When the projections first came out showing Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May losing control of Parliament on national election night 2017, the level of national surprise was palpable. Paddy Ashdown is still chewing on the remnants of his hat for the promise he made after close of polls.
This is my second blog in 24 hours on the councilor elections, necessary I feel because of the high level of misreading of the signs ... again. This new national activity is spreading mainly because of the hype spun by the media on what does it mean in terms of national predictions? I'll tell you what it all means. It means nothing, nada, zilch, rien!
In 2017, a lead of 14% in the polls around 6 months earlier, led the conservatives into one of their worst humiliations in their history. They lost 12 seats instead of gaining about 100 they were hoping for. The result, a hung parliament, and the introduction into the political system of a party, the Irish DUP, a result that almost certainly could be construed as the government no longer able to play the role of 'honest broker' on Irish issues.
Most non-brainwashed people (i.e. non hard line Brexiteers) agreed that this was a sign for Teresa; that there is no room in these Brexit negotiations for a hard line 'no deal is better than a poor deal' point of view. And did they get this message?
Of course not, because less than a year later they still can't agree in cabinet about the customs of the UK. We hear from the Tories that we want of out of the customs union, possibly in a customs union or a whole bunch other meaningless solutions that the EU has already rejected. Teresa May from the beginning has been kicking the can further and further down the road, and the Tories, instead of taking this as a sign of goodwill from the EU and that they are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt; think it is a sign of weakness by them. All along she has been proclaiming her successes in the negotiations. Last December we ended up agreeing to a £40bn divorce bill, no border in Ireland, no special fishing rights during the transition, and 8 more years after Brexit of the ECJ rule. Apparently this is UK success. So what happened on Thursday?
Note: Labour may not have won all those seats it promised, but it still made gains in spite of losses due to some residual anti-Semitic sentiment they have been painted with. By contrast, the Conservatives that picked up at least 70-80% of the UKIP losses (around 80 seats, still managed to lose overall 32 seats.
Meanwhile, everybody else, but especially the Lib-Dems had gains. To me the only clear message is on Brexit. The Lib-Dems have from the beginning stood for repeat of the referendum and are staunch remainers, showing a growing national tendency for BREGRETS. The Conservatives now have firmly behind them a minority hard-line group, the UKIPers, that are and always will be extremely vocal. If May persists on this hard-line policy and ends up winning in much the same way a lunatic nuclear threat may have scared North Korea into coming back to the negotiating table, that's great.
Far more likely, especially with the anti-Trump resentment in the EU, is to end up with a no-deal situation, and full confrontation with the EU over Ireland and Gibraltar. I predict strikes, even riot conditions for the UK as the already fragile economy digs deeper into recession.