It is the first time for a while that an election result hasn’t left me despairing so that’s nice! This blog meanders through some of the reasons why.
I’m happy it is not a Tory landslide but I recognise there are difficult times ahead. The result will create uncertainty and have politicians dividing their attention between the serious issues and commitments facing the country and the opportunities and threats to their own political careers.
Of course, we are still committed to investing time and energy leaving the safe haven of a large economic union to flounder in the high seas of a volatile world, having to accept help from whatever brigand and pirate stops to offer it. That’s not good. Whatever the rights and wrongs of whether we would be better off in or out of the EU, the process of leaving is going to eat up the money, parliamentary time and energy of politicians and civil servants alike. That reduces the chances perhaps to zero that other problems in our society will be tackled and improvements made be. Is it really going to be so much better outside the EU that we will make up for that lost progress?
Also, the British system is incapable of dealing with the plurality of mind. The first-past-the-post clear majority focuses solely on the winning ideology. Rather than dealing with the plurality of thought, this system ignores it between elections, while it has no power. The anger and frustration of the other points of view build up and build up until, well, until a night such as this. So, yes, the system doesn’t work to reflect the real feelings of the country and to weave our different threads into a harmonious tapestry. But it feels like it is working to those in power who see no dissent. Until they get laughed at – judge us on our record, said Amber Rudd – and the people did!
If Theresa gives enough to the Democratic Unionist Party she has a working majority – just – but it is a long way from the extra authority she thought she was going to get. Meanwhile, the knives are out for her in her own party. Just how much is everyone looking forward to another Conservative leadership contest followed by ANOTHER general election in the Autumn, which is what some people are predicting? The trouble with politicians they never seem to consider the possibility of defeat and the catastrophe for themselves and for the rest of us if they do.
On the plus side for Jeremy, (the unelectable, they said), not enough people voted for him to have to meet his pledges. He’s played a blinder: turned the tide of a labour decline (which commentators predicted was so bad that Labour might become a minor party) while not having to form a government or govern. Yet. The question is can he create a meaningful Progressive Opposition to the Conservative and Unionist government, and do so in a way that shores up his image and builds more support in case of that possible Autumn poll? Since the Northern Ireland parties are suddenly so important, is he even the man to persuade the Sinn Fein MPs to take their seats?
Which brings to mind another sober thought. The results of this election, added to the potential consequences of Brexit, could spell trouble on the island of Ireland.
In Scotland, well, there’s a couple of years until the next Scottish Government elections so time for the SNP to rebuild but also time for Ruth Davidson to consolidate the Scottish Conservatives’ and her own position. Can the Conservatives even get her into a Westminster seat and closer to the leadership of the party? For the lost Nationalists, Alec Salmond was yesterday’s man to a certain extent but Angus Robertson is a great loss to Parliament. Will the SNP focus on getting him back in?
And, thinking of someone coming back: Nigel Farage, anyone?