Tories.

First, what went wrong for the Tories? Simply, the gamble backfired. Having helped to form a Tory majority government under the premiership of David Cameron in 2015, Mrs. May scanned the political landscape and decided now was the time to overturn “damaging uncertainty and instability”. Now was the time to increase the Tory mandate for “Brexit” — get votes in early, get out the EU faster. The campaign that followed was crummy and complacent. Fumbling her way through every step of the trail, the electorate was all too aware that the prime minister is an incompetent. With a careless flick of the wrist, Mrs. May has forfeited a narrow majority for a minority one. We will soon see what this politicking has cost the Tory establishment.

An insurgent Labour movement was decisive. But the picture muddles here.

In my submission, this election result has shown that the Right may be repudiated. There was first a reversion to the Tory political clique — May, and her band of associates — and an attraction to the anti-establishment left-wing populism of Jeremy Corbyn, shimmied along by grassroots support. Labour chose to campaign on the basis of tackling gross social injustices.

How far were the calculations of Labour voters motivated by “Brexit”? It is true that the Tories and Labour stated their commitments to honouring the referendum result, enthusing for either a sceptical [Labour] or monomaniac [Tory] vision of British exit from the EU. If my collisions on social media taught me anything, it was that a swing towards Mr. Corbyn during this campaign means that younger voters decided to willingly support or placate “Brexit” — and, would prefer to see Prime Minister Corbyn photographed on the steps of Downing Street.

The motivations behind a Labour “Brexit” means that voters remain fed-up by the forces of American-led globalisation, and of the usual left-wing diatribe — of capitalist conspirators, and of foreign policy neocons waging wars of democratic adventurism in the Middle East. Rather than pursue a “Global Britain”, the surge in Labour support indicates that a substantial proportion of the population would prefer to double-down and isolate their island-nation entirely.

It is difficult to gauge exactly what bearing the jihadist atrocities committed on British soil had upon voter outcome. On the one hand, the electorate may have decided that voting for Labour could not change the likelihood of preventing future attacks, given that the Tories presided over the execution of assaults in Manchester and London. On the other hand, it may well reflect a growing despondency in the face of theocratic fascism. For the sake of our civilisation, I sincerely hope that the two are not synonymous.

So we have the results — what follows next?

Gambling has not cost the Tories the election, but it has weakened the prime minister’s bargaining hand. Given the above analysis, the Tories will not “save face” with either the Liberal Democrats or the Scottish Nationalists. It would constitute nothing less than political suicide for the Tories.

I cannot help but think that a compromise between the Tories and Labour would be somewhat too much to stomach for either camp. We need only consider the nasty taunts made by the former against the latter — the “mutton-headed old mugwump” jab springs to mind — and the predictable incompetence of Labour to recognise that the Left and the Right are enduring a painful period of polarisation. Consider just how many papercuts would need to be plastered over before the two parties could reach a détente.

So the likely options are Mrs. May forms a minority government or the Tories coalesce with the Democratic Unionist Party. This is hardly the mandate Mrs. May strove to secure seven long weeks ago.

If, as the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre observed, “toute nation à le gouvernement qu’elle mérite” (“every nation gets the government it deserves”), then I propose the following: Exactly what government does Britain deserve?

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6 Comments on "The Mood of the UK"

  1. Peter Kennedy | 10th June 2017 at 9:38 pm | Reply

    No matter what the country, no matter what the political party, I have always said that the best entertainment to be had is a politician in trouble. With the Trump & May double act I expect a fascinating time over the next six months or so.

    A second general election and President Trump impeached by Christmas, who will take me up on the bet?

  2. I think it teaches us that if you are stupid enough to be open about taking from one section of the electorate then you had better make sure you offer another larger section of the electorate some kind of sweetener to offset the loss of votes. There may have been an upsurge in voter registrations and turnout may have been up on 2015, however 1.4 million less people voted than in last years referendum. I think that when all the analysis is done it will be found that abstaining grey voters cost the Conservatives the election, the message clear, take from these people at your peril.

    Interesting to see how people take different things from the results. I thought the LibDem performance was lamentable, less votes than 2015 despite a higher turnout in a climate that should have been favourable to them.

    Peter, it will be interesting to see what happens should May make it to the first PMQ’s of the new parliament. Given how she put the boot into Corbyn, mocking him for his lack of support in his own party I imagine he is willing her on to survive until then to turn her own words back on her. A lot of people will enjoy seeing her squirm.

    • I’m beginning to doubt she’ll make it to another PMQs. She’s in a deep hole and working with the DUP means that she’s digging deeper. Can’t believe the Tory grandees will allow this to continue.

      • She may not survive beyond the 1922 committee meeting next week. Were I a Tory MP I would torpedo the deal with the DUP in order to allow Corbyn to form a minority government. Plenty of upside to this approach, not least that Labour will be the ones negotiating the Brexit deal and will be the ones held responsible for it’s shortcomings by whichever part of the electorate it fails to please. In the case of some of Labour’s younger voters, anything less than remaining a member of the EU will cause dissatisfaction, many working class and older Labour voters will see anything resembling a continuation of freedom of movement as a betrayal. If Corbyn decides he needs to call another election because he cannot pass his bills, then the weary electorate will put the blame for going to the polls again on his shoulders.

        • Also, forgot to say that Hammond calling for a Deputy PM to be appointed is another signal that the party favours getting rid as soon as possible.

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