After the Referendum it’s the Brexit General Election, or perhaps not

Posted by Guessedworker on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 06:26.

So this morning Theresa May has called a snap General Election for June 8th.  The immediate question is why.  The answers, we must believe, are somewhere here, in her brief statement to the waiting press:

“I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.

“I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote in this election.

“Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became Prime Minister the Government has delivered precisely that.

“Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs, and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.

“We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result.”

Well, she has a majority of a dozen in the Commons, and, in winning at Copeland in February she broke a 35-year run of failures by the governing party to win an opposition seat at a by-election.  She has defeated the Remain opposition in the Commons and the Lords.  She sits opposite the most ineffective leader of the opposition ever, and certainly the leader she wants to see across the Dispatch Box.  In fact, Tom Watson aside, there is no competent politician on the Labour benches, and an awful lot of highly incompetent ones.  The Party is at war with itself.  Momentum, which campaigns within the party to make it safe for the hard left, is intent on killing off Blairism (and good luck to it).  In short, there is nothing to indicate that allowing this parliament to run its full course until May 2020 would produce anything other than a Tory landslide at that time.  So why has she done it now?  Is the temptation to grab an easy 100 seat majority just too great?  A case of pleasure now or pleasure deferred, and the thought of pleasure now is just too pleasurable?  Difficult to believe of a dour vicar’s daughter.

The only two near-plausible answers are:

1. She knows full well that Remain is dead, and wants to enter the council chambers of Europe over the next two years of Brexit negotiations with a thumping parliamentary majority and the support of the country at her back.  Electoral popularity didn’t help Tsipras in facing down the Troika, but it would probably work out differently for May.

2. This is less about Brexit than about her own vision for the future, which is not that of David Cameron, as it was set out in the 2015 Manifesto.  May herself is notoriously difficult to read even by her cabinet colleagues.  She will be conscious that the public at large do not truly know who she is and what she believes, and have not expressly supported her post-EU political vision of a Britain managing its own destiny for the first time in four long decades.  The opportunity to do so has now been provided.

There might be a third political consideration for her, which is that UKIP is also much weaker now than it was in 2015; and may not make much of a fist of standing nationally at all.  As far as I am aware, it lacks the financial support to do so.

Anyway, there will now be weeks of speculation about all this, since the usual reportage of who will win the election is perfectly pointless.



Posted by Kumiko Oumae on Tue, 18 Apr 2017 07:56 | #

One possibility I’ve heard about that has not been floated anywhere yet, is that Theresa May might be thinking as much about the far-end of the fixed term, as the near-end.

If she calls the election this year and wins it, it means that she would not ordinarily face another scheduled election until 2022. Three years after Brexit is completed. It may be that someone in behavioural studies is calculating that this is the best way for her to avoid being Churchill’d.


Posted by Guessedworker on Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:14 | #

The problem with that is that she has flatly stated on no less than six separate occasions that there would be no snap election.  She has been extremely blunt about it.  So why the sudden turn-about?  One notion I have seen is that the widespread response to Philip Hammond’s budget debacle was that he had engineered a conflict with the promises of the 2015 Manifesto.  The argument is that being bound by David Cameron’s election promises was something none of the Cabinet had previously even considered, and voices started being raised immediately about the necessity of a clear electoral mandate:

Now, this would only really make sense if there is some fairly radical departure from Conservatism as she is spoke since Thatcher’s departure and the leadership of the grey man.  Is May that radical?  Or is it that Britain outside the EU ... the Britain of the Great Repeal Act and its selective replacement ... has to be re-made to such an extent, any politics will be entirely new politics?


Posted by anon on Wed, 19 Apr 2017 20:19 | #

there’s another possibility - the Con leadership don’t want Brexit but with a small majority are currently trapped by pro-Brexit Con MPs and hope that a large enough Con majority will cancel them out before the negotiations begin in earnest.

the TV media seem happy (always the best clue to what is going on) so i assume that is what they believe also.


Posted by Guessedworker on Wed, 19 Apr 2017 20:42 | #

Not according to the DM, which has an “exclusive” saying it’s all about Brexit, folks!

Theresa May will place a triple lock on Brexit in the Tory manifesto to stop obstruction by diehard Remainers.

Tory sources say she is set to include specific pledges to overcome opposition within her party and in the Lords.

The manifesto is expected to commit the Conservatives to ending EU free movement and pulling out of both the single market and European Court of Justice.

Senior Tories see the three measures as essential in delivering last year’s referendum result.

However, thinking more historically, as pols do when they finally get their hands on real power, there is also the possibility that Theresa May needs a one-hundred seat majority in the House because she wants to leave her mark on history as the Conservative Prime Minister who curtailed and rewound the profoundly anti-Conservative, ratchet neo-marxism, anti-racism, and political correctness which has dominated the social realm since the Major/Blair period.  It would be a mighty task, effecting education, the civil service, law, local government - the whole of the public sector.  There would need to be a firm and resolute drive to set the tone for the rest of society, especially the media and the entertainment industry, so that the war on nature through hyper-egalitarianism, in all its forms, can be expunged from the national life.

A return to genuinely social conservative principles is long overdue.  It should have been undertaken at source in respect to the 1960s New Left, the subsequent Long March strategy (commenced 1970 with the marxisation of the Birmingham School), and the importation in the mid-to late-1980s from the American campus of what became known as pee-cee and anti-racism.  All this has to be cast aside so that a free life might again become possible for us.

A unique opportunity is there post-Brexit, as the European Union’s malign diktat is expunged from the statute book.  So is May as radical socially as Thatcher was economically, and is she possessed of the latter’s vision and will.


Posted by Guessedworker on Wed, 19 Apr 2017 21:16 | #

Veteran Tory MP John Redwood sees the electoral opportunity in more prosaic, fiscal terms:

One of the important things the government can do in this election is to say Goodbye to the austerity economics of the EU budget rules and Mr Osborne’s tenure. One of the plessures of Brexit, a positive for voters of all persuasions, will be the ability to spend the net contributions we currently send to Brussels. Once we are out we can offer tax cuts and more spending with no rise in borrowing. Spending the money at home will help our economy and put more of our people to work here, instead of having to send the money abroad and run a larger balance of payments deficit.

We could remove VAT on domestic fuel, tampons and green products. We could spend more on the NHS, training more UK people as nurses and doctors. We could spend more in our schools and do more to promote better roads and public transport.

I must say, that is a surprisingly unimaginative approach, even from Spock.

Meanwhile, a Cameroon policy wonk, writing at Conservative Home, has an even more deadly boring judgement of what this is all about:

Now that the election has been called, the most important document in British politics is going to be the Conservative 2017 Manifesto, particularly given the Salisbury convention that the Lords do not block manifesto commitments. Those elements of the Cameron era focused on security in the widest sense are most likely to be retained – she is likely to maintain the pledge on immigration numbers for instance.

But in general, the 2017 manifesto is likely to be a very different beast to the 2015 manifesto. It is likely to be more corporatist and dirigiste. Those on the Tory right who dream of a new and radical UK outside the EU unfettered by bureaucracy and regulation of any kind are likely to be deeply disappointed. It is on this rather than immigration I suspect May wants to boost her majority to give her the Brexit she wants. It is entirely possible that some of the measures that business is nervous about but Philip Hammond has blocked (e.g. on corporate governance) are going to be back on the agenda.

The vision that May outlined in her 2016 Party onference speech might not be to everyone’s taste but it was fairly coherent. Her belief in the good that Government can do is likely to lead to a more interventionist state – with an industrial strategy and price cap in energy markets for example. The Prime Minister believes in a strong, patriotic but interventionist nation state both in foreign and domestic affairs. In this, she is quite unique in terms of UK political post-war history – the nearest you can find is either the earlier Joseph Chamberlain (her guru Nick Timothy’s personal hero) or, across the channel, Charles de Gaulle.

Joseph Chamberlain as the moving spirit of our times!  Is that what this is all about?  Has Mafeking been relieved?  Is the Cones Hotline too radical for the 21st century?


Posted by Captainchaos on Wed, 19 Apr 2017 22:14 | #

Jesus British politics is boring!  But what should one expect from a people whose highest aspiration is bourgeois respectability (i.e., being money-grubbing pussies).


Posted by Bill on Thu, 20 Apr 2017 02:55 | #

Among all the crystal ball verbiage there’s not one reference (maybe there is but I skim too much) to the continuence of mass immigration circa half a million a year.

May talks about the securing and healing of future Britain, what absolute codswallop, there is no Britain ffs. hasn’t she noticed?  Britain has gone, get used to it.  I can’t believe this nonsense.


Posted by Guessedworker on Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:02 | #

First signs of May’s new British nationalist cred not encouraging.  Is this really electorally wise:

“Let’s be clear. The 0.7 per cent commitment remains and will remain.

“What we need to do though is to look at how that money is spent and make sure that we are able to spend that money in the most effective way.

“I’m very proud of the record that we have of the children around the world who are being educated as a result of what the British government, the British taxpayer is doing in terms of its international aid.”

So why is this political dross - pure waste at best, treachery really - still accommodated in what ought to be the New Mayan Age?  Well, possibly it’s a bit due to the PM’s most influential and formidable SpAd, the pee-cee Fiona Hill ...

No subject populated Hill’s Twitter timeline more over the past eighteen months than modern slavery and human trafficking.

The subject cropped up more than 30 times, most often through Hill’s retweeting of Kevin Hyland, the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, who was appointed after the passage of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Hill was clearly a driving force behind the legislation, one of May’s most important while at the Home Office (expect more on the issue, Hill tweeted “legislation is only part of the answer”).

In 2015 she wrote an 80-page report on the subject, which began with the story of:

“15-year old Serena…  forced into appalling and brutal sex with groups of men… her story is shocking, her suffering is unimaginable… crimes such as this are being replicated in towns and cities across Europe.”


Posted by Guessedworker on Fri, 21 Apr 2017 16:41 | #

A sampling of the vox populi on foreign aid, from Guido’s site:

Arbeit macht Steuer • 4 hours ago
“Tory message: We will maintain the 0.7% foreign aid commitment.”

Or, “we really are a bunch of sneering out-of-touch cunts, we will never ever listen and never ever learn. Vote for anyone except us.
PS: did we mention we’re cunts?”

Bill Quango MP Arbeit macht Steuer • 4 hours ago
Eight years I have been trying to get them to drop this. I’ve even tried to get them to pretend to drop it, but not to really.
Stuff the budget into the military and pay it out of there.

No avail. Tory HQ are utterly convinced dropping the commitment would lose them precious upper and middle class votes.

The Banana Bill Quango MP • 4 hours ago
I think I’m gonna vote UKIP one last time just to register my dissatisfaction with them pissing 0.7% of GDP up against the wall.

Peter Robinson Trojan • 3 hours ago
And me and I joined the Conservatives now I will be voting UKIP. Just watched the TV and this kids parents had to take him to France for treatment even though it is available in the UK but only for a handful of children yet we can give £5 Million to an Ethiopian girl band which works out at £1 Million each!

Muttley Bill Quango MP • 4 hours ago
I’m the latter and they’ve lost me because of it (and other things). I think it must be virtue-signalling metropolitans they’re afraid of losing - but they vote Labour anyway, don’ they?

Machina22 Muttley • 4 hours ago
Foreign aid is the archetypal bubble dweller policy. The media, political, and social circles they swirl around in are near unanimously in support of it. They don’t realise how unpopular it is with the wider public.

They found the EU referendum result a shock. I think if we had a referendum on foreign aid they’d be utterly shell shocked.

HarryJack Bill Quango MP • 4 hours ago
Why don’t the upper and middle class voters donate their own money?

con Bill Quango MP • 4 hours ago
I don’t think it’s about losing votes. It’s about ‘maintaining the UK’s position on the world stage’ as if anyone inside or outside the UK gives one fuck about the UK’s position’.

Baz1875 Arbeit macht Steuer • 4 hours ago
It would make sense if it was 0.7% of the budget surplus. This country is 1.7 trillion in debt, the world should be aiding us.

Dacorum Arbeit macht Steuer • 2 hours ago
In a single day the Tories have signalled they are going to cut pensions whilst maintaining foreign aid at a ludicrous level that their supporters hate.

I can only conclude that she doesn’t want a big majority as she has in a single stroke cut her support considerably. Many more voters will simply abstain.

IDrinkAndIKnowThings Bye Bye Labour • 3 hours ago
I think that she has lost a fair few votes from those who were prepared to hold their nose for the sake of Brexit. She should really stop listening to Hammond. It’s as bad as having Bliar in the cabinet.
The perfect answer is for to follow Bliar, Miller and co…..crowdfund the foreign aid budget. She can set the target at 0.7% GDP, & all those wonderful people who prefer to help the rest of the world, whether they need it or not, can contribute. The money thus saved can be spent on our own country ....

surfaceman Black Cat • 3 hours ago
It appeals to the “chattering classes” and the establishment - it does not appeal to the average working class labour voters that I know!

Another self-indulgent, virtue-signalling commitment!

Ed Balls back on the dole Machina22 • 4 hours ago
I just can’t understand the logic. At most, Theresa might get a couple of hundred LibDem leaning voters from it, at the expense of alienating tens to hundreds of thousands of her core supporters, pushing some over to UKIP.

I also know plenty of Labour voters who are just as disgusted at the wasteful 0.7% foreign aid pledge as us. Even if you are just to trim it by £2bn to £3bn just think of the benefit it could do to health / education / social services in the UK or tax cuts.

Trade not aid should be the way forward with developing countries.

realarthurdent • 3 hours ago
“Tory message: We will maintain the 0.7% foreign aid commitment.”

When he is old enough I’ll tell my 2 year old son that the May government decided to borrow nearly 1% of our country’s GDP to give away to countries which are sufficiently wealthy - or corrupt - to have space programmes and nuclear weapns, and that he and his generation will be paying back the interest on that borrowing for most of his life (since the chances of our national debt being cleared in my, or his, lifetime, is vanishingly small).

I will also tell him that I voted against this policy in every election, and was a member of, funded, and canvassed for, a party which opposed this madness.

Rather surprised that no one has talked in terms of the purpose of foreign aid as palm-greasing for arms sales and construction contracts ... a reptile fund for Tory Party donors trading overseas, basically, and a laundering process for moving taxation moneys into Tory Party coffers.  Whatever else gets the chop, that has to be sacrosanct!

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