Within hours of knowing the outcome of the General Election I shared my thoughts and while a good deal of water has gone under the bridge since and a good deal of the dust has settled I pretty much stand by what I wrote then as I reflected on the remarkable outcome we have all witnessed.
In terms of what next in the short term, we know the Conservatives will continue as the Party in power, at least for the near future, but given they don’t have an overall House of Commons majority they must form an alliance. The only one realistically available based on their shared aims and values is with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, and that is what is happening. Mainstream media, including the “unbiased” BBC have had a field day arguing it is a bad thing, based on DUP’s views on gay marriage and abortion etc. and how this might upset the non-unionist elements that exist in Northern Ireland. I have argued to the contrary and see the DUP influence in overall positive terms.
We await next weeks Queen’s speech and details of the deal reached with the DUP, but what seems evident is that things will not be as Theresa May had hoped. Some of the Conservative’s anti-austerity measures will likely be ditched and there may well be a softening of views on social justice matters and maybe the NHS. We await all this with interest. From my perspective, this may be a good thing as it was these areas that made me reticent to vote Conservative and look toward Labour, and likely many others thought along these lines also. I am all for balancing the books and trust Conservative over Labour to do this, but the cost is too high and the wrong people suffer. My take continues to be that Theresa May ran a poor campaign and Jeremy Corbyn ran a good one, but if it came to a choice who I would rather have at the helm when it comes to running the country, I would have to choose Theresa over Jeremy. I remain further reticent over Labour because of the insidious political correctness that accompanies it. I also think the result epitomizes the old adage you cannot take the electorate for granted. This is what the Conservatives did and they were found wanting. And so did the SNP going on about Scottish Independence and undermining Brexit and not enough attention given to the stuff that affects everyday Scottish lives. Lesson: never discount the outsider.
But the big issue of what we do about Brexit remains. While I voted for a good local Labour candidate over an (imho) indifferent Conservative candidate, the main reason for wanting Conservative to be returned to government was my hope they would then have the mandate they need to negotiate for a hard Brexit deal, if by hard one means leaving the EU Single Market with all the unacceptable strings attached. I fear that may now no longer be the case. I watch with interest how the new government handles Brexit negotiations as well as another big issue: how to deal with Islamic terrorism, and other developments in the political landscape. I concur with a generally held view that besides being nowhere near enough securing a good Brexit outcome we will have a new Conservative leader and another General Election by the end of next year. But there will be many surprise too. One things to be sure, none of this will surprise the Almighty and that is where my hope lies.