The British local elections results.

It isn’t often that the results of British local elections have implications for Ireland. But this year was an exception. If Mrs May and her Tories had done badly then everyone would have said that Britain was heading for a soft and easily managed Brexit. But in fact she did quite well, although not among minority voters. Certainly the Tories lost seats and control of some councils. However overall their result was much better than anyone expected.                                                                                                                      More specifically from the Irish point of view Leave voters outside of London seem to have been determined to reiterate their support for Brexit. The French conservative news magazine Le Point puts it this way: “Today the Prime Minister has extracted benefits from her brutal but clear slogan: “Brexit is Brexit.”  The Tories did well in pro Leave areas. According to Sir John Curtice, the polling expert, these Leave voters will expect Mrs May to get Britain out of Europe, and not just in name only. The hand of the pro- Brexit Tories has to some extent been strengthened. This means that the negotiations over the Irish border will be all the more challenging. A deep responsibility therefore devolves on all the parties involved in those discussions to find a satisfactory answer to the difficult conundrums involved on the border. Adjusting the differences between British and Irish nationalism has never been more important or more demanding. Both sides are going to have to compromise. Mr. Barnier, Mrs May, and Mr. Varadkar are really going to have to start earning their salaries!

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