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One of the reasons I’m a Theresa May fan is that she took a highly principled position by calling an election prior to Brexit, presumably to further legitimize her premiership with voters and thereby gain a stronger negotiating hand heading into Brexit negotiations.
Before becoming Prime Minister, Theresa May had been an MP for 20 years and served as Home Secretary for 6 years, and only then was she named PM by the Conservative Party when former PM David Cameron stepped down. Which is to say, Theresa May is as legitimate as any UK Prime Minister ever appointed (but not elected to) the PM’s chair.
Nevertheless, at the most important political moment since the end of WWII, Theresa May decided to further legitimize her premiership by calling a snap election with the intent of causing her party to rally ’round her in time for the upcoming Brexit negotiations, thereby empowering Britain in its dealings with the European Union.
By any definition it was an admirable plan.
It Worked! (Sorta)
Except for the Conservative MP’s that didn’t campaign hard for her and were only interested in maintaining their position as a Member of Parliament, and excepting the millions of former UKIP voters — only some of them supported the Conservatives on election day.
All in all, a surprising result.
Perhaps three terrorist incidents in the UK within 90 days of the election changed the mood of the electorate, or maybe when confronted with an actual Brexit complete with veiled threats emanating from some EU capitals it’s possible some British voters felt cowed into lowering their Brexit expectations.
If so, that would be a shameful indictment on the British people, the people who succeeded admirably even after suffering horribly in two world wars and are a people who carry-on through all manner of terror attacks, social upheavals, recessions, and Britain’s famously inclement weather.
Now with a ‘weaker hand’ Theresa May must pull-off a reasonable Brexit
How to do more, with less? That’s the job facing Prime Minister Theresa May over the next five years.
It’s an unenviable position for a veteran British MP with 6 years as Home Secretary to her credit and 1 year as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who deserved better from her party and from voters.
At least 42.4% of UK voters agree with Theresa May (see BBC election chart here) which was a gain of 5.5% for the Conservatives since the last election when David Cameron became Prime Minister. The business community likes the progress on the economy, and she is highly regarded by foreign leaders. But still, that got her (only) 318 seats, which isn’t enough for a majority government.
She deserves better than she’s gotten.
Methinks there are strings being pulled in places that we know not…
But just for the record, let’s look at a July 17 poll result from an internationally recognized polling firm.
Another chart for the doubters
One thing that Britons have every right to be proud of is the National Healthcare Service (NHS) and in recent years it has begun to score well in the prestigious Commonwealth Fund rankings. In fact, the 2017 ranking puts the NHS in 1st place over 10 other wealthy nation healthcare systems. But you’d never think it because (according to some) the NHS is falling apart at the seams.
Just as former PM David Cameron was rightfully proud of the 2013 Commonwealth Fund ranking (1st place) so Prime Minister Theresa May should feel proud of the 2017 NHS ranking (1st place) even as some of the countries named in the study improved on their 2013 rankings.
For comparison purposes, I’ve included the 2013 Commonwealth Fund ranking graphic below.
One more chart that uses actual facts to combat negative perceptions — shows how well the UK is faring
This chart shows GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) which illustrates that purchasing power of both UK citizens and expats is increasing — even though (according to some) the sky is falling every day!
With all of that going for the UK in 2017 (and more positives that I haven’t included because I don’t want to drown you in charts) you’d think that Prime Minister Theresa May would get plenty of respect from her party, from certain media outlets and from voters.
But apparently in the United Kingdom, almost-perfect scores aren’t good enough to get the Prime Minister the majority she needed to allow the country to cruise through Brexit. And that’s a shame.
Some very smart people a long time ago, decided to prevent another World War by working to unify European countries that share and haven’t always *shared well* the European continent.
To preclude another internecine war they created several brilliant Euro-centric political institutions such as the European Community, the European Economic Community, the European Union, the Eurozone, the European Court of Justice, and other political, economic, and judicial European institutions — and they enthusiastically embraced internationalism and multilateralism via institutions such as the United Nations and NATO.
It wasn’t all about preventing another war, of course. By 1972 it had become as much about improving the pan-European economy as it was about presenting a united bloc to the militarily powerful Soviet Union.
Britain’s decision to join the EC/EEC and later the EU was obviously part of that geopolitical master plan — and if you read the texts carefully enough with a little ‘reading between the lines’ — it becomes obvious to all but the most tone-deaf that senior British politicians of the era and their negotiators considered that Britain might not be married to the continent forever.
To put it forthrightly, Britain joined the European project to help Germany and other countries ‘gel together’ under a unifying organization to prevent another European war — and it’s possible to find internal texts proving that Britain planned for a possible exit from the EC and the EEC and (implied) from the EU, once the continent became permanently united under one political structure.
Therefore, only those too young to remember the history of the EC, the EEC, and the formation of the EU, don’t see that Brexit was always on once the continent had become irrevocably joined.
Not only did Great Britain pay more than it’s fair share in WWI and WWII, it also contributed more than asked during the Cold War, and it contributed more to the European project than any country with the notable exception of the United States.
Now is the time for Britain to leave the EU and make up for lost time. So said 17+ million British voters on June 23rd, 2016.
It is against this backdrop that a majority of Britons still want Brexit, a clean Brexit, and a fair Brexit.
And why shouldn’t they? The UK has paid more than it’s fair share towards the continent since 1914 and still contributes more than it receives from the EU. Britain, the cash cow.
Yet some in Britain can’t stop haranguing the government for having the audacity to try to deliver what the people voted for — Brexit.
Never since Prime Minister Winston Churchill called upon Britons to prevail no matter the hardship has a country needed the strong support of its citizens and all levels of government.
Brexit is going to be one of the biggest challenges the UK has seen in decades.
And instead of ‘All Hands on Deck’ with every person in the country coming together to strengthen the hand of the Prime Minister and her negotiating teams during what will undoubtedly be difficult negotiations complete with EU officials acting the part of the suddenly jilted lover, we have some British people doing everything in their power to derail Britain’s chances of getting a good deal!
It’s your future, people!
I know you lost the referendum, but for God’s sake don’t sabotage your country just because you don’t like the democratic result.
Of course, it’s the job of the loyal opposition parties to provide policy alternatives to the sitting government’s plans. Nobody can blame them for performing their noble calling which has roots going back hundreds of years.
But it seems that some are so upset they lost the democratic referendum that they actually want the government to fail, they want the Brexit that was approved by 17+ million voters to fail, and they want to demean anyone who supported Brexit.
Really, if you prefer the EU to the UK, why don’t you just move there and become a citizen? I’ll help you pack.
This is no time for un-democrats to undermine their own country’s democracy, and who believe in the superiority of an un-elected Brussels cabal that lives off the largesse of UK (and German!) taxpayers — both countries pay more per capita towards the EU than any other country.
All of whom conspired to convince the Prime Minister to call an election to prove to EU negotiators that Britain is united and moving forward with Brexit, and to quell the small number of UK-based naysayers in the Houses of Parliament and on the street — who get far too much airtime on slow news days.
With a fresh mandate from voters on June 8th Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiating hand should be dramatically strengthened, thereby allowing her to obtain the best Brexit deal for the UK.
This Prime Minister has gotten stronger every month since being sworn into office, and calling an election to silence the outliers and to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations that will determine Britain’s destiny for decades, may turn out to be a stroke of genius.
Voting to tie one hand behind Theresa May’s back at this point in time only serves to weaken the United Kingdom. Surely no true Briton would consider such a thing.
READ: What Mandate for Theresa May? (Project Syndicate)