general election week 6

The Conservative victory might be a relief for business in the short term, because the next few months have become predictable: the UK will leave the EU at the end of January. But in the long term, it’s a disaster. I won’t bother repeating the obvious, beyond mentioning that I doubt the cowardly nonsense circulating during the election will be realised.

concrete

The Labour Party underperformed badly, their vote went down by a quarter. Their losses gave the Tories, whose vote hardly changed, their victory. The Lib Dems underperformed badly too, although their vote actually went up by half. The Greens, at least, retained their representation.

There is already a great deal of analysis and blame distribution, and there will be a lot more, no doubt. I’m not joining in.

Personally speaking, my vote in middle England counted, in that the Liberal Democrat, for whom I voted, saved his deposit. Despite supposédly being a Labour Party target seat, they lost many votes. Unsurprisingly, the Tory came home safely.

Labour and the Lib Dems have to regroup and renew, and they now have a few years to do so.

Northern Ireland is interesting: it seems the voters have got fed up with the inability of the two dominant parties to form their regional government, so voted against them in droves. Each lost roughly 20% of their support. Despite that, Sinn Féin gained a seat against the DUP (but lost another elsewhere), because some other parties stood down to allow them a free run. The main gains were made by the SDLP and the Alliance. With luck, the consequence will be that the current Northern Ireland Assembly will finally meet.

Scotland is interesting, too. The SNP took many seats, and lost one, getting 45% of the Scottish vote. The question of Scottish independence is thus back on the table. However, they achieved their last independence referendum when they won 50% of the vote. This time, the unionist parties got more votes in total than the SNP (of the other parties, only the Greens support independence). Although independence is clearly back on the table, I think the Tories in London will use the pro–union vote as an excuse to deny the Scots another independence referendum.

It will, of course, be utter hypocrisy. The Tories, with 45% of the vote, will take the UK out of the union, but will block the SNP, with 45% of the vote, from taking Scotland out of the union. Hypocrisy? Tories?! Plus ça change.