Strong and stable chaos

They say a week is a long time in politics and this week more so than usual.

A lot has happened if you think that last Saturday there was very sadly a terrorist attack in central London. Theresa May the Prime Minister then made an authoritarian-sounding speech about dealing with the terror threat, talking about clamping down on the Internet and seemingly throwing out the traditional liberal values of British society in order to secure (at least the perception of) safety.

Then came the election on Thursday and the message seemed to be clear. It was a monumental error to call a vote at this time (and so close to the Brexit negotiations). The Labour party surged in the polls and the Conservative majority was wiped out. The PM’s party despite still being the biggest in parliament now doesn’t even have enough seats to form a government in its own right and a coalition or deal is necessary to rule.

This then brings us to the present moment, where despite her no-nonsense approach to terrorism and desired crackdown on the public to prevent all terrorist activity she is prepared to do a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, which has a very dubious history. The DUP was founded by the firebrand evangelical preacher the Reverend Dr Ian Paisley and has had strong connections to the Ulster Defence Association a violent unionist terrorist group in Northern Ireland. The Party also holds truly antiquated and bigoted views on social issues in society.

To say this is an ironic twist in these strange times is, of course, an obvious conclusion, but it takes some serious cognitive dissonance to be able to preach zero tolerance to all terrorism one week and then do a deal with terrorist sympathisers before the week is up. It’s made even more ridiculous by the fact that the cynical and lacklustre campaign by the Conservative party heavily criticised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for having a dialogue with the IRA in the 1980s (which as it turns out a lot of politicians on both sides of parliament were doing, albeit mostly in secret).

Obviously, it’s clear that principals are out the window and that power and holding on to the premiership are more important to Mrs May. This is probably only temporary as even her own party look like they’re about to turn on her and moderate conservatives (including the openly gay Ruth Davidson and David Mundell) will most likely be cringing at the backward views their new partners have on homosexuality amongst other things.

It’s been said a lot that the biggest irony is that the strength and stability that May parroted at the beginning of the campaign has led to chaos and weakness and of course it is true. Nevertheless, it has been a source of schadenfreude after hearing so many lies and so much cynical posturing for the last couple of months.

The question is of course what happens now? There are many things still to do such as deal with the issue of austerity going forward and the gigantic thrashing dinosaur in the room (luckily for the Tories the DUP allegedly don’t believe in dinosaurs) is of course Brexit. It’s hard to know how these will progress going forward as the blinkered view of a hard Brexit seems to have proven to be poison at the polls and there can be no doubt that people are tired of austerity after 7 years and a spluttering asthmatic economic upturn as a result of it.

I’m certain of one thing. Theresa May is finished as the Conservative leader. Like them or loathe them the Tories do not tolerate failure and I’m sure they are warming up the iron and sharpening their knives for a good old ousting. As for where this leaves Britain, that is unclear. The country obviously is experiencing something of a shift even from last year as the much-maligned youth vote actually came through for once.

Brexit hasn’t even started yet and it’s looking shaky as the hard-line rhetoric seems to have failed and the EU seems at least passive to any threats of walking away with no deal. It’s not really clear who is even in charge of that anymore with May and her inner circle looking like lame ducks. A final question hangs over Northern Ireland which of course could be greatly affected in the upcoming negotiations and what a deal with the DUP means for the Good Friday agreement. Who knows, we might even end up with another election this year.

It’s not sure how it’s going to pan out but I think that luckily we’ve seen the end of Strong and Stable as a mantra for government campaigning.   


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