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A night of trauma
Yesterday, the UK went to the polls. As predicted, the SNP took pretty much the entirety of Scotland to give them a reasonable 56 seats in parliament. The LibDems, who pretty much blew the whole coalition thing, had 56 seats but now they're left with a paltry eight. Yes, single digits; placing them in the same spot as the DUP who, frankly, I've never heard of before (as it was always The Big Three plus the others). UKIP has a single seat, representing a 50% loss (!) and with a 0.15% influence, nobody will take them seriously.
Labour didn't do that badly. Yes, contrary to most of the polls prior to voting, they were not neck and neck with the Tories. They had 256 seats, and they now have 232. That gives them a 35% influence. The Tories, however, gained a majority from their previous 302 seats to 331. This gives them a 50% influence, which is not only a clear majority but also more than half so either measure works.
Which means more SamCam and CallMeDave.
The very big danger is that one of Cameron's promises was to hold an In/Out referendum on the EU. This could potentially affect, not just me, but millions of people all across Europe. If they think that a clearly failed border control system letting in eastern European migrants is a big problem, what the hell do they think they are going to do with potentially hundreds of thousands of ex-pats who may suddenly find that they no longer have the right to live and work in Europe if the UK withdraws? I'm not talking about the pensioners, I'm taking about everybody from babies to corpses.
However, thankfully the Tories are the party of the well off. The Toffs and the Old Boys. To leave the EU would be an unmitigated disaster, not for the EU (which it would) but very specifically for the UK. To put it bluntly, you don't urinate on your friend's cereal and expect it to end well. Who does the UK think it will trade with? A country with a different currency and a different measurement system, no longer protected by EU rules that say every bidder must have a fair chance - especially when it will be perceived as a now unimportant country of xenophobic halfwits. Really, unless the UK thinks it is going to go conquer the colonies (and I suspect the colonies might have other opinions), the UK leaving the EU would be monumentally stupid.
Sure, I get it. The EU is a source of fear and loathing and it sucks to see your job outsourced to <random Eastern European country>. But the EU also does a lot of good, attempts to foster a form of cohesiveness (which in itself is no simple task given that a mere century ago, most of these countries were killing each other, and they then went and did it again even more recently than that). That anybody can agree on anything is something of a miracle. But it is happening. And, if your job goes to wherever, maybe you ought not to be asking "why is the EU evil" but instead asking your MP "why can't we be competitive"?
So, given the rich man's world connections of the Tories, it may be that Cameron's EU policy depends not so much on what the public want, but more what his sponsors and Big Business thinks of the prospect of the UK genuinely withdrawing from the EU.
And anyway, as it stands, asking the British public would be an extremely bad idea. Not only have governments for much of my lifespan blamed Europe for their own failings (case in point - immigration - the UK is a friggin' island with no open borders policy and they still can't get that right?), but much worse than this is the that Europe-hating Australian/American. Through his media outlets (television and press), a person that is not even a British national will want to gear up the PR machinery to tell Brits how they should vote to leave the EU. Excuse me, what?
But the night of trauma was not with the Tories. The night of trauma (and a reason for celebration) was with the rest. The party leaders: Nick Clegg - GONE, Ed Miliband - GONE, Nigel Farage - GONE.
Harriet Harman has stepped in to run Labour, I have no idea who is running the LibDems, and...I could care less who runs UKIP.
The party leaders we used to know. Gone. All of 'em except for CallMeDave, the Scot, the DUP bloke that I've never heard of (oh, Wiki tells me he's from Northern Ireland), and Natalie Bennett (another Aussie) of the Greens. But you don't think about them. The ones that get mentioned are Clegg, Cameron, Miliband, and also Farage mugging at the camera like he has this whole Julian Assange thing going on. But no longer. Cameron is now the Prime Minister with his party alone in power. The rest? Blown away. History.
There's going to be some moderate soul searching in Labour HQ to try to learn from the mistakes that gave them today's defeat, and there is going to be aching self-examination and tears in LibDem HQ to try to comprehend their crushing defeat - the worst in the entire history of the party.
For my part, I think Miliband lost on two counts. Firstly he did not come up with sensible ways of funding his proposals. This was Ségolene Royal's undoing - she had all these great plans for France but no hint of a properly thought out plan for how to pay for the changes. Say what you like about Cameron, he has managed to get the UK economy going in the right direction. Secondly, Ed mate, we haven't forgotten your brother.
As for the LibDems... well... they tasted power. Okay, they were always going to be the weaker voice in the coalition, but recently there were just too many concessions to Tory party policy, to many changes of direction to align with the Tories. Bad, bad, bad! If the LibDem voters wanted Tories, they would have voted Conservative in the first place. Speaking frankly, while I would have been a LibDem voter, I feel like they've been on a downward slide since Paddy Ashdown left.
The reason for celebration? Goodbye Nigel. I would like to give you a fitting epitaph. I even wrote a little poem. However in this case I think discretion may be the better part of valour, so I will simply raise a glass and smile just a little bit. Don't slam the door on your way out...
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|GAVIN WRAITH, 9th May 2015, 08:20|
Paddy Ashdown hit the target, in his explanation of why the LibDems have been punished. Breaking their promise on student fees also broke people's last hope of a principled party. If you could not stomach voting for the bankers' party, or for the party that gave the reins to Bliar (goodbye Iraq), there was always the LibDems. Until now. How I wish Sussex was in Scotland.
|magwitch, 10th May 2015, 03:24|
I have a few British friends living in the EU and worrying about the implications of a Brexit. Have you considered becoming a naturalised French citizen?
(Felicity? Marte? Find out!)
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Last read at 18:39 on 2020/11/26.
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