To quote from Robert Burns poem of 1785 to a Mouse – “But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain; The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” In plain English – you are not alone in proving foresight vain as best laid schemes often go askew, leaving grief and pain instead of joy. To that we can now add the plans of May in calling a snap general election, before completing the exit from the European Union and completing the full fixed five year term of Parliament.
TM has self-destructed and her image as a statesman lies in tatters at the mercy of her party and the men in grey suites. Her action has proved to be without doubt extremely irresponsible, after proving that she cannot be trusted. She survives because there is no real alternative. Her action was all about strengthening her position within the Conservative Parliamentary Party, but she has achieved the opposite and she has put Brexit at risk. Federalist European politicians are mocking her and the UK as they offer to let the UK remain in the EU at a price. They will regret that derisory attitude, because the Dunkirk spirit will prevail. UK citizens will close ranks and form squares to defend their decision to leave the EU; even as the Conservative Party, in their turn, are torn apart themselves.
The self-indulgent behaviour of the Remainer faction, who supposedly respect the Referendum result but seek a soft exit that keeps us connected, is exemplified by Anna Soubry. In Nottinghamshire they have a saying, ‘Nothing good ever came out of Broxtowe’. She has redefined the General Election result to support her views, that voters have now changed their minds. Rank nonsense! The UK electorate is the most sophisticated in the world and needs no encouragement or directions to vote tactically. If anything, they have become more resolved towards an uncompromising departure.
If it wasn’t so serious it would be a comedy of errors. The nuclear option of a snap election should have been reserved for the eventuality of Parliamentary resistance to a clean break from the EU. A snap election should not be drawn out to close on two months, and the cost of holding it at £130m was a waste to no good end. Also, holding it before the number of constituencies had been reduced to 600 was unexplainable. TM was unprepared with no manifesto; and when it was published it disadvantaged the very voters she was relying on. You can only score so many own-goals before half-time, to have any chance of a second-half comeback and victory. She did not win, but neither did she lose.
Keeping things in perspective; she won more votes than David Cameron in 2010 and 2015, had a higher share of the vote as well at 42.4% comparing favourably with MT at 43.9% in 1983. It is a quirk of the system that she lost thirteen seats, due to the closeness of the vote in a number of constituencies where it is calculated that in total 2,000 votes would have benefitted her. The claim of an increased registration of young voters is not revealed by the figures and was probably not a decisive factor [except for Nick Clegg]. In the 2016 Referendum the turn out was 72.2% of a registered electorate of 46,501,241; in this years General Election the turn out was 68.7% of an electorate of 46,843,896.
Thus TM has to rely on the ten seats held by the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. Moderating the mistakes of her Manifesto to the extent that most people will be satisfied, and will see the outcome as a good result. Unfortunately it is seven years late. On election day 2010 I said; “It does look like we are going to be delivered from a further Labour administration. The best outcome for us is a Conservative administration relying on a small party for support that has demonstrated a commitment to pro-life policies. The DUP would fulfill that role. It may seem strange for a Catholic party to be thinking in those terms, but we need to look at the big picture.” If only then, Same Sex Marriage would not have made it on to the Statute Book.
TM may be distancing herself from Dave and his policies, but she was an enthusiastic supporter for the Same Sex Marriage legislation. Her current predicament and reliance on the DUP makes the likelihood of anything similar in the next five years unlikely. The canny DUP will pull the plug at the first sign of wavering, while they maintain their devolved independence and democracy.
For ease of access, review posts from 2010 and 2015: