"A big win for May could make it tempting to forget the truth that Britain remains split down the middle. That would be a mistake."by Tom Clark / May 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
There are times when the British way of doing politics feels not merely unreformed, but unreformable. Not so long ago there was a coalition, a novelty in this country, which talked of overhauling the voting system, democratising the Lords and fixing election dates so they ceased to be a prime ministerial plaything. The first change died the death quickly, in a forgotten referendum, the second more slowly, ensnared in Westminster’s arcane procedures. Now—with Theresa May’s snap election—the shift to fixed terms has also been exposed as an illusion. After the unexpected return to single-party government two years ago, the oldest rule in the constitutional book, that an administration in possession of a Commons majority can do as it pleases, is asserting itself anew amid an extraordinary renaissance by a Conservative tribe which is—as Geoffrey Wheatcroft explains—the most ancient and successful political party of the lot.