What the historians may write about this 12th December General Election and its Brexit subtext years from now

13-12-19

Dear Partners in thought,

When writing about the 12th December election years from now, historians may tell future generations a few things that are worth saying even today.

This election was to be about Brexit even though the matter was surprisingly little mentioned besides catchy slogans and involved two political parties with equally abysmal leaderships that no moderate voter, still representing a majority of Britons, could support so extreme the two parties had become. As if “entryism” had become a national political sport.

The Tory leadership wanted to win so Brexit could “get done” while the Labour leadership by refusing to back a clear Remain position and offering a radical “manifesto” guaranteed its loss and automatically ensured Britain left.

One leader, Boris Johnson focused on winning but had no program to govern. The other Jeremy Corbyn, had a program to govern (few wanted) and did all he could not to win, which should also seal his fate, not that many would mind, especially in the Remain camp, for he he had been the true Brexit-enabler. 

To be fair, while many moderate conservatives switched to the Liberal Democrats with little success given the “first pass the post” system eternally favouring the two main parties, Boris Johnson, a great campaigner, successfully convinced otherwise solid Labour voters in the impoverished Leave constituencies of the North of England and the Midlands to back him so Brexit could indeed “get done”, which explains his strong majority and will be a headache in future governing given the steep disparity with his traditionally Tory base. I am not sure these Labour voters will be happy either by the Brexot outcome or what they will end up receiving from this “One Nation” Tory government.  

A likely majority of Britons were Remainers, this for more than two years, but party affiliation and the greater repelling factor of the opposition party leader still prevailed, all facilitated by the “first pass the post” electoral process that already favoured the now “dreadful twos” in the first place. 

In the end, the British voted to prevent a radical and questionable Corbyn to enter Number Ten even at the cost for many Remain voters of seeing Britain leaving the EU. That the future of Britain in Europe was decided by such a low quality and devious electoral offering will be sadly remembered in British history.    

The Liberal Democrats who were the key to trying to stop Brexit acted strangely autistically by backing “revoke Article 50” in spite of the fair option of a second referendum that was even put forward by the lukewarm Corbyn. Their fate was sealed. 

The road to the a second referendum, this one on Scotland as part of Union, was now open, with an expected outcome at this point given where they stood on Brexit.  

So Brexit “got done” (how, we still don’t know) mainly as the British electorate grew tired, to be fair, also of the dire process and preferred to put it behind them even at the cost of leaving, hence the apt Tory campaign slogan choice. In the end a strange election took place where voters went for the least hatable leader to decide the future of Britain in Europe while they were not even asked to confirm if their views of June 2016 were still the same three and half years and more facts at hand later. Even more sadly, the 18-29 age group (not to mention those we were 15, 16 and 17 then and would now be electors) that had a participation rate of 26% in June 2016 – definitely their mistake – would not be able to redeem themselves and vote for the future they of all people would fully live through. 

Delusion is still running high in the rejoicing Leave camp following this electoral outcome, some dreaming about the return of the Victorian era or the advent of a national “Singapore-on-Thames” and others simply about jobs in “left out” areas of Britain. In the end none will likely come but the tears associated with the realisation of what is “notional” sovereignty, the steep decline in foreign investment, less plumbers as the Poles are now going back to a thriving Poland, and the continued deindustrialisation desolation of the Midlands and Northern England. The Special Relationship has already taken a beating lastly with the US forcing Turkey to not buy British military aircraft, this one day before the General Election. Listening to Donald Trump congratulating Boris Johnson, one could only worry about the hidden assymetry when he added that he looked forward to a great trade deal “that they so desperately want” I could go on with such developments but, if I may say, will keep this for a book of “alternative future history fiction” (for a lack of better words) – not focused on Britain but spanning the world – that I am finalising and hopefully should be published in early 2020. 

While as a true Anglophile I “feel” for all my Remainer friends (probably on the true majority side of things if not for their political party system) and really only wish for Europe and Britain to work together as well as they can even as no longer fellow club members, one should honestly wonder, even within the Leave camp, whether that terrible question that never needed to be asked and ensuing process that benefited only an awful political class and a dubious cast of characters, was really necessary…The sober answer being no unless the goal was to be poorer and alone. 

The only question now is: When will Britain apply to rejoin the EU, this time without the nice rebate?  

Warmest regards,

Serge 

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