• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

British Election Leads To Hung Parliament, Theresa May Forms Uncertain Coalition

British Parliament Building

When British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election for June 8th, three years earlier than British law requires for a new election after 2015’s big win for the Conservative Party, it seemed like a smart political move. Polls at the time showed May’s Conservative with massive leads in the polls over Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party that suggested that the Tories would make impressive and massive gains in the House of Commons that would secure her position for the upcoming Brexit negotiations and keep the party in power until at least 2022. Labour itself look disorganized and weak thanks to what most people saw as the ineffectual and divisive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who represented the far-left wing of the party and advocated positions that sounded more like the rhetoric of Neil Kinnock than Tony Blair. Most importantly, May had gotten fully behind the British public’s decision to exit the European Union, a position now embraced by all of the United Kingdom’s major political politics with the exception of the Liberal Democrats, who had been decimated in the 2015 elections.

As the campaign went on, though, things seemed to go off the rails. Slowly but surely, Labour began to close the gap in the national polls that had showed the Tories massive lead, while national support dropped off  the highs it had been for the better part of two years. The United Kingdom was rocked by terror attacks, first in Manchester and then in Central London itself, that left a total of some thirty people dead and more than one hundred people injured. While this type of event might typically be seen as something that would push voters to the right, it also apparently harmed May, who had served as Home Secretary for six years under David Cameron, a position that put her at the top of the national bureaucracy responsible for the security of the nation. Finally, May herself proved to be a less than ideal campaigner as head of her party, certainly not as good as David Cameron and possessing nowhere near possessing the political skills of the last female Conservative Prime  Minister Margaret Thatcher. By the time we got to Election Day, the outcome of the vote was up in the air, but it still looked like the Tories would retain sufficient national support to hold on to power, and the fact that previous national polling had

By the time we got to Election Day, the outcome of the vote was up in the air, but it still looked like the Tories would retain sufficient national support to hold on to power, and the fact that previous national polling still had Conservatives in the lead suggested that this was the the most likely outcome. Instead, just as it did two years ago in the last General Election and last year with the Brexit Referendum, things took an unexpected turn. The first sign things would not turn out as expected came early in the evening when the nationwide Exit Poll was released and it showed a much closer race than expected, and that the most likely result would be a Hung Parliament in which no party held an outright majority and in which a coalition government of some kind would be required. By the time the smoke cleared this morning, that’s exactly what happened, and it left Prime Minister May with a plurality of seats in Parliament and forced to form what seems likely to be a fragile coalition government with a small party from Northern Ireland in order to hold onto power:

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, smarting from a humbling snap-election defeat that cost her Conservative Party its governing majority, said on Friday that her party would stay in power by forming a minority government with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

“What the country needs more than ever is certainty, and having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the legitimacy and the ability to provide that certainty, by commanding a majority in the House of Commons,” Mrs. May said outside No. 10 Downing Street, using the full name of her party. “As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies, in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular.”

Mrs. May had called an election three years early in the hope of winning a stronger mandate as Britain prepares for two years of negotiations over its withdrawal from the European Union, but voters did not reward her gamble. Instead, they produced a hung Parliament — one in which no party has an outright majority in the 650-seat House of Commons.

The fractured voting — which saw strong gains by the largest opposition party, Labour, and modest gains by a smaller party, the centrist Liberal Democrats — was a further indication of stark political divisions in Britain, days before formal negotiations over withdrawal from the European Union are scheduled to begin in Brussels.

The uncertain outcome in Britain immediately prompted speculation that the start of negotiations might be delayed, or that the talks could drag for longer than two years, as scheduled — speculation that European officials, in public at least, tried to tamp down. “I don’t think we should talk about some prolongation of the deadline,” said the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said he was ready for talks to begin immediately. “We are waiting for visitors coming from London,” he said. “I hope that we will not experience a further delay in the conclusion of these negotiations.”

Despite the loss of at least 12 seats for the Conservatives, Mrs. May will try to form a working majority with the Democratic Unionist Party, which won 10 seats on Thursday. With 318 Conservative seats plus the D.U.P. seats, Mrs. May would have 328 votes — just above the 326 needed for a majority. Mrs. May confirmed her plan to form a minority government after a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

The D.U.P., a historically Protestant party that seeks to maintain Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, has close ties with the Conservatives, and it supported Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. “I certainly think that there will be contact made over the weekend,” said Arlene Foster, the party’s leader, “but I think it is too soon to talk about what we’re going to do.”

There is a precedent for this situation: The Ulster Unionist Party, another faction from Northern Ireland, helped shore up the government of John Major, a Conservative prime minister, from 1992 to 1997.

In some respects, the election on Thursday also resembled the one in 2010, when the Conservatives won the most seats in a general election but did not have a majority of seats. Under David Cameron, Mrs. May’s predecessor, they formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

Whatever emerges will most likely be more fragile. In a coalition, the junior partner takes ministerial seats, is part of day-to-day decisions by the cabinet and shares a platform with the governing party. In a minority government, in contrast, a smaller party merely agrees to support the governing party in votes on legislation, but is not necessarily be part of the leadership. It was unclear on Friday what price the D.U.P. might exact from the Conservatives for its support.

Whatever emerges will most likely be more fragile than the coalition formed in 2010 by Mr. Cameron, which lasted five years.

And even if Mrs. May were to survive in the medium term, her authority has been badly damaged. She is certain to face demands from lawmakers in her own party that she change her leadership style and consult more widely. Nigel Evans, a senior Conservative lawmaker, blamed the party’s so-called manifesto, or platform, over which Mrs. May had to reverse course within days, for the election failure.

Based on the election results as we have them this morning, the Conservatives will enter the new House of Commons with 318 seats, by far the majority of any party in the chamber but at least five seats short of an outright majority. Labour, meanwhile, will have 260 seats, a significant gain that can be attributed to winning seat held by Tories in England and the fact that the party managed to belie expectations and make a comeback in Scotland, where it had been decimated in 2015 by the Scottish National Party, which lost about twenty seats and saw its membership fall from the 56 seats it held after the 2015 elections to 35 seats this morning. The Liberal Democrats, the only major party to oppose Brexit, managed to stage a small comeback and increased their membership in the House of Commons from eight seats to 12 seats. The final party to have more than ten seats in the new House of Commons is the Democratic Unionist Party, the Northern Irish Party that will apparently be part of the coalition with the Tories who will now hold 12 seats, thus giving the coalition just about enough seats to form a government. The remaining thirty or so seats will be held by a variety of small parties, with the largest of those being Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein, which traditionally never takes the seats it wins in due to the fact that it has a platform that essentially rejects the U.K. and favors unification of Northern Ireland with the rest of Ireland.

At least on paper, then, May will have sufficient numbers in her coalition to be able to govern, although it’s unclear just how stable that coalition will be going forward. There are significant differences between the Tories and the D.U.P. that could strain the relationship early on, or potentially weaken May’s position in her own party if she is seen as too accommodating to the D.U.P.’s position. For example, while the D.U.P. supports the result of the Brexit referendum, it is on record as supporting a most softer position than the one that May has pledged to take on issues such as the trade agreements between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Additionally, the D.U.P. is on record supporting continuing the current cross-border trade and travel agreements between Northern Ireland and Ireland and seems likely to demand some kind of accommodation on that issue. Additionally, the D.U.P. is far more conservative on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage and has been the primary force in the Northern Ireland Assembly in blocking the expansion of same-sex marriage to that part of the United Kingdom. While it’s unclear what kind of agreement the Tories and the D.U.P. have reached, these and other differences could prove problematic for the long-term stability of the coalition and could result in election well before 2022, when they would next be required under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act. If this coalition falls apart, then we could see another round of elections well before 2022.

In addition to the stability of the coalition, it’s also unclear just how stable May herself will be as leader of the Tories going forward. While her decision to call for a snap election seemed like an act of political genius in April, it now appears to have been a severe miscalculation that has reduced her party from a position where it possessed an outright majority to one where it is formed to once again seek a coalition to form a government. Whether this will weaken her position as the Tory leader remains to be seen, and she may yet face a leadership challenge that, if it succeeds, could result in yet another round of elections by a Prime Minister who will not have faced voters as leader of their party.  On the Labour side, meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has strengthened his own position as leader of the opposition for the foreseeable future thanks to the increase in support that the party garnered in yesterday’s vote. However, this could prove problematic for Labour down the road as the doubts about Corbyn’s ability to lead the party back to the majority position it enjoyed under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010 will no doubt continue to exist.

The final question, of course, is what all of this means for the biggest issue that will face anyone who heads the British government for the foreseeable future, the negotiations over the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, which are set to begin in a matter of weeks and last for a period of two years at least. As I noted above, there are some important differences on the terms of Brexit between the Tories and the D.U.P. that could strain the coalition, and it seems likely that European Union negotiations will be aware of those potential conflict and seek to exploit them to their advantage over the course of the coming negotiations. This could further strain the Tory-D.U.P. coalition or weaken May’s position within the Conservative Party if it is perceived that she has paid too dear a price for support in Parliament by modifying the party’s position on key negotiation points.

This all leaves us with several unresolved issues that the U.K. will have to deal with, likely sooner rather than later. How stable will the Tory/D.U.P. coalition be? How stable is May’s position as Tory leader? And, what happens to the Brexit negotiations? The answers to all of those questions remain uncertain at this point.

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I think that we’ve only learned one thing from this election. Theresa May isn’t a very adroit politician.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. @Dave Schuler:

    Which is why I am skeptical about her ability to survive as P.M. even if the Tories do manage to hold onto power until 2022.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    The right has been touting its blend of greed, stupidity, and bigotry as ‘Change’ for so long that people have lost any ability to detect it in reality. May et a. have had nothing to offer anybody. Brexit is a worthless scam at best. Corbyn and the left were able to capitalize on this, and they were able to exploit the appalling repulsiveness of the right to attract voters normally averse to actual leftism.

    That’s the story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  4. CSK says:

    Doug, to be fair, it did, as you point out, seem like a good idea at the time–from her standpoint. But that doesn’t negate the reality that she’s dealing now from a seriously weakened position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Holy un-forced error, Batman….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  6. MarkedMan says:

    The DUP brings other pressures to bear. It is fundamentally an Orange Protestant party, whose leadership is closely associated with the anti-Catholic Jim Crow type rule of Northern Ireland that led to and exacerbated the Troubles. There is a push already in Northern Ireland to break away and join the EU, albeit a nascent one. Will May’s playing favorites to the Orangemen give a boost to this movement? Remember, these are some of the very same politicians that lead the parades through Catholic neighborhoods to “celebrate” the victory over the Catholics and the taking of all their lands and property.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Theresa May most likely will remain as head of the Tory Party mainly because the alternatives are even worse and have even less popularity. Except, of course, in the eyes of those deluded replacements: Boris, whoever it was who called the original Brexit vote, et al….

    I suspect we’re going to see a period of infighting and stabbing-in-the-back by the Pretenders to the Throne unless the rest of the Tories come together and demand they Knock It Off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The Brexit guy was Nigel Farage of UKIP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. gVOR08 says:

    Jeremy Corbyn, who represented the far-left wing of the party

    Yeah, he wants public ownership of the Post Office and passenger rail (like the U.S.) and free tuition , all of which the UK recently had. Wants to party like it’s 1997. Sounds sort of conservative to me, but I guess that’s what passes for extreme left these days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Gee, the great ‘populist’ anti-elite revolution seems to be a bit stalled out. Le Pen is done for. Wilders flamed out. May has shot herself in the foot and enters Brexit negotiations as weak as a kitten. South Korea just swung left. And Trump’s regime is disintegrating.

    Meanwhile it looks as if Macron will have a huge margin in his parliament, and Angela Merkel is increasingly seen as the leader of the free world. Britain is weakened, the United States is a dumpster fire, and the EU? The EU looks pretty good.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    The Brexit guy was Nigel Farage of UKIP

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/british-election-leads-to-hung-parliament-theresa-may-forms-uncertain-coalition/#ixzz4jWOvkNNm

    And he’s reportedly a person of interest in the FBI Trump/Russia investigation. After he screwed up the UK with Brexit he quit, ran over to the US and became a consultant to Trump’s campaign.

    BTW, is anyone else getting this very annoying behavior that when I copy anything more than a few words from a post I get this annoying “Read more” addendum?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: Yup. I thought W had taken a decade off the “American century”. I didn’t know Trump would kill it even earlier. Since he cooperated with the Saudi’s in ostracizing Qatar, even claimed it was his initiative, has anyone told him we have a yuuge military base there?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. @MarkedMan:

    Yes I’ve noticed it too, I’m not sure what’s behind it or when it started. I’ll look into it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  14. @michael reynolds:

    I wouldn’t put May in the same category as Le Pen or Wiilders. If any party in Britain deserves that title, it would be UKIP, which lost its only seat in the House of Commons yesterday notwithstanding the fact that it was the main force behind Brexit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. Modulo Myself says:

    There was an interesting interview with Macron where he gave a deep answer about Rossini’s operas and why he thought they were underrated. He sounds like an intelligent human being who actually has a life worth living.

    Contrast that with a picture of Donald Trump eating a bucket of KFC in his crappy gold plane.

    We’ve lived in a political world where a rich empty moronic horror-show is relatable because he’s dumb.

    May definitely screwed up with this election, but Corbyn was an actual human being, and in contrast to the Tories he looked remarkably good.

    The right has banked so heavily on stupidity and contempt that they have become incapable of pulling out of their dive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  16. @grumpy realist:

    @CSK:

    Nigel Farage and UKIP were indeed the forces behind Brexit, but remember that Cameron had promised there would be a referendum on EU membership prior to the 2015 elections, much like he had made a promise there would be a vote on Scottish independence before the 2010 election.

    Officially, though, the Tories were supporters of ‘Remain’ during the referendum campaign and Cameron campaigned in favor of remaining in the Union in advance of the referendum. That was the main reason he stepped aside as P.M. after the ‘Leave’ side won the referendum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Farage is hinting at making a comeback.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Jay Gischer says:

    @ModuloMyself Anti-intellectualism is as old as America is herself. It goes back at least to Andrew Jackson.

    Don’t ever expect any American president to admit to liking opera or ballet. It’s too “snobby”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. @CSK:

    His party lost its only seat in Parliament last night.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: No, Farage is UKIP (and a bloody hypocritical prat as well, mooching off the EU.) He’s a loudmouth, but had no actual political power. I was thinking of Cameron and his lighting-a-match-to-the-fuse.

    I consider this whole mess the political equivalent of the age old saw we hear about trial lawyers: “never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.” Cameron was convinced that Brexit would be swatted down and insisted on holding the vote. Ooops. May is convinced that she can add multiple seats to the Tory share in parliament, insists on an election, and ends up with a hung parliament. Ooops.

    (Have also run across a lot of commentary pointing out the similarities between Theresa May and Hillary Clinton; in particular their certainty of success and inability to connect with the voters.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jay Gischer:

    A party that unites around intelligence and education, single payer health care, and fighting inequality, while at the same time going outside the Harvard-Yale-Princeton axis of influence would do very well.

    They have to attack the ideology that loathes where the intellect leads, but which is happy to appoint Goldman Sachs (which basically hires nobody who didn’t go to the top Ivies) to run the country’s economy. There’s a basic hypocrisy to our current variant of anti-intellectualism. None of Trump’s supporters care at all about Goldman Sachs or some prep school product being the natural appointee to the Supreme Court. They just don’t like books.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    He made his comeback speech after being informed that his party had lost its last seat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    May’s rise came at UKIP’s expense – she co-opted their agenda, destroying UKIP in the process, and now she’s been punished by British voters.

    It’s the twilight of the Anglo-Saxons, and it is entirely the fault of voters – Brexit followed by Trump. World leadership has shifted to Germany and China. We are Gondor ruled by a mad Denethor, with no Aragorn in sight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Macron where he gave a deep answer about Rossini’s operas and why he thought they were underrated.

    He is absolutely right. But comedy is always sneered at and denigrated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. kb says:

    May will probably try and soldier on for a while but i suspect there’s currently a lot of discreet meetings going on amongst tory MP’s about her replacement.

    I think where it it went wrong for the tories last night was they both underestimated and overestimated the impact of the Leave vote.

    As far as i can see the game plan was to
    a) hold their own seats (naturally)
    b) take seats from labour where there was a large no of leave voters who had normally voted labour but had either gone to UKIP or whose Leave view outweighed their labour views.

    The tories then ran an awful campaign- it was unfocused, passive and confused , whereas Labour ran a much better campaign(if a bit long on promises and short on details imho).

    So on the night, in the tory held seats tory leave voters swung to labour in enough numbers to change a number of seats whereas in the labour held tory targets they did get a swing from labour/ukip voters but not enough to overturn the labour majorities in enough seats.

    Meanwhile scotland was running a completely different election where the SNP got battered by labour/tory voters happily tactically voting to keep the SNP out. (and leaving most of the SNP held seats as marginals).
    In fact without the tory gains in scotland then we’d be in an even bigger mess as then tories+dup wouldn’t have a ‘majority’ but neither would any other realistic combination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  26. @michael reynolds:

    Not sure it’s fair to say that. UKIP was in its death throes long before May called the snap election. Their losses in 2015 were bigger than their loss this time around.

    It’s true that the Tories got behind Brexit, but after the referendum, they were basically obligated to do so. Labour would have done the same thing if they’d been in power after the referendum. For her part, May had joined Cameron in campaigning for ‘Remain’ during last year’s campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Europe seems to have done a good job avoiding the real idiots post-Trump, but I think we’re still seeing the general public frustration with political leadership and incumbents. Whoever is in power (or perceived to be, since Americans at least equate the President with total power regardless of what the Constitution says)…doesn’t do as well as expected. Almost all late-breaking votes go to the opposition and flummoxes the polls and predictions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. wr says:

    @gVOR08: Funny how all those people who kept crowing that putting an actual Leftist in charge of Labor doomed the party forever… because people hate liberal ideas and all want governments to focus on transferring the nation’s wealth to the super rich… suddenly can’t find a word to mention Labor at all in this election. It was all May’s loss, and Labor’s political stands had nothing to do with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  29. Matthew Bernius says:

    @MarkedMan & @Doug Mataconis:

    BTW, is anyone else getting this very annoying behavior that when I copy anything more than a few words from a post I get this annoying “Read more” addendum?

    That’s going to be the result of either a new or updated WordPress plug-in. As far as I know, that’s not part of the under the hood functionality (though they just pushed a pretty big update).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. wr says:

    @CSK: “Farage is hinting at making a comeback.”

    So is Scott Baio. Trouble with a comeback is that its success generally isn’t up to the one attempting it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. grumpy realist says:

    May has been making noises about teaming up with the DUP to get the numbers necessary. Given that the DUP hold views that would send the average Englander out of the room screaming, this is going to be an interesting relationship.

    (Basically, May is trying to cling to power by tying up with Ireland’s equivalent of the Tea Party, if the Tea Party were also secessionists)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    if the Tea Party were also secessionists

    I think some of them are, actually. Take Rick Perry. Please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Several of the DUP are also creationists, disbelieve in global warming, and think the world is 6,000 years old. Anti-abortion, anti-SSM, anti-gay rights.

    The loopy bi-trifecta, in other words.

    (Not to mention the sleazy financial fiascos that have been swirling around some of their activities.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    I don’t know if the polls support this contention, but this remark about there not being a “money tree” to increase wages for NHS nurses supposedly put the lid on May’s coffin:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-nurse-magic-money-tree-bbcqt-question-time-pay-rise-eight-years-election-latest-a7770576.html

    Others are attributing some of it to solidarity against Trump’s attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan, who is a member of Labour. (If so, then convey my thanks to the guy who is putting the white in White House.)

    One key difference between Americans and Brits is that there is a general suspicion of the wealthy among the latter. Few Brits labor under the delusion that they have a real shot at working their way up to the top 1%. Failure to show love for the NHS is touching the third rail there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Just in passing:

    The Georgia 6th – which hasn’t gone Democratic since 1979, which has a PVI of R+8 – is currently polling D+8 for the special election. Shifts like that – if they hold – portend catastrophe for the GOP.

    Oh, and the Kansas Legislature (which is still overwhelmingly Republican) just voted a few days ago – by greater than 2/3rds majorities – to override Brownback’s veto & raise Kansas taxes dramatically.

    Here’s hoping that they still have time to repair the damage …

    Not exactly a good week for conservatives … 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: Labour’s campaign slogan is from Shelley:

    Rise, like lions after slumber

    In unvanquishable number!

    Shake your chains to earth like dew

    Which in sleep had fallen on you:

    ye are many—they are few

    Populism comes in many forms and in many waves. It may seem to hit a wall in some places but that will be temporary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. JohnMcC says:

    @grumpy realist: Charlie Pierce over at Esquire (whom if you don’t read every day you are missing a great one!) has a terrific piece about the DUP. Seems most of their founding members had previously been connected with the Protestant militia ‘Ulster Resistance’. Lovely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Ian Paisley Jr. with his Irish Free State passport (which he advocated that every qualifying NI citizen should obtain, btw). With allies such as Paisley, PM May has no need at all for adversaries.

    A boy and his shiny new thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I doubt it. I suspect Trump’s wonderful incompetence has been a knife to the heart of populism. Washington right now is desperately in need of competent elites. If Macron does well in France and if Merkel doesn’t do anything stupid, I suspect we’re already at ‘peak amateur.’

    The opposite of populism is indifference and resignation. The Trumpkins went all-in on their Dear Leader and it is not going well. Their demands were always fantasies. The winning move for Democrats at the presidential level in 2020 will be to find a rational, stable grown-up who will promise to calm everything down. After a drug-fueled bender you want some sleep. Trump is stressful, no one will be in the mood for more wild gyration, which excludes guys like Bernie. Time for a reversion to the mean.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  40. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: With the possible exception of France (and I even doubt the French on this) the Left isn’t what it used to be when you and I were young anywhere in the industrialized world. If labor unions keep getting bushwhacked and shooting themselves in the foot, it may rise from the ashes though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan:

    when I copy anything more than a few words from a post I get this annoying “Read more” addendum?

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/british-election-leads-to-hung-parliament-theresa-may-forms-uncertain-coalition/#ixzz4jXjmx73k

    Yeah, everybody.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. grumpy realist says:

    I tell you, nobody, but nobody does snark like the Brits when it comes to dissecting a political election.

    I especially loved the following:

    According to the chief EU negotiator, Michael Barnier: “Brexit negotiations should start when the UK is ready.” And I think we know that “when the UK is ready” is diplomatic-speak for “when the UK is at least housebroken”. It’s all very well history repeating itself as farce, but when farce is repeating itself as farce, any comment feels like intruding on private grief. Or as the Germans preferred to put it, they wouldn’t be commenting on the results “out of respect and politeness”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Angela Merkel is increasingly seen as the leader of the free world. […] The EU looks pretty good.

    Sorta.

    Paul Krugman had a good column last week about how Germany has screwed the rest of the EU, and especially Southern Europe, by self-imposing entirely unnecessary and counterproductive austerity exactly when the rest of the team needed them to be relaxing. Not everyone in Europe is fond of the Germans just now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  44. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “It’s true that the Tories got behind Brexit, but after the referendum, they were basically obligated to do so. ”

    No. It was an advisory referendum only, with no legal force.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. grumpy realist says:

    @Barry: I think when Doug says “obligated” he means “politically obligated” i.e., the electorate will throw us out of power unless we follow the indicated mandate.

    On the other hand, considering the hysterical screaming of the Globe/Mail/Sun, it does look like a lot of the pro-Brexit impetus was pushed by a bunch of Murdochites expecting to make money off the whole thing.

    One of the funnier stories I’ve heard is that Murdoch was so mad at the election returns that he stomped out of the room.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Sky will cost Rupert Murdoch $2.5bn less after Brexit vote

    The acquisition of Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is costing the media mogul about $2.5bn (£2bn) less than it would have before the Brexit vote that was backed by the majority of the tycoon’s newspapers.

    The plunge in the value of sterling over the last six months means the US company is paying about 15% less than it would have done if the deal was struck on the day of the referendum on 23 June.

    Fox and Sky announced on Friday they had agreed a deal for Murdoch’s film and television firm to pay £11.2bn for the 61% of Sky it does not already own, equivalent to $14.1bn.

    However, since the vote sterling has fallen from about $1.48 to under $1.26, meaning if Fox had made the same £10.75 per share offer on the day of the referendum, it would have cost in the region of $16.6bn – close to $2.5bn more.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/12/sky-rupert-murdoch-brexit-vote-21st-century-fox-eu-referendum
    __________

    The Guardian notes that The Times supported remain, which was counter to Murdoch’s personal view. The national English press has long marketed itself based upon editorial position, and I would expect most Tories with money to favor remain; leave is mostly bad for business.

    While crashing the pound brings some benefits to Fox., the editorial positions of its tabloids may have been motivated largely by a desire to tell their audiences what they wanted to hear. Those working class chavs can be a xenophobic bunch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Several of the DUP are … anti-SSM, anti-gay rights.

    I see this morning that the Scottish Conservative Party, which is much larger than DUP, is looking to break away from the English Conservative Party. They want to maintain ties with the EU as best they can. And the head of the Scottish Conservative Party is female, and engaged to an Irish Catholic woman. Is popcorn popular in the UK?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. george says:

    In Parliamentary systems (like the UK and Canada), minority gov’ts are almost always the best for a number of reasons. In Canada, for instance, Pierre Trudeau’s minority gov’t (together with NDP) in the 70’s was one of the best we had in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Unfortunately they rarely last.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. grumpy realist says:

    plus there are idiots who think “ye goode olde dayes” means pissing off your neighbors.

    Guess they won’t be happy until the whole Irish “let’s blow everyone up who isn’t on our side” civil war gets resurrected. Idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0