Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Theresa May Officially Announces Snap Elections

 

First, the big news: Parliament is happily dissolved! Less than a year after the amazing Brexit vote, snap elections have officially been scheduled for June 8. That’s within a year of a new government: and within two years of the previous general election.

The last time the British electorate voted twice within four years was 1974: Labour beat the Tories twice that year. That, of course, led to the ouster of the Tory loser and the rise of the Great Lady to Tory leadership. If you believe statesmanship is called forth in such troubled times, you might see Theresa May as the confident warrior this time around. At any rate, three important elections in two years add up to a good show of both British moderation in politics and the seriousness of the political changes. It is hard to disagree with the PM: This is the most important election in her lifetime.

Here’s the brief speech of the British PM after visiting with the Queen:

May has for the first time attacked openly the bureaucrats who run the EU, as election meddlers. This is to prepare what I will signal below, what it ultimately means for the PM to have a strong hand in negotiation with the member states of the EU. It is prudent to offer a first sense of the common good of the UK over against the foreigners. This will show even more in the campaign: Her opponents have unwisely allied themselves with the EU by blaming the government for Brexit, by predicting a British economic catastrophe in the event of Brexit and a comparative EU success, and by not offering any solutions to the political crisis that might attract the electorate.

So let’s talk British politics on the eve of the elections. There’s no obvious path for Labour to form even a coalition government in a hung Parliament, given how things look now. Thus the negative purpose of this election: To beat both Labour and UKIP badly, even if the Lib-Dems win some votes and seats as the opposition party for the anti-Brexit electorate. This would not be much of worry, since the Lib-Dems imploded politically, being reduced to nine seats in the last general election. When they lose on the Brexit issue, they will again lose some of their potential to grow.

That said, it is not impossible that the Lib-Dems will become the Opposition in the next generation, given the recent Labour catastrophes at all levels, which surpass anything else in recent British politics. Mr. Corbyn’s leadership of Labour is hurting the party electorally, angering immensely the previous leadership without destroying its influence, and continuing the trend that separates the working class electorate from the welfare-state party.

At the same time, nobody seems to be thinking what opposition to the Tories will mean after Brexit, when there will be more calls for patriotism or nationalism or the local UK problems. For an example of the last, Labour has recently been wiped out in Scotland. A change in the opposition party hasn’t happened in a century, since Labour emerged as the party of welfare, nationalizations, and a controlled economy, so it’s unlikely, but times are strange.

The positive purpose of the snap election is threefold:

  1. To commit the Tories to Brexit, which the MPs did not really support, especially not the former leadership, which campaigned against it. (It has to be said, the Tory electorate is for Brexit. Also, this is a chance to win over the UKIP electorate, which was at about 14 percent in the last election, and thus secure some more seats.)
  2. To get an electoral mandate for Brexit. This is much more important than it would seem as a matter of formality, because in a democracy formality must always rely on public sentiment. Mrs. May was not only not elected as PM, but she stood for the Tory leadership last year and became PM without having supported Brexit. The power of democracy over the minds of politicians is the only thing that is leading to this Brexit, given that Parliament and the sophisticated, successful classes are against it. So this is about democracy vs. oligarchy, ultimately. The people have a chance to impose their will and the PM is wise enough to look strengthen the formalities of English politics by that imposition.
  3. To unify Britain. The expectation here is to beat the SNP, in the sense that the Scottish nationalists will win fewer votes and seats than in 2015. This would seal the question of a second Scottish referendum occurring anytime soon. Further, Northern Ireland is not committed electorally to the new government either–if support for the UK polls better than in the previous elections, that might suffice to quiet the discontent. Last, Wales is fairly loyal the UK electorally, but some electoral confirmation is always welcome.

For fans of democratic politics, the snap elections in themselves are a joy to behold. In 2011, the political oligarchy in Britain agreed on a fair-competition policy known as the Fixed-term Parliament Act. That was a Lib-Dem-Tory conspiracy. This meant a government would not be able to appeal to the people before or after a major political decision, which has been the way to get democratic consent in Britain for a long time, and is essential to the constitution of Britain, rightly understood. This is the first time that abominable act is tested, and democracy has won, I’m happy to report. Labour, which campaigned against Brexit in an odd alliance with the previous Tory government, has voted for elections which it is sure to lose badly. The PM needed a two-thirds majority, according to the abominable act, and got far more.

Aside from what might soon be called the madness of Mr. Corbyn, there is a basic problem of credibility: What opposition leader could cry his heart out against the government and then declare himself afraid of the people’s act of will, the vote? Who can ask the people to make him PM, but not just now, please? Indeed, only 13 MPs dared voted against elections… Hopefully, this abomination of a law will soon be repealed.

Further, here is the similar brief speech the PM made two weeks back, after deciding on the snap elections.

The PM wisely noted that negotiations would be between herself and the elected politicians of the European countries, not with the EU. This is how it should be, according to both political principle and Treaty, inasmuch as that means anything. This will have to be stressed–it will have to be part of the Tory campaign to disarm the pretensions and speeches and leaks of the EU bureaucrats. There are votes in this, and there is democratic dignity to be asserted.

Notice that the speeches of the PM are a combination of populism with political moderation. She challenges the opposition and the EU bureaucrats, while stressing that the government aims at a reasonable arrangement, not a quarrel. This is a chance for Britain to put democracy back into politics and back into the declared purpose of government policy. This is a necessity that returns to politics constantly, and which has been neglected for a long time.

Finally, if you want the best writing I’ve found on who Mrs. May is, and what kind of person, here’s a thoughtful, somewhat rueful review of the recent biography of the PM.

If you want to see what Mrs. May is like in the press, here’s an interview with Andrew Marr over on YouTube, who is what you’d expect. You will notice the differences with American political interviews. I will write on politicians and the press as soon as I can make time–in a season of elections, it might be interesting.

There are 35 comments.

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  1. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    I believe this indicates that populist nationalism is the wave of the future.

    • #1
    • May 4, 2017, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. MLH Inactive

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):
    I believe this indicates that populist nationalism is the wave of the future.

    Let’s call it sovereignty.

    • #2
    • May 4, 2017, at 1:48 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer LLC Member
    Roberto, Crusty Old Timer LLCJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus Techera: May has for the first time attacked openly the bureaucrats who run the EU, as election meddlers.

    One might almost think they are meddling in her favor, going around shouting that the UK needs to pay €100 billion for the privilege of leaving the EU is hardly going to enamor voters with any of May’s EU sympathizing opponents.

    • #3
    • May 4, 2017, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She’s certainly a major improvement on the squish, Cameron. This is a major reversal of UK trends over the prior decade, but I do wonder, even with Labour’s obvious national weakness, how resilient are they at more local levels? They current mayor of London, for example, seems a much saner figure.

    • #4
    • May 4, 2017, at 1:59 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Jim Beck Member

    Afternoon Titus,

    Thanks for compiling all these links. The Brexit vote won in every country except London, if the Brexit vote were a vote for Parliament, it would been a rout. In Cameron’s government there was a push to reduce immigration to the 10’s of thousands, May as a coincidence was given this assignment, do you think she learned something about the deep resentment this EU forced immigration was causing because of her work on this? Was immigration the crystal of bitterness against the EU which pushed the voters so far away from what the elites had imagined? It is curious that Britain has had waves of immigration as the empire came apart and yet this recent immigration seems to have been the back breaking straw, do you have any idea why? Does Romania have any simmering resentments over immigration?

    • #5
    • May 4, 2017, at 2:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    skipsul (View Comment):
    She’s certainly a major improvement on the squish, Cameron. This is a major reversal of UK trends over the prior decade, but I do wonder, even with Labour’s obvious national weakness, how resilient are they at more local levels? They current mayor of London, for example, seems a much saner figure.

    Without Scotland, Labour cannot be competitive, but could retain perpetual Opposition status. A rearrangement of English politics or British politics would be necessary to change the way things have been moving since 2010. Labour is not capable now of getting the UKIP vote, or enough of it to grow relative to the Tories. (In 2015, UKIP got about 14% of the vote, though no added seats.) Labour would have to change in serious ways–there’s no new leadership, so there is an opportunity for some of the new figures–but the membership is itself going through some kind of crisis. A Corbyn collapse & a new guy who can plausibly argue, he’s the new devotee of the NHS–it’s possible, but I don’t see it now, or hear of it.

    The Lib-Dems are just better as a smarmy opposition to the newly-populist Tories. They’re just led by a fairly forgettable guy whose major contribution to English politics will be the cowardice of his Christianity–he’s being hounded in the press with, does he think homosexuality is a sin, or how about homosexual sex, or maybe they’re going to get even more into the details. He’s got no guts. He doesn’t seem to understand England might respect him more if he were less of a pansy. So maybe that party is not going anywhere in this situation, either.

    The election looks like a big Tory win now. My sense is, about 50 seats added, or somewhat more. But I’m not making predictions–I’m only saying, so you know later how I thought about things. I don’t get predictions right or claim to know how…

    • #6
    • May 4, 2017, at 2:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Jim Beck (View Comment):
    Afternoon Titus,

    Thanks for compiling all these links. The Brexit vote won in every country except London, if the Brexit vote were a vote for Parliament, it would been a rout.

    Brexit won in England & Wales, lost significantly in Ireland & Scotland.

    In Cameron’s government there was a push to reduce immigration to the 10’s of thousands, May as a coincidence was given this assignment, do you think she learned something about the deep resentment this EU forced immigration was causing because of her work on this?

    She did take it seriously–not her idea–but she worked hard. She certainly has learned a lot about the EU. I don’t think she’s against immigration–it just seems there’s no way to make it work now. She’s certainly not in love with immigration.

    Was immigration the crystal of bitterness against the EU which pushed the voters so far away from what the elites had imagined? It is curious that Britain has had waves of immigration as the empire came apart and yet this recent immigration seems to have been the back breaking straw, do you have any idea why?

    I don’t think it was the really big deal. It certainly contributed & it certainly has, like in America, this sting of humiliation about it. Saying you want more immigrants & whoever doesn’t is evil–that is a humiliation to citizens themselves. England no more than America has now a way to speak seriously about citizenship. But it is needful. PM May seems to have found ways to address the matter without Lincolnian or Jeffersonian speeches. I’m not sure how well this will go, but it’s a reassuring start.

    Does Romania have any simmering resentments over immigration?

    Romania has no immigrants. It’s way closer to the refugee wave from the Middle East than Scandinavia or Germany or what have you. I wouldn’t mind large numbers of immigrants here–say 1% of the population over a decade. But there’s not much society or the state can do to help them establish themselves; they don’t seem to care to come, either. The demographic collapse here continues. The economy is ok. Corruption might choke it, though…

    • #7
    • May 4, 2017, at 2:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Roberto (View Comment):

    Titus Techera: May has for the first time attacked openly the bureaucrats who run the EU, as election meddlers.

    One might almost think they are meddling in her favor, going around shouting that the UK needs to pay €100 billion for the privilege of leaving the EU is hardly going to enamor voters with any of May’s EU sympathizing opponents.

    I do think that’s how it will play out–the Tories would have to be suicidal not to play it to the hilt. They can afford it, too: Everyone knows the PM is for Brexit because she’s in agreement with the popular decision, not because she was hot for it…

    • #8
    • May 4, 2017, at 2:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    MLH (View Comment):

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):
    I believe this indicates that populist nationalism is the wave of the future.

    Let’s call it sovereignty.

    Yes, I think this is right. If the future of Britain is sort of like what PM May is doing, populism will be balanced with the formalities of the institutions. Sovereignty really matters for the citizens’ sense of dignity. & citizenship matters because times are not always indolent prosperity; what’s left of living together & looking for a common good when the hardship comes? But even in the good times–what can people do in their associations to get a sense of their greatness, what comes of being not quite the same, but alike, & together, though not quite familiar?–what but accidents & cosmic forces makes for living in the same country? Sovereignty will have to decide some of these things & suggest the others.

    • #9
    • May 4, 2017, at 2:47 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Odysseus Inactive

    Firstly, thanks for an interesting post, a good summation of British politics at present; but whilst I try to resist the temptation to nitpick, there are, however, a few points to be made in respect of your post.

    Firstly, the present government has been in office since the 2015 election, it is merely the Prime Minister which changed, after David Cameron resigned; so the dissolution of Parliament has not been “within a year of a new government”: ministers remained in post after Cameron’s resignation, etc.

    Secondly, the strength of the Conservatives in Wales is not a footnote: we could become the majority in that part of the British Isles, which would be something unseen for a generation. As you have pointed out, they voted Leave in the EU Referendum in similar numbers to England.

    In respect of your point about the European Council being negotiators with regard to a potential Brexit deal, that’s true in law but they have chosen to delegate, and so it’s not something that can be used politically or in negotiations at this point. Divisions may later emerge between Juncker, Barnier, et. al. and the elected heads of the 27 other EU nations, but at present Germany and France are calling the shots, and there is a lot on the line for them. And as yo know, any final Brexit deal will have to be approved by “qualified majority voting” of the 27 and the EU “Parliament”, so I’m sure you’d agree the present arguments being put forth by the EU President seem like silliness.

    Anyway, thanks again for an interesting post. I’m glad someone is commenting on these matters, as I’m too lazy to do so myself ;-)

    • #10
    • May 4, 2017, at 6:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Thanks for the answer, Odysseus.

    Had Mrs. May been the only change in the government, or the only important one, I might have agreed with your objection.

    As for Wales, I did not mean to slight it–only to note there’s no threat to sunder the UK from that quarter…

    As for the EU negotiation team–your point is good, there is now an united front among the member states.

    Do take the time to talk about Britain some more; events have made the place interesting enough to leave impressions in the minds of many who otherwise have their concerns elsewhere. Maybe say also who you’re reading or listening to, for insights into events…

    • #11
    • May 4, 2017, at 9:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. Stephen Bishop Inactive

    Roberto (View Comment):

    Titus Techera: May has for the first time attacked openly the bureaucrats who run the EU, as election meddlers.

    One might almost think they are meddling in her favor, going around shouting that the UK needs to pay €100 billion for the privilege of leaving the EU is hardly going to enamor voters with any of May’s EU sympathizing opponents.

    My guess is this €100 billion is aimed at the wimpish Brit and French voters during their elections. It’s Project Fear again.

    • #12
    • May 5, 2017, at 3:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    It’s certainly going to stoke anger on both sides & maybe make enemies of countries none of which can afford it right now. It’s also a crazy way to think about running the EU negotiations.

    I’m thinking about countries with economies on the brink of collapse like Italy–fourth-largest in the EU–or which are in serious political turmoil–like France. Is the best their politicians can come up with a conflict with Britain that’s going to be bad all around?

    • #13
    • May 5, 2017, at 3:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There were local elections in Britain yesterday and the Tories had a very good day, picking up over 150 council seats. UKIP did not win a single seat. Labour, Independents, and Lib/Dems all lost seats.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/04/local-elections-2017-results-analysis/

    This was headline on Telegraph website and was not to be seen on the Guardian website. French elections are more important for Guardian squids. I can’t be bothered with the Independent.

    • #14
    • May 5, 2017, at 4:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Hang On (View Comment):
    There were local elections in Britain yesterday and the Tories had a very good day, picking up over 150 council seats. UKIP did not win a single seat. Labour, Independents, and Lib/Dems all lost seats.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/04/local-elections-2017-results-analysis/

    This was headline on Telegraph website and was not to be seen on the Guardian website. French elections are more important for Guardian squids. I can’t be bothered with the Independent.

    So now the talk is, there are a dozen seats where Labour won in 2015 by smaller majorities than the UKIP share of the vote. How many of those are up for grabs apart from anything else? How many more votes is Mrs. May going to win than Mr. Cameron did last time around, even independently of the seats?

    It’s a good day for Tory democracy, it seems, hearkening a yet brighter day soon.

    I hope all parties are thinking seriously about how to take the people more seriously & what they can offer Britain by way of government & public debate.

    • #15
    • May 5, 2017, at 5:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Odysseus Inactive

    @titustechera Yes, Welsh nationalism is not really a factor at all. It did flare up in the 80s around Anglesey and Caernarvon, when some English “incomers” had their holiday homes torched. They’ve reinvigorated Welsh up there, and they speak it in the pubs, but overall the Welsh don’t hate us Anglo-Saxons in the way a lot of the Scots do. In some ways I think this is reflective of the fact that Wales is a “mere” principality, whereas Scotland is a kingdom. Cornwall, similarly, has not been independent for a very long time, and whilst they have their own independence movement it’s not much more than a few blokes in a pub.

    And thanks for the invitation to talk about Britain! I was thinking of doing a series of posts here on Brexit and the like; and since the election could get quite interesting, perhaps I shall. I don’t have time to talk much now, but here’s just a quick summary of my impressions following the last week and the results of the council elections coming in today:

    It seems that the country feels more united in its political direction than I have felt since 1997 (Tony Blair’s big win) or even 1982 (the Falklands War). As for UKIP, it’s more or less defunct, and a lot are coming back to the Conservatives or are voting Conservative for the first time ever (some having gone from Labour to UKIP and now to the Conservatives). After all, what is the point of voting for UKIP when it can only hurt our chances of getting a good Brexit deal by reducing a Conservative majority? Some are talking of 45 parliamentary seats being up for grabs by us directly because of the UKIP collapse, in addition to other seats that are likely to fall to us because of the Labour collapse. And the Lib-Dems aren’t looking like they are emerging as a popular option for those who voted Remain, at least judging from the results today — possibly because Tim Farron is just a bit odd, and is not nearly as popular as was Nick Clegg. Similarly, both terrorist-and-dictator-loving Jeremy Corbyn (Labour) and Paul Nuttall (UKIP) aren’t seen as strong leaders — unlike Theresa May, who loves to quote the numpty Kenneth Clarke in saying she is a “bloody difficult woman” (i.e., tough like Thatcher). We don’t have much in from Scotland yet today, so I can’t really comment on that at present except to say that it’s looking good for us, perhaps because the Scots are bored of Nicola Sturgeon constantly banging on about “IndyRef2”.

    As for what I read on the subject of British political news (rather than in-depth stuff from think tanks), I mostly read the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator, the Guido Fawkes blog and ConservativeHome, although I also get a surprising amount just by talking to friends.

    • #16
    • May 5, 2017, at 7:52 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Odysseus Inactive

    P.S. I should probably add that I also get a lot of useful info just talking to voters on the doorstep. I was involved in the recent Copeland by-election (big win for us, great night and chipped one of my teeth trying to open a beer bottle!), and I can tell you from that that whilst there are the usual socialist diehards still out there, they’ve got nothing much to say against “the bloody Tories” at the moment. Sometimes campaigning can be rough, but these days the mood feels extremely positive.

    • #17
    • May 5, 2017, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    There’s a good idea for a post–talking about campaigning!

    • #18
    • May 5, 2017, at 8:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Odysseus Inactive

    Yes, I could do, but I need to actually do some campaigning first! Embarrassingly, today I missed leafletting with “Tory Rory” Stewart (he of the hedgehog speech — begins about 15m in), but I’ll be out and about in Lakeland over the coming weeks.

    • #19
    • May 5, 2017, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Odysseus Inactive

    Just a quick update re: Scotland in today’s county council election results, it seems that the SNP vote is holding up, but Labour are down a lot, and the Conservatives have benefited from that. So it would appear the Conservatives will be the opposition to the SNP in Scotland for the coming years, but the position in Scotland won’t affect the general election except that maybe the SNP will lose a few seats.

    And to show the position of the Conservative and Unionist Party nationwide, here are the overall results so far, in terms of county councils controlled by each party:

    Conservatives: 28
    Labour: 9
    Plaid Cymru: 1
    Every other party: 0

    We are advancing to the June 8th election with all guns blazing.

    • #20
    • May 5, 2017, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Mr Nick Member

    Excellent analysis Titus, especially on the Fixed Terms Parliament Act which was cooked up by supposedly professional politicians who merely showed they had no idea about the British constitution.

    My previous worry over this election have largely subsided as events have overtaken themselves. A lot of my fears were based on the Lib-Dem support I was seeing for these council elections, but they were blown away. For various reasons, the Libs are failing to translate Remain into support for them. Call it the silent majority or think of Burke’s quietly chewing cows, but something rather remarkable is going on far sooner than I dared hope.

    By the way, Andrew Marr is an awful example of how political interviews have declined as the political and media classes have merged. Andrew Neil is probably the best television interrogator at the moment, he even has his own verb – so-and-so got ‘Brilloed’.

    • #21
    • May 6, 2017, at 8:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Thanks, kindly.

    I agree about Mr. Marr, emphatically.

    I’ll add a question, isn’t it a crazy thing for the British press to do, to hound the LibDem leader on his Christianity when he is their only hope to oppose Mrs. May?

    I do agree events have given evidence to the hopes we foster & none for our worries about the election itself.

    • #22
    • May 6, 2017, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Mr Nick Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    I’ll add a question, isn’t it a crazy thing for the British press to do, to hound the LibDem leader on his Christianity when he is their only hope to oppose Mrs. May?

    Crazy indeed but this is political correctness we are talking about. And the left have a habit of eating their own when they stray off the reservation….

    • #23
    • May 6, 2017, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Yes, indeed. One wishes for more prudence…

    • #24
    • May 6, 2017, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. Mr Nick Member

    … Although the more prosaic explanation is that ‘taking down’ a politician is just in their nature. Aggressive secularism has been more pronounced recently too. I could speculate on climate alarmists not mixing with more traditional forms of religion but it would just be speculation. To be honest old chap I didn’t follow the controversy closely and I tend to steer clear of Twitter.

    • #25
    • May 6, 2017, at 10:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Odysseus Inactive

    The problem with Tim Farron is not his Christianity but that he tried to force a second EU referendum. There are a bunch of politicians who, like Farron, tried to ignore the will of the people in this and similar ways, including Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Kenneth Clarke and others. This is a serious issue for anyone standing for democratic office, in my view, and something that I think even very many Remain voters would consider quite disreputable.

    As for the gay sex thing, it’s apparently OK to think gay sex is a sin in Britain if you are a Muslim, but not if you are a Christian. Go figure.

    • #26
    • May 6, 2017, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Odysseus (View Comment):
    The problem with Tim Farron is not his Christianity but that he tried to force a second EU referendum. There are a bunch of politicians who, like Farron, tried to ignore the will of the people in this and similar ways, including Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Kenneth Clarke and others. This is a serious issue for anyone standing for democratic office, in my view, and something that I think even very many Remain voters would consider quite disreputable.

    Well, that’s the Tory view. The question is why would the Remain classes, so to speak, not back him up!

    As for the gay sex thing, it’s apparently OK to think gay sex is a sin in Britain if you are a Muslim, but not if you are a Christian. Go figure.

    Yeah, that is something to shake one’s head at…

    • #27
    • May 6, 2017, at 10:12 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Odysseus Inactive

    @titustechera Well, the anti-second-referendum position is certainly a view held by those at my end of the Conservative Party – the end populated by the likes of the late Enoch Powell and by Daniel Hannan and (dare I say it) Nigel Farage – which holds that a people has the right to self-determination. However, since it derives from our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, who elected kings and who had the right to bear arms, as such it’s shared by much of the populace, be they Labour voters or Tories. Something we’ve learned from the referendum (which was won in large measure by the traditionally Labour-voting North of England) is that, at root, we still share these principles, even if (sadly) in a limited way. There is, consequently, a great deal of resentment toward those who have adopted the Continental view that the elites are the dispensers of rights and privileges, and I would put Farron squarely in this camp. (In passing, I would like to recommend Daniel Hannan’s How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters on this topic. Hannan is regarded in the party as the intellectual leader of Brexit, and I really can’t praise him enough so I won’t try.)

    It’s worth noting that there have been a number of referenda held around Europe on matters relating to the EU project where the voters rejected the terms, but which referenda were later re-run or simply ignored by the Brussels elite:

    • Denmark voted in 1992 against the Maastricht Treaty, but then had a re-run.
    • In 2005, the French voted against the proposed EU Constitution, but this was ignored by the EU, who simply re-branded the EU Constitution the Lisbon Treaty.
    • In 2008 the Irish voted against the Lisbon Treaty, but they had a re-run the next year which gave the “correct” result.
    • In 2015 the Greeks voted against the proposed bailout, but this was simply ignored by their government.

    I might also note that there has been a similar history in Britain of going back on promises made to the voters, such as Gordon Brown and the Labour Party going back on a promise not to sign the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty (there was a shameful back-room deal), and David Cameron’s reversal on his promise to hold a referendum on EU membership in the run-up to the 2010 election. In fact, at one point every major party (including Tim Farron’s) promised to hold a referendum and then, later on, prevented it. Against this backdrop, there were reasonable fears of another EU stitch-up, so any politician going against the will of the public in this manner is deserving of utter opprobrium as a matter of democratic principle, not just party loyalty.

    • #28
    • May 7, 2017, at 6:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    I agree with lots of what you say. Maybe everything!

    I do have two related qualifiers. First, the Brexit electorate–there’s a lot to be said for working class people who feel their skills are rendered worthless by the kind of globalization that makes kings in the City–& pansies, like Messers Cameron & Osborne.

    Secondly, Mr. Hannan, the best speaker in political Britain, has the weakness of all free traders–he does not understand how to first earn the trust of the electorate & how to look out for the electorate, not just claim that trade & globalization are all-around winners. It’s one thing to say, we had a common enemy in the EU–it’s another thing to say he has any idea how to talk to his people about the common good…

    Tories need someone like Mrs. May–Thatcher she ain’t!–precisely because she talks about how important it is to take care of everyone–lots of people in England feel left behind. They need some help & a sense of dignity–another chance to make something of themselves. Rights are worthless to people absent a way to work for their own living. If they do not get an experience of their earned independence–they’re not going to believe in abstract rights.

    • #29
    • May 7, 2017, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Odysseus Inactive

    Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more — although a year ago I would have said differently. The Trump election forced me to re-evaluate my long-held globalist / anti-protectionist stance which I’d held since debating Tory vs. Whig at school. What’s come out of that election is the exploding of the globalist theory that those who lose their jobs because of globalisation will almost instantly find other jobs. Many conservatives either haven’t grasped that, or they put it into a different compartment from the free-market part of their brain. Nigel Farage gets it, and the working classes in the North of England know it first hand, but a lot of conservatives don’t. As for Theresa May, she’s saying the right things on that subject, but is not really my kind of conservative because she isn’t cutting taxes – though again, I hope that idea makes its way across the pond shortly, which it may do if we have a “hard Brexit”.

    (Incidentally, and as an aside, one of the most remarkable things about Theresa May is just how normal she is in person – she wears the mantle easily, unlike Blair or Brown who were puffed up by the office, and I think that’s the reason May is considered so trustworthy.)

    • #30
    • May 7, 2017, at 9:08 AM PDT
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