Election 2019: Nemesis and Hubris

Previously on this blog, I’ve claimed that general elections are a wonderful antidote to politicians’ pride. The Greeks considered the goddess Nemesis as the punisher of all those succumbing to Hubris- foolish pride; for many MPs and party hacks, December 2019 was their hot date with the vengeful deity.

The Liberal Democrats’ open repudiation of the 2016 EU referendum result backfired. Their leader, who only last month was proclaiming herself as the next Prime Minister, lost her seat, as did 9 of her 20 colleagues. Their fawning over Greta Thunberg, frenzied warnings over climate emergencies and patronising rebukes to Leave voters did them no favours. Jo’s hubris met Jo’s Nemesis.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party received a real thrashing with once Red strongholds voting Blue. I was the Conservative election agent for Burnley in 2010, and we were reasonably happy coming third with an increase in the vote share. That such a town should return a Tory MP for the first time in 109 years is remarkable indeed. Labour’s dithering and confusion over Brexit, the whiff of antisemitism and the feeling that it was offering too many free things with the next generation’s taxes, turned off many loyal voters. Its leader’s cult following among the young and trendy with their proficiency on social media did not cut ice with the hard-working northerners upon whose votes that party could normally rely. The London-centric media luvies, the purple-haired feminists, the woke liberals and posh hipster ‘revolutionaries’ were incapable of seeing that their ambitions were not the same as many blue-collar families. Those who almost literally worshipped Mr Corbyn met their Nemesis last week when he failed a second time to secure election victory.

Those MPs who defied their electorates and left the big two parties, such as Anna Soubry, Mike Gapes and Chuka Umunna (a man I once tipped as a future PM) all lost their seats to the parties from which they had defected. They assumed their large majorities were reflections of their personal popularity. In fact, the people were voting for the party brands, not for them. Much as I respect their right to change their minds, their hypocrisy in not calling by-elections has been well served. Their vacated seats are now filled by people more loyal to the party ticket on which they were elected; these mercurial characters can seek employment elsewhere. Nemesis.

So what of King Boris, soon to be crowned Head of Government with a stonking majority to pass through his every wish? Max Hastings, a sensible former Daily Telegraph editor, wrote in the Guardian some months ago that ‘he is unfit for national office, because it seems he cares for no interest save his own fame and gratification.’ His stinging tirade goes on: ‘Like many showy personalities, he is of weak character… We can scarcely strip the emperor’s clothes from a man who has built a career, or at least a lurid love life, out of strutting without them.’ All rather damning from someone on his own side who knows him well. I’ll be honest, I’m not displeased with last week’s election result. But if you think the Tories are exalted while all other parties are humbled, bide your time. The man who was a serial adulterer may not prove much more faithful to the many people who have lent him their vote. Nemesis delayed is not Nemesis deterred. 

He hath put down the mighty from their seats. Luke 1:52a

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