Monday , July 22 2024

May points the way

Recent experience has taught everyone with an interest in politics not to rely too much on opinion polls. However, the present General Election campaign is unusual because there has been an actual poll which has acted as an hors d’œuvre to the main course on June 8th. We don’t know if the May 4th Local Election results will be completely mirrored in a few weeks’ time, but it is unlikely that they will be overturned. Of course, this is no time to be complacent. Much can still happen in the weeks ahead. But it is sensible to use the Local Election results to develop strategies.

It is becoming ever clearer that Brexit negotiations are going to be difficult. This need not be the case. It is perfectly possible for both the UK and the EU to reach a deal that is beneficial to both sides. The UK wants very little indeed. We want something close to free trade. We’d like a reciprocal arrangement about the right to live and work in the EU and the UK. There’s nothing much else we want. There’s indeed nothing much else we’ve ever wanted. We don’t want to be ruled by the EU but we’d quite like to continue trading freely with them.

Unfortunately it is becoming obvious that the EU is seeking to punish Britain in some way. This is in part psychological. It is the sort of behaviour that happens after a divorce. The EU also worries that if Britain succeeds in leaving and all goes fairly well, then this will encourage other countries to leave.

We don’t know how these negotiations are going to play out. Maybe the EU position will soften behind closed doors. But it’s always best to take people at their word. At the moment the EU is acting as an unfriendly power. They don’t wish Britain well. On the contrary, they are trying to harm our position economically. They wish to damage us diplomatically and harm our   international relations. If that is not unfriendly, what is?

The EU is taking positions that could potentially injure the UK with regard to Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and perhaps Scotland. They would like to see our economy hurt by their demands for ever higher exit fees. They think it would be worth it if UK trade with the EU was decreased even at the expense of their own trade.  It may be that the EU is not interested in mutual self-interest, but only in how best to punish Britain.  This is the mentality of a wife wrecking her ex-husband’s car.

We shouldn’t exaggerate this situation, but nor should we underestimate it. The EU has shown itself to be what it always was. Thank goodness we are leaving. Who wants to be in a group that is held together by threats, extortion and bully boy tactics?

But then this is a time when we are going to need strong leadership. Theresa May has been nothing if not polite to the EU. She has made it clear that Britain wants to maintain a friendly relationship. But even she has been frustrated by the negativity and hostility coming from the EU.

The next few years are going to crucial for the UK. We will either come to a mutually beneficial arrangement with the EU or else we will have to walk away from the negotiations with no deal and carve out a new path on our own. Theresa May realised this and for this reason called an election. She knew that her majority was not going to be enough to make the crucial decisions that she would need to make. It was EU intransigence that forced her hand.

Can you imagine the alternative to Theresa May leading.  Jeremy Corbyn gained two E-grade A levels and left school at 18. Theresa May has an Oxford degree and went on to work for the Bank of England. There is a gulf between the intellects of May and Corbyn that is immediately obvious whenever they speak in the House of Commons. Corbyn just isn’t up to the job of being Prime Minister. He has extreme left-wing views which have nearly destroyed the Labour Party. If given the chance he would destroy Britain and perhaps even take a perverse joy in doing it. Above all the Left is about self-hatred.

Tim Farron won’t be Prime Minister, but his party could along with the SNP form a pact that would enable Jeremy Corbyn to rule. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than Corbyn negotiating with the EU, but what if everything he did was controlled by Lib Dem and SNP votes. Imagine how the EU would react to a “coalition” of Remainers who would just love to have a second referendum on EU membership. Oh please hurt us some more Mr Farron would tell Juncker. We deserve it. We dared to leave the blessed EU. Oh please take us back. We have repented. Only we are not worthy of membership. Do you really want such a man having anything to do with the EU negotiations?

In the tough times ahead Britain needs Theresa May’s strength. It must be credible that Britain’s leader would walk away from a bad deal. No one could be in any doubt that Mrs May would do just that. There no way that a government that depended on the votes of Farron and Sturgeon would walk away. But it is precisely and only the threat to walk away that might just bring sense to the EU. It might get us a mutually beneficial deal. The Farron/Sturgeon ultra remainer stance would just encourage the EU to increase their demands still further. The EU will exploit any weakness either to give Britain the worst deal possible or else to make us come begging to remain. Mr Farron isn’t going to stand up to the EU. He agrees with them.

Since last June when the UK unexpectedly voted to leave the EU, there has been a continual rear-guard action by disappointed Remainers. I think this has encouraged the EU to think that the UK is divided. But whatever the rights and wrongs of the continuing Remain campaign it has now gone too far.

First we had a court case demanding that Parliament would have its say. Well Parliament did have its say. But that wasn’t enough. Now there is a tactical voting campaign which has the ultimate goal of stopping Brexit. These people just won’t take no for an answer. Nothing except overturning the Leave vote will satisfy them. Some Remain supporters would even prefer that the SNP were elected if it stopped Brexit. They would see the break-up of Britain as a small price to pay if only the bits could stay in the EU. Sorry folks, but Ultra-Remainers are becoming anti-British.

The UK is now at one of those crucial moments in history. Once more we are up against it. Europe appears united and less than friendly.  We have a tough fight on our hands. Now is not the time to side with those who are hostile to Britain.

As always the British public gets it. There has been no surge of support in the local elections for the Lib Dems. Most people have moved on from last year’s debate. We all now want to get the best deal possible for Britain. It is for this reason the electorate will look with distaste at Mr Farron’s party. We know that Jeremy Corbyn hates Britain because he has so often sided with our country’s enemies. But the Europhile Lib Dems are in danger of siding with the EU at a time when we need every Brit to act in the national interest. When the EU is unfriendly to Britain it is downright unpatriotic to agree with them. I suspect the Lib Dems will find out that this doesn’t play very well with British people.

UKIP have done their job and there party no longer has a purpose. If UKIP could only win one seat in 2015 it is highly unlikely that they will win any seats in 2017. Only an emphatic Conservative victory can deliver Brexit. But voting UKIP in certain seats could still prevent a Conservative MP being elected. Again the results in the local elections show that the British electorate gets this. I never much cared for Farage. In the end Leave won the referendum despite his efforts not because of them. But the present UKIP leader is simply a buffoon. Better by far if UKIP finishes the job it started by ceasing to be. UKIP supporters can either help the Brexit process by voting Conservative or hinder it and perhaps hand victory to the Remainers by voting UKIP.

In Scotland Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP all lost seats at the local elections. The Conservatives made massive gains. It is absolutely clear that the momentum is with the Tories. Neither the Lib Dems nor Labour have enough support to challenge the SNP. But the Conservatives do. We need one Pro UK party which everyone gets behind. Only in this way can we turn our Pro UK majority into a majority of seats.

It would be better by far if Labour and the Lib Dems were wiped out in Scotland. This would make the choice clearer. You either vote for the Pro UK party or you vote for the anti-UK party. Once this choice becomes obvious then we can defeat the SNP. Divided we simply won’t be able to do so.

Theresa May will continue to stand up to Sturgeon. But she needs the votes of Pro UK Scots to show that we support her in telling the SNP that there will be no indyref2 anytime soon. If you are happy to have a second independence referendum next year, then vote for any other party than the Conservatives. Neither Farron nor Corbyn would be able to stand up to Sturgeon as they would depend on SNP votes and cooperation at Westminster. There is a simple conclusion. Every single Conservative vote anywhere in Scotland makes indyref2 less likely. That’s your choice. That’s your responsibility.

Ruth Davidson is a moderate. The Scottish Conservatives are a centre party, with policies that most moderate Lib Dems and Labour people could live with. She is becoming a major force in British Conservatism and will act as a moderating force on those who would be tempted to take the party away from the centre. Theresa May too wants to create a Britain that is fair and which helps those who are struggling. But both Davidson and May know that only a UK with a strong economy can bring about social justice. How else are we going to be able to afford increases in public spending?

Our negotiations with the EU need a strong leader. If Theresa May wins a large majority, she will be able to show the EU that Britain is united and that we really are leaving. This may be the key to getting the best deal possible for Britain. Alternatively if the EU continues its present hostility we will need a leader strong enough to walk away. This will put Britain on a radically different path. We will then have to make the UK much more attractive for business and trade. We will have to develop relations with the whole world in order to become an offshore beacon of free trade in contrast to the EU’s protectionist customs union. There are attractions to this path, but there are also obstacles and pitfalls along the way. We need a pathfinder, but then we are fortunate for we already have her. Only Theresa May can lead us to our goal.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog:

About Effie Deans

Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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