Tuesday 22 August 2017

Ruth Dudley-Edwards: Glued to spectacle of the unthinkable being thought

The horse-trading was a fabulous political orgy but normal contempt for politicians will return soon, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley-Edwards

IRISH sophisticates accustomed to the bribery and strong-arming that accompanies the building of coalitions were raising eyebrows at the hysteria in the UK between Friday, May 7, (when it became clear there was a hung parliament) and last Tuesday night (when Gordon Brown left Downing Street). ('Sort it out clowns' was the helpful advice on Tuesday morning from the Daily Star.)

But Westminster is used to replacing prime ministers within a few hours of an election result, and although since devolution there is power-sharing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the English think it's a funny Celtic habit best kept at the fringes of the civilised world, except in wartime.

Having voted overwhelmingly for the Conservatives, the English were denied the government they wanted. There were only eight Tory seats in Wales, one in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland, which gave a fillip to English nationalism. After a few days listening to the likes of contemptuous Alex Salmond of the SNP and unctuous Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP hinting at the price they would exact for their vote, there were many English wishing they could chuck the Celtic regions out of the United Kingdom.

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