The UK election – winners and losers


Sir, – It has certainly come to something when columnists are queuing up to tell us how “democracy may be the real loser” because people are about to vote in an election, but that’s where we are now, apparently (“British democracy may be the real loser in Westminster election”, Opinion & Analysis, November 14th). You might have thought that an election was what democracy was all about but you wouldn’t have been paying attention.

And so, Bobby McDonagh reheats a few old Fintan O’Toole leftovers in the microwave and pokes at the entrails with a plastic fork to tell us what it all means. The result is a bit of Brexit bingo. All the old favourites turn up; xenophobia, Trump, Putin, Russia.

He then reminds us of the poignant Wellington quote, “The next worst thing to great defeat is a great victory”, and you can almost hear the cannon fire.

“But how do you define winning?”, Bobby McDonagh asks cryptically, in the next breath. I always thought winning meant getting a higher score than the other team but I was seriously misinformed – as this circuitous article makes clear.

Because that vainglorious bumbling fool Boris Johnson may claim to have “won” the election if his party receives more votes than the opposition and a Conservative majority is returned – he will in actual fact have “lost” because that means Brexit might happen.

Simple folk may have thought that an election was merely a matter of recording which party’s message was more popular at the ballot box but, apparently, when there’s a sniff of Brexit in the air, this is no longer the case.

I’ve noticed a few of these “even if Johnson wins, he’ll actually have lost because I don’t particularly like him and still won’t” articles popping up since the election campaign kicked off. No doubt we can look forward to many more such compositions over the next month.

And since a glance at the votes no longer informs us who has “won” an election, perhaps your columnist would be good enough to inform us who has “really” won the UK election in the days after the event has unfolded, so we can be clear? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.