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Expert comment - the deteriorating fabric of UK politics

Professor Wyn Grant reflects on the current state of British politics:-

"With the 13th candidate announcing for the Conservative Party leadership, we now have a baker's dozen wanting the poisoned chalice and eager to join the growing list of Tory leaders brought down by the European question. It's even possible that some candidates will only get their own vote as their nominators may not vote for them. One would think that credible candidates should be required to produce more than two signatures.

"Of course, it's a bit like candidates who say they are running for US president but really hope they might be selected as a candidate for vice-president. Some of them are hoping to get Cabinet posts in returning for pledging their supporters at a later stage (who won't necessarily vote as recommended anyway).

"While this comic opera continues, a solution to Brexit is as far away as ever. Indeed, it may no longer be possible to compromise on a soft Brexit that wins grudging acceptance from both sides of the argument. The hard core remainers continue to call for a second referendum, although I don't see this as a viable option if it ever was, while Brexiteers want a no deal exit regardless of the resultant damage which they would see as scaremongering or at worst short term. The EU will not budge on the negotiated settlement, although there is room for manoeuvre on the political declaration.

"One possible scenario is a no confidence vote in a new Conservative PM followed by a general election which would probably produce another hung Parliament. One shouldn't get carried away by current poll results as a general election is at least a few months away and getting a quarter of the vote doesn't necessarily get you very far under a first past the post system as other insurgent parties have found in the past.

"The threat of a successful bid for Scottish independence has increased. If disentangling a relationship that has lasted for short of 50 years has proved difficult, dismantling one that has lasted over 300 years will be even more challenging, particularly if an independent Scotland was admitted to the EU.

"The polarisation in British politics and society may now be hard to overcome and that is not a very happy situation, to say the least. Of course, it's not just about Brexit, but a wider clash between different value systems involving, for example, 'nowheres' and 'somewheres', or between those who are social conservatives/economic interventionists and the more liberally inclined."

Read in full on Professor Grant's blog, Analysing British Politics.

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