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Number 926, June 11, 2017

It is intrinsically self contradictory to think you
can have unlimited tolerance for the intolerant.
—Carl Popper.

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Theresa May: The Mummy Has Dissolved!
by Sean Gabb

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

I was hoping for a Conservative majority of no more than twenty seats in this election. Instead, they lost their majority. They seem able to cobble together some kind of deal with the Ulster Unionists. That will keep them in office. But they will not have the blank cheque they demanded. They have not even the limited mandate I wanted for them. They and their leader have made a mess of things.

There are immediate causes of what has happened. Theresa May ran a robotic election campaign focussed on herself. Anyone who declares a cult of personality should first make sure to have a personality. She had none, and was punished for it. Also, she and her friends took us for fools. Everyone knows the Referendum was won by UKIP. She and her friends claimed immediate possession, and spent the next year crying themselves up and eternal Eurosceptics. Also, Jeremy Corbyn turned out to be far more popular than his enemies in the political and media classes hoped he was. I have been saying this for nearly two years, even if I am not among his fans.

The wider causes? I can see two at the moment. The first is that we voted last year to leave the European Union. We did not vote to make the country into an offshore trading platform stabilised by a militarised police state. Scrape away her One Nation rhetoric, and that is what the Conservatives were offering. It has been rejected.

The second is that Donald Trump has been bad for dissidence from the right. He spent last year promising what the Slovaks call blue out of the sky. He was believed and elected. Ever since then, it has been a matter of what promises he will break this week. His failure was seen in England, and Jeremy Corbyn and his brand of dissidence have been the gainers. As said, people will support conservative causes. They will not vote for them if they believe those causes are a fig leaf for the usual suspects. We have had enough of Tory Boy Utopias.

What next? The week after next, the Prime Minister must go to Brussels and start formal discussions of our departure from the European Union. If Theresa May turns up, and turns up alone, she will be laughed at. So will any other Conservative Prime Minister. This is a problem. We are committed to leaving the European Union. The European Union is committed to making this as painful for us as it can. We cannot back out of our commitment without another referendum. No one will dare call this. Even if we do ask to stay, we shall be punished. We have no choice but to press on and try for the best.

My suggestion is that Mrs May should accept the logic of what has happened. A majority of twenty would have given her the mandate she needed. A deal with the Ulster Unionists will keep her in office for a while. If she is serious about leaving the European Union, she should go into a formal or informal coalition with Jeremy Corbyn. Offer him renationalisation of the railways and some of the utilities, and perhaps abolition of the House of Lords. Ask him to support her in Brussels. They could turn up there together, and tell the Europeans they represented over eighty per cent of the British people. And this is probably what the British people want, and is nothing to be regretted. Most privatisation was a fraudulent transfer of state property into the hands of a plutocratic elite. The real House of Lords was abolished in 1998.

I have nothing more to say. It is up to the politicians to start earning the fat salaries we pay them. Certainly, if Mrs May thinks she can sit out the next five years of radical change in our internal and external governance with Ulster Unionist support, she is even more stupid than I began to think she was two weeks ago.

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Sean Gabb is Director, The Libertarian Alliance (Recognised by HMRC as an educational charity for tax purposes) 
Tel: 07956 472 199
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Postal Address: Suite 35,  2 Lansdowne Row, London W1J 6HL, England

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