There are no winners.
The UK General Election 2017 that is.
Prime Minister Theresa May called a General Election to be held just eleven days before the Brexit negotiations were about to start. There was no need to call one, her party had a majority in the House of Commons. Whatever her motives were it now looks like a big mistake, as she has lost her party’s majority in the house and is 8 seats short of the needed majority. Even taking into account that Sinn Fein declaring that they will not be taking their seats that still leaves 1 seat short. Time for negotiations, The initial talks with the Democratic Unionists (DUP), who have 0 seats,have come to nothing: talks restart on Tuesday. The Conservatives natural allies, the Ulster Unionists (UUP), the natural allies of the Conservatives, have lost both their seats.
The Conservatives, despite being the largest party, have lost.
The DUP may look like the winners here, They have increased their seats, wiping out the UUP in the process, they may have the honour of holding the balance of power. However in March this year the DUP saw their lead in the Northern Ireland Assembly cut from 10 to 1.
With no power base in Northern Ireland, the DUP cannot be seen as winners.
Labour are celebrating, They increased their share of the vote more than anyone else and are now only 2.4% behind the Conservatives. To come back from being so far behind, especially in the opinion polls at the time the election was called, is quite an achievement, and I don’t begrudge them their celebrations, but when parliament sits again they will still be Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. No change in Labour’s position really.
Labour have not won either.
The Liberal Democrats have increased their number of MPs by 50%. Well done. But their share of the vote has gone down by over 3%.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) have lost out big time. They are the largest party in Scotland with 37% of the vote and 59% of their seats.
Both the Liberal Democrats and SNP are anti Brexit. This makes them unsuitable for being in coalition. Both lose.
And the other small parties, all reduced their vote. They lose. It looks like we are back to what is in effect a two party system again.
So what will the Conservative government do?
The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP, has expressed unease with the hard Brexit Theresa May is going for. However she is a member of the Scottish Parliament, mot the Westminster government. We will have to wait and see if they rebel, but with 12 MPs that would wipe out the potential majority of a Conservative DUP alliance, should one happen.
Then there is the possibility of a Conservative back bench rebellion. To do so with the Brexit negotiations about to start, to my mind, would be madness. But regicide is the Conservative way. They cannot abide what they see as failure.
The people who really lose though, are the British people.
The political landscape is uncertain. Which at least makes politics more interesting.