Anarchy In The UK? Dramatic – But Not Quite 70s Punk Rock Dramatic – British Politics

Where Does The UK See Itself In 5 Years?

By Quibbl Politics Editor Ben Purcell with Daniel Ross-Rieder & Kahlil Ellis


 

Take A Break From Arguing Over U.S. Politics And Have A Bit Of A Row Over Another Country’s Problems

  • The team at Quibbl quickly goes over the past, present and future of UK politics
  • With its diverse spectrum of opinions & subject matter, Quibbl is the internet’s premier marketplace of ideas
  • Don’t just trust us; let us know what you think and “put your money where your mouth is”; our community predicts the major trends & we measures their track record across 100’s of topics [via the daily feed at quibbl.me]

 

The President & Prime Minister, at least for the time being

Turns out that aging English anarchists would rather kick back and watch a royal wedding than kick over dustbins in the street (that’s anarchy, right?). In an interview earlier this year, we learned that the Sex Pistols’ “Johnny Rotten” – whose magnum opus “God Save The Queen” calls her majesty both a fascist and “not a human being” – actually loves “all the pageantry” of the royal family; then last week we came to find out that the royals themselves could take it or leave it. It’s been that kind of upside down year for anyone trying to keep track of what’s going in England. To recap:

  • Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives ended up with the most seats after the recent UK parliamentary election, but both the British and international press wrote about her stunning failure. [BBC] [The Hill]
  • The Labour Party made major strides with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm – a man with more socialist bona fides than Bernie Sanders and who has enjoyed more support from voters than from his own party. [Independent]
  • Also, there’s Brexit. Anybody who tells you they definitely know what’s next for the UK is probably kidding themselves. But Quibbl has summarized the key takeaways you need to get a handle on what’s happening and what it means for the future of the UK and the global political system.

How We Got Here

  • That Escalated Quickly…Economic and demographic tensions in Europe spawned mainstream nationalist movements across the continent. While countries like France and Greece have flirted with an EU breakup, last year’s Brexit vote, in which UK voters decided to actually leave the EU, kicked things up a notch. [Economist]
  • Brexit! Now What?…Also called the Tories, The Conservative Party (the center-right party of former Prime Minister David Cameron and current PM Theresa May) has held a majority in Parliament since 2010. Ahead of the Brexit vote, they expressed reserved support for the “Leave” campaign that was championed by the right-wing populist UK Independence Party (UKIP) and its charismatic leader, Nigel Farage. After its Brexit success, UKIP dissolved almost entirely. Then David Cameron resigned and new Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to take up the mantle by pursuing a “hard” Brexit, a withdrawal involving maximum autonomy for England, in negotiations with the EU.
  • Quasi-Civil War Within The Labour Party…Britain’s other major political faction, the Labour Party, seemed to be in general disarray leading up to and following the Brexit vote. Its leader Jeremy Corbyn faced just as much opposition from within his own party as he did from the other side, but remained atop the party’s leadership, without any clear, or politically popular, heir to replace him.

What Just Happened With The Recent Election

  • In April, Theresa May announced a surprise parliamentary election to be held only 10 weeks later in the hope of significantly undermining the Left’s representation in the House of Commons. Evidence of strong domestic support would also give May more leverage as she sought the best deal for the UK in Brexit negotiations. [Newsweek]
  • Who’s To Blame?…The once-popular Prime Minister wasn’t the campaigner that Conservatives expected. She made misstatements that required clarifying on a weekly basis, including this bizarre answer to a voter’s question about the naughtiest thing she had ever done. By election day, May clung to a single-digit lead in most polls, while some even gave a slight edge to her opponent.
  • When A Win Feels Like a Loss…As the dust settled on the snap election, the Conservatives still held a majority in parliament. Yet May’s Tories wound up with 13 fewer seats than they had before the unnecessary election that was their idea in the first place. Corbyn’s Labour Party ended up shrinking the gap in Parliamentary seats between the two parties from 101 to 55 (a roughly 46% cut). Most importantly, the Conservatives lost their outright majority necessary to govern without reaching an agreement with a smaller party to form a coalition government. [NPR]

What Might Happen Next

  • Theresa May is increasingly unpopular and rumors percolate that Boris Johnson, the outspoken former London mayor with moppy, light gold, Trump-esque hair, will take her seat at the head of the Conservative Party before the next election. Any hope of staying in power hinges on her ability to strike a deal with a Northern Irish political party that threatens to provoke the region’s violent political history. One misstep or disagreement between the Conservatives and the Northern Irish DUP could dissolve the government and force another national election this summer.
  • US politicos are failing to realize how radical Corbyn is in comparison to American Democrats. After the London fire, he called for private rental homes to be seized for the displaced; good and understandable intentions notwithstanding, government seizure of private property hasn’t exactly taken root in America’s heartland. Corbyn is now probably the most popular politician in Britain, whether you measure by polls or by music festival chants.
  • US politicos are failing to realize how radical Corbyn is in comparison to American Democrats. After the London fire, he called for private rental homes to be seized for the displaced; good and understandable intentions notwithstanding, government seizure of private property hasn’t exactly taken root in America’s heartland. Corbyn is now probably the most popular politician in Britain, whether you measure by polls or by music festival chants.

 

Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the mainstreaming of the curmudgeonly left-wing professor aesthetic

 

  • Will we see Brexit accelerate pace? While the UK remains on track for a 2019 exit from the EU, some Labour and “Stay” supporters are arguing that these results warrant a second Brexit vote. That remains unlikely, but if the Conservatives lose their coalition government, things could get even more interesting. Britain may already be feeling the ramifications of its political situation on its bargaining power in Brexit talks: on the first day of negotiations with the EU, the UK was forced to agree to an EU negotiation schedule.

 

Trending Quibbls Over The UK

  • Specifically, May needs to meet the demands of an ultra-conservative Northern Irish political party to form a coalition government. While most think a deal will be reached eventually, the longer the negotiations play out the more stories can be written about what a fiasco the whole process has been. Will she be able to settle this round of talks quickly in order to focus on the larger Brexit issues?
  • As if they needed more going on, President Donald Trump was expected to make a state visit the UK in the near future. Reports that such a visit would be met with protests and no customary mention of the visit during the Queen’s annual speech before Parliament have left some to question whether Trump’s trip to the UK will happen.

 

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