Wicked Witch on the Rocks

First Reactions to the Election Result

ww-westminsterThe Wicked Witch of Westminster may not have appreciated what the papers had to say yesterday about the election results.  The Independent had this scathing editorial: “Theresa May needs to face reality after the general election result – The Prime Minister – if indeed it is Ms May who is in office in the weeks ahead – must recognise that the country has had enough of austerity“.

The Evening Standard had this “General election results: Newspapers react with shock to Theresa May’s hung Parliament ‘chaos’ (with a large photograph of a choice selection of the more critical front pages).

The Spectator had this:  ” Catastrophe for the Conservatives as Theresa May blows her majority” – and any number of similar articles.

Ominously, the Torygraph Telegraph had this:  “Theresa May fighting to stay in Downing St as senior Tories ponder leadership challenge“.

The Witch as Caretaker

theresa-may-speechToday, it has become clearer that  that the Conservative Party has had enough of the Wicked Witch and is looking for a replacement.  The Torygraph Telegraph has this: “Two thirds of Tory Party members believe Theresa May should resign after disastrous election results“.  Key points:

  • A snap survey conducted by the Conservative Home website revealed that 60 per cent of party members believe Mrs May should quit while just 37 per cent of the 1,500 members who took part said she should stay in post.
  • Mrs May has abandoned plans for a major reshuffle of her Cabinet amid fears that she cannot afford to alienate senior ministers in the wake of the election.
  • David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, will remain in post despite mounting tensions in Cabinet over his role in Mrs May’s campaign.  Mr Davis is blamed by some of his fellow Cabinet ministers for helping convince Mrs May to call a snap election after promising not to do so.

The Torygraph  Telegraph also has this:  “Ruth Davidson planning Scottish Tory breakaway as she challenges Theresa May’s Brexit plan“.

  • Although it has been mooted for some time, the imminent split between the Scottish and English parties is a direct result of a dramatic deterioration in relations between the Scottish Tory hierarchy in Edinburgh and 10 Downing Street.
  • Fresh from her success in winning an extra 12 Scottish seats in Thursday’s election, at the same time as the Prime Minister was losing 21 constituencies in England, Ms Davidson also vowed to use her Commons votes to prioritise the single market over curbing immigration.
  • This is certain to split Tory ranks as Mrs May has pledged to take the UK out of both the single market and the EU customs union as part of her Brexit negotiations, which begin next week.

Unsurprisingly, the Evening Standard has this: “Theresa May told she has six months in Downing Street as PM picks top team“.

One comment on the Conservative Home website survey “Should the Prime Minister stay or go?”  makes the case:-

“Is it at all conceivable that there are some conservatives with a grain of sense left and who understand you cannot stick two fingers up at 48% of the country ?  May asked for a mandate for Hard Brexit and the country told her they prefer a sixth form Communist with a long history of support for the IRA

There is no mandate to sacrifice the Nation’s prosperity security standing and services on the back of inflantile lies and dog whistle racism, and don’t pretend that was not wot won it.

I have been trying to tell you that in the long term losing Liberal England, business and the young and the moderate was a mistake and that a Party that trashes its entire post-war history is not one anyone can respect for long”.

The Daily Mail has this: “TORIES TURN ON THERESA: Civil war erupts as irate MPs threaten to oust PM by end of the year – but she has to be talked out of resigning on the spot because party is scared of holding another election“.

The Wicked Witch’s two chiefs of staff have just resigned.  See their statements on the Conservative Home website:  Nick Timothy: Why I have resigned as the Prime Minister’s adviser and (much briefer)  EXCLUSIVE. Now Fiona Hill quits too. Here’s her statement.

See also this in the Evening Standard: “Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill resign: Theresa May’s chiefs of staff resign after election disaster

Quod Erat Demonstandum

May’s “Strong & Stable” Battlebus blown over on a motorway

The fact that a  “strong and stable” May battlebus was  blown over on a motorway during the election campaign was prophetic.

The Conservative Party has a short way with leaders who make a mess of elections.  Teresa May wished to improve her majority and instead of doing that she achieved a hung Parliament.  She is now a caretaker Prime Minister and it is very likely that she will be ousted in time for her successor to preside at the next Conservative Party Conference.

Needless to say, various other failed Conservative leaders who campaigned against the Cameron Government in the Referendum are writing for the Torygraph Telegraph.  An example would be the dreadful Ian “do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man” Duncan Smith who is “turning up the volume” in this article: “Conservatives calling for a new leader are inviting Brexit chaos. We must get behind Theresa May“.

Brexit Clowns

timesbrexitclownsUnfortunately, after the disaster of the Referendum, Mrs May stuffed her cabinet with pro Brexit Ministers – notably the three “Brexit Clowns”: David Davis, Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.   These three are perfectly happy to wreck the economy of the UK if need be and they peddle the myth that by leaving the European Union, the UK will be able to negotiate substitute trade deals with other countries.

While this may be partially true for goods – it is not so for services.  See this report by Grant Thornton: “The impact of ‘Brexit’ on the financial services sector” and also this: “What Is The Economic Impact Of Hard Brexit vs. Soft Brexit?“.

 Key points:-

  • According to initial estimates by the British government, leaving the advantages of EU membership behind and switching to use of WTO trade rules would cost the U.K.’s businesses about £65.5 billion per year (or around US$82 billion). Over a 15-year period, this would lower the country’s GDP by between 5.4% and 9.5%. In addition to lost trade, the U.K. may also be on the hook for paying about £20 billion in unpaid bills to the EU.
  • Analysts believe that the U.K. would find it difficult to replace the lost trade revenues from the EU, which has a consumer market of around 500 million people and a GDP around €12 trillion (US$13 trillion or £10 trillion). About 44% (or £220 billion of £510 billion) of the U.K.’s exports currently go to EU countries. Export trade with the EU is linked to about 12.5% of U.K.’s GDP, while the EU’s trade with the nation is linked to only about 3% of its GDP
  • According to some estimates, the limitation of access to Europe’s financial markets could cost Britain as much as the following: £38 billion in business, £10 billion in tax revenues, and more than 70,000 jobs.  Further, international companies may hesitate to invest and locate in the nation going forward, seeking instead countries that do have access to the EU single market

Some of the background to Brexit issues many be found on the Brexit Issues page.

Hard or Soft Brexit 

The Independent has this: “No matter who forms a government this is the end of hard Brexit – Membership of the single market and customs union, ruled out by May, are now back on the agenda

The Financial Times has this: “Soft Brexit hopes seen providing a cushion for the pound“.

The Express has this: “Britain is heading for ‘SOFT BREXIT’ after shock exit poll, predicts Jack Straw – BRITAIN is heading for “soft Brexit” after the shock exit poll claimed Theresa May and the Conservatives will fail to form a House of Commons majority, according to Jack Straw.

The Economist has a brief explanation: “What is the difference between a “hard” and “soft” Brexit? – Britain faces a pair of distinct choices in its future relationship with the European Union“.

A readable analysis of the differences between “hard” and “soft” Brexit is to be found in this 2016 article in the Independent: “What is the difference between hard and soft Brexit? Everything you need to know – Speculation remains over what kind of relationship the UK will develop with our partners after we leave the bloc“.

The Independent has this: “Hung Parliament: What it could mean for Brexit negotiations” and also this by John Rentoul “The election was supposed to clear the way for leaving the EU, but Theresa May’s failure has put Brexit in doubt – One of of the reasons for calling the election was to win a mandate to overcome House of Lords opposition to the Brexit deal“.

The Guardian/Observer has this: “May wanted a mandate for a hard Brexit. Now Europe expects a softer tone – Prime minister’s crumbling authority offers a new chance for compromise – and the EU could scale back its demands“.

Also this: “Drop hard Brexit plans, demand MPs  – May’s loss of authority means she might have to compromise on her negotiating stance with the EU“.

Serious politicians are calling for a cross-party approach to the Brexit issues and that seems a very sensible idea.

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