Friday, 13 December 2019

Reasons to be a little bit cheerful

After the UK's 2019 election, I am having to dig deep for these, but I do have a few. Here goes.

1. It turns out I live in a country where antisemitism is really, truly politically toxic. That makes me happy.

2. The Tories are once again (after a definite wobble during the last decade or so) fulfilling their great historic purpose: exterminating the far right. Even the Brexit Party, a pretty milk-and-water apology for a far-right party, almost disappeared. As to UKIP, the BNP, the English Democrats, and all the rest: nowhere to be seen. George Galloway got less than 500 votes. For all the nationalist spasms we've been through over the past few years, the UK remains one of the only countries in Europe without a serious far-right presence in its politics. That also makes me happy. (Some readers will say that the Tories are a far-right party, and it's true there have been real flashes of ugliness and certainly a resurgent populism, but they are still centre-right not far-right. Grieving left-leaning voters may not be inclined to recognise that difference right now, but it really matters.)

3. This has been the sort of election where one looks at the two prime-ministerial candidates and says, it's a shame they can't both lose. As a glass half-full person, I want to say: well, look, one of them did! The defeat is bad enough that Labour surely must do some proper soul-searching and decide that homespun incompetence is not a good look. A less bad defeat might have left some delusions in place (as well as left the ERG with some power).

4. How often can you say this? The results from Northern Ireland are positively cheering! An Alliance MP again; and two, count them! for the SDLP, a resurgence of constructive moderation for a party that more or less laid down its life for the peace process. Nice that nationalists will have (some) representatives who can actually represent them. Nor, from a UK political point of view, will I mourn the shrinking of the DUP contingent.

... OK, that's it. If you think that's not enough, well, how many did you manage? I'm trying here.