May's gamble didn't pay off

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Mays gamble didnt pay off
Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble to consolidate her power by calling an early election did not pay off well, says UK expats.

'The British public have decided that if they were given a party to choose from, they want all parties to work together that why no party has taken the majority.'

By Team KT

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Published: Fri 9 Jun 2017, 9:54 PM

Last updated: Sat 10 Jun 2017, 12:01 AM

British expats in the UAE have given a mixed bag of reactions about the recent UK polls, yet one voice was common - they all agreed that Prime Minister Theresa May's gamble to consolidate her power by calling an early election did not pay off well.
"May's decision to call an early election has surprisingly backfired, leaving UK with a hung parliament rather than an increased majority for the Conservative Party," said Richard Carter, head of Fixed Interest Research at Quilter Cheviot in Abu Dhabi.
"This raises all sorts of questions, not least over the future of May herself. It also raises significant doubts about the Brexit negotiations, which are due to start imminently," he added. "While most investors would have preferred a comfortable Conservative majority, there is a school of thought that a hung parliament may lead to a softer outcome in the Brexit talks.
"Whoever is the Prime Minister, whether May or someone else, will face a number of challenges, including how to negotiate Brexit against the backdrop of a hung parliament, especially while the economy is beginning to weaken amid the ongoing uncertainty and the squeeze on real incomes," he pointed out. 
Likening the election to a football faux pas, Dubai-based British expat Shaun Clark said: "It was a bit of an own goal by May. It was a terrible campaign, almost Hillary (Clinton) like. Unlike May, Corbyn ran a good campaign. He engaged people, especially students who ultimately fancied a change."
"But I don't think people think of outcomes," he added. "(People) just vote like it's a Twitter poll. Trump and Brexit proved that Corbyn even promised extra bank holidays."
Murray Brown, another expat from the UK, observed: "This election was one that few people seemed to want and was a gamble that has clearly backfired quite spectacularly for the Prime Minister. Her already complex Brexit negotiations will probably now be much more difficult." 
Ken Neil, a longtime Dubai resident, believes that the election "shows, firstly, that no leader was electable. Second, the range of issues makes it difficult to gauge a priority - from the economy to Brexit, immigration and Scottish independence, tuition fees, and dementia tax. So, no party really stood out as being able to cover what the majority of voters wanted."
Paul Driscoll, a British expat and filmmaker who has lived in the country for more than six years lauded the "strong showing" of the Labour Party at the polls. "I agree with most of the Labour Party's policies, in fact, I struggle to find things that I disagree with," he told Khaleej Times. Driscoll pointed out that "Labour Party's education and health care policies are important for the country and its people." 
Unfortunately, Driscoll tried to vote but found out it was too late for him to do so. "I tried to vote but I found out that I can only have a proxy vote because I am not in the UK," he said adding that majority of his family and friends in the UK voted for the Labour Party. 
"The Labour party is for the people, they are anti-establishment and want to cut tuition fees and make sure kids have free meals, whereas the Conservative Party are threatening pensions for the elderly, reducing welfare across the board and cutting corporation tax," he said with conviction. 
"The Conservatives also want to bring fox hunting, which is ridiculous," added Driscoll. "Newspapers in the UK are owned by the top, including the Daily Mail and The Sun, which is owned by Murdoch, so you'd find them bashing the Labour Party.
"Over the past 10 years the wages have been reducing, police numbers are reducing, health system haven't improved, a number of food banks for the poor have risen - so the rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer," Driscoll voiced out his concerns.
Strengthened representation
British-Pakistani expat Tamreez Inam hailed the increased diversity of new MPs. There will be a record 51 ethnic minority MPs in the new House of Commons. Of the 51 non-white MPs in the new parliament, 31 are from Labour Party; 19 are Conservatives, and one from the Liberal Democrats.
"Also interesting is that it is the Labour Party that has done the most to bring up this ratio," Inam told Khaleej Times. "The incoming parliament is a positive story about diversity," she added.
Aside from appreciating the increased diversity, Dubai-based British-Indian lawyer Khaled Shivji also lauded the increasing awareness and participation of the youth in UK politics. "More young people went out to vote and this means that the youth are now more engaged in politics," he said. 
He said that the hung parliament is not something unusual in British politics. "It is important to recognise that this is British democracy and this is what our parliamentary system allows for. Some people might be saying that it's a shock but this is what parliamentary system is - the British public have decided that if they were given a party to choose from, they want all parties to work together that why no party has taken the majority.
"The reason for the election was for Brexit. The PM wanted to increase the number of Conservative MPs but she failed because the Conservatives are one-issue party and they are not addressing the other issues," he added.
"A hung parliament is something that can happen and we have to respect the decision of the public and that means all parties have to work together for the interest of the British people and not just certain sectors," Shivji underlined.
(With reports from Angel Tesorero, Jasmine Al Kuttab and Bernd Debusmann Jr.)

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