Sunday, 11 June 2017

Picking up more post-election threads

Paul Walter, in his Liberal Voice piece, nails so many issues.

The Conservative party likes to boast that it, combined with our FPTP electoral system, provides strong and stable government. Well, a fat lot of strength and stability the Tory party and FPTP system have given us in the last two years!
 - a point that could equally be made about the last Major government, not to mention Wilson/Callaghan from 1974 to 1979.

We’ve had two Prime Ministers, Cameron and May, who will have historians squabbling for years as to whether they are the worst or second worst or third worst Prime Ministers in the history of this country!
No argument there.

David Cameron put party before country when he promised an EU referendum, ending with his political shredding.
Here I part company with Paul. A referendum was necessary, especially as we Liberal Democrats had already floated the idea in the 1990s. It should, however, have been held in the early years of the coalition government (instead of that pointless AV affair) while the arguments could still have been discussed for the most part dispassionately and the Labour leadership's stance was unambiguous. Moreover, the electors should have been told that, constitutionally, they were giving an opinion not a final judgment. This rested with parliament, although if there was a more than 75% vote for a change (the usual percentage for constitutional amendments in clubs and societies throughout the land), the government would have taken notice.

I always told anyone who would listen that May’s decision to call an election was the right thing for the country. After the June 23rd 2016 referendum we needed a national democratic event to sort-out the situation. So I commend May for calling the election [...]. The rub is that May didn’t call the election for the good of the country, she called it for the good of herself.
- calling it not straight away, but delaying it until it caused maximum damage constitutionally, confusing the issues in the local government elections. It had one no doubt desired effect, hitting the smaller parties in the pocket and, with the presidential-style media blitz, squeezing their vote.

The result of the election gives me great reason for optimism. The arrangement with the DUP won’t last five years. It is constitutionally correct that the make-up of Parliament dictates the government. And the DUP will be involved long enough to stop a hard Brexit by means of keeping the porous Irish border. Dependent on which parties provide the deputy speakers, Theresa May will have a working majority of 8-10. With by-elections happening on average at the rate of 2-3 a year, that isn’t going to last her five years, plus there are bound to be enormous complications in Ireland, because of the DUP’s involvement in sustaining the UK government.
Another factor will be the tension between the DUP members who follow an old-time religion and Mrs May's loyal unionists in Scotland who gained thirteen seats for her and who are led by an out gay woman.

At least the UK will have a working and continuing administration for the time being, which will calm the international money markets.

it is becoming more and more crazy that this country has not, at least as an interim “holding” solution, gone for the Norway (EEA/EFTA) option. The ludicrous and (I believe) unconstitutional decision by Theresa May to rule out membership of the Single Market, and even, unbelievably, the Customs Union, was one of the most heinous acts of any British Prime Minister ever. The sooner we come to our senses and realise that EEA/EFTA memberships offers us a temporary sanctuary while we compose ourselves, the better.
For the sake of commerce, industry and agriculture, this is the only practical solution, although it involves accepting free movement of labour, which will not please a sizeable section of the Leave vote. Also disgruntled would be the black end of the financial services industry, which was looking forward to a stop to and possible reversal of regulation. It does, however, satisfy the other Leavers' demands, that EU directives do not have to be passed into UK law.

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