by Frank Schnittger
Fri Dec 13th, 2019 at 12:51:53 PM EST
So the Opinion polls weren't so far off after all, with the Labour Party losing votes to all the other parties, but, given the idiocies of the First Past the Post electoral system, only the Conservatives and SNP reaped the benefits in terms of seats:
As was to be expected, all the "centrist" MPs who left or were thrown out of the Labour and Conservative parties and stood as independents, ChangeUK or Lib Dems lost their seats. The two party (+ regional/nationalist parties) system reigns supreme. There is no room for dissidence or doubt. You must follow one major party leader or the other. The system is designed to promote polarisation and conflict. Contrary to reports of unprecedented queues, turnout at 67% was down 1.5% on 2017.
On the bright side, the incompetent Jo Swinson (Lib Dem leader) whose refusal to work with Corbyn played a large role in forcing the election, and the odious Nigel Dodds (DUP deputy leader) lost their seats.
DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds reacts after losing his seat as Sinn Fein candidate John Finucane is declared the winner in the Belfast count centre on December 13, 2019 . (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
The changes in party seat numbers in N. Ireland may look small in the overall context, but are cataclysmic in the context of the perennial tribal headcount which is the basis of most N. I. Politics. For the first time ever, Nationalist MPs outnumber the Unionists, and both the dominant nationalist and unionist parties lost votes and seats to their more centrist rivals - the opposite to what was happening in Britain. The main beneficiaries were the centrist Alliance Party in terms of votes, and the soft nationalist SDLP in terms of seats.
This was largely because of the DUP's hardline pro-Brexit stance which is widely seen to have back-fired, Sinn Fein's ineffectual abstentionist policy, and the failure of both the DUP and Sinn Fein to resolve their differences and re-constitute the Legislative Assembly and Executive - N. Ireland's devolved institutions under the Good Friday Agreement.
In Scotland the SNP almost scored a clean sweep winning 48 out of the 59 seats at the expense of the Conservatives (-7) and Labour (-6). The pressure for a second independence referendum can only increase as Scotland is dragged out of the EU against the wishes of its people. This would in turn cast many N. Ireland unionists adrift, as their attachment is often more to Scotland than England or Wales.
So big changes have been initiated by this election. Boris Johnson is probably more toxic in Europe than Corbyn is in England and so the prospects for an EU/UK trade deal look bleak during his premiership, let alone the next 12 months. Politics can trump economics in the EU as well, especially as 30 national, regional, and the European Parliament must ratify any deal.
Brexiteers are elated that their man has won and they feel confident they will now get the Brexit they want because of the strong mandate he has received from the British electorate. What they do not appear to realise is that the EU had little difficulty over-riding the wishes of the Greek electorate over the bail-out and will pay little heed to the wishes of the electorate of a soon-to-be non-member. Their concept of what is in the best interests of the EU may bear little relationship to what EU leaders and electorates may consider to be in their best interests in the future.