Saturday, 10 June 2017

GE2017: How The Right Shot Itself In Both Feet

The Conservative (Tory) party has won the UK election with 318 seats. Lacking the 326 required for the majority they need to form a government, Prime Minister Theresa May has sought the aid of Ulster's Democratic Unionist Party to assist with day-to-day governing. What does this mean for the UK and for Brexit?

The situation is complex but four areas will be addressed in this post:

1. Brexit
2. Domestic policy
3. Northern Ireland
4. The media

Okay, let's dig in.

1. Brexit

Brexit so far has been a game of two haves: the haves and the have nots. So far we've had a mix of both either defending or attacking Brexit due to propaganda alleging that immigrants are stealing our jobs and that Brussels is calling the shots. This is what won the have nots over; meanwhile the haves were more about Little England sensibilities and Rule Britannia jingoism. Now the game is very different.

No majority = no mandate

May's failure to win enough seats to ram her policies through means relying on the far right DUP to get them through. This assumes she can get enough of her own fractured party on board to make it rain in Parliament. Yeah, but the Lords are not obliged to go along with the plans of a minority government per the Salisbury Convention. Oops! She can't claim "Will o' the people, folks!" for her policies now. Not a lot of people know this, particularly on the right, because they're not in the least bit interested in learning and knowing how the law works in this country. This is Fascism characteristic no. 11:

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia - Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism, by Dr. Lawrence Britt for

We are not a Fascist nation but our government and many of my fellow citizens certainly seem to lean that way. Result: they dismiss or ignore any information that doesn't align with their worldview. Therefore they know zip all about what's really happening in this country — or what's actually happening with Brexit. I make a point of following people in the know: mainly lawyers, in order to get a grip on what's going on. The more I know, the better position I'm in to form opinions and make decisions. Why do people do this without informing themselves first? This includes the irresponsible Brexit brigade in Westminster: they've got no clue as to what they're doing.

It was irresponsible to call an election

May's decision to call an election was triggered by ministers David Davis and Philip Hammond, both of whom are on the Brexit team, per business news site Bloomberg. Apparently they haven't lost their jobs over this. Yet. Nonetheless, it was pretty damn irresponsible in the light of the fact that our hung Parliament means that getting government business done will be problematic, to say the least. And it seems that former Prime Minister, Remainer David Cameron worked with the DUP to create the situation we're in now to derail a hard Brexit. This is explosive if true; the Conservative party may well collapse over it, leading to another election since the Labour party can't cobble enough seats together with the other parties to form a viable coalition with a parliamentary majority. This is precisely the kind of mad Game of Thrones-style hubris that results in disaster down the line. Our Tess might very well find herself out of a job by the end of the year; even the police are making fun of her. However, the embattled Prime Minister can take a crumb of comfort from author J.K. Rowling standing up for her on Twitter: she doesn't like it when the name-calling gets too personal.

How does this affect Brexit?

The Article 50 timetable continues; the election hasn't changed that. We still have to negotiate for a post-Brexit future unless we change our minds and send a counter-notice saying we'd had a brain fart, we're really sorry, please take us back, we didn't mean it, we pinky promise. This is possible if our current government collapses and another election is called. One thing is certain: that authoritarian right-winger May can't provide a decent deal because she is a terrible prime minister; disorganised and unwilling to think things through.

2. Domestic policy

Theresa May can't get her manifesto policies (the ones she hasn't U-turned over) enacted as easily as she'd like because she lacks the majority to get things done without the aid of the odious DUP. Here's the problem: they will demand domestic and Brexit policy changes in return for their cooperation; the tail will be wagging the dog, folks. Expect abortion laws to be challenged, if not changed. Result: women sent to prison for abortion — if Arlene's lot get what they want. Make no mistake, they are absolutely terrifying, particularly if you're a woman. At least they'd reject any changes to the winter fuel allowance.

Labour are sure to oppose the most egregiously awful Tory policies so getting business done is going to be hard. They will certainly oppose cuts to services. The end result may well be that key Labour policies end up getting through with aid from Tory wets. In effect, this would make Jeremy Corbyn our de facto leader, a situation I can't see going on for long. There's also the matter of the Tory MPs under investigation for electoral fraud. If the two dozen in question go down, the resulting by-elections could see Labour or Liberal candidates replacing them. Might this make the Liberals more likely to enter a coalition with Labour? They're pro-Remain and have already been burned after throwing their lot in with another party, so they're leery of doing so again. However, I can see an informal arrangement in which they agree to support each other on policies they share.

Northern Ireland

Since a hard Brexit was likely to result in a united Ireland in my lifetime the DUP is against it on principle. Since most people don't know much about them I'd better introduce them to you.

They're sectarian

Try to imagine Donald Trump in an orange sash. Their Glorious leader Arlene Foster is under investigation for corruption, too. Oh, and there's dark money involved; foreign powers are funding election campaigns to put the most far right people into office. If that's not enough, you know how the Right has been accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being all over the IRA and Islamic terrorists? Our Tess is already in bed with the Wahhabist Saudis, now she's all cozy with the UDA-linked DUP. Apparently, though, their terrorism is not as bad as the IRA's since it's confined to Ulster.

They might re-ignite the Troubles

The Good Friday agreement was supposed to have ended the Troubles but to be honest they continue in the background in Northern Ireland. The point of the Good Friday agreement was to keep that mess over there. However, the looming deal with the DUP makes that appear unlikely as the alliance may well contravene the agreement, which may well result in direct rule and possibly a resumption of hostilities. This is downright reckless since it would end the British government's neutrality in Ulster politics. I live near Warrington, where one of the last IRA actions on the mainland resulted in the deaths of two small boys. One of the Pirates I'm friendly with was there on the day. The last thing I want is more of the same.

The media

The media in the UK mostly skews to the right, and wobbles between hard right and Fascist. Even the BBC gets in on the act from time to time — who could forget the article asking whether or not people "have a right" to live in areas being gentrified? I mean, dear lord: must we be driven before property developers like cattle, paying for the right to well-remunerated jobs by commuting ever further to get to work? If you don't have the right to live where you do, that's your life from now on, peon. As they swing further and harder to the right they've failed to take the country with them, hence Jeremy Corbyn's good showing in the election. Let's take a closer look at this.

Class is not a factor

Socialists are obsessed with class and tend to see educated middle-income earners as the bad guys even though their policies help to create them by educating them and giving them higher wages. This dichotomy prevents me from joining their ranks — I can't be dealing with the sheer stupidity of it. While many of my social media posts include retweets of Socialist posts this doesn't mean I necessarily agree with them. The reason this is important to note is that though left-leaning papers exist they don't have the wider circulation of the right-leaning papers because they don't appeal to the people, they appeal to the echo chamber. Whether you're willing to accept it or not Britain is a centre-right country. Deal with it. Until my left-leaning colleagues do, they'll keep wibbling on about class and Marxist cant in general, thereby continuing to alienate the likes of me. This is why the right-wing press dominates political discourse: they appeal to the people. The left-wing press doesn't. If class was a factor in determining election results it would have shown in the results. As it is, it didn't.

Enemies of the people

I'm not a mad fan of Jeremy Corbyn but I do think the monstering he got in the media was well out of order. At worst, he's an idealistic misguided socialist but that doesn't make him a bad person. He's actually quite decent, really. The press really do like to think they're the king-makers and what they say goes but if the last few days is an indicator, that's not true any more; social media is the great leveller, getting the message to the masses. Cue David Allen Green's tweet:

LOL. Remember this? In a hung Parliament, who can say what the will of the people is now?

They've lost credibility

So it is that to my vast amusement they've lost credibility. Per conversations with Brexiters many right-wingers won't read right-wing papers unless they are one hundred percent behind Brexit. This reduces the ability of those papers to influence that audience. Besides, the more those people retreat from the press because they deem it unreliable, the less influence the right wing press can have on them. However, they still seek the comfort of echo chambers and anything that reinforces their worldview. This may explain the muted, sober take tomorrow's Times has about May.

They're still powerful, but...

Two laws we ought to be aware of are in play here: the Defamation Act 2013 makes it harder to sue for defamation, which aids freedom of speech, but Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would force papers to pay court costs if someone sues them even if they lose. Jeremy Corbyn has announced no plans to take the right wing papers to court but if he did, even if he lost, they'd have to bear the costs. This has had no noticeable effect on their bile and hate, despite their complaints.


Let's revisit this post in six months or so to see if I'm right.

May to resign; new election to form government

I just signed a petition to call for an end to any deal between the Tories and the DUP on the grounds that they're associated with terrorism. The Telegraph is reporting on this with one eyebrow raised. The comments are informative; basically anyone who believes in fairness and personal freedom for all is demonised. That being the state of affairs as of Saturday 10/06 17:52 I predict that May will tough it out as best she can until she annoys enough people to get herself tossed. At that point another election will surely be called and Corbyn's lot are likely to win.

Corbyn to take power

Theresa May's hubris and incompetence will cause the Tories to implode. Meanwhile the UK press, realising that they've lost touch with the British people, will try to re-engage with them and may even be kinder to Corbyn. Result: should there be a second election this year, Corbyn will move in to No. 10 Downing Street, perhaps without the thumping majority he need but with enough to get the job done.

Brexit to be suspended till we've got our act together

I expect the Brexit negotiations to be put on hold, the clock ticking away, till we've finally got our act together. Failing that, Tess will continue to make a fool of herself and Brexit will continues to bite. I expect to see more sober reporting about it in the press.

Investigations into corruption to result in by-elections

So far the investigations into political sleaze haven't resulted in anything much but if the people involved end up charged with any crimes, by-elections will result. If that happens, Labour will win a few more seats. If that happens, they'll be in a stronger position to negotiate everything.

Okay, that's what I'm thinking, what about you?

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