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As of this writing (5:00am BST, June 9, 2017) election results for the UK General Election are beginning to trickle-in and pundits are lining up to lambaste Prime Minister Theresa May for calling a snap election while in majority government, and then losing the majority just as the UK is poised to head into Brexit negotiations.
‘Oh yes. She fumbled it. Absolutely.’ Said every headline.
And on the surface, that’s what it looks like.
Surely, any majority government that calls an election they don’t need, becoming a minority government in the process, are losers. What else could it be?
But what if Theresa May is smarter than pundits realize?
Short-term pain, for long-term gain?
Maybe. She’s a shrewd operator. Although she can seem cold, standoffish, and even awkward in certain situations, it also seems she’s a patriot who was willing to ‘take a hit for the team’ in order to realize her dream of ‘Building a Better Britain’.
What if everything she’s done has been done with great purpose and resolve, balancing huge risk to her standing as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and to her party fortunes in order to accomplish some great goal that will eventually result in a better Britain?
What if Theresa May has been playing chess whilst everyone else has been playing checkers?
Viewing the UK through a Prime Minister’s lens
Holding a snap election vs. not holding a snap election.
What would be the point of staging a successful getaway from the European Union, and then with the SNP still powerful because it was holding 56 seats, the SNP decided to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom via (post-Brexit) Indyref after Indyref?
Wouldn’t it follow that either Northern Ireland or Wales might then consider staging their own independence referendums and possibly leave the United Kingdom?
What if both devolved territories followed Scotland out of the United Kingdom?
Suddenly, there would be no more ‘United’ in the name United Kingdom, only England remaining.
At that point, the European Union would probably prevail upon the newly independent territories to join the EU — and if successful at that, the EU would become emboldened to invite London into the EU family by promoting London referendum after London referendum.
Had Theresa May not called a snap election, she might have left the SNP in a powerful position, with Scotland leaving the UK (post-Brexit) and the SNP inviting both Northern Ireland and Wales to leave the UK with Scotland.
Such are the matters that keep Prime Ministers awake at night.
Trading a majority, for a Kingdom that remains United
It appears that Theresa May knew what she was doing all along — she chanced losing a majority in the House of Commons for a chance to stick it to the SNP.
Yes, it cost her. But because of the 2017 election results the SNP is now a weaker force, with much less momentum than it had pre-election. Momentum that could have been used in the immediate post-Brexit timeframe to break up the United Kingdom.
Such is the nature of strategy; In order to safeguard the ‘United’ part of the name ‘United Kingdom’ Theresa May used her tactical assets to accomplish those goals.
And that’s the difference between strategists and tacticians. Master strategists like Winston Churchill won WWII, but were forced to expend many of their tactical assets to do so.
(Read about the Battle of Britain to fully understand how this played out in WWII. Many times it may have looked like Britain was losing the war, or at least taking a severe beating, when in fact Winston was setting the Nazis up for later defeat. And he did it in broad daylight, right under everyone’s noses, including his own staff)
Is Theresa May that good? In broad daylight, quite under everyone’s noses, did May just save us from a SNP-led break up of the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit period?
Let the facts speak for themselves
Prime Minister Theresa May spent some of her chips in order to take down the SNP — the same SNP that represented the number one threat to the UK remaining united in a post-Brexit Europe.
Now that the SNP has lost a significant number of seats to Labour and Conservatives alike, the SNP is no longer the threat to UK continuity, harmony, and stability it once was.
In baseball parlance, this is known as a ‘force play‘ when the base runner is in a position to score a point and is forced by the playmaker to run towards home plate knowing full well they’ll be ‘tagged out’ in the process.
If that’s what Theresa May is up to, she’s playing the game of politics at a level far above the understanding of her critics, and it also means she’s a true British patriot, a citizen par excellence, of a permanently United Kingdom.
Having weakened the greatest potential threat to UK unity in decades, the noble Theresa May can now proceed with a safe Brexit — a Brexit where the United Kingdom doesn’t risk losing Scotland, or Northern Ireland, or Wales, in the process.
Well done, Theresa! Right… under… their… noses!
Is it better to focus on policing, courtroom dramas and the astronomical incarceration costs for convicted terrorists, or is it better to gain an understanding of deviant belief systems and actively ‘de-programme’ those individuals before they commit horrific terrorist attacks?
Surely, normal people don’t wake up, hop down to the market, and blow it up while they’re there.
But for reasons inexplicable to us, some people have adopted a different narrative than the vast majority of people who live in the UK. And because it’s such a toxic ideology, one that is completely contrary to normative human behavior, it means it can’t be learned overnight.
All of us, every single human on the planet, was born perfect; ‘Never having sinned’ as they used to say.
No one was ever born with a knife in hand ready to kill other humans at the drop of a hat.
No, major life changes happened in their formative or late-formative years causing them to slip far from the perfect state they once embodied.
The Question Is: Should We Spend Our Funds On An Endless Cycle Of Police, Courtroom, and Incarceration Costs, or Should We Spend The Time And Effort Required to Counter Such Deviant Thinking?
Thus far, higher police budgets, higher court costs, and astronomical incarceration costs have ruled the day.
But as we’ve seen it’s done nothing to stop terror attacks. On the contrary, terror attacks are becoming more frequent in the UK and each attack seems to hit a little closer to home.
That’s a subjective view, for certain. But terrorists hitting the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester where most of the crowd was made up of teens enjoying a night out, bookended by terror attacks from knife-wielding attackers in unmarked vans on two of London’s main bridges is getting too close to home.
“If we keep on doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep on getting what we’ve been getting.” — Jackie B. Cooper
Of course, the easy answer is to hire more police and clamp down on citizen rights. And in the short-term that’s the best plan to combat terror attacks in UK cities.
However, it’s a band-aid approach and any experienced police detective or counter-terrorism expert will tell you that higher police budgets and evermore restricted civil rights won’t protect society from determined suicide bombers.
At its worst, it turns into a kind of game where police are hot on the trail of false leads laid down by the terrorists, who are sitting in a pub across the street watching the police as they block access to a nearby mailbox (which they’ve been told might have a bomb in it) and in doing their job the police unknowingly show the terrorists how they go about solving that situation.
This is old-hat for the police, MI5, and the British Army units that worked counter-terrorism during ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. They know this, but they’re not about to turn down more funding because more funding will allow them to be in more places, and with better equipment.
But the facts are, that’s a losing hand, long-term.
To wit: No matter how much money was spent on counter-terrorism during ‘the Troubles’ there was still plenty of terrorism.
It wasn’t until a political solution was agreed that ‘the Troubles’ dissipated and the people of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK now live in relative peace and security.
To wit: No matter how many trillions were spent on the Iraq War, the Afghan War, and the Arab Spring countries, and Syria, etc… we have more terrorism in the West than ever.
More money isn’t the answer. More policing, more counter-terrorism officers at MI5, and higher court and incarceration costs, aren’t the answer.
Yes, some increase in those budgets are justifiable to plug gaps. But increased funding for police and security forces alone will never solve the underlying problem of thousands who’ve been co-opted into the extremist lifestyle.
People Who Live in Strong, Vibrant and Inclusive Communities Don’t Turn to Extremist Ideology
It’s only the people who fall through the cracks that become depressed, angry, and finally decide to bring violent change and ‘make a stand’ for others in their community. Those people are tomorrow’s zealots, extremists, and suicide bombers.
It’s a simple process when measured over time: A lack of inclusivity leads to nonconformity, which leads to lost opportunities, which leads to ghetto communities, which leads to extremist leaders arising and attracting adherents, which leads to terror attacks against the people and groups they feel excluded them in earlier years.
Take careful note of where attacks occur. It’s everything. The House of Commons, centres for tourism and luxurious living, the ‘in’ crowd (or one of the ‘in’ crowds) attending a pop music concert. Exactly the kinds of places and events they weren’t welcomed to visit or enjoy during their teen or young adult years.
‘You excluded us, now you’ll pay.’
No matter how it’s wrapped in ideological BS, it’s a very human but uncultured response to how society made them feel. Amped-up 3000x by those who would exploit young people hurt by the society to which they once tried to belong.
Why Did High Immigration Levels in Early America Work So Well, and Not a Terrorist in the Bunch?
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Excerpt of the Emma Lazarus poem at the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Everyone in America is an immigrant. Even the native Indian people originally hailed from Asia some 10,000 years ago. The United States, indeed all of North America is populated by immigrants. And until the first Gulf War in 1990, terrorism had never crossed the minds of most Americans unless they travelled abroad.
How is it then that millions of foreigners relocated to America and there was nary a word about terrorism for well over 200 years, when the whole continent of North America was made up of exceptionally diverse immigrant populations?
Just look at the words that are not mentioned in the Emma Lazarus poem greeting millions of immigrants upon their arrival to America — exclusivity, conformity, and a lack of opportunity leading to ghettoization. The very seeds of extremism and terrorism.
Preventing Toxic Ideologies From Gaining a Foothold in Britain’s Youth
The long-term solution to extremists in Western countries is as simple as adding inclusivity and economic opportunity to the mix. (Busy hands don’t do the Devil’s work. Why? Because, well, they’re too busy earning money and spending it just like the other kids)
A virus in the human body is typically a weak force in an otherwise healthy body. But when the body is in a weakened condition even a normal rhinovirus can wreak havoc or death.
The metaphor here rings true for extremist ideologies (typically a weak force) pedaled to UK youths whom are existing in a mentally weakened state due to a permanent lack of opportunities.
As we have seen, it’s a condition that invites disaster.
At this moment in UK history, more money is needed to fund the NHS, schools, roads, railways, airports and other national infrastructure, Trident, foreign aid — and to fund 500 million sterling worth of renovations to the House of Commons.
Money is certainly the problem, as more money would solve all of those issues and many more.
Unfortunately, some governments ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ but with little change in the total amount of revenue actually collected by the government.
- In some cases, a socialist (Labour) government will raise more revenue by raising taxes. Let the wailing begin!
- In other cases, a conservative (Conservative and Unionist) government will cut expenditures via fiscal and budgetary belt-tightening. Groan!
Which is why governments everywhere are always on the hunt for more money.
But are they? Are they really on the hunt for money? Are they really trying to increase revenue? Or do they automatically hit their default mode every time a budget crisis looms?
Some observers think that governments dismiss attempts to increase revenue via increased trade with other nations too quickly and move to their particular default mode.
Where Could the UK Find 1.3 Billion Consumers Wanting to Buy British Goods?
Well, India, for one. And they’re a Commonwealth nation. Ta-Da! See? It’s sooo simple.
All the UK government must do is to reach out to India’s leaders (especially post-Brexit, but nothing stopping them from getting started now!) in the interests of ramping-up trade by at least one order of magnitude.
Why should India purchase trillions of rupees worth of goods from non-Commonwealth nations when they could purchase them from the UK?
Why does India purchase their aircraft carriers from Russia, their fighter-bombers from Russia, other significant navy ships from Russia, and billions worth of goods from China, the southeast Asian nations, and the United States?
A century ago, Great Britain’s trade relations with India were booming. Shipyards couldn’t build ships fast enough to keep up with the annual increase in trade.
Who dropped the ball?
Heads should roll for allowing that relationship to falter — a relationship of prime importance to both the UK and to India!
Never Mind Playing the ‘Blame Game’ There’s No Time!
We need to get a piece of that rapidly growing and rapidly modernizing economy, and thereby add five per cent to Britain’s annual GDP.
Yes! More money will solve all of Britain’s spending problems… but it isn’t going to fall out of the sky and land in the Treasury building by itself!
Someone! Anyone! Perhaps the Prime Minister or the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary (or both) along with the Queen should invite Prime Minister Modi of India and his high officials to London, for an unprecedented and long overdue re-look at the macro relationship between the two countries to see how increased trade could improve the economies of both nations, and how each nation can play to their own strengths and work to offset each other’s weaknesses.
Instead of UK Government Departments Fighting Each Other for Funding – Increase the Available Revenue Pool for All Departments
Companies fight over ‘market share’ because that’s what companies do. And it is often a vicious competition.
However, governments have an unparalleled advantage here because they can increase the overall size of the market — which, using this metaphor, relates to UK GDP.
By dramatically ramping-up trade with India the government could increase GDP by five per cent, easily meet the spending requirements of all departments and still have the economic clout to run balanced budgets indefinitely.
This so badly needs to be done that Brexit is a side-show by comparison, although without Brexit it would be difficult to enter into new trade arrangements with any non-EU country.
In summary, Brexit is merely the means to an end — an end with a much stronger economy for both Britain and India, and a stronger Commonwealth partnership.