Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Knife Fights Across The Pond

So, if you thought American Politics was a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment, well, it's getting positively vicious on the other side of the pond. In the wake of the Brexit Vote and Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation, the Tories began the process of selecting a new leader which makes UFC 200 look like a kindergarten slap fight. Let's examine the series of events, shall we?

In the immediate wake of the vote, Boris Johnson (hereafter, Boris With The Crazy Hair) was assumed to be the dude. It was a prospect that horrified many, but people were really betting heavily on Boris With The Crazy Hair to be the next Prime Minister. Unfortunately, many people also viewed him as well, a scheming opportunist who wanted to Prime Minister so badly he dragged the UK out of the EU by a nose hair so he could get a shot at the job.

As with most things, Boris With The Crazy Hair was not to be. After all, 'he who wields the knife, never wears the crown.' Enter Michael Gove, whom- at least judging by the Facebook feeds of assorted relatives across the Pond, many people loathe and detest in roughly the same way that people find the word 'moist' to be similar to nails on a chalkboard. He jumps in, effectively knifes Boris With The Crazy Hair and looks to be on his way up.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Cursing the sudden and inevitable betrayal by his former partner in crime, Boris With The Crazy Hair threw his considerable weight behind Theresa May, Home Secretary who had been in favor of Remaining in the EU, but didn't want to shout about it during the referendum campaign. With Gove bleeding at this, the anti-EU forces in the Tory Party have apparently lined up behind Andrea Leadsom.

Now, I haven't heard much about Leadsom- there's some controversy over her CV. But honestly, she should just move here and run for Governor of a state like, say, Oklahoma. She'd probably win. (Yeah, she'd for sure win.) And that's where things stand on the right over there... Theresa May, Establishment Conservative, 'bloody difficult woman' and potential heiress to the Iron Lady herself versus well, a Republican.  Go figure. (It's all over now...  Leadsom withdrew and by the time this posts, Britain should have it's second female Prime Minister- but hey, Boris With The Crazy Hair gets to be Foreign Secretary. So there's that.)

The Labour Party is even more ridiculous right now. Having basically chosen Bernie Sanders (but without Sanders' charisma, principles and lacking his folksy charm and well, there's the whole pesky support for terrorist groups and inflammatory anti-Semitic statements as well to consider) to run the party, the rest of the Labour Party realized that Jeremy Corbyn probably wasn't going to win a damn thing for them and all (well, not all, but pretty much most of it) his shadow cabinet resigned. The rest of the MP's for Labour? They tabled a vote of no-confidence in their leader who of course did the right thing and stepped down.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Yeah, he didn't actually step down, which has made things... awkward. From what I understand- the MPs for Labour can launch a leadership challenge, but then that has to go to the members of the Labour Party and that is who Corbyn is counting on to back him up. An official leadership challenge is apparently coming from Angela Eagle, but it's all very tricky- the MPs want change, but what if the membership backs Corbyn? What then? A split? More awkwardness?

Corbyn got elected thanks to new rules which give party members more influence over leadership elections and a wave of new members signed up to get him over the top. (At least if memory serves.) The real question though, is where are all these members coming from? If they're from the pro-European college student millennial/hipsters or the celebrity martini drinking metropolitan set, it's hard to see how that wins Labour everything, given how well Leave did in their traditional working class strongholds. (Maybe their 'former' working class strongholds would be a better description.) If they're more geographically distributed, maybe it doesn't matter. But I also think that MPs seem to be frustrated that the fight back Labour is going to need isn't gathering steam.

While the Tories are engaging in a compelling backroom knife fight- but we know the result. The next Prime Minister of Britain will either be Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom, Labour's trainwreck is far more intriguing and potentially messier.

Whatever happens, I'll be over here, on my couch with an excessive supply of popcorn.

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