Apr 21, 2017

Rundle: it’s on … and it’s over

Jeremy Corbyn hasn't a hope in hell, and Theresa May's high-stakes gamble will pay off -- for her, but Britain is lost.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Well, it's on, and it was onned pretty goddam quickly. UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Tuesday that she would seek a vote in parliament to call an early general election, which would, if voted through, be held on June 8. Of course it was voted through -- who would risk the idea of resisting an election, and see it get through anyway? -- and so we we are all on the way down the big slide. May and the Tories have been saying for months, a year, that they would not seek an early election under any circumstances. No one believed them, and they were right. This poll is ostensibly being held to achieve "stability" in the process of Brexit, despite the fact that May and the right-centre of the party haven't lost a single vote on post-Brexit matters yet.

The real and obvious reason is to crush Labour, really crush it. Recent polls suggest that the gap could be approaching 20 points, the Tories north of 40, Labour in the low 20s. That might be an outlier, but things are very, very bad for Labour. The temptations for the Tories was that this might be the bottom of the curve. The Brexit buzz is well and truly over; from now people are going to start to realise it will make little difference to their lives, and there are years of tedious negotiation ahead, in which it will have to be acknowledged that the UK is laced into a global system, come what may, unless it wants to live on herring and turnips.

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21 thoughts on “Rundle: it’s on … and it’s over

  1. zut alors

    Pedant alert: in Tom Robinson’s time it was still the Hammersmith ‘Odeon’. A favourite venue for AC/DC in the Bon Scott era.

  2. Nudiefish

    GR, thank you for this essay, but I do have one serious question. It is not my entire takeout from your piece, but seeing the word reminded me that I have no clue. So…

    How does one pronounce “outlier”? Is it “out-lier” or “out-lyer”?

    I’m not being flippant, just dense.

    1. Kfix

      It’s the second one nudie.

    2. DanBIllin

      Thanks for asking, whole class had no idea.

  3. klewso

    On the bright side, it will cover up what “Theresa Thatcher” and her Tories have planned for the disabled and those reliant on welfare…..

  4. Will

    There’s something of contradiction though in what you’re saying here, Guy.

    You start out saying, “[t]he Brexit buzz is well and truly over; from now people are going to start to realise it will make little difference to their lives, …”

    But then you wind up saying, following a May victory, “[m]any people will welcome a period of stability – even if political stability is life chaos for others, as a new austerity rains down – …”

    So what’s the future going to be? A life of little difference, or a life of chaos?

    Specifically, won’t the EU economically punish the UK for Brexit, and won’t May divert as much of that punishment away from the economy onto society?

    Yes, the full effects of Brexit may be some time off, but they will likely begin and end with a long reign of crippling austerity making no small difference to people’s lives.

  5. Nudiefish

    May winning the early election also means that the Torys will skid past a lot of the fury that would otherwise be directed at them when the Brexit plan goes belly up and the UK is locked out in the cold.

    1. AR

      Personally I don’t believe that the UK will leave – after the usual british bumbling, fumbling & muddle through trying to square the circle with the remnant EU once Le Pen, AfD & the Scandiwegians give it the flick, the tories will declare that there has been a change of heart in the country, call another early election on whether to stay because the world has become a much nastier place.
      If they do leave, they will come grovelling to the Old Commonwealth in search of edible lamb, butter & alliances and we, NZ & possibly India will be able to reconsider the worth of perfidious Albion.

  6. Justin Harding

    So, this will be Theresa May’s 1983, eh? Probably, although it pains me greatly to concede the point, even partially. And just like Thatcher’s khaki election landslide, it will be achieved despite nearly 60 per cent of the electorate voting for a party other than the Tories. The Lib Dems will complain loudly about the injustice of non-preferential plurality voting in single-member constituencies, just like the SDP/Liberal alliance did way back when, and nothing will be done to reform an archaic, distortive and highly unjust electoral system because the two largest parties profit from it, even when they get thumped. And frankly the Lib Dems shoulder some of the blame for the perpetuation of the existing system by selling out on proportional representation when they were in coalition with the Tories.

  7. Dog's Breakfast

    Thanks for the update GR. I have no feel for the place, other than that every second pom seems to be here working as an accountant and is glad as hell about being out of there. It’s a forlorn world.

    Surely some of the strategy is to allow enough time after the final Brexit bell for them to hopefully be in a position to offer some form of hope. I think they are over-reaching, the most likely outcome after Brexit is a loss of hope, and if the only BIG party around is the Tories, then the baseball bats will only have their name on them.

    “RAR, Rock Against Racism; Development Studies, do a barista training course.”

    Great footnote, says it all really!

  8. Jack Robertson

    The Madeleine McCann line? Hey, come on, Crikey, Guy, readers…

    1. Will

      I thought the same thing too. When ever will Crikey finally stand up for the innocent?!

      1. Jack Robertson

        Think it’s just a Late Hitchian lapse, Will (ie where writerly style trumps human decency and perspective and no-one has the gonads to do The Talent a big editorial favour), I’m the last person here who has any right to disapprove of offensive obnoxiousness as such (belated sorry, by the way, I was miles over the top rude to you in a housing post not long ago), but I’m a dad before I’m a lover of brilliant writing and the McCann’s daily lived nightmare routinely keeps me awake all night.

        I’m confident Guy would agree with us.

        1. Will

          I was taking the piss.

          1. Jack Robertson

            Ah, OK – I wasn’t. Not re: the gratuitous use of a still-missing kid as a throwaway punchline, nor FWIW re: my apology to you, which is genuine.

            But yep, ok. Sure.

  9. AR

    Alas, I fear the Grundle writes truly. The UK is said to have fewer than 45M enrolled voters which means about 10M citizens are not even registered – an intentional effect of Thatcher’s Poll Tax which used the electoral roll. even though long abolished the effect is the same with the council rating bands.
    The lesson for Oz is that when the right again start on about abolishing compulsory voting, PR & STV (long shared wet dreams from the likes of Minchin, Jones and sundry headbangers) we should look at what has happened in the FPtP systems like the UK & USA – batshit crazy governments elected by less than a quarter of the adult population.

  10. Bob the builder

    GRundle, you predicted a few years ago that the US Democrats were in for a generation, so I’ll take this with a grain of salt …

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