An Election without winners

Following the UK’s 2017 General Election, no party was able to win enough seats in order to command a parliamentary majority. It looks very likely that the Conservatives, who won the most seats (318) will use the 10 MPs from the Northern-Irish Democratic Unionist Party, to get them over the line and able to pass legislation. 

However, the real result of this election is that nobody won. What’s more, the result last thursday was the worst possible result for the country. A Conservative majority government – or Labour majority government, or even some workable coalition, would have been a better result than a hung parliament. 

Now, as we begin what promises to be the most complicated set of negotiations this country has ever faced – we are left without any stability whatsoever. We have a Prime Minister, who one might imagine will soon depart, the parliamentary arithmetic means that another General Election in either Autumn or Spring is almost inevitable. This will prove disastrous for our economy, for the Brexit negotiations and for the country’s future.

In terms of Brexit, we now appear weak. As European leaders said last week, “the clock is ticking” on the negotiations – which need to be completed by March 2019. It was the hope of the government to conduct parallel trade talks alongside the divorce arrangement, but it would appear extremely unlikely to happen now with domestic distractions taking centre-fold. 

Now some of you may think this means Britain will have to remain inside the Single Market, a so-called ‘soft-brexit’. That assumption is wrong. Now, we have essentially shot ourselves in the foot for the negotiations, where only two possibilities will now likely occur:

  1. We are forced to go ‘cap-in-hand’ to the EU. As time runs out, our politicians panic at the lack of the deal and willingly concede large chunks of our ‘red-lines’, forcing us into a bad deal for Britain, fully at the mercy of those in Europe who wish to punish us.
  2. We leave the EU kicking and screaming – without a deal. In this scenario, due to the distractions at home and any party’s weakened position – we cannot strike a reasonable deal with Europe and we leave without any deal or trade arrangement whatsoever. Now, this wouldn’t cause any kind of catastrophic disaster, we could still do fine on World Trade rules – but it is in the best interests of both the EU & the UK to strike a deal.

Both of these scenarios make a grim viewing for Britain. That is why any form of a working majority government would have been the best result for the country last thursday. 

With a hung parliament, stability is severely limited – and will be short-lived. Even those among Corbyn’s circle, who are claiming victory, must realise that in no way, shape or form is the election result a win for anyone.

It may have been Theresa May’s decision to hold the election, but the loss of the gamble is not just hers, it is ours. If the country goes to the polls again in October, or even Spring, let’s hope we elect a majority government. 

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