Local Election Results Only Add Further Layer of Confusion
May 10, 2019
Elections and polling have turned into Britain’s very own Rorschach test. You can look at any results, surveys and statements, and turn them into an event that supports your very own prejudices and preferences.
In part, that has been raised into fecund health by the ability of our politicians to deliver bullshit without even a degree of shame. Facts are met with, ‘Well, you’re entitled with your opinion.’ Or, ‘That’s a very old argument we’ve heard before.’ You can try those responses to the existence of gravity and it won’t matter, or vaccinations – actually, don’t.If you are a Remainer of the pure breed, a true melt, then any event can be traced back to Brexit. If Jeremy Corbyn points out that the Earth is on the cusp of no longer effectively supporting life for mammals, he will have 1,000 tweets bollocking him for not agreeing to a second referendum yet. If Johnny Mercer decides to baste himself in his own regard, he will still make the case for Brexit exceptionalism. Of course he cares most about the rights of soldiers to commit war crimes, but he’s still willing to go to work for Brexit. For those of limited attention, Brexit is everything as the world carries on around them. Homeless? What about Brexit. Failing NHS? What about Brexit. Schools unable to stay open? What about Brexit. Only if you are insulated from the consequences of austerity can you only think about Brexit.
This extends to the real Brexit believer. It doesn’t matter what the experts, common sense, or any book says, any criticism of No Deal is met with a dismissal that things have been worse before but we have muddled through. World War Two apparently was a feature, not a bug, because it didn’t kill absolutely everyone. Right-o.
Kicking the decision about what we’re actually going to do into the medium-term has let everyone relax a touch, but it has had its own ill effects. Like the terrible possibility that Liverpool could soon be Premier League and Champions League winners, it clouds judgement on all matters. The local elections – more about corrupt councillors taking backhanders to grant planning permission than literally anything else – apparently now are a signal to be taken for Brexit.
The Lib Dems had, admittedly, the best results of the night, but it would be foolish to read to much into it. There were only a handful of wards contested, and the pro-Brexit deal parties remain the dominant two. A vote for the Lib Dems could have been a vote of anger at the inability of Labour and the Conservatives to not ‘get it over with’. It could have been a vote to get the Tories out of the posher areas with tactical voting. It could have just been about local matters. Latest research shows Labour’s loss of seats does not appear to have come from Remain sentiment, but who could definitely know?
The problem with the decision for those who embrace certainty over the local elections is that, for Remainers, it hardly augurs well for the European elections. Some polls show that the Brexit Party could end up as the largest of all on offer. From that, you’d have to say, it seems that the country is in fact saying it wants the hardest and stupidest Brexit on offer. Team that with the probably reasonable showing from Labour, and whatever rump is left of the Tories Spiv Experiment, and it would hold that Britain is resoundingly in favour of Brexit in some form.
What you want from Brexit or Remain, you will be able to find in the results of May. The month. What you want from Brexit or Remain, you will absolutely not be able to find in the leadership of May. The Theresa. This is the real root of the problem.
The options for the realistic are disappointing, because being realistic will almost certainly be worse than the status quo. The difficulty of positioning is not for the No Dealers. What they want is absolute and identifiable, whatever you make of it. The obstacle is for those who believe some kind of Brexit is necessary, and those who are absolute in their determination to stay.
It may be frustrating, but the conclusion that might be reasonable to draw is this. One group, of the Remainers or the No Dealers, will eventually have to decide whether they are the ones to compromise. If they don’t, they may regret sticking to their principles, because it could deliver them something even worse than whatever uninspiring compromise we are slowly trudging towards.