The British Election of 8 June 2017

I don’t live in the UK, so my reflections here are necessarily of a mediated nature. I get all my news and information through the media. That said, the election seems to have ended with the following seats and percentages:

Party                            Seats         %
===============================
Conservative…………..318……….48.9
Labour…………………….261……….40.2
SNP……………………………35………….5.4
Liberal Democrat…….12………….1.8
DUP……………………………10………….1.5
Sinn Fein……………………7…………..1.1
Plaid Cymru………………4…………..0.6
Green…………………………1…………..0.2

First some details that are peripheral, but interesting.

— The Conservatives took a large chunk of the Scottish vote away from the SNP. Had those precincts stayed with the SNP, what would’ve simply been a “bad night” for the Conservatives, would have made it vastly worse. Why so many Scots voted for the Conservatives, I can only speculate. My guess is that it is reflective of dissent within Scotland over the subject of Brexit.

— One thing I found most heartening about the election results was the complete disappearance of UKIP. They won zero seats. It seems their support went largely to the Conservatives. There really is no place for their hateful brand of racist and quasi-fascist politics.

Some of what can be said about this election borders on boilerplate level obviousness. Theresa May has clearly miscalculated in calling for that early election. Her plan of growing the strength and reach of the Conservative party and of consolidating her position within the Conservative party has clearly failed. The Conservatives lost seats, and are only holding onto power by operating in conjunction with the DUP. The DUP is a socially conservative party based in Northern Ireland. The leadership of the DUP has said that they will not form a coalition government with the Conservatives. They said that they would go forward with the Conservatives on a case-by-case bill by bill basis. This means that no controversial legislation will be able to move through Parliament.

In essence, stuck with a hung parliament, there is very little that the Conservatives can do. However, there is much they must do. The negotiations for Brexit began in 11 days. With no real mandate, and crumbling support within the party, Theresa may will likely have to resign. These negotiations are critical to the future of the UK. If she resigns before the negotiations started in 11 days, the European representatives will be left in a very weak position because they won’t really have a solid negotiating partner they can trust going forward who represents the will and interests of the people of the UK as formulated by their elected government. On the other hand, if she holds on through the negotiations she won’t be able to implement any kind of an agreement her government has arrived at with the European representatives, as she is presiding over a hung parliament.

I think that this hung parliament was the second best thing that could happen under the circumstances. The best would have been for Labour to simply win the election outright. Then Corbyn could’ve formed a government and begin to undo all of the nonsensical coldhearted miserable policies of austerity that the Conservative government has promulgated over the past several years. So short of that, simply blunting the ability of the Conservatives to get anything done is, I believe, a good thing. And this hung parliament does exactly that.

So going forward, some predictions should be made. The easiest prediction is that Theresa May will step down as prime minister. I think that is pretty much a foregone conclusion, and the only question is not a matter of if but when. Obviously she can’t leave office before the negotiations begin. And even if she did announce that she was going to leave office, it would take a few months to organize a Conservative party leadership election. So, I believe it is fair to say that Theresa may will be an office during the Brexit negotiations.

The big question is how long will the DUP side with the Conservatives in Parliament, and how long would be for another election is called. My guess is that the prime minister will announce her resignation probably in about a month or less. The Conservatives will then hold a party election for leader in the late summer probably August. The new leader will likely try to do something that will piss off the DUP and that will kick an election some time in late November or early December. That’s a mid range possibility. If the negotiations go particularly badly in the next few weeks with the EU, then it is possible that the above noted turn of events may accelerate by a month perhaps two. If things go well in the Brexit negotiations in a few weeks, then it is possible that she may hold onto her job a bit longer, and the Conservatives remain in power a bit longer. I don’t really see the Conservatives surviving another election.

This brings us to what will hopefully replace the Conservatives. I believe that Corbyn will continue gathering strength and solidarity with the people of the UK who are most vulnerable to the callous machinations of the Conservative party. I also believe that Corbyn will be able to rally this support at the next election and institute a much more progressive agenda and set of policies that will drag the UK into the 21st century. Because Lord knows the Conservatives would like to drag it back to the 19th.

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