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Friday, 9 June 2017

Foreboding forgotten

Five weeks ago Theresa May, UK prime minister, was head of a Tory party with 338 seats in parliament - an absolute majority of 12 seats. A thin advantage, no doubt, but the polls told her she had a 20-point majority in popularity over the Labour party riven by internal strife and endlessly savaged by the right-wing press, notably The Daily Mail and the two Murdoch papers, The Sun and The Times.

If borne out, 20 points represented a potentially huge victory. TM called a general election, ostensibly to increase her majority and thus strengthen her hand in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations as Britain withdraws from the European Union. In fact to put Labour out of business for the next decade.

May looked awkward out on the stump but the Tories were convinced she was well-loved and agreed to personalise things so that the campaign became Theresa May vs. Labour. Her encounters with the public were confined to small gatherings of the faithful with no heckling. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn, Labour's head, met the real electorate. The 20 points shrank but was still a very healthy 10 points yesterday when polling began.

Today the Tories are reduced to 318 seats, so Theresa May has lost 20 seats and her absolute majority. I fear VR and I consumed two bottles of decent red watching telly and went to bed at 4 am, knackered but full of praise for the young people who, we think, turned out in great numbers and made the difference.

Now I'm off to French. Tonight - ice cream


  1. Let's hope that's a corner turned for all of the West. A new restaurant opening soon in my little town just posted their menu. The first item on it, an appetizer, is called "Irish Car Bombs". A corned beef and cream cheese, deep fried concoction. Can poor taste taste good?

  2. MikeM: It's not "Irish Car Bomb" I'd question rather the fact that it's an appetizer. Sounds like a main dish all on its own.

    Poor taste? How about Boiled Baby (a suet pud which requires hours and hours of steaming) mentioned in Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin sequence of novels about the wars at sea between Britain and France in the very early nineteenth century?

  3. Gluttony levels have exploded since last you were here. I heard a hyper-liberal on NPR not long ago espousing federal regulation of portion control in restaurants. A friend suggests adding "Blown to Bits Syrian Children Onion Rings".

  4. And now for the DUP, there's serious last century conservatism for May. I bet that lot hasn't felt so good for ages. There will be more appetizers to come. I almost pity that woman.

  5. M: Seven years ago we made our last flight across the Atlantic to combine our fiftieth wedding anniversary (coupla days in Nantucket) with the wedding of a friend's daughter in Boston. We ate out at a Chinese in a Boston suburb and were able to check those gluttony levels. A monster pile of shrimp which quite overfaced me (and I am a hearty eater). Took more than half of it back to the hotel in a doggie bag and, an hour or two later, watching baseball on TV, was overfaced again. Twice in one evening! But the owner of the Chinese said none of his customers would accept anything less than such huge servings.

    Both nights in Nantucket we had lobster. Now that's portion control.

    Sabine: Read the Comment section on the BBC News website following May's decision and was astonished by the deep-seated dislike of NI. Power-sharing at Stormont over the last year or two has tended to lull me. I agree with your forecast - these are the people who are sort of hard (I euphemise.) on same-sex marriages and women's abortion rights. A lively time in store for Theresa given that - even with the DUP - her majority in Parliament is a mere two votes.

    Gerry Adams said it all: Any attempt at a combined operation between Belfast and Westminster has always ended in tears.

  6. "But lo! There breaks a more glorious day" ?

  7. Sir Hugh: It would be nice to think so but I fear the saints are going to be marching in messy array for some time before it's bright array. Harold Wilson faced a similar situation way back and had to call another election in six months. As far as I can remember very little got done whereas in this instance there are things that must be done - like negotiating with the EU. As Sabine says, you almost feel sorry for her, or you might if she hadn't, with unconscious irony, said that the DUP solution would give "certainty".

    I'm almost tempted to buy The Daily Mail today. On the penultimate day before the election they devoted 16 pages (count them!) to demonising Jeremy Corbyn. Time perhaps for Sir Paul Dacre to retire to his grouse moor.