The politics edition, post-election special

lube In the pre-election special I said1:

The most likely result is a Tory victory with a (perhaps marginally) increased majority. But that would be dull, so why not speculate? A possible result is a hung parliament with – if my fellow electorate are not too foolish – the possibility of a Tory-LibDem coalition having a majority.

Part A of my speculation was fine; part B was Utopian. Well, in my defence I was trying to find a bright side to look at. But instead we get the DUP4.

The initial reaction to all this is that Theresa May looks like the idiot that she is; and that it is a disaster for the Tories2. Which is kinda fine; I'm all for TM looking like the idiot that she is; but after the ROTFL comes the question of where this leaves the country or, possibly more generally, the world.

Whither May?

TM is, I hope, doomed. She was a rubbish PM. As The Economist puts it Mrs May has led the Tories in a more statist, illiberal direction, with heavier regulations on firms and strict limits on immigration. Thatcherites, who stifled their criticism out of a sense of duty or ambition, will be sharpening their knives. It isn't obvious who would replace her, though.

Whither the country?

I don't know. It is hard to see a path forwards from here that makes sense. Arguably, without the election, or with the increased majority they were hoping for, the Tories under TM would have pushed forward with hard-Brexit. It is pretty hard to argue a mandate for that any more5. I find myself nervous of soft-Brexit because I find it easy to believe that the bozos in charge on both sides are capable of negotiating a deal that is worse than no deal, but it is also possible that the chances of compromise and muddling through have improved.

Or, to be more pessimistic, there's the Economist's the economy is heading for the rocks in a way that few have yet registered. Whereas in 2016 the economy defied the Brexit referendum to grow at the fastest pace in the G7, in the first quarter of this year it was the slowest. Unemployment is at its lowest in decades, but with inflation at a three-year high and rising, real wages are falling... the most important negotiation Britain has attempted in peacetime. Brexit involves dismantling an economic and political arrangement that has been put together over half a century, linking Britain to the bloc to which it sends half its goods exports, from which come half its migrants, and which has helped to keep the peace in Europe and beyond. Brexit’s complexity is on a scale that Britain’s political class has wilfully ignored. And so on.

A pony3 for everyone

I despair of my fellow electors. The election result is a victory for avoidance of hard choices and favouring fairy tales. Broadly, I think many who votes Remain have kinda given up on that, and have settled for Labour's soft-n-fluffy Brexit as opposed to the Tories hard-Brexit, in the hope that actually means something; instead of voting LibDem, who actually opposed Brexit and continue to. And far too many seem happy with the absurd economic programme promised by Labour.


* Theresa May’s ‘abusive’ top advisers quit as Tory recriminations grow.
* JA: the verdict. Nice cartoon. Later, on Twitter: I reckon we've got at least another two or three elections before brexit is officially abandoned.


1. I should mention that VV did rather better than me.

2. Timmy for example: It would be both reasonable and fair to say that Theresa May has just run the worst British election campaign of modern times... achieved something that no one in modern times has managed, to start a general election campaign 20 percentage points up and then arrive without even a parliamentary majority for her party. There simply isn't anything to compare with this in the annals. Other Prime Ministers have made ghastly electoral mistakes, undoubtedly, but not in the course of the campaign itself. Or, more succinctly.

3. The SW lead of the first chip I worked on - Jemima - had a plastic pony on his desk with "not yours" written on it. It was there to show all the people who came up asking for extra features to be added, each of which was a really excellent idea and guaranteed to do good, but which collectively would have sunk the project. Can you see the motto I'm trying to draw?

4. I know little about the DUP. Previously, I've been able to say that and not worry; it hasn't mattered. I'd like that to continue if at all possible. LJ provides this helpful link as a guide.

5. The Economist, again, in rather stark terms: Let us be clear: after this vote there is no mandate for such an approach. Only an enemy of the people would now try to ignore the election and press ahead regardless with the masochistic version of Brexit that Mrs May put to voters. There are not grounds to reverse the referendum result—though Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, warns that a new referendum may be coming. But the hard Brexit that Mrs May put at the centre of her campaign has been rejected. It must be rethought.

More like this

The NY times had this to say about the DUP:"... she [TM] must now govern in partnership with a group of homophobes, zealots and creationists?"


By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 09 Jun 2017 #permalink

"Broadly, I think many who votes Remain have kinda given up on that, and have settled for Labour’s soft-n-fluffy Brexit as opposed to the Tories hard-Brexit, in the hope that actually means something; instead of voting LibDem, who actually opposed Brexit and continue to."

I'd say that's true in many cases but there'll also be a very strong "whatever it takes to hurt the Tories" influence on remain voters which would point to voting Labour in most cases after the drubbing the Lib Dems got in 2015. I voted Labour for this reason and wouldn't have under normal circumstances due to how Corbyn behaved over Brexit.

In the next election in a few months time I trust that Labour will sort out their obstinate rejection of the progressive alliance approach and won't stand in constituencies like Richmond which led directly to the disgraceful Zac Goldsmith getting back in. They certainly benefitted in this election from Green and Lib Dems standing aside in other constituencies so it would be nice if they returned the favour.

So, oh wise one, who should the electorate have voted for in order to meet your approval? Clearly neither labour nor tories, from what you have written above. I had the choice of those two, Green and Yorkshire Party about which I doubt you've expressed any opinion.

[I thought I had made it fairly clear from both pre- and post- posts. There were no good choices but the LibDems were (significantly) better than the other choices; and failing them, the Greens -W]

By James Annan (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

Can you see the motto I’m trying to draw?


By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

The Yorkshire Party did quite well: ~1,000 votes per candidate, the same as the Greens.

It's a shame there's no Natural Law Party these days. It was pro-science...

More than 600 scientific studies have been conducted at 200 research institutions in 30 countries showing the benefits of this technology [Yogic BouncingFlying] in all areas of life, bringing the life of the individual and society in tune with Natural Law.

... and it promised increased sovereignty for all EU member-states and, at the same time, ever closer union, this apparent contradiction to be achieved not through politics but through the integration of Europe's collective consciousness, which integration would be driven by an international coherence-creating team of 7,000 Yogic Flyers bouncing up and down on their bottoms with their legs crossed.

The Natural Law Party’s scientifically validated policies will raise the administration of Europe to the level of the administration of Nature, which provides both for the needs of the whole and for the needs of every part without any conflict of interest. The decisions of the EU member states will be supported by the party's coherence-creating programme. With a truly integrated and positive European collective consciousness, each member state's choice would be both in its own interests and in the best interests of all other member states.

Stirring stuff. Apart from the bottom-bouncing, it might almost be the Lib Dems speaking.

(The NLP was against pesticides and GM crops, but you can't have everything.)

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

The btl comments on the 'more succently' link are.. interesting. What exactly is this 'purge'..

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

Argh. Bloody wordpress. I can't currently edit the blog, I warn you. "Your IP has been flagged for security violations"? WTF?

Now (two days later) resolved, it looks like. But it worries me... -W]

the problem with a soft Brexit is that it does not deliver unicorns

and the vast majority of leavers voted for unicorns

[My feeling is that "soft Brexit" is more of a hope than a plan. I'm not sure it has a clear definition; and trying to account for the hopes, I'm not sure it is achievable -W]

So what would it cost to build a couple of dikes between England and France, and drain Doggerland?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

So how did May get to be PM anyhow? From over here it seems like she just sprung up from nowhere, like a toadstool after a spring rain.

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

So what would it cost to build a couple of dikes between England and France, and drain Doggerland?

You can't drain Doggerland if you build a couple of dikes between England and France. Wrong position of the dikes, I'm afraid.

By wereatheist (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

I predict a Very Bad Time ahead for Great Britain.

[That is certainly a possibility. OTOH, predictions of disaster have notably not materialised so far. Other predictions - such as muddle through, or hard-Brexit-works - are also possible -W]

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 10 Jun 2017 #permalink

David -

Yes. The parliamentary numbers don't give any stable coalition - even Con-DUP only has a majority of 2,

[I'm not an expert, but I've heard it said more than once that Sinn Fein don't take their seats; so that's 7 potential-opposition out of the running -W]

and everyone else saw what happened to the Lib Dems last time. And obviously no other coalition has the numbers. But the public are sick of elections. And there is the whole 'start brexit negotiations' thing.

In a sane world, we would see a grand coalition (Con-Lab) to get us through Brexit

[The trouble is that there is much govt business other than Brexit to do. And L and C disagree wildly on that -W]

followed by a constitutional convention to straighten out our mess of a voting system and representation, followed by another general election. Also unicorns.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 11 Jun 2017 #permalink

@ Raymond

first things first she did not come from "nowhere", she was Home Secretary for 5 years before she became PM

Home Secretary is regarded as one of the Great Offices of States in the UK government

she won the PM-ship because she was the least sh1t candidate and ironically (and laughably) seen as "safe pair of hands"

[Indeed; during her leadership bid, that stint in the HO was her major positive selling point (her major "passive" pluspoint was that she hadn't pissed anyone off). Perhaps now would be a good time to re-evaluate that stint in the light of her current performance -W]

Gove at Environment. So... Whale oil, hand mined coal and cheekie chappy chimney sweeps it is, then.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 11 Jun 2017 #permalink

It's pretty obvious that the Lib Dems would not get into bed with the Tories after the way Clegg was shafted by Cameron.

The Lib Dem's price would have been unpayable: a second referendum in the Queen's Speech (without a get-out clause of the type that allowed Cameron to offer AV instead of PR).

Nobody trusts the Tories as a partner. The DUP will not be partners - they will turn up to vote for payment.

[FWIW, I don't think the LD's were shafted by Cameron or the Conservatives - I think they were shafted by the idiot electorate -W]

By Steve Milesworthy (not verified) on 12 Jun 2017 #permalink

The chiney sweeps won't last long if they put the whale oil on the hand mined coal.

Have to hand it to May- now Boris would be an improvement.

[Sorry for the delay in approval - site blocking issues -W]

I think the LDs were shafted by themselves. They'd knowingly positioned themselves as Labour-Light in the constituencies where that worked for them. When they joined a coalition with the Tories, they lost that vote.

I think Clegg et al knew that would happen. But they thought it was worth it, for the glory.

[Well, they were and are pols, so I shouldn't defend them too highly. They were desperate for their PR vote, and I think took all else in the risk for that; which in the end didn't work. I still think what they did was in principle reasonable; there had been an election, and the parties need to make sense of the result -W]

If they'd held out for a referendum on their manifesto proposal for STV, I could respect that (and I would have voted Yes in the referendum). But they didn't; they settled for a referendum on AV, which Clegg had previously described as a "miserable little compromise".

Evidently Clegg put his own ambition above his party's desire for a vote on PR.

[I think that having sold themselves for a referendum, they should have included in the price "and we get to design it". So, yes, I have to suspect that personal ambition was part of it; they wanted to be in government and so allowed themselves to be bargained down to too low a price, perhaps with the referendum merely as a cover; and accepting student fees on top of that was just too disastrous -W]