The road to nowhere?

A bleak but appropriate song for my mind to choose upon awakening this morning. Here’s what I’ve learned from the disaster that has befallen us.

  • Together, Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru won 50.8% of the national vote. Under proportional representation they could be forming a coalition government, and the Tories would be in opposition.
  • It is now all but impossible for Labour to resist calls to support PR (especially given the reinforced SNP dominance in Scotland). It’s beyond depressing that it has taken a Tory landslide for this reality to hit home.
  • Leave voters continue to believe that “getting Brexit done” will improve their lives and public services like the NHS. They will only now begin learning that the reality is much more complicated than empty slogan promises.
  • The future of immigration policy is less clear than ever. Without substantial economic changes, a vote against the EU is a vote for increased immigration from elsewhere (if we are to have any hope of staffing the NHS for example). Neither the Tories nor their voters are acknowledging this reality.
  • We now have a powerful populist nationalist government led by an inept careerist who will resort to blaming others (especially foreigners now that he can’t blame Parliament) for future failings.
  • In future decision-making Johnson will repeatedly fall back on the easiest option that he can spin as success (e.g. cosmetic spending splurges that benefit the private sector, finalising a damaging trade deal with the US).
  • Despite the overwhelming evidence of his lying, almost 50% of the electorate have embraced Johnson. Many appear to see his dishonesty as an asset that distinguishes him from d0-gooding MPs who they perceive as prioritising the needs of immigrants and those in extreme poverty above those of “ordinary people”.
  • Johnson will now have to own Brexit, finally having to confront the gap between its promise and the reality of negotiating a trade deal. “No deal” (i.e. no trade deal, not just a basic Withdrawal Agreement) is still a distinct possibility, as is further Tory infighting as it’s negotiated.
  • The BBC reached new lows in its broadcasting output and its bias became barely distinguishable from the billionaire-owned tabloid media. A supposedly objective correspondent referred to “the majority that Johnson so deserves”, and its political editor blindly regurgitated fake news fed to her by the Tory party.
  • The bias is likely due at least in part to broadcasters over-compensating for their own “metropolitan elite” views, making the issue all the more tragic and intractable. Faced with multiple accusations, there has been no meaningful response from the BBC.
  • Notwithstanding the skewed media landscape, Jeremy Corbyn failed to land any meaningful blows on Johnson throughout the campaign, barely mentioning him by name due to a desire to “rise above personal attacks”.
  • The Labour membership were unable to find a way through the mess of Brexit when voting on the party’s policy, and there is some difficult soul-searching needed from remainers in terms of what might have been had the party stuck to its 2017 promise to implement Brexit (aka the Revenge of Lexit).
  • The Tories were able to successfully depict Brexit as blocked by a Remainer parliament led by Labour. Johnson avoided entirely having to address the fact that his own political ambition and the stubbornness of the ERG is what stopped a very similar withdrawal agreement being passed back in 2017.
  • A potentially very popular Labour policy platform is now at risk of being slowly ripped apart and forgotten about, especially if Corbyn doesn’t go gracefully.
  • Scotland leaving the UK has now become much more likely, and the status of Northern Ireland remains in a state of huge ambiguity until trade negotiations are complete.
  • There is a long road ahead, and it is inevitable that communities will need to come together and keep supporting each other as best as possible outside of the crumbling welfare state (Cameron’s big society anyone?!).

Leave a comment