13 June 2017

Random thoughts on the UK elections

  • Many heartfelt congratulations to Mr. John Baron, MP of Basildon and Billericay, on his electoral win! It’s immensely gratifying to me that one of the very few actual Tories who actually deserved to keep his seat, in fact did.

  • From the perspective of Labour: Mr. Jeremy Corbyn’s showing in these Parliamentary elections, though slightly disappointing, still demonstrated what I have been saying for quite some while, e.g. in my open letter to my cousin across the pond two years ago. Labour voters – particularly younger ones – want a party with principles. And Corbyn, who is not my ideal candidate for several reasons, nonetheless gives voice to a firm set of Labour principles – things like generous welfare benefits, renationalisation of utilities, people’s QE, détente and armed neutrality. These may have a retro, Old Left flavour to them, but if there’s one thing heavy metal has taught me, some things never die. The party of Blair is dead and gone, and – frankly – good riddance. Long live the party of Corbyn.

  • From the perspective of the Conservatives: these elections were a completely-avoidable humiliation which they should have seen coming a mile off, polls notwithstanding. Twice now, first in Cameron’s referendum on Brexit and just recently in the new elections called by May, the British electorate have meetly and rightly punished the Conservatives for their smarmy, self-important, hubristic and completely-misplaced confidence in the outcome. Ms. Theresa May basically assumed that, with Corbyn as her opponent, she didn’t actually have to campaign at all – and Rod Liddle aptly called it ‘the worst Tory election campaign ever’.
    Still more remarkable was the decision to force demented people to sell their own houses, if they can remember where they are, to pay for their own care. Followed very shortly by an embarrassing U-turn. This was passed off by the Tories as an example of pristine honesty, of nettles being grasped in an admirably transparent manner. But, like much of the current Tory campaign, it smacked to me of two things — complacency and arrogance. It suggested yet again that Theresa May called this election convinced that almost nothing she could do or say would prevent the inevitable landslide. I think she was horribly wrong about that.
    And, of course, she was. Just as the Conservatives did not forgive Cameron for Brexit, nor will or should they easily forgive May’s stunning, Dunning-Krugeresque display of arrogance and incompetence.

  • Further reasons for rejoicing: Nuttall, true to his name, failed to win a single seat, thus permanently consigning him and his party to the electoral rubbish heap in the wake of the EU referendum, and Salmond and Sturgeon got their richly-deserved drubbing as Scots turned back to both the Conservatives and Labour. Nothing but good in the fact that the ethnic-nationalist parties have not only not gained, but have actually lost, from throwing themselves to each extreme side of the argument on the EU referendum.

  • Again, this election and its outcome were not a surprise to those of us who were paying attention. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to the media who have been covering the populist resurgence in Europe or the upset politics of Trump and Brexit from the beginning. Ordinary people – not just May Day activists – are tired of austerity. Ordinary people – not just Stop the War and Media Lens – are tired of the torrents of blood and treasure being spent on endless wars of choice, and the torrents of propaganda being used to gin them up. Ordinary people – not just Britain First and UKIP – are tired of politicians importing right-wing Islamist radicals from countries we’ve invaded, having those radicals attack them, and then having politicians turn around and call them bigots when they complain. Ordinary people – not just the fringe elements – are tired of having their genuine concerns dismissed in favour of cosmeticised élite politics-as-usual.

  • For the record: I am not, here, taking the side of the ‘ordinary people’ in every instance. I understand that the many can and often are on the wrong side of the argument. But I do note that the now-open conflict between the democratic and oligarchic elements in the polity, on both sides of the Atlantic, opens the door for some very distasteful elements that cannot be easily contained. British politicians would be wise to take note and adjust, not only their rhetoric but their whole orientation toward their constituents.


  1. Many thanks for your thoughts.

    We won the most seats, but in a real sense we lost this election and deserved to lose.

    Had you written about UKIP before this? I don't recall you previously offering your views on them.

  2. Cheers, Matthew!

    One thought I hadn't added, but which I still want to: I fear the Conservatives as a whole will not be as thoughtful and reflective as you have been on your own blog. I am starting to fear that with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove so close to the helm, what will take shape after May leaves the stage will be something closer to Thatcherism than May was angling after, and that's an outcome I would very deeply regret.

    Regarding UKIP. I had offered some thoughts on them before, but none directly. I think they badly bungled their entire electoral relevance on the EU referendum, and I further get the impression that voters rightly turned on them when they found out UKIP had no plan going forward. I imagine this may be similar to your own view, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter as you're probably better-informed about them than I am.

    1. Michael Gove would be disastrous for the Conservative Party. A clever man, but no ability to listen to people or find common ground. Boris Johnson is capable of working with those from different positions and can be moderate, but he is entirely self-serving and untrustworthy.

      UKIP had a common purpose with getting Britain out of the UK; having apparently managed that, their future is uncertain and differences in ideology inevitably came out. The latest leader (now resigned) seems to want to turn his guns on 'Radical Islam', unable to see that the dangers that sort of rhetoric risks in an electorate which broadly accepts diversity of race and religion.