On 18th April 2017 the Prime Minister indicated that she wished to call a general election. Today it is likely that she will obtain the two-thirds parliamentary majority that she needs. It doesn’t seem to matter what decision is taken, or why, but someone will always argue that it is wrong. In this case Mrs May will be accused of opportunism, given the disarray in the Labour Party, which has agreed to an election even though its prospects are currently grim. Of course when she became PM Mrs May was pilloried for not holding an immediate election to consolidate her position as an unelected (by the country) leader. Now people are asking why she needs one; she has a parliamentary majority, after all.
It all comes down to Brexit. As she put it, the country has decided on Brexit but at Westminster many people are intent on derailing the process. A larger majority will dispose of any problems with votes. But it will be interesting to see what the final result will be. There are numerous imponderables.
- The process of Brexit has begun, so UKIP is irrelevant; it has achieved its aim, and has no other policy to fall back on. Where will their votes go in the Brexit-strong areas that were once Labour heartlands?
- The Liberal Democrats remain Remainers (and remoaners). Will they pick up votes from the Tories in their Remainer strongholds?
- The prospect of the present Labour Party leadership making a fist of Brexit negotiations is so alarming that it cannot possibly happen. Except everyone said that Trump was unelectable in the USA, and look what happened there
- The Scottish Nationalists have made a great play about Scotland having voted to remain, and threatened another independence referendum so they can make their own way within Europe. Except they have no money, as the oil revenues they trumpeted as the country’s resources have diminished substantially. And so the Scots really want another referendum? Probably not. So if the Scot Nats are remainers, and the Tories are the party of Brexit, where will Scottish votes go?
But the key to this is what democracy means. The nation voted for Brexit. OK, so bits of it did not, but in a democracy the minority must abide by the decision of the majority and not threaten to secede. My household (of two) voted to remain, but we are not currently agitating to set up the Independent Republic of Norman House, Rye, but thinking about how to make Brexit work for the best (or the least bad). The more divisions there are, the worse the nation’s negotiating position will be.
So my solutions to the questions above are as follows:
- UKIP voters should vote Conservative so that Brexit will mean Brexit, to coin a phrase
- People thinking of voting Lib Dem should not prejudice Brexit by undermining Tory MPs, but might consider the Lib Dems in Labour areas if they simply cannot countenance voting Tory
- Trump at least managed to upset people and obviously was able enough to make lots of money. It seems that Jeremy Corbyn is simply incompetent. Also it is clear that he has a very short fuse. Patience is a virtue, and simply losing one’s temper in public is not a good starting point for diplomacy. So Labour voters should arrange his defenestration and if they can’t swallow their longstanding devotion to the Labour Party, they should not vote at all
- I hesitate to advise my friends across the Scottish border how to vote, else the fish lady will come down on me like a ton of bricks. But I think Scotland would be taking a huge risk in trying to leave the UK – a far greater risk than that of the UK leaving Europe. So common sense dictates, remain or leave the EU, that they accept the majority decision and work to make it work, rather than bleat from the sidelines. There are some very able politicians up there, and they would be better inside the tent pissing out than vice-versa.
It’s all rather exciting…