Jun. 9th, 2017

GE17

Jun. 9th, 2017 03:13 pm
smhwpf: (BuffyAnne)
Well, that was a lot better than expected.

I don't feel that celebratory, as we still have a Tory government, albeit a minority one, propped up by the far-right DUP, with potentially serious negative consequences for political stability in Northern Ireland. (Some good analysis from [personal profile] nwhyte ).

However. It is far better than expected, in line with the most optimistic (from a Labour point of view) polls towards the end of the campaign. The Tories have lost their majority, Theresa May has egg all over her face, and is pretty much a lame duck. The Tory-DUP effective majority will be only 13 or 15 (higher than it would otherwise be, due to Sinn Fein not taking their seats), which will make them vulnerable to defeat on individual issues, and to further whittling of the majority by by-elections. The Tories will probably also have a lot of internal divisions as a result of this, not least because there are likely to be not a few Tory MPs who are distinctly queasy about the deal with the DUP. Like, the 19 openly LGBT Tory MPs.

I think, I hope, they will have to moderate some of their more extreme policies, including o n the ultra-hard Brexit. Theresa May's negotiating in Brussels will be massively weakened, so it will hopefully be much harder for her to plant her feet on the ground and say no to everything. (The DUP, for all their faults, do not want a hard border with the Republic of Ireland).

The best thing is the revival of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, on the basis of a solid, sensible, but full-throated social democratic platform, with no attempt to pander to soft racism. In spite of all the ferocious media campaign and the highly damaging internal party battle after Brexit - one thing voters consistently do not like is a divided party - Labour achieved the biggest increase in its vote share in a single election since 1945. That Corbyn has inspired large numbers of people, especially young people who actually turned out to vote (I saw a figure of 72% among 18-25 year-olds, don't know if that's a solid figure?). Hopefully, having got the voting bug, they will continue with it.

Blairism, and the strategy of 'triangulation', the endless quest for the fictional 'middle ground' is, maybe not dead, but at least in abeyance for the moment. I do believe that the only way for center-left parties in both Europe and North America to go if they are to reverse their catastrophic decline is to offer something clear and inspiring that is clearly an alternative to both Neoliberalism and anti-immigration nationalism. This is clearly the direction Labour is going in now, and hopefully after this election the party will be united behind it.

Beyond the Labour Party, there is now actually a generally progressive majority in Britain again. Left of center parties (excluding NI), got 52.52% of the vote (excluding Kensington, which hasn't declared but won't change things much), while the Tories + UKIP got 44.3%. (Independents, the main NI parties, and Other got 3.18%). That's an increase of 5.1% for the center-left, and a fall of 5.17% for Tories+UKIP.

There is clearly still a lot for Labour to do to go from this close defeat to an actual win. Paul Mason has some good suggestions, but it is actually possible to be hopeful about the direction of British politics for the first time in, well, my lifetime.

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