Tory imperial pretension cannot conceal their damage and weakness, notes Lindsey German
Only in a country like Britain, with its archaic parliamentary system, it's grovelling to the monarchy and its increasingly supine press could Theresa May even begin to get away with her antics over EU interference in the election. And we should remember that this is the same argument she gave for calling the election - that her opponents were trying to thwart her.
Political opposition having been trashed in Britain, she now has moved on to the whole of the EU bureaucracy. Empress Theresa sees this election as a power grab and wants no one to get in her way.
It is beyond delusional for her to make this claim. What is she supposing that their aim is? What are they doing that they weren't doing before the election was called? It is obvious that Juncker, Tusk and the others really don't want a Labour government.
What they want is a cooperative Theresa May who cannot use the excuse of a small parliamentary majority to block negotiations, and an understanding - which they quite correctly surmise is lacking from the British government - of the complexity of the issues being dealt with. They fear that her inability to grasp these points will make life much harder for them.
May's ridiculous statement that she will be difficult with them and now her grandstanding outside Downing St suggest that she really doesn't understand what she's up against. Maybe she should talk to the Greeks who have suffered so much at the hands of these men in recent years. She shouldn't think they are frightened of Britain clinging to its last vestiges of empire like Gibraltar.
They are furious that Britain voted to leave and determined this will not lead to the break-up of their neoliberal organisation. They see growing anti-EU feeling in France, Italy and elsewhere and they are determined to avoid contagion. While Britain is a more major economy and political actor than Greece, it has few cards to play against the EU 27, and there is more than a little schadenfreude involved in wanting to get one over on May.
Her latest monomania makes the election even more important. She is making this pitch because she thinks it will play well with those like some of the former Ukip voters she is wooing, but it could equally misfire. If she fails to get a much bigger majority than now, she is in big trouble, let alone if she loses control of parliament.
She wants it to be seen as all about strength and stability, a coronation which would lead to a night of the long knives in her government, but which far more importantly would lead to a bonfire of workers' rights, of public services, and to worsening living standards. No thanks.
Going down a bomb
I know I'm anti-war but I really don't see the efficacy of the first Tory poster - you know the bomb and tax bombshell one. Leaving aside that the Tories plan tax rises and cuts in pensions, even people who are in favour of more military spending probably don't like reminding that 'defence' spending is about building and using bloody great bombs like the one on the poster. And I'm starting to feel that those who think Jeremy Corbyn is a pacifist duffel coat wearing weakling probably aren't going to vote for him anyway, so that's already factored into his ratings.
On the other hand, those who would rather Britain wasn't bombing a number of countries might even feel attracted to some of the ideas of Jeremy Corbyn. Especially when they figure this money could be spent on health or housing instead.
The first polls
Today there are local elections in many areas, including for metro mayors. I spoke with the Labour candidate at a very enthusiastic and lively meeting of Bristol Momentum. Her supporters think she will do well in the race and have been heartened by responses, especially of young people. Let's see how the votes go everywhere - and they will be a mixed bag. But my impression in Bristol is that the picture on the ground is not like the one we get from the media or the polls. And it's a dress rehearsal for 8 June.
Anyway, good luck to Lesley Mansell today
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
More articles from this author
- Tory policy: eat, drink, be merry because tomorrow… well you know the rest – weekly briefing
- The battle is on: and the left can’t win in Labour - weekly briefing
- The movement that can dump Trump – weekly briefing
- The good, the bad and the ugly – weekly briefing
- The looming danger of a US-China military confrontation
- Boris Johnson, statues and staying in the streets
- Black Lives Matter, the sixties and socialist organisation - video