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Theresa May's Well-Deserved Defeat, and the UK's Uncertain Future

House of Parliament and British flag

For Irish-Americans, this is yet another Death of Little Nell moment. Theresa May's foolish gambit in calling a snap election in order to facilitate Britain's withdrawal from the EU has set in motion a chain of events that could well lead to the dissolution of the "United Kingdom" and the devolution of the Celtic countries -- Scotland, all of Ireland, and perhaps Wales and Cornwall as well -- from the British crown.

The prime minister's decision to try to form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party of "Northern Ireland" and the Tories' unexpected boost from the Scottish National Party (which saved them from utter defeat) will ultimately spell doom for the Great Britain the world has known since the Republic of Ireland declared its independence from the Crown in 1916 and won it by force of arms in 1921.

At City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) has some observations on the disaster:

Theresa May has proved an apt pupil of the David Cameron school of political incompetence. Lacking principle, she is not even good at being unprincipled: a Machiavellian, it turns out, minus the cunning.

It did not help that she had the charisma of a carrot and the sparkle of a spade. As she presented herself to the public, no one would have wanted her as a dinner guest, except under the deepest social obligation. Technically, she won the election, in the sense that she received more votes than anyone else, but few voted for her with enthusiasm rather than from fear of the alternative. Her disastrous campaign included repeated genuflections in the direction of social democracy. Even after her defeat, moral if not quite literal, she burbled about a society in which no one was left behind—never mind that it would entail a society in which no one would be out in front, that is to say, a society resting in the stagnant pool of its own mediocrity.

Unfortunately, egalitarianism is a little like Islam in that, just as a moderate Muslim can always be outflanked by someone more Islamic than he, so an egalitarian can usually be outflanked by someone more egalitarian than he: and in the contest between the Conservatives and the Labour Party, no one will ever believe that the Conservatives are more devoted to equality of outcome than the Labour Party. May therefore chose her battleground with a perfect eye for defeat.

And defeat she got. Yet another childless leader of an increasingly barren European country, May -- whose prime ministership was an accident of Cameron's defeat in the Brexit referendum (she's the Gerald Ford of England) -- is scrambling to save her current mailing address at 10 Downing Street by allying with the Democratic Unionist Party in Belfast.