If Boris Johnson replaces Theresa May, the UK will have a Donald Trump of sorts — an advocate of the political good sense in reducing the size of government as a basic principle. That would be a start, but no more than start, if democracy has both the will to survive and a realistic hope of doing so.
Theresa May is tarred with having caused the Conservative’s near-disastrous election result.
Some blame her for going to the polls unnecessarily early. Yet it was not so long ago that this seemed a stroke of Machiavellian genius: she faced a Labour Party in open revolt against a leader whose crypto-communism and consorting with terrorists would surely doom his party to a crushing defeat and a decade in the wilderness. The early campaign seemed to confirm these prognostications. Labour fought on a platform comprising a children’s wish list with lots of free stuff that few in the mainstream media could support.
Theresa May is criticised for trying to slip in a few policies under which people would need to pay more of their own way (including for respite care). Those reproaching her for this may be correct, but only because they are part of the school which sees as inevitable a limitless ratcheting up of communal versus individual payments.
However, Mrs May also played the tooth fairy, with more spending on education, raising the lower thresholds for income tax, and a cap on energy prices (ironically, the Democratic Unionist Party was alone in not seeing the electricity supply industry as an overflowing tank of revenues with which to buy votes). The Conservatives had some vague notions of a balanced budget some time in the next decade; and they also had tougher immigration policies (they always do — and they always fail to implement them).
So, what does voters’ refusal to endorse Theresa May and their increased support for Labour (and in Northern Ireland the terrorist Sinn Féin party) tell us?
Poor campaigning maybe, but the more plausible answer is that people voted for those who would provide them more of what they want. One part of this is the amplified government spending and regulatory gifting which has increasingly undermined fiscal policy over the past century. People’s wants, as economists often proclaim, are insatiable, and those wants being met without having to earn them are especially valuable. In past centuries, revolts of taxpayers against the government acted as a check on its size, but the balance of power has now shifted to the recipients of taxpayers’ wealth.
Another part of the answer may be Mr Corbyn’s softer approach to terror and immigration. From afar this is difficult to comprehend, especially as the London bombings came part way through the campaign. But for many, appeasement is the preferred approach to combatting terror.
Read More at Quadrant There’s Free Cheese in Every Mousetrap