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Enhanced mandate for Tories would be paradoxical, as vein of fantasy runs through Brexit policy-making

letter of the day: Political Agenda

Theresa May's decision to trigger a General Election may well represent an astute tactical coup, given the intrinsic weakness of the Opposition.

However, talk of an enhanced mandate being obtained at first seems paradoxical given the extent of Remain voters (48.1% of the electorate) in the Brexit referendum, many of whom may not be compelled to give the Conservative Party a stronger hand.

Further scrutiny would indicate that the Tories may be more reliant on extracting more support from Leave voters (51.9%) to enhance its 2015 General Election polling figure from 36.1%.

An open dynamic, therefore, is whether Remain voters previously voting Conservative will be tempted to switch allegiance in significant terms. The manifest credibility issues associated with Labour should, in theory, provide an opportunity for the Liberal Democrats to reassert themselves as the best pragmatic outcome for mainstream, pro-EU voters would be another Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, with a heavy emphasis on a more integrated "soft Brexit" stance insisted upon by the putative junior partner.

Yet the Liberal Democrats are likely to be severely hampered by leadership. The short-sightedness of the decision by the former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, currently undergoing something of a political regeneration, to step down as leader in 2015 is becoming evident.

An enhanced mandate for the Conservative Party would be paradoxical, as it has presided over the Brexit debacle and a vein of fantasy runs coarsely through its present Brexit-related policy-making.

The party has completely abandoned an admirable legacy promoting consolidation with Europe as championed by its former leaders - Churchill, Macmillan and Heath. Many commentators will inevitably predict that Corbyn may lead Labour to an election result even worse than its outcome in 1983. A more pertinent concern, would be that voters at least have the nominal option of permitting the Labour Party, as currently composed, to lead a socialist Britain in a brave new post-Brexit world - something likely to be even worse than "1984".

john kennedy

By email

Belfast Telegraph


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