June 8, 2017 was one of those historic days that people will look back on and remember what they were doing on both sides of the pond. In the UK it was the day of a snap General Election less than a year after the EU referendum, and in the USA, the former F.B.I. Director, James Comey agreed to a senate hearing on the particulars over the investigation of Russian interference with the US election. I decided to wait until the morning after to watch what was happening first, and then reflect on how the outcome could change the world.
The UK Election
Theresa May gambled and didn’t quite lose, but didn’t get what she wanted nor was she wasn’t likely to. As she hadn’t been elected as the Prime Minister and became the default after Cameron’s cowardly resignation, she had always been under that cloud of never having been formally elected. However, the Tories held 330 seats and needed a majority of 326 to retain control. They were short by 8 seats, but in fairness the margins were tight. Some Tories held on after recounts, and in my hometown, a Labour stronghold, Labour won by only 30 votes, which is less than all the people in my street. The smallest margin was by two votes, that’s how close it was and that every vote really did matter.
I don’t think she should have called the election, and even if she had won a majority the country would still be divided. It would only have stopped people claiming she wasn’t an elected Prime Minister. A hung Parliament means that Brexit will be harder to achieve, sterling will fall, and those EU Ministers who should have been grateful for what they had are going to have a tougher time now with Brexit negotiations.
So what happened? UKIP more or less are over (Nuttall the leader resigned), and people had to decide which parties to go back to, which is no easy feat with Farron and Corbyn, neither with any cabinet experience making wild promises that could only exist in a fantasy novel. I expect many idealistic youths jumped on the false Labour promises of free education for all forever (including postgraduate studies), I mean it was tempting—no University fees from September, why not? Even I was tempted for a micro second! The reality for those who don’t get it, is that the money has to come from somewhere and has to be budgeted in advance. They were fake promises that those who are older and wiser have learned don’t come to fruition, and when they are attempted lead to a recession.
Then came the recent terrorist attacks; they could have influenced the election because people who don’t understand the law automatically blame the government. Both targeted cities (Manchester and London) were run by Labour Mayors, yet still the Tories had to take the fall. Policing cuts were made, yes, but they funded counter terrorism units instead that were needed, something that wasn’t around a few decades ago. The money doesn’t appear from a wishing well and has to be allocated to where it is needed. It’s like a household budget; you need food, and to pay the bills, so when the bills come in you have to allocate the money there and less funds go towards treats such as chocolate. In addition in my area there was a lot of aggressive canvassing with people knocking on doors to make sure people voted on the day. Pressure such as that can work, but smacks of desperation.
The election did rid us of a few bad eggs, Nick Clegg, and Alex Salmond (lost to a Tory which must be humiliating), which then also puts that Scottish question into perspective—do the Scots really want independence and lose all the perks they have right now?
Over the pond
Last year, people wondered whether James Comey had been indirectly responsible for putting doubt in the minds of voters that were considering voting for Clinton as the first female US President. Fast forward about seven months later and Comey is out of a job, and testifying that the current President has attempted to obstruct justice. Now it’s a case of who said what and who to believe, and given the track record of both, Comey looks the better option.
The problem is Comey was a Republican and is well known and respected by actual Republicans and so while some may wish to protect #45, they have to look after their own careers too. What is most significant in the hearings that were made publicly available is that #45 has no idea how Congress is run, or how laws are made or enforced. In the Constitution it was a given that someone who wished to be resident would know these things, and therefore was not explicitly stated. Perhaps it needs to be now?
At present the loyal supporters of #45 have run out of excuses for him, because a man who has been in his job for years has come forward and testified that #45 and his actions are more than questionable. Naturally #45 has called Comey a liar, but if Comey has lied, then he has committed perjury and as a lawyer he knows better. One must look at what Comey can gain? Nothing except to retain his reputation.
- May gambled and should have learned her lesson from Cameron—She already had a majority, and didn’t need to call another election.
- The social care plan was poorly executed and promoted by the Conservatives, and alienated many. That is why some Tories lost their seats. Those advisers responsible for the plan have resigned.
- A hung parliament is better than having Corbyn at the helm. Labour thinks they have won because they gained seats that they had lost in the previous elections.
- People were fooled by the fake promises of #45, just as the youth and working class were fooled by Corbyn’s promises of free education for life and free childcare with no means to pay for it. Fortunately not everyone bought it.
- Comey did the right thing by making memos and then sharing them with others to protect himself. Perhaps he regrets pursuing the Clinton email case now as the USA has far greater problems now than looking at a case that was over years ago?
- Will the hearings lead to Republicans to seek an impeachment? If so, will that entail all involved to be removed too, which could cause more instability?
Advice to anyone who wants to listen
- The Conservatives need a good PR team to deliver and sell their messages. They could have said that they were increasing the amount people could keep after contributions for social care, but instead just issued a figure and expected people to know. In addition they need to address the concerns of the young (education) and those who are seeking work beyond zero hour contracts.
- The Labour party needs a new leader who is in touch with society. Many said Corbyn did well because he told the naïve what they wanted to hear, mainly the word ‘FREE’ attached to education, healthcare, and childcare. Those who believe him need to take a look at history (these are old policies that never worked without a catch, and when they tried led to a huge recession) and then think is it fair to tax the rich to pay for the poor?
- Americans, either push your Republicans to uphold the Constitution and f they don’t vote for someone who will. Not only is the safety of the country at stake, but the fabric of American society too.