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Congratulations to Prime Minister Theresa May for working out a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to allow the present minority Tory government to continue in office.
And congratulations to DUP leader Arlene Foster for negotiating so well on behalf of her jurisdiction, thereby gaining £1.5 billion in additional infrastructure and other funding.
That’s a ‘Win-Win’ for the Tories and for the Democratic Unionist Party — and more importantly (sorry, Theresa and Arlene!) it’s a ‘Win-Win’ for residents of Northern Ireland.
Infrastructure in Northern Ireland is in bad shape and the funding appears at an opportune moment, as there comes a point when it becomes cheaper to tear down a bridge (for example) than to pay ever-increasing maintenance costs.
The same is true for all infrastructure. Whether roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, airports, or the underground infrastructure that carries water to homes and businesses, all of it has a ‘best before’ date where leaving vital infrastructure spending for too long can cost more than the savings of not doing the work.
Of course, £1.5 billion isn’t going to fix it all. But I wouldn’t be surprised if two years of successful DUP ‘confidence and supply’ support gets the residents of Northern Ireland additional infrastructure spending allocations, courtesy of DUP leader Arlene Foster and Prime Minister Theresa May.
And why not? Arlene Foster prevented a divisive and perhaps extended Parliamentary crisis — one that would’ve prevented much good from being done in the United Kingdom.
Speaking of which; See how infrastructure spending is increasing in Northern Ireland, and how it isn’t in Scotland? Not only additional spending, but PM May and DUP leader Foster also negotiated more devolved powers for Northern Ireland.
NOTE to Nicola: It’s great to have a particular ideology, but when it costs your jurisdiction £1.5 billion in the form of missed infrastructure funding, it’s time to review what you think you’re accomplishing!
Loss of opportunity is also a metric by which UK leaders must be measured — it certainly is for heads of government everywhere else — and not as much as it should be, but it’s still an important marker of successful leadership.
Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland’s SNP missed the boat. Arlene Foster of Northern Ireland’s DUP didn’t. And UK Prime Minister Theresa May begins to look like a bit of a deal-maker, which can only be viewed as a good thing as we head into Brexit. Well done, Theresa!
- Confidence and Supply Agreement (Conservative and Unionist Party) (Theresa May statement)
- Agreement between the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party on support for the government in Parliament (Conservative and Unionist Party) (full text – PDF)
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!
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)