If you think our election was a horror show, Robin Sears writes that you should pay attention to what's happening in Britain these days:
This week the Conservatives were threatened with being banned by Twitter for changing their party’s account name from “Conservative Party” to “FactCheck.org,” to blast out lies. FactCheck is the name of an organization devoted to … well, fact checking, not conservative propaganda.
More seriously, the level of hate speech and death threats circulating in the digital demimonde, especially directed at women and candidates of colour, is stunning. Several women MPs have stood down citing their fears for their families. There are some candidates dumped for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism, many more who should have been.
The two main parties are each led by the most polarizing figures in national politics — even for many in their own base. The two most important challengers — the Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats — are led by tough and capable women. The existential threat to a united Britain, Brexit, divides families, parties, and communities, but interestingly many voters are not willing to make it the ballot issue.
What they are interested in is past performance:
Massive floods, and the government’s lacklustre response to them; a National Health Service with the worst performance stats in decades; and a deep housing crisis all claim more attention than squabbles over Europe.
And, as in Canada, the First Past The Post System is making things worse:
[This election] is also a showcase of the foolishness of the “first past the post” electoral system in a divided nation with 10 parties (sic 10!) potentially electing MPs. As one British wag put it, “It’s an absolutely brilliant system — if you’re racing horses. Not so much if you’re choosing governments.”
How will it all shake out? Sears reports that:
The Conservatives seem on the way to winning a small majority. It may turn out to be a bittersweet victory, however. Their campaign slogan is “Getting Brexit Done.” Veteran trade negotiators say that the withdrawal process, and new agreements will take a minimum of five to seven years to complete. Setting Boris Johnson up for a very different slogan next time, “Sorry. We couldn’t get it done …”
And the morass Britons have mired themselves in will get deeper.
Image: Daily Kos