May's time is up. Let's push her out
Theresa May asked Jeremy Corbyn for help to put through her plans for Brexit and to push through legislation. The irony of the situation can only be savoured fully by recalling her words just three months ago when she announced the snap general election.
At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together but Westminster is not.
Our opponents believe because the government’s majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong.
So I have a simple challenge to the opposition parties. You have criticised the government’s vision for Brexit, you have challenged our objectives, you have threatened to block the legislation we put before parliament. This is your moment to show you mean it, to show you are not opposing the government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.
She had accused Jeremy Corbyn of doing his job as Leader of the Opposition too well, and therefore she needed to hold a general election where she would secure the mandate needed to push through her plans for a “red, white and blue” Brexit.
Now, a month after the General election which stripped her of her majority entirely: she’s bribed the DUP with £1.5bn to help keep her in power; had a Queen’s Speech which in the words of Angela Rayner MP “could have been written on the back of a post-it note”; almost entirely abandoned the manifesto she went into the election with; u-turned on everything from fox hunting to grammar schools, and now she’s asking Jeremy Corbyn to help her.
Weak and Wobbly
Theresa May has been able to secure forming a minority government because of her deal with the DUP, but she doesn’t have the mandate nor the numbers to push through any kind of programme. It took only 9 Tory MPs to reject her decision to pull out of Euratom to be described as a rebellion that could make her U-turn on the decision. That’s why she’s had to ditch the majority of her manifesto, which has also been deleted from the Conservative website.
Commentators that dubbed Theresa May “The Queen of U-Turns” before the election had no idea how far she would take this title after it. The fact is that governing is now untenable for the Tories, which also means the Brexit negotiations that were already looking to be a shambles before the election was called, are now in complete disarray.
The Prime Minister’s desperate cry for help comes after she met leaders of the G20 at a Summit over the weekend. This, plus her cosying up to Trump and his announcement that he will be coming to London “soon” to discuss a trade deal, show that as far as the European leaders are concerned, her cards are already on the table and her hand is rubbish.
The Labour Right
Chuka Umunna, being the brilliant political strategist that he is, coincided the government’s desperation by announcing a cross-party Parliamentary group opposing a hard Brexit. With all the credibility he’s built up from his attacks against Corbyn and his pointless amendment to the Queen’s Speech that went against the Labour Party, the natural next step for him is to give Theresa May exactly what she wants.
Jeremy Corbyn has placed himself on a permanent election footing and has already begun touring the country’s marginal seats in anticipation of a second general election in the very near future. The way to push the government into another election and win it is not by siding with the Tories and helping to make their plans workable. It is to point out just how weak they are, how useless they are as a government, why their vision is bad for the country and why we need to get them out. The leadership of the Labour Party are doing this – as we saw with Corbyn’s rejection of May’s plea, instead, telling her to call for another election because her government has “run out of steam”. Chuka Umunna is doing Chuka Umunna.
And for anyone still stuck in the bubble of a “progressive alliance”, the Lib Dems responded to Theresa May’s announcement today by saying that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t “contributing, he is cheerleading”. The same Lib Dems that a week ago said they would support the Tories on a case by case basis and during the Queen’s Speech abstained from Labour’s amendment calling for an end to austerity.
We need to bring the government down
Theresa May and her platform were decisively rejected in the general election last month. Her government since has been u-turn after u-turn and doing everything she can to stay in power. The Tories are utterly weak, and latest polls show that Labour now has an 8 point lead on them. Theresa May’s every move is now to try and delay her own removal as leader of the Conservatives, which is looking more imminent every day. Her cry for help will have done worse than nothing in building her credibility as a leader with her party and with the country.
Now’s not the time sit back and wait until the Tories eventually fail past the point of no return. It is not the time to look at ways to support her government to function. It’s also not the time to get waist-deep in Labour party bureaucracy and futile attempts at unity with the Labour right, whose break from attacking Corbyn and socialism is only momentary.
It is the time to organise, to make the arguments from now that will shape the debate in the next election when it happens, and to pile on the pressure on the Tories so thick that they have no choice but to give up. We have the power to do that, we’ve seen it. So let’s get out there and bring the Tories down.
Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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