So now we know! Let me begin with two postings I put onto my Facebook page:
12/12/19 22:30: “Managed an hours kip ahead of a marathon night election result watching and a more than expected exit poll Conservative majority prediction. SNP expected to do well ☹ Brexit Party expected to do bad and thus not hold balance ☹ but God is on His Throne 😊”
13/01/19 0300: “Now I know the Southend result and that the Conservatives are on track for healthy majority (not Scotland) I can turn in. Well done David Amess and James Duddridge. Commiserations Aston Line and Ashley Dalton – you fought good campaigns and your time will come!”
I have no doubt all sorts of people have all sorts of thoughts on yesterday’s election and in the next few days much more will be aired, when I will do my final summing up in my Electionwatch series. It should be stated at the outset, the result was not a surprise, certainly not to the Almighty, and those observing fluctuations in the opinion polls, in the main, got it spot on.
Like many, my feelings are mixed. On the one hand I am glad the Conservatives have been returned with a majority. I do so for at least three main reasons. Firstly, and to use a cliché, it is our best realistic hope “to get Brexit done”. Secondly, it keeps out the progressive leaning parties, which I believe will do net harm to the country. Thirdly, many Conservative polices e.g. health, education, police, immigration, infrastructure and “one nationism” represent a common sense approach for moving forward. Do I trust Boris? Not a lot! And yet I can see in him Britain’s answer to Donald Trump, who with all his long list of faults could inspire the UK to greatness as an independent nation not beholden to the EU, be instrumental yet in bringing together a nation and helping create the climate for the Gospel to thrive in our nation and for those of us who preach it to do so. While I can still remember Margaret Thatcher quoting St. Francis of Assissi channel of your peace prayer when she once won and is still considered by many as a divisive prime minister, I hope Boris words of conciliation soon after he won will bear fruit. Can he deliver? I am hopeful – now the cards are not stacked against him.
My two main disappointments are firstly the Brexit Party did not win ANY seats. I had rather hoped they would hold the balance of power that would ensure a meaningful Brexit rather than a fudge and act as spur toward much needed constitutional reform. But their time may yet come, they deserve credit for putting meaningful Brexit delivery back on track. Secondly, the SNP did well, although not well enough for Ruth Davidson to carry out her promise to swim naked in Loch Ness. I confess irritation whenever Nicola Sturgeon opens her mouth and fear she and the SNP will take Scotland down a wrong path. As for the LibDems, their support seems to have dissipated and with their “how the mighty have fallen” leader losing her seat, they are once again consigned to the doldrums. I take a perverse delight that a party that sacked their too Christian candidate and gone for wicked policies like abortion on demand and a flawed sexual identity ideology has got their come up pence. Maybe their silver lining is the chance to ditch their progressive illiberal liberalism policies and be a party of the centre that truly espouses liberal values and can co-exist with other ideologies.
This brings me to Labour. The post mortem has already begun on why they lost: a bad leader that appealed only to the extremes. That may be ok with Marxist and the so called progressive agenda sympathizer. A terrorist and anti-Semite sympathiser leader, tts Brexit sell out that showed contempt of their own Leave contingent and policies that realistically could not be implemented, i.e. while many noble intentions begged the question how these could be paid for, was too much for many. I take no delight in seeing Labour do badly. My qualms remain concerning some of the social injustices I see around me. I am not confident Conservatives will address them. I am particularly sad my town’s two excellent Labour candidates, who campaigned so well and have much to offer, did so badly, and this through no fault of theirs. It is a consequence of an electoral system where people vote for Party irrespective of individual candidate merits. Like the LibDems, Labour have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that addresses issues like the economy and security, as well as social justice. Sadly, the best Prime Minister we never had, John Smith, died all too young, but they could do with someone of that caliber to lead them.
It is difficult to know how to conclude. Maybe it is to start by getting Brexit done (whatever that means). One thing I am sure, that to a significant extent the people have had their say, especially regarding the political class they consider to have betrayed them. I know from reading my social media feed that good people remain divided on this result and while we need to accept it and move on, it is better that the same good people should respect each other and find ways to work together for the common good. While there have been disappointments and a number of things did not quite go the way I had hoped (do they ever) I for one am ok with Boris as Prime Minister with a healthy overall majority and now many of the obstacles in his way have been removed I hope and anticipate he will grow into that job. I hope we the people will hold him to account, including his post election exhortation of our coming together as one nation message, and we work for society’s most vulnerable.
Looking at the bigger picture, I see a spiritual battle all around us that is global and intense and often insidious (and that includes the globalism verses nationalism and progressive verses traditional stand offs) and thank the Almighty for having mercy on our nation.