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Friday, 9 June 2017

The British political system, part 3, the situation now.

Theresa May called an election for June 8. She was hoping to get a much improved majority, which would have made it possible for her to give two fingers to those splinters of the Tory party that didn't like her policies. Instead, she got 12 fewer seats, which means that the Tories don't have an absolute majority any more. I would guess that the bigwigs of the party are hopping mad, partly because of this outcome, and partly because her election campaign was weak. Right now, she's still the Tory leader, and can form a government, but I wouldn't be too surprised if she gets ditched by the Tory party, and replaced by ...

Probably Boris, he's at 6/4 odds, way ahead of the field. Other runners and riders are David Davis (in charge of Brexit), Amber Rudd (Home secretary) and Ruth Davidson (leader of the Scottish Tories, who have done rather well against the incumbent SNP).

The main beneficiary of the election has been the Labour party, with a gain of 29 seats. And the biggest gain is in the position of Jeremy Corbyn, which has gone from "nice but unelectable old leftie" to "potential future prime minister". Where Theresa had a lacklustre campaign, Jeremy played a blinder, stomping up and down the country, having well-attended rallies and scoring points off the Tories all over the place. And when his shadow Home Secretary came over as incompetent, a couple of days before the election she was replaced as suffering from a "long term serious illness".

But what will this do to Brexit, we're all wondering. We've already "triggered article 50", which means we've given to two year's notice of departure, and now we have to negotiate our future relationship with the 27 members of the EU. And they have all the cards.

Theresa May had hoped that a big swing to the Tories would strengthen her hand (although I don't think it would have), but now the swing against her has, if anything, weakened her position.

The pound fell a couple of cents against the dollar, which isn't a lot, but shows that the markets aren't keen on the uncertainty that May has caused.

May has gone to the Queen to kiss hands (I don't know if she does that literally), which means that she's asked the Queen if she has permission to form a government (the Queen has only one possible reply). And if she can put together a majority (which she can, just via the votes of the DUP) she can write the Queen's Speech. This is an outline of the propose legislation for the coming session of parliament; written by the PM and read out by the Queen.

Looking forward, I expect a change in the Tory leadership (probably Boris) and as soon as he thinks that he stands a good chance to winning, another election, possibly even this year.

We live in interesting times.

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