On the Conservative Victory, Ron Olden


Ron Olden

All Governments have legitimacy if they can pass a Queen’s Speech and survive votes of confidence.

In any case, ‘dealing’ with Europeans is somewhat old hat. We are leaving the EU at the end on March 2019 and the least ‘dealing’ the better. If someone has voted Leave in the hope of getting a favourable (or indeed any) deal they have been sadly misguided.
We don’t need to suspend democracy, and have all ‘party governments in order to negotiate Trade deals. If deals are mutually beneficial they will come.

I don’t think the ‘coalition of chaos’ party leaders actually grasp the meaning of the term ‘democracy’ either.

The Tories have just won a General Election with the biggest share of the popular vote for any party in the past 20 years, and the highest number of actual votes for 25 years.

Labour lost its third consecutive election, winning only 4 seats more than it won in the first of those defeats in 2010, and received 800,000 fewer votes this time than the Tories.

The Tories won 318 seats, whereas the five parties of the ‘coalition of chaos’ between them, won 313 (Sinn Fein don’t become ‘Members’ of Parliament).

Labour, won 56 fewer seats than the Tories, the SNP lost 21 seats, the Greens, won only 1 seat and lost 55% of the votes it got two years ago, Plaid Cymru recorded its’ lowest share of the vote for 20 years, and the Lib Dems received their lowest share of the vote in history winning only 12 seats, and losing all their seats in Wales.

The ‘coalition of chaos’ however claim they’ve all ‘won’.

In any case these five parties have already said that they won’t form coalitions with one another. even if they had enough seats, which seeing they all stood against each other in the General Election isn’t surprising.

This all leaves the only possible deal which can achieve a majority as the one between the DUP and the Tories. who between them, now have majority of 15, easily sufficient to see them through the five year Parliament.

The ‘coalition of chaos”s response? ”We don’t agree and the Tories should resign”. Which one of them would then govern the country isn’t clear. I assume they mean Labour, but Labour has 126 seats fewer than the other parties, and 56 fewer seats than the Tories.

Labour even says it’s actually going to form a ‘minority government’!! How it proposes to do that is anyone’s guess because Mrs May is Prime Minister, and along with her partners the DUP, has an overall majority!!

Meanwhile in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, received 38% of the vote compared with Mrs May’s UK wide 42.5% . Nicola however claims she has ‘won’ the election in Scotland, and Mrs May has ‘lost’ the UK wide one.

Nicola is also governing Scotland with a smaller share of the popular vote in the 2016 Holyrood Election (where her vote plummeted from the previous one), than Mrs May received UK wide this time. Nicola however claims she is entitled to govern Scotland, yet despite her party’s vote having risen by 5.5%, Mrs May isn’t.

In Wales Labour’s Carwyn Jones is doing the same thing in the Senedd, with an even lower share of the vote than Nicola, but with the help of the Lib Dems. He however, manages to do so, without having a majority of the Assembly Members in tow, even when you take the Lib Dem into account.

Carwyn however accuses Mrs May of ‘clinging on’ by governing with the acquiescence of the DUP.

Labour saw no difficulty in trying to cling on to power at Westminster in 2010, despite having lost nearly a hundred of its seats, and falling 50 seats behind the Tories.
The Tories and the DUP at least have the advantage of not having stood against each other in the election.

Finally we voted in a Referendum to Leave the EU and, in a Scottish Referendum for Scotland to stay in the UK. Four of the parties of the ‘coalition’ of chaos’ want to ignore the EU result completely, and one the SNP, wants to ignore the Scottish one as well.

You couldn’t make it up!!!!! No wonder they all lost.

We now have a Tory Government dependent on the DUP in power for the next five years, the ‘Hardest’ Brexit possible to look forward to, and the end of any hopes of Scottish Independence for decades.

Well done the ‘coalition of chaos’.
If anyone’s not satisfied about the DUP getting on the act, don’t blame me I voted Conservative, Instead of going around voting for each other’s parties at random, they should have done the same.

In fact,. if the Lib Dems really are concerned about DUP involvement (in truth however they are lying as usual) all they have to do is promise the Tories the same deal the DUP have done/ leaving. Given that they managed to vote with the Tories between 2010 and 2015 they should be able to manage that.

But perhaps not this time. No Ministerial cars on offer you see.

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16 comments

  • Fascinating. Just one thing I would take issue with; “If deals [with the EU] are mutually beneficial they will come.”
    In a sane world, yes, but the EU is in a bit of a bind; it cannot offer us a deal which leaves us no worse off on the outside than we were on the inside. It has to ‘punish’ us for leaving – otherwise the others will have no reason to stay. If that means cutting off its nose to spite its face, well, the EU does that pretty well already.

    • Can someone please tell me what ‘deals’ we need from the EU, and how ‘they’ can punish us?

      • I don’t believe we need any ‘deal’ at all. The ideal ‘free-trade agreement’ is a blank sheet of paper. But that is not the popular perception. I always ask doubters how China manages to sell all that stuff to the EU – they don’t have to accept free movement of ‘refugees’, do they?
        As for how the EU is going to ‘punish’ us for leaving, I am sure that is what is exercising their minds right now. What they CANNOT do is allow us to leave on favourable terms. Otherwise there will be a stampede for the exit and the EU will collapse overnight. They will probably make all sorts of unreasonable demands which we will be unable to accept. Then we will be facing the prospect of ‘no deal’, and that will terrify people so much that they will be begging to be let back in. Of one thing I am certain – the EU is not going to allow us to leave; one way or another they have to keep us in.

  • May’s lot were the winners; that much is true.

    But there is nothing remotely conservative about them.

    So one can hardly bother too much that they got such a dismal result.

    Looking at their corporatist economic policies, their Orwellian censorship-surveillance regime and police-state laws, I keep on having to remind myself that we don’t already have a Labour-SNP government.

  • For once I was thinking of agreeing with Ronald Olden, but I’m not sure I can. At the moment, I think what is unfolding here is a disaster. I think the reason so many of us called this election wrong is that we have underestimated the extent of the demographic changes in this country and the political implications of these: not just the influence of the young, but also of non-white immigrants and their descendants. Of course there was also the “free turnips for everyone” factor of Corbyn’s campaign, run on the assumption that Labour wouldn’t win, but I think it is the demographic factor that is coming into play now, and we must bear in mind that under a First Past The Post system such as we have, tiny changes in voting can have significant ramifications. A projected 100-seat majority can quickly become a minority government through small shifts in voting. This country could be in its death spiral.

    True, this is a Conservative victory, nothing pyrrhic about it. The Prime Minister has a majority in coalition with a very similar party from Northern Ireland. But on deeper investigation, the DUP have a serious problem. It appears that they are ambivalent about the route Britain should take to Brexit. They understandably wish to continue with Single Market arrangements because of Northern Ireland’s specially close relationship to the Republic; on the other hand, they are natural British patriots and anti-federalists. Ireland as an EU Member State cannot rely by default on pre-EEC trade arrangements such as the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement of 1938 (technically Britain can, but that’s nugatory as it would need to work in both directions), so if the UK is to leave the Single Market, a new trade arrangement is going to be needed, and it will have to be formal and negotiated treaty at EU level, as it is the EU that has trade competence for its Member States. Therefore it is incumbent on Britain and the rest of the EU as quickly as possible to come to terms which allow us continued access to the Single Market, but without free movement, for which Britain and Ireland already have the Common Travel Area for their citizens.

    The only alternative is what we are trying to avoid: Plan B, which is EFTA membership or some other status within the EEA. Therefore, while ‘bare’ Brexit is not threatened, Brexit as a meaningful proposition now is. If the Tories do allow the DUP tail to wag the dog, a deal with the EU will become a priority, or it will have to be another general election fought over Brexit.

    • “Therefore it is incumbent on Britain and the rest of the EU as quickly as possible to come to terms which allow us continued access to the Single Market, but without free movement, for which Britain and Ireland already have the Common Travel Area for their citizens.”

      Everybody has access to the ‘Single Market’. China seems to do all right.

      • No, everybody does not have access to the Single Market. You’re confusing the concept of ordinary trade with a Member State, which anybody can do, with access to the privileges of a common regulated area (which is what I mean by ‘access to the Single Market’). If we just continue to trade with the Single Market as a third country ‘MFN’ trading partner, that means we are not ‘accessing’ the Single Market, we are just trading with individual Member States who will be obligated under EU rules to impose tariffs and other blockages on us, including non-tariff trading barriers such as conformity assessments.

        • As I said, China manages ok. The phrase “access to the Single Market”, however you dress it up in fancy words, implies the ability to sell into the Single Market. Everybody has that ability. Maybe there are advantages to be had from trading from within, but that is not the same as ‘access’.

          • It’s not fancy words, it’s just the fact that one arrangement involves trading tariff-free and free from non-tariff obstacles such as conformity verification, and the other doesn’t unless a trade agreement is negotiated.

            I forgot to mention China. They do not just trade with the EU under WTO rules, but have numerous agreements in place, including a customs co-operation agreement and formal Memorandums that allow conformity verification, so that goods manufactured in China that need to be EU-compliant can be verified as compliant before reaching the Single Market. Without this, China would not be able to trade very easily with the EU.

            It is true that China puts up with tariff barriers and does perfectly well despite these, as evidenced by the fact that the EU operates a trade deficit with China, the EU being China’s largest market, but the calculation there is probably that goods can be manufactured in China sufficiently cheaply that tariffs matter little. Globally, the movement has been towards reducing tariffs and China and other developing countries clearly benefit from this. None of that changes the fact that China has trade agreements with the EU, and we will need these too.

            • America doesn’t?

              • America does.

                • Well you’re the only person who knows about it. Remember Obama telling us that we would have to ‘go to the back of the queue’ for a trade deal. That’s because we don’t have one. Nor does the EU. There was TTIP, but Trump seems to have scuppered that.

                  • Really??!?

                    America has something like 40 trade agreements with the EU at the last count.

                    • How many between the US and the UK?

                    • There are none in operation as the UK is an EU Member State and trade competence is at the EU level.

                      There are three main possibilities here on a way forward with the USA:

                      (i). There may be trade agreements between the EU and the USA to which the UK is also a party. I don’t have the time right now to look into whether there are, but if there are, these remain in force (provided of course both sides agree to proceed in this way as a practical reality viz. the subject-matter of those agreements).

                      (ii). There may be historic trade agreements between the two countries which have expired or were rendered defunct by our entry to the EEC, but which would be reactivated by default as per international law the moment we leave the EU. Again, practical reality will determine whether those trade arrangements are resumed. I know there was the 1815 commercial treaty, which established free trade between Britain and the USA, but there may be others since. Again, I lack the time and resources to research fully the extent and existence of such agreements and their contemporary relevancy.

                      (iii). Notwithstanding (i) and (ii) above, there will be an impetus to agree new trade terms with the USA. The difficulty is that our ability to negotiate these terms during the next two years will be limited, so British industry will most likely have to fall back on de facto trade arrangements.

                      (iv). I’ve always thought that, as a last resort, we could rely on the default continuation of EU trade agreements, that these should also benefit the UK after we leave the EU and that they are enforceable as such (subject to practical reality). But nobody seems to agree with me about this. It’s a point I need to research in more detail.

                      In regard to (iii) above, my day-to-day experience is in services, others with industry experience will probably know better than me, but my understanding is that the problem isn’t tariffs (for most of industry) but rather the non-tariff barriers and conformity verification. What we’ll probably see in March 2019 is emergency moves to establish interim trade facilitation, pending more formal agreements. The easiest way to do this is by Memorandum between the two countries.

  • Incidentally, I once worked out that if we were to repeal all the EU Regulations and Directives on the Statute book, if we got rid of ten a day it would take us forty years. That was some time ago. Probably more like fifty years now. (Yes, I know the Regulations aren’t on the Statute Book, but they will be once we leave the EU – IF we leave the EU I should say. We will have to transpose them into domestic law so we can get rid of them one by one).

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