Re: UK General election results
The outcome of the UK’s general election took most by surprise. Many people expected a narrow majority (given pre-election polls) for the Conservatives but not a hung parliament.
(Image courtesy of the BBC).
My impression from the result is that the British people are still firmly in control of British politics and collectively quite savvy enough to give the MPs their marching orders if and whenever they refuse to get on with the job. The young people turned out en masse for Corbyn’s Labour – a feat in itself (and Corbyn deserves kudos) given their general antipathy towards elections in general.
PM May claimed that the animosity from opposition parties is why she went against her initial word not to call for a general election so that she can get a firm majority to lead and get a good deal from Brexit. She misread the mood of the nation, bigly. It is true the British people voted for Brexit, but they also appreciated that it was a big decision and that the nation needed to come together to get through it. Some, like me, thought the opposition from “pro remainers” within the Conservative party may be enough for the country during negotiations but apparently not. The British people in recognising the scale and significance of the challenge preferred a multi-party consensus approach to negotiating Brexit, something Theresa May grossly missed.
The result tells me that the British people still want Brexit but don’t want to give a single party too much power or carte blanche to determine what Brexit means. So they voted in a manner that keeps the party committed to Brexit in power but not enough to make them go it alone without a cross-party consensus. There’s no better way to force MPs to come together for the good of the country.
Perhaps PM May will draw on the part of her that was “remain” this time last year and seek to build a broad(er) consensus to deliver Brexit – the kind the country wants which it wasn’t asked in last year’s referendum. The country wants neither a hard Brexit nor a soft one but one in between.
Some are calling for May to resign as is within their right. However, such calls, in my opinion, must be backed by a credible Tory leadership challenger. It is foolish and not enough to just declare May’s hold on to leadership as untenable without an alternative. The country must learn from the Ummuna/Eagle/Corbyn et al leadership debacle of the Labour Party particularly now that the country is back to a 2-Party democracy. At this point, it is impossible for any other party besides the Conservatives to form a government. The numbers just doesn’t add up for the others. So Labour’s triumphalism needs to be kept in perspective and context.
The savviness of the British people extended to Scotland where they made it clear to Nicola Sturgeon that now is the time for unity and that all nonsense talk of indyref2 must stop.
In all of this, the British people still realise, regardless of what the young people think, that the EU is still not talking about solutions to the structural political and economic issues that led to the rise of nationalism which is why reversing Brexit was not reflected in the election’s result.
Labour needs 64 seats to get a parliamentary majority. It should forget about forming a government. Conservatives only need 8. If PM May aligns her policies with the tone and feeling of the country, she may still get the majority she wants. She may not need it though,she can run the country for the next five years even under a hung parliament but that will require her to be more pragmatic with her approach and embrace a cross-party consensus in her Brexit negotiations.