Back in February 2016 I gave my first take on the British referendum to leave the European Union. It was a deeply cynical take on both fronts, one that I’d sort of renege on two months later when I went from neutral to full-blown supporter of the Leave campaign. Since I voted Leave, the process of Britain leaving the European Union has been incredibly tumultuous. No sooner than we began the negotiations, we have had the Eurosceptic right see some of its key proponents bow out and leave things to whoever’s there to take over. Not only did the pro-Remain PM David Cameron resign, only to be replaced by the single worst Prime Minister I think of. Nigel Farage of UKIP left his party believing his work was done, leaving his party to practically die as a result of revolving door leadership, infighting and general irrelevance in the face of a seemingly confident Tory government, in order to spend his days on Fox News as that guy they have on whenever they talk about Britain (though he swears he’s coming back, any day now).
But for a while, things were going somewhat smoothly for the first half of 2017. The government seemed to be confident, and the economy wasn’t crashing like the Remainers said it was going to. Then, out of nowhere, Theresa May called a snap election in order to gain an even larger majority than she already had, believing it would secure the ultimate mandate for her government to leave the EU. In reality though, the opposite happened: while the Conservative party ultimately defeated Labour, they failed to gain a majority and were forced to form a coalition with the DUP, and her position as a negotiator and as a leader were greatly weakened afterwards. The once confident new leader overplayed her hand and showed herself to be nothing more than a weak, hubristic fool.
This year it was starting to look like Brexit was taking a turn for the worse. For all of our rhetoric concerning national sovereignty, a Brexit delivered to us from the right seems to be a case of shifting from one set of capitalist masters to another, as our government’s plan for a “more global Britain” means being more dependent on China. On the other hand, we could also be set to become vassals of the EU, technically leaving the European Union but still remaining subservient to their laws as though we never left at all. And now, it kind of looks like we are heading down just that path. It has recently been announced that the UK would be kept under European Union laws until December 31st 2020, despite us leaving the European Union. Theresa May also seems to be taking over the negotiations with Brussels as the main negotiator, which to me does not strike me as a positive move considering her incompetence over the last year, and is attempting to exercise her dominance in that regard by threatening a no deal Brexit if her fellow MPs don’t line up in support of her plan. Furthermore, the prospect of a no deal Brexit is leading to concerns of Britons having to stockpile food as though they were preparing for the end of the world following Dominic Raab’s comments on the subject.
Put simply, I feel like we’re getting the bad ending, the worst of both worlds in some sense. Without a plan for leaving the European Union (which, let’s be honest, David Davis seemed to suggest there wasn’t a plan at all), the Conservative government has put us in a situation where we have been making up the program for Brexit as we go along, leading up to a scenario where we are independent in name only. Despite the rhetoric of national sovereignty, we will remain subservient to the very foreign entity we struggled to break free of. And all the while there is the very real sense that the whole thing is going to fall apart and screw everyone over. It’s like Paul Mason was right all along in some respects. Meanwhile there is talk among liberal/social democratic Remainer circles of a second EU referendum, and talk among right-wing Brexiteer circles of replacing the Prime Minister who they view as a traitor to the country. But of course, the Conservatives are trying to assure us that everything is going to be just fine.
I still oppose the European Union (I think it should be destroyed and replaced by something along the lines of COMECON 2.0), I value national sovereignty, but I believe I’ve made the case that it is because of my value for national sovereignty that I have become deeply cynical about our current path. At this point my mind turns to the prospect of Welsh independence, if only because I think the EU issue won’t matter because the EU probably won’t let in an independent Wales or Scotland or the European Union will probably collapse within the decade. Funny, with America going down a horrible path of its own and England in a sorry state, I kind of feel lucky to be in Wales to an extent, and not necessarily for nationalist reasons (strange as that may sound). But of course, to speak of national liberation without socialism would be an empty exercise, for the simple fact that – and I think the current Brexit otucome is proof of this – the goals of national liberation, or even simple populism, cannot be fulfilled within a capitalist order which drives all things toward the globalization of capital and the value of profit and money over liberty and sovereignty.
All I can do at this point is to sit in my corner of South Wales, going about my life, waiting to see what happens next.
I’ll try to talk less about politics on the blog in the future (that is, let’s be real, if I get around to writing much at all), but what I am about talk about is of perennial importance.
This week, it was announced that in light of a chemical attack in Syria, and the unverified accusation that it was caused by Bashar al-Assad, America looks set to engage a military campaign in Syria to “punish” Assad for allegedly killing civilians in Douma. Basically, Trump has gone from punitively striking Syria once and saying America won’t invade Syria again, to sending military forces to attack Syria in spite of this position, to openly suggesting a military response to Assad. Remember when people like me supported him instead of Hillary Clinton partly on the grounds that her proposal for a no-fly zone would lead to war with Russia because Russia’s interests are aligned with Syria’s? Well now it appears we’re likely to be involved in conflict with Russia anyway. Thanks a lot Trump.
And it looks like my country, the UK, is going to be in on it as well, as the Prime Minister Theresa May joined Donald Trump and French president Emmanuel Macron in calling for military intervention, without a vote from the House of Commons. Because of that, I’ve officially gone from hating Jeremy Corbyn (even as a recently converted socialist) to supporting him just because he might be the only viable alternative to the decidedly pro-startting World War 3 agenda of the Conservatives. Of course, Theresa May did say on Wednesday that she would be making our participation in the Syrian war conditional depending on if we have more evidence of Assad’s role in the chemcial attack in Douma. Only for her to send submarines to Syria anyway.
So why am I so appalled by this development, you might ask? After all, muh North Korea! Kim Jong-un is a mad man, right? Well, considering that denuclearization is actually on the table with North Korea, and the North Korean state is shedding is Songun (military first) policy, you would frankly have to be a sheep if you still believe by this point that North Korea is the biggest threat to world peace. Not to mention, even I didn’t believe that North Korea was even capable of blowing everyone up. With Syria, however, if NATO presses against Syria long enough, if they depose Bashar al-Assad, and if they consequently encroach upon Russia for long enough, they will not be able to defeat NATO in a straight fight, and so the only option left for Russia will be to use its nuclear weapons against the West. The difference in the level of threat involved is quite clear. We knew this when the American people were making their choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but for some Trump himself isn’t aware of this and even many of his supporters seem to be lining up like dogs to support his actions, although some of them are outright condemning him (of all people, Alex Jones has outright said “fuck Trump” on the issue).
We are on our way to World War 3 any moment now, and it could well end with nuclear fire, and I wish I were being hyperbolic, and I don’t even know how many people care because people still think North Korea is the one that will destroy us all, even as all pretense of that idea fades slowly and Syria and Russia (and Turkey to some extent) become much more relevant. Just goes to show you that despite all insistence from conservatives that the media is left-wing, they still want you to be threatened by the more communist nations out there (despite the fact that the North Korean state technically no longer positions itself as communist).
I, for one, will oppose my country’s involvement in Syria to the last. I do not want to have any part in this carnival of greed, unjust violence and needless human suffering just so the congloms can make money off of developing missiles to lob at Syria and so that the political establishment can take out anyone who poses a threat to their global economic interests. Even if the Douma attack was Assad’s fault, for which there hasn’t been any investigation, it is not our business to oust him from power in Syria – America already tried that bullshit in Iraq and Libya in recent memory, and it ended up getting taken over by Islamist regimes who proved to be even worse than the dictators that were removed by military intervention. When the time comes, I will do what is necessary to avoid participating in the abomination of a war that is to come, perhaps agitate against it.
If it comes to war and either I drafted (which I hope can be avoided somehow) or bombs drop where I live before I have the chance to get a bunker then, well, it was nice knowing you guys.
(PS: Don’t take the last comment to hard, I do still intend to write some posts, though the pace will likely be as slow as it’s been recently; at any rate, I’ll try not to let my readers think that the worst has happened)
You know, in my post about my personal political development I talked about what I’ve seen of the right wing as a movement and what has led me to become fed up with it and instead move to the left – the actual socialist left; not a bunch of liberals whining about how Bernie Sanders could have won, or a pack of social democrats gassing on about how great Jeremy Corbyn is – but I neglected to comment on how this has related to issues in my own corner of the world; or, more specifically, Britain. So I’d like to write a bit about my current thoughts on the Brexit situation, with perhaps a nod towards British politics in general as well as the wave of European populism that I forgot to talk about in earlier months.
I’ll keep this is as simple as possible: the waters are looking increasingly shaky and uncomfortable at the moment. Given the numerous concessions my government seems to be making, the many times that Parliament has had to get their say on the vote despite this being a matter of the democratic will of the people rather than the political class, and then the European Union consistently trying to basically gerrymander the process so as to get it running all on their terms, I get the feeling that we might not get the hard Brexit that people like me wanted. However, this is not my only gripe. In fact, my primary gripe is increasingly to do with what the country is going to look like after Brexit, assuming we leave the European Union. Last month I heard that our current Prime Minister Theresa May refused to rule out selling off the NHS to private owners in the USA. Think about what that means for a moment: for all of its faults, the national healthcare system is a part of our national apparatus. We created it to serve our people. For it to remain under our control is an extension of our sovereignty as a nation. Simply privatizing it within our own country is one thing, but to sell it off to foreign buyers is completely different. Because if you do that, then guess who owns it? Not us, not our government, but private owners in another country, that will never be accountable to us. If we sell it off, we are giving away part of our national sovereignty to foreign corporate powers. This is almost literally no different from signing it away to the European Union, that giant capitalist trade union from beyond our borders.
Not to mention, it’s looking increasingly likely that we’re going enter into a situation where we’re basically going to be cucks to China. What do I mean by this exactly? Well for starters we are probably going to embrace China’s One Belt initiative, which is effectively just China opening up new markets at the cost of effectively undermining the sovereignty of the countries that initiative is getting involved with through economic dependency, and if that’s not enough, if Chinese media is any good indication of how they view us, if we take too long to do things that China likes they may chastise us, which I’m inclined to believe will not go down very well for us. The whole notion of “a more global Britain” that the Conservative Party likes to go on about it comes across as simply us transferring from one set of capitalist masters to another.
And this brings me to my main point: under the circumstances afforded to us by the capitalistic economic establishment, we’re not going to recapture the idea of national sovereignty and independence in any meaningful sense, because we are either still going to be dependent on the true economic incentives at play in the current system, hence we will always have new masters.
As I mentioned in my rant against Trump, I also see this reality at play within the political system of the United States of America. Consequently, I believe there is also reason to believe that this is how it will play out in Europe as a whole, except in their case it might arguably be worse. If people like Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders, the unfortunate reality is that, whilst they may succeed in destroying the European Union by destabilizing it politically, the people of the nation states themselves may end up living in a more authoritarian countries. Not only have you got Geert Wilders who wants to outright ban Islam, thereby effectively sacrificing freedom of religious association, you also have Hungary: their president is an outright champion of the idea of “illiberal democracy”. He’s also been using this new anti-globalist current to elevate his political career and demonize his political opponents as being the allies of George Soros, conspiring to erode the Hungarian borders. In the absence of the EU, people like these could well make up the new political establishment in parts of Europe, and their answer to the tricky problems of the world is simply to give the state an iron hand while not address the root economic incentives that created the globalist phenomenon to begin with.
In closing, let me illustrate my position by using a quote attributed to Marine Le Pen, the right-wing populist candidate of the French elections, last year:
“They’ve made an ideology out of it. An economic globalism which rejects all limits, all regulation of globalisation, and which consequently weakens the immune defences of the nation state, dispossessing it of its constituent elements: borders, national currency, the authority of its laws and management of the economy, thus enabling another globalism to be born and to grow: Islamist fundamentalism.”
This is, whether she likes it or not, a description of capitalism. It is an economic ideology that is based on infinite growth and accumulation of profit, and to that end it must invariably transgress the boundaries of the nation state and its values, rejecting all limits to its growth and its ability to access new markets across the world, undermining the will of the nation states (which, funny enough, is kind of what the IMF does by pushing for its economics in third world countries that don’t necessarily want it, but the right never talks about this with regards to globalism even though it is clearly an example of economic globalism), and as a consequence it cannot remain a national grassroots system. It is at the heart of what the right now identifies as globalism, and funny enough the left has a somewhat longer of opposing the effects of economic globalization than the right does, just the mainstream left has now gotten on the globalist bandwagon and ceded the populist energies that once belonged to the left, allowing right-wing opportunists to hoodwink those energies from it.
Thus, I repeat my point: if you support the restoration of any kind of sovereignty, of popular democratic will, indeed of the nation state over the interests of globalism, then logically your true enemy is not the left, but capitalism. In fact, I say it’s high time the left regain the energies of populism and anti-globalism that the right has stolen from them.
So this week something terrible happened in the Kensington district London. On Wednesday, a fire broke out in the Grenfell Tower flat complex, resulting in the deaths of about 30 people and counting, with the final death toll as yet uncertain at the time of this writing, and the destruction of Grenfell Tower, with 76 people missing and feared dead. It is a national tragedy.
And it didn’t take long for the event to politicized. Many people took to protesting the government for its perceived inaction regarding the event, with Prime Minister Theresa May criticized for not visiting the victims. It is worth noting that May did visit the fireman in order to talk with them, presumably in order to try and assess the situation. Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile spent half an hour at a church hugging people, and then used the issue to advocate for the wholesale confiscation of private property in order to house those displaced by the fire.
Worse still, people are seriously trying to proclaim that the Grenfell fire was a crime – either the result of criminal negligence or an act of deliberate corporate malfeasance – without any evidence to suggest this and without an inquiry to produce any evidence of the kind. Labour MP David Lammy was a vociferous cheerleader of such a rush to judgement, advocating that arrests should be made and powerful people should be put in the dock for “corporate manslaughter”, without offering satisfactory evidence of course. Sadiq Khan, a man usually known for his inaction in the face of tragedy, is actually calling for “action and justice” in response to this whole thing. There is actually a movement now titled “”Justice for Grenfell” operating in the vein that this was indeed an act of criminal negligence and corporate malfeasance, and I’m just baffled because I’m not confident that we have any evidence yet that this is the case. Yet here I find people storming the Kensington town hall in what looked like an angry mob, demanding satisfaction, and some people claiming that the government is actively hiding the truth from the people, all without direct evidence. Are we going to start seeing Grenfell truthers soon?
More crucially, are we truly going to be allowed to give into mob mentality like this, rushing to judgement based only on reactionary whims? I know this must be horrible for the people in Kensington, and you can hardly blame them for having an intense emotional reaction to what is, by all accounts, a tragedy. But there is a danger that too little patience is being exercised for the government. It will take time to find all the answers, and a full inquiry will likely be a pretty slow process. In the meantime, there should be focus not just on gathering the facts in a calm and rational manner but also on recovery as people will need to find new homes, preferably in a manner that doesn’t entail full blown socialist confiscation of private property. I sincerely hope we don’t throw our sense of reason into the fire as well.
Well, I know it’s late, but now that the dust has settled I think I’ve gathered my thoughts and I can safely say that this election has been a clusterfuck. I didn’t comment on the announcement of the general election as part of a rule I imposed on myself to not comment on current events and politics during the spring holidays so I can concentrate on down time and my plans for the blog, but now the time is right and I can offer my thoughts on the events.
First of all I’ll say straight up: this election was completely pointless. Prime Minister Theresa May called the election in April 18th out of nowhere, and I don’t think many people asked for it. May claimed at the time that she called the election in order to secure the ultimate democratic mandate for Brexit. However, as I saw it, we already had the mandate in every possible sense of the word. In case you don’t know, back in 2015 the Conservatives under David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union, and the British people gave them a parliamentary majority, thereby giving the Tories the democratic mandate to hold that referendum. Then, last year, we held that referendum, as was promised to us by the Tories, and the majority of the British public voted Leave. This was the basic democratic mandate that we needed in order to invoke Article 50 and leave the Union, but time and again Parliament insisted that we couldn’t leave without giving the Parliament a say, even though it was not their place to vote on the issue. Parliament voted on the Brexit issue three times, and each time they voted in favor of triggering Article 50. So despite all the bullshit from the British political establishment, we had the democratic mandate already. I always suspected that the election was a response on May’s part to the constant whining from Remoaners (the term we Brits use to refer to pro-EU people who constantly whine about the referendum) who always refused to accept the democratic mandate of Brexit and refused to accept the legimitacy of Theresa May as Prime Minister because she was unelected, having been appointed via a leadership contest following Cameron’s resignation immediately after the Brexit vote. What irony then that we could have Gordon Brown as our unelected Prime Minister in 2007 following Tony Blair’s resignation and we’d hear ne’ery a word about the democratic legitimacy of his rule.
But anyways, in order to achieve this “ultimate democratic mandate”, she called the snap election to strengthen the Conservative Brexiter support in parliament and weaken the opposition. At first, it seemed like things were going very well for the Tories. They seemed to be the party that was going to support Brexit, and the other Eurosceptic party, UKIP, was becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, we had local elections a month before the general election, and the Tories absolutely dominated the polls, with Labour crashed and UKIP annihilated. All the Tories had to do was not fuck up.
And then, they actually released their manifesto.
And just like that, the Tories instantly became more reviled than ever. They announced plans to introduce more control over the Internet by the state, peppered with some nice Orwellian language to prop it up (“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree”). That alone, i think, instantly drove young and tech-oriented people away from the Tories, leading straight into Labour simply because they were the second largest party and weren’t the Tories. Oh but that’s not all. They also came out in support of fox hunting, despite that most of the country doesn’t want fox hunting to come back. They introduced a set of social care proposals that came to be collectively known as the “dementia tax” and the death tax (which is basically the same kind of idea that harmed Gordon Brown’s campaign), which was widely condemned as being directly harmful to the elderly, only for Theresa May to back-peddle on that policy almost immediately. She also apparently planned to scrap free school meals. Before the manifesto, she could have done nothing but endlessly repeat Brexit sound bites on a loop and she would have won the majority.
And that wasn’t the end for May’s woes. When it came time for the leaders’ debates, she almost never showed up to represent her party to debate the other leaders. From what I’ve seen of her she is a capable public speaker, and I think she could have defeated Corbyn in the debates. But no. She didn’t. For some reason she thought that getting into debates with the other leaders was pointless. This cowardice made her the subject of ridicule, for she was seen as incapable of defending her own policy ideas. Oh, and then there’s that questionable moment when she said “if human rights laws get in the way of stopping terrorism then I will change them”, which quickly became translated into “I will rip up human rights” by everyone else.
All of that served to give a black eye to the Tory party, to the point that in my thoroughly honest opinion it’s a miracle that the Tories managed to win more seats than they did. To their credit, the Tories managed to weaken the SNP’s hold over Scotland, and that’s no small potatoes: had they failed to break the absolute dominion the SNP had in Scotland, we would probably be forced to enter into a coalition with the SNP, maybe even with Labour being the larger party instead of the Tories. Not to mention, had the SNP performed worse, the Tories might have won an overall majority after all. But in many respects, they failed to achieve what they set out to achieve. They failed to win Wales for the first time, where Labour maintained their 100-year long hold over the region, they failed to achieve the decisive majority nationwide and they may well have alienated large sections of people that might otherwise have supported them. Far from strengthening their democratic mandate as May had hoped, the Tories had actually weakened it. And it was all down to Theresa May’s booming hubris and delusion. May thought that she was unstoppable, that she could do anything she wanted, propose anything she wanted no matter how stupid and awful, and the British public would still support the Tories in droves. But she was wrong, and now she looks set to pay the price for her arrogance.
And then there’s the Labour Party. Apparently Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters are delusional enough to believe that they have claimed victory yesterday, when in objective reality all they have “won” is a hung parliament in which they still gained 56 seats less than the Conservatives. He hasn’t really won anything, yet Corbyn talks about how he’s ready to launch his “new program”, while his supporters and the media make the election result out to be some kind of massive victory for Labour when all they did is lose to the worst Tory campaign ever. It’s like Kim Jong-un losing a game of soccer and the North Korean papers declaring he won somehow. Corbyn wasn’t alone either. Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats joined him in claiming that this was some kind of golden opportunity for them and defeat for the Tories, even though they only won 12 seats. Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP did it as well. In fact, when a reporter questioned her about the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum, she dodged the question as thought trying to deny that her referendum might not be possible.
And let’s talk about Corbyn himself for a moment. I personally find it baffling how the youth could ever support the Labour Party, let alone under Jeremy Corbyn. This is a man whose central economic proposals echo the old kind of socialism that Labour believed in before their historic defeat by Margaret Thatcher. Corbyn wanted to nationalize the railways and the energy industry, raise the corporate tax to 26%, raise income tax everyone earning not £100,000, not £200,000, not £1,000,000, but £80,000, grant extra powers to HMRC to prosecute whose who avoid paying taxes, and create a Ministry of Labour in order to grant more power to trade unions. The last time the unions had any power, they almost take over the government during the 1970’s. Before the 1980’s, everything was nationalized and the British government eventually began running out of money to pay for it. Corbyn himself is nothing more than a well-meaning moron, with often confused stances on key issues. He refused to say anything about immigration other than he would impose no cap on migration. He said nothing about Brexit other than he doesn’t want a second referendum. And when asked about whether of not he would retaliate in the event of nuclear strike, he repeatedly dodged the question and fumbled all over the place. He is also a relic of perhaps more radical times during the 1970’s and 80’s, which goes a long way towards explaining why his links with Sinn Fein and far-left movements, not to mention past involvement with violent extremist movements, has come to the far, which we’ll explore further later on.
The Labour party itself, it must be said, is still not a party of the working class as I see it, much as they would claim otherwise. Before Corbyn, it was the party of Tony Blair, New Labour and their corporate masters. Now it’s the party of Marxism, socialism and the middle class twatwaffles who actually support it, even though it doesn’t quite work the way they think it does. That said, they did still manage to gain a considerable amount seats across the nation (other than Northern Ireland). And most shockingly of all, Diane Abbot – perhaps the least competent MP Labour has to offer -, a noted anti-white racist and apologist for Mao Tse Tung’s regime, actually managed to increase her majority in Hackney North and Stoke Newington by around 9,000 votes and effectively winning in a landslide. All-in-all, I am glad that Labour didn’t win this one. Given not just Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, but also the presence of John McDonnell – an avowed Marxist – and Seumas Milne – a communist apologist – in the party, I really don’t want to see those kinds of people in my government. Sadly, because Labour managed to do better in this election than they did last time and made out like heroes even though they won nothing, I don’t think the Marxists are going away, and it looks like they might actually influence British politics for the next few years. This is the Labour we have to live with now.
In the day of the vote and the day of after, I swear that the left, particularly the Corbynites, have been proving themselves to be very anti-democratic if not borderline or outright fascistic, if you’ll pardon the fairly liberal use of the term. The Corbynites actually went out of their way to buy tons of right-wing newspapers such as The Sun or The Daily Mail and burned every copy they bought, because they are apparently so confident about their candidate they just couldn’t stand media outlets talking shit about him. It’s basically the same thing as Christians burning Beatles’ records because they said they were bigger than Jesus: all you’ve gone and done is give the people you hate more money, and you look like literal Nazis. And on social media, I saw Corbynites come out virtue signalling about the importance of democracy and voting, only to bemoan to the public for voting against them and accusing them of ruining the country, with at least one even proclaiming that all Tory MPs should be jailed. And just like with Brexit, they’re supporting petitions calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government so that their Dear Leader can become Prime Minister instead.
What really grinds my gears is simply this: how can young people justify voting Labour in order to oppose the Tories in order to save the Internet from Tory regulation, without any guarantee that Labour actually cares about Internet freedom? I’m not kidding. I haven’t seen any evidence that Labour has come out in support of internet freedom, not even after the release of the Conservative manifesto. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn has come out in support of passing laws that would crack down on what he deems “sexist hate speech”. In fact, it was the Labour Party (albeit before Jeremy Corbyn became leader) who promised to introduce a mandatory version of the Internet filters proposed by the Conservatives to block websites based on age verification. So all these people are doing is replacing one form of Internet regulation and control with another. The only difference, of course, is that in this election the Tories were more arrogant and in your face, openly proclaiming that they want control of the Internet, whereas Corbyn and the left use sneaky terms like “hate speech” and “misogyny” to justify regulating how people speak online. In short, the young people who were outraged by the Tories would have been better off if they voted for neither the Tories or Labour, and instead voted for literally any other party. And yet Labour managed to capture the youth, sometimes in the most cringeworthy way possible. Jeremy Corbyn may as well be Pastor Jim Colerick, and my generation ate it up just like that!
Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that can be counted as something of a victory for Labour after all.
We haven’t even addressed the other major part of this result yet. Because the Tories failed to win an overall majority, they will have to form a coalition for the second time this decade. The Liberal Democrats will not be forming the role of the smaller party, having already done that in 2010 and thus having no desire to repeat that outcome. Believe me, I wouldn’t want to see that either. Instead, that role goes to the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, who won 10 seats (which, for the UK as a whole, is less than the Liberal Democrats, but in Northern Ireland amounts to over half of all seats, making them the majority party). The DUP is a socially conservative party that was founded by a Protestant Christian preacher named Ian Paisley, who was apparently known for his staunch opposition to Catholicism, republicanism and homosexuality. Looking at them, they don’t seem to be as horribly evil as the salt-bearing Twitterati make them out to be, but they’re not that good a party. They are strident opponents of gay marriage, and the party has actively blocked the legalization of gay marriage in Northern Ireland. They are also known in Northern Ireland for having supported a campaign in 1977 to oppose the decriminalization of homosexuality. And when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, the DUP were apparently the only major party to oppose it. It is, then, somewhat understandable why the DUP are treated with contempt, which leads me to wonder how they managed to achieve a majority in Northern Ireland. A lot of the anger I have seen directed at them comes from things their MPs have said rather than recent actions, but it’s not like the DUP were such a good party.
The DUP are also reviled by some sections of the media because they are accused of being sympathetic to Northern Irish terrorists, specifically a group called the Ulster Defense Association – a Loyalist paramilitary group that opposed Republicanism and wants Northern Ireland to remain in the UK. The group made headlines recently for shooting a man named Colin Horner in front of his child in broad daylight. DUP has recently stated that they do not accept endorsements from UDA, and I haven’t actually found any explicit links between the UDA and DUP other than the fact that the party’s leader, Arlene Foster, met with the UDA chief recently – by an unfortunate coincidence, that meeting took place 2 days after the murder of Colin Horner. But despite the vagueness of this connection, the left seems to be using the DUP and the UDA to smear Theresa May and the new government. To me, it seems that the same people who would’ve have defended Jeremy Corbyn, and by proxy the Labour Party as a whole, from accusations that he is sympathetic to the IRA – the Republican paramilitary who wanted Northern Ireland to be unified with the rest of Ireland – are now scaremongering about how our government is entering with the DUP because they are apparently supported by terrorists. And that’s strange to me. I have whereas I have little links between DUP and the UDA, in fact the DUP has outright condemned the DUP and other paramilitary groups, Jeremy Corbyn has not only refused to condemn the IRA on multiple occasions, but has also not just talked to Irish terrorists, he’s even invited IRA-linked individuals into Parliament, had tea with terrorists and opposed anti-terror legislation. Unlike the DUP, Corbyn has found himself in situations where he got involved with the side of terrorists, several times. Clearly, it seems that the left is playing the terrorism card where it suits them by, as is characteristic of them, creating false equivalencies.
I feel like I should be clear: I do not support the DUP in any meaningful way other than they were only realistic option for a Tory-led coalition. Like I said earlier, the Liberal Democrats outright rejected a new coalition with the Tories, and I don’t see the SNP forming a coalition with them either. Not to mention, both of them aren’t exactly pro-Brexit. And while I don’t support the Tories either, I want my government to carry on with the Brexit. And since the DUP at least wants some kind of Brexit, coupled with the fact that they had enough seats to actually prop up the Tories as a coalition partner, I simply don’t see any other coalition that would work. The alternative, to me, is a Tory-SNP coalition where the SNP grinds the Tory government to a halt on Brexit and could pressure them to give them what they want by using the threat of a second independence referendum as a bargaining chip. Oh, and I reject the idea of a Labour-led coalition with minor progressive parties. Not only is it mathematically impossible because none of those parties would have enough seats combined to make an overall majority, but it would also make for an unstable minority government without proper democratic legitimacy. Not to mention, Alex Salmond of the SNP suggested pretty much the same idea when it was called the “rainbow coalition” in 2010, and it would’ve been impractical for the same reason.
Of course the main issue for me is Brexit. Contrary to what you might expect from a party as traditionally right-wing as DUP, the party is actually soft on Brexit. They don’t want a “hard” Brexit – that is we leave the European Union full stop, including the single market and customs union – because they fear it would create a hard border between the UK and Ireland. Theresa May, by contrast, has been pursuing full departure from the European Union and believes that getting no deal from Brussels is better than getting a bad deal. This had led to concerns that the Brexit pursued by Theresa May will end up being watered down in order to keep the coalition together.
I know this has gone on for quite a while, but at this point I need to mention UKIP. Because I voted to Leave in the EU membership referendum, my choice was between either the Conservatives or UKIP – all the other main parties were pro-EU, and thus could not be trusted. For a while, I wasn’t totally sure who to go with, but then the local election results came (I didn’t vote in those, by the way, because all the local candidates in my town were leftists) and UKIP were resoundingly crushed. Because of that I felt I had no choice but to support the Conservatives in order to see Brexit go through. And then, when they released their manifesto, I just couldn’t reconcile their ideas with my own views or principles, so I considered either voting UKIP or spoiling my ballot in protest. Either reading the main points of UKIP’s manifesto, however, I decided it was better than the Tories – and that they can’t possibly fuck up worse than the Tories did – so I decided to vote for them, even though I knew the party was done for. And sure enough, UKIP tanked in the general election, winning no seats and taking an 11% drop in the vote share, which led the party leader, Paul Nuttal, to resign after only six months in office. However, some are suggesting that UKIP may yet become the benefactor of this disastrous general election, as former leader Nigel Farage has hinted that he may return to politics and to UKIP if he thinks the current government will compromise our exit from the European Union. Given the options available to me in today’s political climate, if this turns out to be true, I would be happy to support Farage and UKIP for the foreseeable future.
Overall, this election was an unfortunate one for everyone: neither Labour nor the Tories won, the other parties suffered significant losses (including the Liberal Democrats, whose former leader Nick Clegg famously lost his seat), and we are about to enter into what is technically a minority government propped up by the DUP, with an emboldened left-wing opposition, and a tumultous political climate where progress on Brexit is in danger of being pushed back. There is even talk of Theresa May being “done for”, with her being expected to resign within the remainder of this year and a new Tory leadership contest down the line is already being speculated. Whatever your views on either of the parties, or on Brexit for that matter, this will most likely go down in history as a major failure for the Tories, and May will come to be seen as a uniquely terrible Tory leader and arrogant Prime Minister. And all the while, I suspect that my country is not heading in a good direction regarding liberty, and perhaps would not have fared much better in that regard whether you voted left or right.