At the Financial Times: Janan Ganesh on Mrs. May and ‘the two un-thinkables’. American Writer comments

Mr. Ganesh begins his latest essay with the sentence:

Emmanuel Macron can now expect control of the French parliament to go with the presidency he clinched last month.

Mr. Ganesh is too practiced, too glib an apologist for the benighted twins of British Politics, the Tories and New Labour, to make such a preposterous argument that Macron ‘clinched’ the French presidency. In America that descriptor has a decisive connotation, it does not apply to the Macron win. (Although it may or might apply to En Marche in the coming vote.) The presidential election was about the choice of ‘the lesser of two evils’, spoiled ballots and general dismay at the choice offered. The French election didn’t mirror the dismal American electoral choice of Clinton vs Trump, but was representative of the the declining standards of both elections, and the candidates offered in ‘Western Democracies’. A subject that Mr. Ganesh will never address!

The next paragraph is informative but not in the way its author intends:

Britain is not merely losing its head, then, but is doing so as the nations against which it measures itself find theirs. It is succumbing to relative, not just absolute, fiasco, “led” by a prime minister who is drained of all confidence after a botched election, governing at the mercy of 10 Democratic Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland, chased down by a rampant Labour opposition, one week out from talks to exit the EU.

Imagine that Mr. Ganesh is fulminating against the possible future Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn, with just a bit of deft editing this line of argument could apply to his defeat in a coming election. The argument is that Mrs. May needs to go, and go post-haste! Britain needs a strong leader in the Brexit negotiations.

What is left for Mr. Ganesh is recrimination and political anguish, in which he plays a small part:

A discredited prime minister (or an unelected new one) kept going by an ultra-conservative minority party, unable to do much other than Brexit: Labour could not design a more provocative spectacle, one more likely to irk the young, the liberal, the urban.

Mr. Ganesh is featured, in this paragraph, as ‘the young, the liberal, the urban’ . Mr. Ganesh is neither young nor liberal, except in the definitional terms of  Blairite New Labour. ‘Tory Hipster’ is a more appropriate epithet for Mr. Ganesh.

Mr. Ganesh then calls for Mrs. May to make the magnanimous political gesture of  announcing that she will leave at an appointed date:

If Mrs May were to say that she will leave by the time of the Conservative party conference in October, some of the rancour against her would ease. The DUP deal would be understood as a means of giving the country a government through some difficult weeks and not as a deeper compromise by the Tories.

Mr. Ganesh’s final thought is not about a misplaced Tory nostalgia for the 1970’s but about their nostalgia for the decisive leadership of Mrs. Thatcher.

The Tories must at least attempt a more lasting fix. A nation with a deficit to clear and a momentous Europe policy to shape needs one. And it is a strange day when Tories look to the 1970s as a time to recapture.

American Writer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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