The Conservatives’ ship may be sinking faster than expected, but we should be anything but complacent, writes Kara Bryan
The Prime Minister is ‘a dead woman walking’, according to former chancellor George Osborne. The Tory’s ship is sinking fast amid rumours of a cabinet plot to unseat Theresa May after a disastrous election result.
Blind ambition and a colossal miscalculation of judgement to get her own mandate and increase Cameron’s majority in the House of Commons, has ended in abject humiliation for Theresa May. A deplorable election campaign underpinned by an uncosted and callous manifesto cost the Conservatives 13 seats.
The Prime Minister’s gamble to give herself a mandate for Brexit negotiations has spectacularly back-fired, and her poor judgement will not be easily forgiven by the electorate, nor by her colleagues. May’s apologies will be of little comfort to MPs who lost their seats as a result of her narcissism, or to their colleagues who are now encircling the Prime Minister and baying for her blood like a pack of starved hyenas.
Who better to step forward than former chancellor and disgruntled former colleague George Osborne to lead the pack. Unceremoniously sacked by the Prime Minister when she took office, Osborne has a score to settle, and his timing was flawless.
Osborne gleefully told Andrew Marr on Sunday she was a ‘dead woman walking’ and that it was just a question of ‘how long she stays on death row.’ His comments were backed up by Tory backbencher Anna Soubry, who agreed that May’s position was ‘untenable.’.
May fought a lacklustre and dirty campaign in league with the right wing press resorting to personal attacks and relying heavily on the media’s smear campaign against Corbyn, specifically the accusation made by the Daily Mail that Corbyn was a terrorist sympathiser. The irony, of course, being that Theresa May having shot herself in the foot (or was it the head?) is now attempting to get into bed with the DUP who have links to loyalist paramilitary groups.
By contrast, Corbyn fought a formidable, clean campaign, tenaciously travelling the length and breadth of the country, inspiring audiences and engaging both young and old. Meanwhile, Theresa May repeatedly avoided public debate, refused to engage with ordinary working class people and lost almost every seat she visited on the campaign trail.
Corbyn was positively jubilant on the Andrew Marr show, vindicated by the election results, having gained 30 seats, 150,000 new Labour members since the election just days ago and with the Labour Party now polling at 45%, 6 points ahead of the Tories. Even Osborne conceded that Corbyn emerged as the victor while May, who has supposedly won the election, has been demonstrably absent.
While his critics were clamouring to explain how they got it so wrong, Corbyn deflected Marr’s somewhat unusually muted attacks effortlessly, in a scene reminscent of Neo in the Matrix upon realising he is ‘the One,’ confidently warning another general election was imminent and that Labour were ready.
Meanwhile a Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday revealed that 49% of the public want May to resign and the Conservatives’ woes have descended into farce as they have been forced to retract a premature statement claiming that a deal has been agreed with the DUP.
The DUP, evidently irritated that the Tories had attempted to publiclyensnare them before an agreement could be reached, and no doubt cautious after witnessing the fate of the Lib Dems after their coalition with the Tories resulted in their near annihilation and the loss of a staggering 49 seats, issued their own statement effectively denying any such deal was struck.
May has faced a huge backlash for trying to broker a deal with the DUP in order to maintain her grip on the keys to Number 10, and understandably so. Entertaining the notion of a coalition with the DUP, given their links to paramilitary loyalist terrorism, hasrightly caused alarm and not least for potentially jeopardising the Good Friday Agreement to further her own personal ambitions.
Tory grandee Lord Heseltine joined in the condemnation of May in a series interviews insisting that she will not survive the disastrous election result and neither will the Conservative Party.
Heseltine was critical of the DUP’s policies and said that would likely apply to a number of members of the Conservative Party and said that the Conservatives must face the reality that the notion of sustaining a government with the DUP was ‘delusional’ and admitted he was frightened that Jeremy Corbyn was ‘just within a few seats of Number 10.’
Nicky Morgan has re-iterated the same sentiments elsewhere, that May could not lead the party into another election as the beleaguered Prime Minister has been forced to sack her two most trusted aides, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy in a futile attempt to save her own skin. It is rumoured that Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservatives back bench 1922 Committee, has personally insisted on their scalps to prevent an immediate leadership challenge.
The Conservative Party is imploding with various Tories publicly distancing themselves from their feckless leader like rats deserting a sinking ship. May’s days are certainly numbered. Boris Johnson has denied any intention of a leadership challenge, and if its been officially denied, then its probably true. These are desperate times for the Conservatives, and with the future possibility of Bumbling Boris Johnson at the helm, the ship may be sinking faster than expected.
But we should be anything but complacent. There is still a long fight ahead before we can bask in a socialist Utopia. If Jeremy Corbyn is right and a new general election is called, then it goes without saying that a new campaign will have to be fought.
Those Labour MPs who worked relentlessly to discredit Jeremy Corbyn and who ultimately cost us this election, will now insist on ‘unity’, meaning they will push for a shift back to centrist policies in order to capture Tory votes.
The BBC’s Andrew Neil asks, ‘Does it not take a stupidity bordering on genius to turn a 20- point lead into a hung parliament?’ No. It takes a broad movement of ordinary people who stood together and said ‘enough.’ There is little doubt that it was Jeremy Corbyn himself, the socialist Labour manifesto and the broader movements of ordinary people working tirelessly together that have brought us this far. But the fight for Number 10 is only just beginning.
Kara Bryan is a writer and activist and regular contributor to the Counterfire website. She is currently studying broadcast journalism at the University of the West of England and is a member of Counterfire and Stop the War
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