THE BLOG

May's Humiliation Is Well-Deserved

12/06/2017 12:45
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She needed bringing down a peg or two didn't she? She thought it would be a landslide, a cakewalk, a slam-dunk. She was so confident of her chances that the Tory manifesto included an attack on its own core vote. When the predictable outrage ensued she buckled, visibly. Whilst Corbyn addressed massive, enthused crowds she spoke in small, sanitised venues of party loyalists, bleating her tired 'strong and stable' mantra. Her lead in the polls quickly evaporated. She had taken the electorate for granted.

Additionally, she had greatly underestimated her main opponent. If last Thursday's results are proof of anything it's that contrary to the claims of so many, Jeremy Corbyn isn't destroying the Labour Party. Imagine how the final result could have looked if, for the last couple of years, he'd enjoyed the support of the PLP. If they had only respected his democratic mandate and rallied around him from the beginning it could have made all the difference in some of the key marginals. Sadly, they couldn't and didn't, even mounting a leadership challenge in which thousands of Corbyn supporters were purged for the most trifling of offences - my own was ''inappropriate comments made on twitter''. Yet none of it worked. Corbyn triumphed regardless of their attempts, and now they have no option but to admit his competence as a leader, albeit through gritted teeth.

So whilst Corbyn is set to continue, defying all expectations from the espousers of conventional wisdom, it is Theresa May whose days are numbered. Her gamble was ill-conceived, her campaign abysmally fought. Her Tory colleagues reportedly hate her. The ''coalition of chaos'' to which Labour would allegedly preside over has materialised in a very different form, namely a Conservative/DUP coalition. Her own words have come back to haunt her. More importantly, a coalition with the DUP has serious implications for the Good Friday agreement. It's a precarious course of action to embark upon, to say the least. Some might say she's putting her interests before those of the country.

Similarly precarious is May's position in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. The significance of having lost her parliamentary majority is self-evident. If she remains Prime Minister long enough to reach the beginning of the negotiations she's in no position to claim, as she had hoped, that Britain is full square behind her. It isn't. Her 'strong and stable' leadership will be anything but. She'll be arriving with proverbial egg all over her face, having handed Brussels a massive victory before negotiations have even started. Her bargaining position has been considerably weakened, and Jean-Claude Juncker (to whom she promised to be a ''bloody difficult woman'') will find recent events to be rather to his advantage.

It seems impossible to imagine that after having presided over such a woeful performance, there isn't a Tory out there plotting May's removal. There will be an attempt on its way - it's only a matter of when. Her leadership could yet survive for the short term by dint of the fact that nobody cares for any of the alternatives. The most likely candidates for the job consist of Johnson, Rudd, Davis, and Davidson. None of them, with the possible exception of Davidson, are remotely popular with the general public. The idea of it being Liam Fox or Michael Gove is even more far-fetched. Thanks to May's gamble they are a party which is effectively leaderless - a party in crisis.

The Tories have enjoyed almost two years of Labour infighting, pointing at the fractures in the party as evidence that it's unfit to govern. Labour would be well-advised to sit back and watch the same unfold in reverse. It can now unite - however begrudgingly in some cases - behind Corbyn's leadership. They've won hearts and minds. They've won seats. They can convince remaining doubters that another way isn't only possible but greatly desirable. The Tory lie that living ''within our means'' requires massive privatisation and the axing of public services can be exposed for the ideology-driven asset stripping it really is.

Hope and change this way come'th, and they're Corbyn-shaped.

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