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While we’ve been watching the Comey circus, important things were happening – to wit – the disaster of an election in Great Britain. We have some comments from some of our favorites from years ago; Theodore Dalrymple and Tunku Varadarajan. Dalrymple is the nom de plume of Anthony Daniels who was a doctor in the British prison system and is now retired. He writes in City Journal.
Theresa May has proved an apt pupil of the David Cameron school of political incompetence. Lacking principle, she is not even good at being unprincipled: a Machiavellian, it turns out, minus the cunning.
It did not help that she had the charisma of a carrot and the sparkle of a spade. As she presented herself to the public, no one would have wanted her as a dinner guest, except under the deepest social obligation. Technically, she won the election, in the sense that she received more votes than anyone else, but few voted for her with enthusiasm rather than from fear of the alternative. Her disastrous campaign included repeated genuflections in the direction of social democracy. Even after her defeat, moral if not quite literal, she burbled about a society in which no one was left behind—never mind that it would entail a society in which no one would be out in front, that is to say, a society resting in the stagnant pool of its own mediocrity. …
… Corbyn and his party’s solutions to the country’s problems were supposedly to be paid for by higher taxes on the richest 5 percent of the population. This proposal overlooked the fact that the top 1 percent of earners already pay almost three times as much in income tax as the bottom 50 percent combined, and also the fact that wealth is dynamic rather than static, resembling more closely the bloom of a grape than a cake to be sliced. Taxes on capital (in other words, state expropriation) were Corbyn’s obvious next step, with capital flight the equally obvious consequence.
None of this worried the young, who had as yet no stake in property, only what are sometimes called ideals. The Labour Party offered them and others the beguiling vision of living perpetually at the expense of others—Frédéric Bastiat’s definition of the state. The Laffer curve meant nothing to them; punishing the prosperous was more important and gratifying than understanding how to maximize tax receipts.
The election could take Britain back more than 50 years.
Mr. Varadarajan used to write for the WSJ. This item came from Politico.
At the time of writing, the Conservatives are forecast to win 318 out of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, humiliatingly fewer than the 400+ that had been on Theresa May’s mind when she called her Oliver Twist election (with apologies to Dickens) earlier this year.
Please sir, can I have some more, she had said, even as she sat fairly pretty on 331 seats. She had no real need to call this election, but she did, wagering on a win that would enhance her majority in parliament, crush the Labour opposition, and let the negotiators in Brussels know that they were dealing with a prime minister who had the mother of all mandates to exact from Europe the most favorable exit terms.
Even as the results come in, it’s possible to see who the winners of this remarkable election are, and who the losers. …
… Losers Bracket
Her victory speech at her Maidenhead constituency was quavering, uncertain and inarticulate, words that might well describe the manner in which May has governed as prime minister. Disparaged as the Last Woman Standing — a way of saying that she got the job because no one else wanted it after the Brexit referendum, or was untainted enough to have it — May flubbed her way through a campaign that was so poor that it left Labour, under a leader who was a liability in his own right, with unexpected hope of pulling off an election upset. The true problem of May’s election call was that few in Britain had an appetite for it. Yes, she said that she needed a fresh and vigorous mandate to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations, but many voters saw her decision to go to the polls as one born of hubris and greed. It will take a miracle for her to retain the PM’s job. Which means that she won’t. She had 330 days in office, which seem about as many as she deserved. …
Francis Turner at Liberty.Me described Theresa May as “Blunder Woman” and said the Tories were suggesting May was the reincarnation of Lady Thatcher, but was in fact their version of Hillary; ”only without the sleaze and pathological lying.”
… What I think was worst about the Tory campaign is that they wrapped the campaign around Mrs May and then she hid away from the electorate and the media. She didn’t do TV debates, she didn’t do interviews, she didn’t do hustings. In fact pretty much all she did was show up in various places to make speeches in front of vetted loyalists. Even worse it all sounds a little like the failed campaign of Mrs Clinton last year only without the sleaze and pathological lying. Perhaps worse, thanks to a pretty miserable manifesto, she and her team then spent half the campaign rowing back key elements of it and generally denying that they were doing so. This did not exactly inspire anyone to believe the spin that Mrs May was a tough leader, a good negotiator or anything similar. All in all if you are going to run a campaign that suggests that Mrs May is the reincarnation of the Iron Lady Thatcher then it would help your narrative if your candidate can actually stand up and face the media and the public and smite the naysayers. …
Michael Walsh of Pajamas Media has more discouragement.
… As Great Britain dies, mostly thanks to the deliberate suicide of the Labour Party, it’s the Tories who are going to suffer. What England needed in the weak Cameron’s wake was a decisive leader who would reverse the effects (insofar as possible) of Labour’s gambit to boost its electorate via immigration, and to start a serious crackdown on the hordes of foreign Muslims who are already fundamentally changing the nature of the British state. Unable to stand up to bogus charges of “racism,” the Tories capitulated in principle, and got two attacks in London and the massacre in Manchester in return.
No wonder they lost. Spinelessness is not an attractive character trait in anyone, much less a putative leader. What Mrs. May just discovered — and what we all should learn — is that the days of managing cultural decline via the administrative and the police state are over. At this point, it’s either fight back, defend your patrimony, or die.
Americans made that choice in November, and yet the pushback from the DeepState and the Democrats remains ferocious. Absent the return of St. George, it’s hard to see how the UK comes out of this alive.
According to Walter Russell Mead of American Interest, there is one welcome victor because now May must align with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland.
… The biggest winner may end up being… Israel!
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in various combinations have been a potent force in British politics among both Tories and Labour since WW2. The non-Thatcherite Right and the Corbynite Left don’t have much in common, but dislike for Israel and for America’s support for it are strong at both ends of the British political spectrum.
One of the few reservoirs of strong pro-Israel feeling in the UK lies in Northern Ireland, the homeland of the Scots-Irish, who are the core of Jacksonian politics in the United States. The DUP is the most “Jacksonian” (that is to say rightwing, nationalist-populist) political force in the UK, and many of Ulster’s Protestants are as sympathetic to Israel as their U.S. cousins. Travelers in Northern Ireland will sometimes see Palestinian flags in Catholic neighborhoods and the Star of David banner in Protestant ones.
Last night’s election turned those Ulster Protestants into kingmakers; …
Spectator, UK has an inside look at how the Tories will reprogram Theresa.
Had Theresa May won the election with the landslide she expected, she’d have fired several of the cabinet with her trademark brutality. They knew who they were. And last Monday, three of them took the opportunity to tell the Prime Minister where she had gone wrong. In the first meeting of the political cabinet since she blew her party’s majority, Philip Hammond asked why there had been no economic message in the campaign. Andrea Leadsom said that while May had repeatedly claimed the election was all about Brexit, she had never said what Brexit was actually for. The most pointed contribution, though, came from Sajid Javid, who lambasted the high-handed way that May’s team had run No. 10.
However, this was ritual humiliation, not a mutiny. The Tories have decided to keep Theresa May who, in turn, has agreed to the departure of her two chiefs of staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy. She knows, as her cabinet knows, that she has just committed the greatest unforced error in modern political history. In normal circumstances, she would be gone. But the Conservative party is in shock, petrified of another election and fearful that Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister. Instead of deposing May straight away, they are going to try to reprogram her: to make her a different kind of politician. …