I stayed up late last night. The election was fascinating. When I finally gave up and went to bed I was feeling quite cheerful. The revival of the Labour vote seemed encouraging. Today, having thought more about the implications of the result, I am less sanguine. So, here’s a cheerful picture of flowers – or you can click on the link and read about the hung Parliament.
From a liberal point of view – Election June 2017
With almost all the results in, we know that the Conservatives are the largest single party but without an overall majority. At the time of writing, Theresa May is sitting tight. For the short term, it looks as though she will cobble together an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party to enable her to govern. Heaven help us.
It will, perhaps, be less easy for the Conservatives to impose further austerity, but not impossible.
I give one cheer for that. Whether it deserves one cheer depends upon whether the Conservatives make the necessary investment in our public services. We can always hope, but I doubt it. They may even pursue privatisation with greater vigour.
This election was supposed to be about Brexit. Despite this, both main parties were careful to avoid any meaningful debate about Europe, but the issue hasn’t gone away. How will the election result affect the way Theresa May negotiates?
It clearly weakens her position in Brussels. She will, I suspect, consult as little as possible with Parliament over the negotiations. Indeed, her record suggests that she won’t even consult her own party. A tight little cabal of her most loyal colleagues will be her only advisors. Will Brussels offer her a deal that she will be able to sell to her party, Parliament, and the voting public? It doesn’t seem likely to me; what do you think?
She has constantly reiterated that “No deal is better than a bad deal”. If she can’t strike a deal, she will walk away, leaving debts and ill-feeling behind. Economically, we are told that this will be the worst of all results.
So, this election result has almost certainly increased rather than decreased the probability of a hard Brexit. No cheers for that.
Finally, what does our Parliamentary democracy now look like? Well, in most places the minor parties were squeezed. The SNP lost seats, UKIP’s vote share was slashed, the Libdem vote share was reduced nationally (although there were a few swings against the trend enabling them to increase their number of MPs), and the Green Party, despite a strong campaign and brilliant leadership from Caroline Lucas, lost vote share just about everywhere.
Two party politics is back. And, as a liberal who values diversity, I give no cheers at all for that.