Theresa May is no Churchill, but then Churchill was no Atlee.

Grenfell Tower Fire is being compared politically to Hurricane Katrina, with Theresa May as George Bush and her refusal to meet survivors compared to Bush’s flyover of New Orleans. The Conservatives were already in severe trouble, this could make it infinitely worse. They have to dump May as soon as possible and replace her with someone her complete opposite temperamentally. Alas, Churchills do not grow on trees. And even if one could be plucked from a tree, we sometimes forget how Churchill’s government was itself defeated in a landslide by Clement Atlee’s Labour Party in 1945, before the war was even over. Fortunately for the Conservatives, Corbyn is no Atlee. Atlee had viable ideas. Corbyn’s are mostly pie in the sky. It’s hard to imagine Corbyn repeating Atlee’s success, but it is possible to imagine today’s Conservative Party being viewed by most English voters as being as out of touch as Churchill was once the war with Nazi Germany was won. Which makes Grenfell Tower such a minefield for Theresa May and her party. A minefield no one knew was even there and that suddenly she finds herself in the middle of. Any misstep could have calamitous consequences and she already made one when she refused to meet with survivors–many of them mideastern, many from Syria–due to “security concerns”. Very Trumpian, that. The nonegenarian queen had no such fears and was down there today commiserating with victims. When the queen shows greater love for her subjects than the prime minister and her party have, things can only get worse. Meanwhile, May says her main focus is on Brexit…. which someone in her own party said will be the Conservative’s Paschendaele. We have no metaphor in the US like Paschendaele, the nightmarish quagmire in Flanders fields where poppies blow between the crosses row on row. We never had that sort of war. But it means that the Conservatives expect the Brexit negotiations and the battle over them in Parliament to be politically costly and brutal and leave the Conservative Party a husk of what was there only a few months ago. And that statement was made before the Grenville Tower fire. The Conservatives might find Grenfell an albatross, if not a burning tire, around their necks. The Conservative Party hangs onto power by a thread (with the help of the archconservative and racist anti-Irish Catholic allies from Ulster). Should they somehow lose the loyalty of a few members of parliament–how I do not know, but let’s pretend–and Corbyn assemble a majority coalition and become prime minister, I believe he would then have the right to call a snap election. And given the current political climate, and it only gets more so now after Grenfell, Labour would almost be assured a decisive win and everything would change. Everything. It’d be like July 1945 all over again, when Clement Atlee created the modern welfare state, as dramatically as FDR created the New Deal. Bernie Sanders would be a prophet, he was just in the wrong country.


Grenfell Tower stands like a monument to an upper class that just doesn’t care.

Fighting them on the beaches

Wow…the UK Labour Party–the flagship of all labor parties and the first to experiment in large scale democratic socialism–is at its nadir and might just be self-destructing entirely as a political party capable of being in power. Jeremy Corbyn, the light of the Left on social media at his ascent in what seems like only yesterday–has proven to be one of the worst leaders in the long and storied history of the Labour Party. Amazing that you can have simultaneous power vacuums in both the Tories and the loyal opposition. Both right wing populism and democratic socialism have disgraced themselves these past few months in the United Kingdom. Let’s see what emerges out of this. An independent Scotland, for one thing. But also probably a moderate Conservative Party and the annoying UK Independence Party on its right reduced to nothingness after all its Brexit lies, and a truncated Labour Party that kisses its far left goodbye. Everyone heading back to the safety of the moderate center. Dull, true, but maybe they can straighten things out. This chaos before the storm of revolution from either end of the British political spectrum is just too scary anymore. Brexit is probably more the result of stunning British political incompetence than anything else. Then again, the Brits do this periodically, muddling through and mucking up until things get so bad–think 1940–that a Churchill has to be dug up. Indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne delivered up a thoroughly Churchillian we shall fight them on the beaches speech today:

“It will not be plain sailing in the days ahead.
But let me be clear. You should not underestimate our resolve.
We were prepared for the unexpected.
We are equipped for whatever happens.”
As if Brexit were a new Dunkirk, and England, once again denuded of defenses, stood alone against, well, England.

The British unexpectedly exiting Europe in 1940.