With its ox-like head, the mane of a horse and buffalo horns, the gnu is an animal which looks like a combination of many others. GNU is also the acronym for a government of national unity, a combination of different political parties, which is what the UK most needs at present and might just end up with.
Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister, to the uninitiated) George Osborne – now a newspaper editor – described his erstwhile colleague and now Prime Minister Theresa May as ‘a dead woman walking’ after her failure to win a majority in the June 8 general election. Since then, her clumsy reaction to the recent fatal fire in a London tower block has enhanced the view in her Conservative Party that May is simply not up to the job. But the Conservatives have no successor around whom their fractious MPs could unite; and nobody wants another General Election, least of all the voters. Meanwhile the leader of the official opposition, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, is seen by very few (even within his own party) as a prime minister in waiting. The Conservatives are trying to do a deal with the difficult Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland to keep them in power, but this is throwing up other, peace process-related, problems.
In the midst of all this, the UK must begin divorce talks with the EU which will determine the country’s future standard of living.
There is no longer a majority in Parliament for an acrimonious divorce. But there is clearly a cross-party majority for a settlement negotiated calmly and on the basis of mutual respect. Moreover, an increasingly worried nation, with the wealth-creators leading the charge, is urging it on the political class.
Step forward the GNU, a Government of National Unity. Put together to secure the best deal for the UK short of the status quo which the voters rejected. Uniting moderates from each party in a common cause and commanding credibility at home and abroad.
It has never been done before in peacetime. That is no reason why it should not be done now. It is probably the most logical outcome of the UK’s election.