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The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, went on a walking holiday in Wales, then came back to London and announced a snap election. Something fresh in the Welsh air perhaps? Or an Easter epiphany? Neither. Simply power politics at play, in the mother of all parliaments.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition British Labour Party, has already said he favours an election, so he and the majority of his fellow opposition MPs will vote in favour of overturning the Fixed Term Parliaments’ Act, which was meant to spare citizens the ordure of electioneering and the boredom of voting, while securing stability at levels of governance and administration, even though the civil service and the large corporations run the UK, more a permanent government than a fixed-term one.
The MPs’ vote took place last week, and Theresa May had her way. Voters in the UK will face towards the June 8 snap election with dread, fear and for some, excitement. Many will echo the discontent voiced by Bristol resident Brenda, who groaned “not another one.” And, no, the parliamentarians are not joking.
Exactly why Theresa May pulled an election bunny out of her Easter bonnet is revealed by a consideration of her position, as she leads the UK negotiations to leave the European Union. She knows that delivering on the two big elements – full control of immigration and disengagement from the European market – is not wholly feasible. Compromise will be required in the face of pressures from the European Union, from her own civil service and the major corporations who make profits in the UK and other countries in Europe. She needs more seats on her team, so that when things get sticky, she can tell her hard-core Euro-sceptics to sit on their hands, while she accepts the support of her own newly-elected acolytes on the government benches in Westminster.
This is the kind of move that makes UK subjects who voted for Brexit nervous. If the Fixed Term Parliaments’ Act can be by-passed as neatly as a traffic accident on the M25 round London, then what’s to stop Theresa May and others from pulling a similar stunt on the actuality of Brexit?
All of this should give some hope to opposition parties, but political matters being so Brexit-spancilled at present, all the opposition parties can do is dance around the May pole and finish up pretty much where they started, which for the Liberal Democrats means a few extra seats and a notion of yet another weakly-glimmering false dawn and, for the British Labour Party, a full-blown reality annihilation following the virtual one the party has been living through for months.
It’s hard to make predictions, beyond a likely hefty increase in seats for Tories, a few more for the Liberal Democrats, a thumping loss for Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues, the Scottish Nationalists taking a small dip, mainly due to election fatigue, and Nigel Farage’s farrago, UKIP, gone altogether, because they’re wannabe Tories anyway.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, (do we hear Theresa May call ‘where?’) attempts to forge a legislative assembly, with a functioning executive, from the base metal conjured out of the most recent election (Brendas across all six counties of the region are scunnered with the politicking) are likely to be deferred/postponed/kicked wildly into touch. Subjects and citizens alike will wait. Yet again.
Because nothing is ever fixed or permanent, when it comes to power and the terms on which it serves itself, first and foremost. Theresa May returned from her walking holiday in Wales, kept her hiking boots on and trod the people’s interests into the mud round Westminster, raised two fingers to stability, while lilting in a lyrical Welsh brogue
Theresa May yn ei wneud wrth iddi ewyllysiau.
Theresa May do as she will.