Reflecting of today’s shock election result - and most of us really didn’t see it coming - the words of Laurel and Hardy come to mind when thinking about how the Conservatives - and perhaps the country as a whole - must be feeling about Theresa May: ‘Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!’
|Prime Minister Theresa May announces she is |
forming a minority government.
|Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn|
dramatically cut May's majority
Now don’t get me wrong. Being a healthy democracy is a good thing. The people should choose those that govern them. However, a democracy is not something that should be held in too high esteem. After all, democracy is imperfect and is a reflection of the people who cast their ballots. What our elections have shown us is that instead of a unified nation with a common purpose and identity I see a nation that is ill at ease with itself. We are a nation that seems fragmented and rudderless. Our recent multiple elections haven’t solved anything and have simply highlighted the deep division we have in the United Kingdom. By going to the polls again and again and again (and I’m hoping we don’t get another election in the autumn when or if Theresa May’s minority government falls apart) all we are doing is getting the results that a divided nation will get - yet more division. The problem with democracy is that it often covers difficult truths about ourselves as a nation and how we relate to the ‘Other’ - whoever the ‘Other’ is to you. We are a nation that is desperately in need of healing.
So despite what the Tories in Scotland or Labour in England might say, there really are no winners in this election. As the legendary psephologist, Professor John Curtice has said:
‘Almost everybody lost. This is a result that brought disappointment to all parties:
The Conservatives lost their majority.
Labour suffered its third defeat in a row.
The Liberal Democrats found themselves treading water.
The SNP’s independence bandwagon came to a juddering halt.
And UKIP imploded.
It is not only the Conservatives who will be asking why Mrs May changed her mind about holding a snap election.
The only winners are perhaps the DUP - to whom she seems to have awarded the role of kingmakers.’
So what would I like to see next? Constitutionally, it's the right of the largest party to attempt to govern and it looks like this is what is happening - though there is no way that Theresa May can pretend that nothing’s happened and she needs to listen to what the result is saying. However, I would also want all parties to try and work together in the national interest. In leaving the EU, the British people are facing an almighty challenge that is unprecedented and has the potential to harm us all. We are where we are in terms of the election result so I would hope that all parties - especially the two larger ones - would put aside petty party politics, attempt to act like grown-ups for a change and work together - yes, together - in the national interest. Governments of national unity happened in the early twentieth century and the Conservatives and Labour worked together to govern during the Second World War, so why can’t May, Corbyn and the rest of them start behaving like responsible adults and work together for the common good as we enter Brexit talks?
I know it probably won’t happen because the parties - and too often their supporters too - loath and despise the other. But surely that would be the best way forward for the country?