The 2019 UK General Election is at last over and the country has breathed a sigh of relief (or despair, depending on how you voted). At least the tension has evaporated and decisions have been made.
When I awoke to the results of the 2016 EU referendum I discovered, as someone who voted to leave the EU, that I had earned the badge of being a thick, xenophobic, little Englander who had helped doom the UK to economic ruin and isolation on the world’s stage.
Come to think of it, as I’m a straight, white, middle-aged Englishman who votes Conservative I guess I qualify for the gammon badge too (although I tend not to get so worked up that I take on the qualifying shade of pink).
I suppose I qualify as a boomer too so OK boomer – that’s three badges! #winningatlife
Differences of opinion haves made politics a prickly subject with friends and family but we’ve managed to get this far without pulling up the drawbridges and building walls around our hearts.
As the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland comes to terms with the 2019 General Election results there are several sensations floating around in the atmosphere; reflief, reflection, regret, anger, frustration, hope, optimism, and many more.
Things have certainly been stirred up but there’s also a sense of a milestone passed, a corner turned. We came to a decision and made it. The alternative reality has been rejected.
The Angry & Intolerant Far Left
Naturally, some cannot accept the result and they were out on the streets of London last night protesting against the democratic result.
The march, which appeared to be organised by the Socialist Workers’ Party, was lead by a group holding a banner which read, “NO TO ISLAMOPHOBIA”, presumably alluding to the article written by Boris Johnson in The Daily Telegraph published in August 2018, “Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous – but that’s still no reason to ban it“.
The irony is that, as the title makes clear, banning the burka isn’t necessary and women should be free to wear one, even though some Islamic organisations openly campaign for a ban (see the Anti Burqah-Niqab Initiative), citing the “Wahabi-Salafi distortion of Islam” and wishing to “restore Qur’anic Islam by jettisoning cultural Islam“.
At least one member of Labour’s shadow cabinet share this view. In 2013, Emily Thornberry, who was at the time Shadow Care Minister under Ed Milliband’s leadership, said on Question Time that she wouldn’t want her 4 year old child or elderly mother looked after by someone wearing a burqa.
But the strongest irony is the fact that Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell MAMA, the organisation that “supports victims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate“, was one of the signatories of the letter to The Guardian saying they couldn’t vote for Labour because of its antisemitism.
What Happens Now?
The vast majority of people want the same things; an end to human and animal suffering, cleaning up the planet, peace and prosperity, a safe and secure environment for their children, good education and healthcare, and a bright and joyful future, justice, freedom etc.
Politics is just arguing about how to bring all that about.
Few voters are political scientists or experts in economics. People vote for all sorts of reasons, some of them vague and shallow, or they don’t vote at all. However, you can be certain that among the 1.7 million people working for the NHS and the many European and other nationals working and living in the UK are many who voted to leave the EU and who voted Conservative.
The NHS doesn’t need saving from the Tories or from Trump. It just needs a thorough enema to cleanse it of the mismanagement, waste, inefficiency, and outright fraud.
Leaving The EU
Democracy means that sometimes you have to accept the decisions that people make, even if you are convinced they’ve made not only the wrong choice but a choice that you imagine will cause pain and hardship.
Over the last three and a half years of confusion and deadlock we’ve seen Parliament trying to block the path to leaving the EU but it seems even our European friends and neighbours have now accepted the result. Britain must do so too, if we’re too move forward.
Obviously the heated debates will go on. No one realistically expects the process of leaving the EU to be free of obstacles, or that there won’t be problems generated by the outcome. You can be sure that as we are met with each obstacle there will be cries of, “We told you so! See what you’ve done?” from those who voted to remain.
But jobs were lost and created before the recent election and 2016 referendum and no doubt we’ll continue to travel on a bumpy economic road, but at least now the world can see where they stand with the UK. The indecision and delay are over, and it was the uncertainty that dismayed so many UK businesses and which prevented them from investing further, as well as foreign firms that might now step forward to invest.
One immediate result of the election was a £30bn boost to the value of British firms and the Pound soared for a day before settling down to about two dollars above where it was before the election.
6 Lessons From 2019 General Election
- Ignoring the will of millions isn’t a good strategy (Labour Party, Jo Swinson)
- Celebrities know no more or less than the rest of us about politics and their endorsements mean nothing (Hugh Grant, Lilly Allen, Stormzy et al)
- Twitter is not reality
- Fake news is employed by all sides in the debate
- Listening to people is a far better strategy than preaching to them or insulting them
- Complacency about your assumed core supporters can lead to disaster
Look To The Future
I’ve always been a glass half-full sort of person (I’m just grateful when someone hands me some wine) so I think we should choose optimism and hope over despair and regret.
We have to deal with the situation in front of us whichever way we voted in both the referendum and the elections. We tend to work better and produce more positive results when we are united.
I don’t know what’s ahead but that’s always been part of what keeps us going. I’m just glad that the Jeremy Corbyn brand of Labour didn’t get in and I’m encouraged by the fact that many traditional Labour voters rejected his ideas.
Listening to the fears expressed by Britain’s Jews should be enough to convince you that Britain has made the right choice.
Antisemitism, islamophobia, and xenophobia – all these fears stem from a fear of the other, of those who are different, who are not like us. If allowed to fester this fear pushes individuals far to the right or to the left, eventually leading to the abyss of genocide and ethnicide, whether by fascists on the right. the pogroms of Jews and re-education camps for Muslims of the hard left.
So the UK voters rejected Labour’s antisemitism, its wild and unrealistic spending plans, and its dithering over Brexit. The electorate reaffirmed the 2016 decision and that’s what we now have to accept and digest.
The challenge now is to finalise Brexit, clean up the planet, improve living standards, fix the NHS, and all other other domestic and international tasks that have been sitting around unresolved for so long.