Monthly Archives: June 2017

Now what?

We returned a hung parliament. Theresa May ran the worst election campaign I have ever seen and lost a heap of seats. Her party’s place secured only by an exceptional campaign by Scottish Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson taking a dozen seats from the SNP. Damnit.

Mrs May seems determined to hang on at all costs, however. One of those costs is entering into a coalition of chaos with the DUP. Another cost is that we are now an international laughing-stock (more so than usual). I wonder how that is going to go down whenever we deign to send a delegation to the leaving-the-EU talks, which were supposed to be starting on Monday.

Apparently, both France and Germany have indicated that we can stay if we want to, even though we have invoked Article 50 and have issued a formal notice that we’re on the way out. Of course, I don’t expect our politicians to embrace this option, even as it becomes obvious that we’re going to end up with a shitty deal and people realise that they voted for a promise that was made of lies.

In other news, however, the Catholic Church in the US surprised everyone by not being fundamentalist pricks for once and inviting some gay people to a Mass presided over by Cardinal Joseph Tobin. Baby steps. By the heat-death of the universe, I may just about to be able to have a conversation with my gay friends about religion that doesn’t consist, mostly, of me telling them to forget the institutional church and focus on the person of Jesus Christ. I would love to say “come to Mass with me and feel the embrace not just of Jesus, but of his church too.” That day has not come yet, but it might.

And there I go, hoping again.

I’m such a sucker.

I try not to hope

Our electoral system is weird, at best. It is, ostensibly, simple: the candidate with the most votes in their constituency wins the seat. Easy. Except that there is no easy correlation between the number of votes that a given party gets, nationally, with the number of seats they get in the Commons.

Just ask UKIP.

In the 2015 election, they got 3,881,099 votes (12.6% nationally), and secured exactly zero MPs. The SNP, meanwhile, got 1,454,136 votes (4.7% nationally) and, basically, swept up the whole of Scotland, returning 56 MPs to Parliament. The LibDems, meanwhile, got nearly twice as many votes as the SNP but only 8 MPs.

It’s a completely broken system.

On the other hand, it does massively favour the two main parties, so neither of them has any motivation whatsoever to change the rules.

Most opinion polls in this fair land aim to give an approximate idea of the voting intention, nationally and, as such, are a very very poor predictor of the shape of the resulting parliament. YouGov do attempt to predict the parliament, however, by trying to model their polling data on a constituency-by-constituency basis, and their latest poll shows the Blue Party in some difficulty. I do not dare to get my hopes up, though, lest I find myself dining on Paddy Ashdown’s hat.

I do, however, continue to despair. After 7 years of Conservative-led governments that have cut the pay of public sector workers (most notably nurses), killed off the nursing bursary that helps student nurses with living costs whilst they train, slashed police numbers, outsourced healthcare, screwed over disabled peoplehanded schools over to private companies, insulted doctors, spied on our online lives and, in many other ways, slashed and burned much of the infrastructure we need to be a decent, civilised society, whilst laying the blame on immigrants, refugees and Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories are still ahead in the polls.

They behave like narcissistic, abusive parents, taking what we have, tweaking taxation to favour the richest and actively harm the poorest yet, like abused children willing to take anything in exchange for the tiniest hope that, maybe this time, the abusive parent will give a hug, a smile or even the simplest acknowledgement that we exist.

I hold scant hope that the Tories will get the bloody nose that they so richly desire and, in our turn, we will get the society we deserve: one where only the richest thrive, receive healthcare, live in secure communities and expect  dignity in infirmity.

Please, UK, surprise me on Thursday.