The current political climate doesn’t leave much time for contemplating what’s around the corner. One political misstep after another, and we are all suffering from political stress disorder. Unfortunately, with recent events, it’s crucial that we keep paying attention. It’s the only way to be able to assess the impact of political decisions to our daily lives.
The recent election has seen the return of the two-party system, with no one party having a majority. Despite all the political analysis of the election campaigns and charisma of party leaders, one thing is for sure. Voters have effectively ensured that neither the Conservatives nor Labour can do much damage. These parties have failed to have a measured approach to policies, in terms of their leftist v right wing approaches. As a result, the voters have ensured that they have to work with other parties to get anything done, which might temper their agendas. We are yet to experience the consequences of this. It is most likely that each political party will dig in, and refuse to reach across the isle to work together on protecting the national interest. When they do, it falls to the voters to punish the parties, until they get the message loud and clear. The nation has a right to expect politicians to do better than they have so far.
Unfortunately we don’t think that the worst is behind us, in terms of political disorder. The Conservative Party will not have an easy alliance with the DUP, but it seems like it is a price they are willing to pay. One can’t help but wonder whether they are willing to sacrifice peace in Northern Ireland, in order to keep this illusion of power. The stability of Northern Ireland was already precarious because of the border issues that the Brexit process is likely to raise. Now that Theresa May’s government is negotiating away its position of neutrality, things might escalate even more. We can’t see this alliance working. The DUP will either make demands that forces the Conservative Party to turn away from them, or worse, Theresa May will capitulate to every demand resulting in even more outrageous requests. Either way, the Conservative Party have made a Faustian pact, and they will realise that the power promised will never materialise. They have set themselves up for failure. If the Conservative government continues to alienate everyone, they might be out of power for generations to come. The Labour Party doesn’t have to do any hard work beyond looking capable and not doing anything stupid.
Which brings us to Labour’s performance in the election. It’s understandable that Jeremy Corbyn would be elated at the results, even if it were elation at exceeding low expectations. He would be better served with less gloating and talk of being government in waiting. It’s off-putting. Instead, the Labour Party should make the most of this golden opportunity they’ve been handed and find ways to appeal to a majority of the voters. A great start would be to bring together the centrist Parliamentary Labour Party MPs with Jeremy’s band of leftist minded brothers. Now is the time for labour to realise that even if they didn’t suffer a humiliating defeat, they still lost the election. If the Labour Party can find ways of combining their socially progressive policies with an awareness of the economy, they will fail to connect with level-headed voters. Now is the time for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to realise that occupying the moral high ground alone will not get them into power. And without being in power, all their principled policies will not come to fruition. The Labour Party needs to appeal to people with aspirations, middle-class households and business owners. It needs to stop treating wealth creators as the enemy. Once in power, Jeremy Corbyn can target tax dodgers and anyone who abuses the system. He will surely have the support of everyone, but he should be aware that being anti-establishment is not the answer.
The time is ripe for political change; people are fed up with selfish politicians. Now is not the time for a hard-handed tightening of the purse, nor would it be right to pursue aggressive socialist agenda. The people deserve a well thought out realistic agenda that safeguards the NHS, invests in local resources and finds ways to create wealth and keep national debt down. It is a tall order, but parties can’t simply focus on one area at the expense of everything else. It will be interesting to see whether politicians understand the message from voters.