Wednesday, December 11, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A Very Consequential Election

We are hours away from learning the results  of the latest
British elections, and although most Americans are not
compulsive Anglophiles holding their breath about the outcome,
it is likely to have major consequences on both sides of the

Much has been made of the decline of the historic globally
dominant British empire (of which the U.S. was once a colonial
part), and its continuing diminishment since World War  II. But
the relatively small island nation with a population of 65 million
remains as an economic, cultural and geopolitical force even as
larger countries have superseded it as a military and maritime

In very recent years, the United Kingdom (made up of the regions
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) been part of the
European Union (EU)) that was formed as a post-war economic
and trade association of many European nations which had often
previously been in conflict with each other for centuries. The EU
later established its own currency, the euro, but the British chose
to keep their own currency, the pound.

As its bureaucratic leadership moved the EU more and more into
supra-sovereign political decision-making, British voters, with a
thousand years of independent history became increasingly
disenchanted with their participation, finally in 2017 voting to
leave the EU (Brexit).

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May failed to implement
Brexit, and had been replaced by Boris Johnson, a colorful Tory
character who has promised to fulfill the British voter mandate.
His major opponent in the upcoming election is Labour Party leader
Jeremy Corbyn who has been accused of anti-semitism --- and who
promises to move the UK sharply to the left. Corbyn’s personal
unpopularity has been cited as a major reason why Labour is
behind in the polls, but media reports say the race is tightening
at the end, and he could be the next prime minister if there is a
“hung” parliament (no party with a majority).

The largest “third” pary in the election is the Liberal Democratic
Party which is strongly anti-Brexit. The strongly new pro-Brexit
Party has seen many of it voters saying they will defect to the
Tories. Smaller regional parties could also win seats.

It is the most consequential British election in decades.Not only
will it direct the future of the UK, it will have major impact in
the U.S and Canada --- and in all of the UK’s neighbors on the

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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