UK election…Something for Everyone? Except Teresa May of course.
Stumbling through the smouldering ruins of the uk election results I find myself surprisingly hopeful. The U.K. is less likely to splinter any time soon. The young have been energised to turn out and participate. The moderates have sent a twin signal to the Conservative leadership that they don’t like what looks like politicking and they really do want a more nuanced approach to Brexit. There is the prospect of a more balanced party political Parliament and maybe even a shift in the balance of power in the Scottish Parliament. All good for me so far. But…..
The Conservatives must continue to Govern and that means that Teresa May must continue as PM. For this to be the case they must learn immediately how to really talk to the whole Country and their message must soften and it must follow through to visible action.
Labour will need to go through at least one more iteration before they really are an effective opposition. They are as splintered as the Conservatives and Momentum is a real problem. Their leader ran an effective campaign as Father Christmas but they will need to drop the meaningless nineteenth century aspects of their programme if their better ideas are to gain traction. I have long supported the policy direction of free further education but their policy needs work and how we as a Country fund these progressive policies needs more creative thought.
Young voters will hang onto their ideological stance and that’s their right. We need to hear their voice beyond student fees and taxes on the rich. Though that will require continued engagement and further development of their understanding of significant geopolitical threats and opportunities.
Softer Brexit? I don’t even know what that means to anyone. But it must mean we don’t get to stay in the EU and we might even need to pay a lot to stay the way we eventually stay, arguably the Worst of both Worlds. But if it means the U.K. stays more engaged with Europe politically, socially and economically, I can live with the price of such pragmatism.
And imagine we end up eventually with a political landscape which is intelligent, open and inclusive, fully representative and truly democratic. One which creates genuinely new solutions fit to survive the tectonic natural and man made shocks which will test them. One of which we are proud and not ashamed. Imagine that.
And one final thought. If Teresa May emerges today and speaks to us all ready to start a new relationship with us but determined to continue to lead since she sincerely thinks that all other options are worse for the UK. She will be doing her duty. And just think how hard that will be for her. Don’t be unkind. Be nice. I think even admire her for this alone if you can.