Elections, elections, elections!!!


Posted by in May's Magazine

Protempore

So, there we have it. The local council elections in England completely decimated the Tories who lost 1330 seats and also provided a blow to Labour who were expecting to gain seats rather than lose the 80-odd which they did. Even UKIP lost over 100 seats. Theresa May has consistently said that “the people of Britain” want Brexit and they want the two main parties to get on with delivering it. The election results don’t bear this out. The Liberal Democrats who were on their knees a couple of years ago, stood on an anti-Brexit ticket and managed to gain over 700 council seats.

Make no mistake about it, this country is approaching an impending national emergency.

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The Tories and Labour are locked in talks which show absolutely no sign of making any kind of progress towards a Brexit deal that would get through the House of Commons and avoid the looming economic disaster on the no-deal horizon. Only this week, Theresa May brazenly ditched the confidentiality of the talks by appearing to brief the Sunday Times newspaper about the compromises which were being put on the table in order to secure a deal. Now call me cynical, but those compromises will not go down well with the hard Brexiteers in her party who have been circling around her like sharks as they scent blood flowing from a seriously wounded Prime Minister.

By openly sharing the secrets of the compromises on offer, it would appear, to me anyway, that Mrs May is forcing everyone in the Tory party to show their hand and either put up or shut up. She’s also calculated that if Labour if now are seen to abandon the talks in the face of her breeching confidentiality, that she will appear to be the honest broker in the negotiations. It’s the last throw of very rigged dice from a woman who is now more concerned about her legacy as PM than she is about the future economic prosperity of the UK. This is a huge gamble.

If she persists on this road, it will split the Tory party in half and there’s no guarantee that her side of the shitshow will come out on top. It’s far more likely that a hard Brexiteer like Boris Johnson or an increasingly touted Dominic Raab will take over as leader of the party and immediately veer towards no deal. These people would never engage with Labour and it’s unlikely that the EU will be offering any further concessions on the timetable or anything else, so we would be careering towards that infamous cliff edge.

The Labour party are insisting that they have always engaged with the talks in good faith, but this latest rupture has now moved them back to their preferred position of having a general election to try and sort things out. However, given the fixed-term parliament’s act, they have no means of kicking an election off other than securing a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and her government. Too many Tories, along with the DUP and disaffected ex-Labour members have already stated that they wouldn’t vote with Labour on this, so it really does appear to be a non-starter. If Labour withdraw from the talks, it leaves May with no option but to try and bring a deal back to Parliament on her own – something which hasn’t worked terribly well in the recent past.

It really is a clusterfuck.

At the SNP’s recent party conference, Nicola Sturgeon stated that the move to a second referendum on independence started now. She pointed to the electoral mandate which the SNP has now secured in two Scottish elections as being enough to kick things off.

However, the UK Government has stated consistently that it will now deny Scotland the right to hold another vote – something which it can currently do given the constitutional arrangements which we have. But how would that go down amongst Scottish voters of all persuasions? Would every citizen in Scotland be happy to watch their economy go down
the toilet at the whim of an incompetent, intolerant, right-wing Government at Westminster? I sincerely doubt it.

Whatever happens, the next few months will decide whether the UK extricates itself from a looming economic disaster or plunges headlong into another ten years of austerity and its associated miseries for vast numbers of people. That it’s come down to this because of a Tory party that has never been able to rid itself of a handful of tiny-minded, euro-sceptics and pseudo-colonialists is a national scandal.

Indyref 2? As someone once said, bring it on.

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