Saturday, June 10, 2017

Reflections on the UK Election and Lessons for Sri Lanka

I awoke yesterday, to the realization that against the pundits predictions, Theresa May completely misjudged the fluidity with which the UK electors changed their decision on Thursday, 8th of June 2017. In 6 weeks it changed her 20 point unassailable lead in the opinion polls to a hung parliament that we now have. 

The final result now in for Kensington and Chelsea(the last to be declared), my old constituency where I have had been on the electoral register through from 1978 to 2004, going to Labor for the first time in history to by a slim margin of 20 votes. Just imagine the matrons with Kensington Mansions, who have the vote there but live in Country Houses, could not be bothered to turn up through traffic to vote. Their Tory hopes, where they smugly felt that their vote would NOT make a difference, DID IN FACT make the difference against their beliefs!

Conservatives have 318 seats to Labor’s 266, 8 seats short of an overall majority and 13 less than when she called the election. This goes to prove May’s hope of a 100 seat majority evaporated and then some, that now puts her future, the future of a Hard Brexit at risk with the EU gloating that Brits have voted with their feet, yet again realizing that Brexit itself was an aberration, that Cameron should never have gone for a referendum in the first place.

It is clear that not only Cameron miscalculated, but so did May and there you have it. Just like MR miscalculated on the 8th of January 2015 and Hilary Clinton on was it also 8th of November 2016, we have a series of bad Eights in play these days, with only Macron coming out on cue lately, leaving us to wonder what will happen to Frau Merkel in Germany in September.

If one looks at some figures, the Green and UKIP vote of 5M in 2015 evaporated to 1M with 2M going to Conservatives and 2M going to Labor, so both Conservative and Labor benefitted and the Tories actually had the highest number of votes cast in their history besting by a long way the number of votes that David Cameron actually received in 2015, so the picture as always is NOT what it seems.

Tactical voting, and some Constituencies defying logic, along with the fact that more young people registered and voted this time as opposed to last made a difference. This, realizing that their vote counts and if they had voted at the referendum, Brexit WOULD HAVE NOT taken place. Crucially of the 18-34 age group only 27% voted Tory, to 63% labor, as compared with 35-54 age group that tied at 43% each. Of course the seniors 55+ voted Tory by 59% to only 23% for Labor despite the threat of their Home Care benefit cuts that May proposed, which to be fair only affects a few wealthy people adversely. It is also to be remembered that Labor’s promise to remove University Fees was a great attraction to youth struggling to pay. and living on loans which they wonder when they can repay, if they have NO chance of secure employment afterwards.

All in all a fascinating result which will keep the pundits pontificating for days on end, with NO real rationale because at the end of the day an election is a sense of belief on a particular day, which if held today, may mean that Hilary may blow the Donald out of the water in the US!

All this then creates UNCERTAINTY which no one likes in the middle of other pressing international issues that require consensus and unified action. I have not seen the whole world in so much turmoil at any one point in time, and the value of Democracy called into question so much, due to the fickle nature of the electorate and the issue of the day that dominates that make NO sense in terms of importance for the elector per se!


The one hit wonder that the SNP was is now proved with voters NOT wanting a dissolution of the Union by any means and neither with the DUP romping home with a female leader, will be the king maker in the Coalition with their 10 seats.

History says that Theresa May’s days are numbered proving that the discredited Cameron looks good in light of the present situation, but mercurial Boris the most colorful figure is JUST not ready for PM ship as yet. I just hope for the sake of consistency that May is allowed to go through and finish the Brexit deal before handing this thankless task to someone else. Further I would NOT take the PM ship for all the tea in China at this moment, leaving it for May to  bake her own pie, for what it is worth.

Sadly for the UK it is NOT with the backing of the nation that she is in negotiation with the EU, to get whatever is now thrown at her, rather than demanded as she had hoped for earlier. Democracy has a way of humbling the best and worst of men and now women! One third of UK MPs are now female.

Now how does this result show what we in SRI LANKA can learn about the unpredictability of voting, the weight anti-incumbency plays in Elections, and the careful husbanding of electoral concerns, over the real issues of the day?

If parallels are to be resurrected we see in a pattern of anti-Muslim and seemingly isolated incidents nationwide, but sporadic and widespread a fear of panic on the part of the Muslim minority, but a sense of excitement by the Joint Opposition that their time is ripe for an unseating. None of which bodes well! 

Let us hope the Govt. unites under one banner, nips this in the bud without delay, arrest the culprits and alley the fears of the Muslims once and for all. Simply put the law of the land MUST be equal to all and so must justice. We can use this as an opportunity to get all under one spirit of a United Nation where ALL its citizens have an equal standing with no fear or favor dividing us. 


Anonymous said...

Love it - you picked up on the 8 as being a crucial number!

2015 Sri Lanka
2016 USA
2017 UK

Coincidence or pre-ordained?

Anonymous said...

Fluidity in Perspective

Democracy at the cross roads!