The hubris of Theresa May

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Politics is a curious business, and foreign politics may be particularly so, but since this is an Anglo-American blog, I thought some reflections from the recent events in the UK might interest Neo’s readers.

The background is that 7 weeks ago the Prime Minister, Theresa May, having a 20 point lead in the opinion polls, decided to call a General Election. She had no need to, with a majority of 17 in the Commons, and another 3 years before law would require one. The media was agreed on only one thing, she would win a crushing victory, perhaps over 100 more seats, and the Labour Party, under the Bernie Sanders sound-alike, Jeremy Corbyn, would be crushed. She asked for a mandate and a majority, she got neither. In normal circumstances such a leader would go, and it seems as though her first instinct was to do just that, but as so often, she let her advisers overrule her. Since then her advisers have ‘resigned’ – it is said before members of the Cabinet insisted on their resignation. Having wanted a strong and stable government, she has given us a weak and wobbly one. In a few days negotiations over Britain’s leaving the EU will start, and we are no closer to knowing what sort of deal she wants. The only thing for certain is she is a weakened and diminished figure whose authority dwindles daily.

The only way she can now secure a majority for crucial legislation is via a deal with Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland. As Churchill put it in his memoirs of the Great War, writing about 1922:
“The whole map of Europe has been changed … but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”

As the English electorate frantically googled ‘DUP”, the shape of modern toleration was apparent. At least one bigot on Twitter compared them to ISIS, and seemed surprised when I did not want to engage; minds that closed and toxic are not places any sensible person would wish to probe. Objections to their opposition to abortion and homosexual marriage are voiced loudly, as though no decent human being could think such things; the notion that no decent person could approve of the killing of babies in the womb does not occur to those quick to judge others.

So where now? Corbyn offered a lot of ‘free stuff’ to the young, and the old, who, naturally, bought it, so to say; after all, if bankers can be bailed out by billions of pounds, why can’t the young and the old? After nearly a decade of ‘austerity’, ordinary people are fed up. They do not feel they caused the crisis of 2008, but they know they have paid for it. The young, especially those who have been to university, are saddled with debts which they do not feel the jobs on offer to them will allow them to pay off; they are the first in this post 1945 generation not to be able to look forward to a better standard of loving than their parents – and they are not in the mood to vote for those who offer them no hope.

The Conservatives took the electorate for granted. Confident to the point of arrogance, they thought that could offer an uncosted manifesto with some unpopular policies, and make up for that by personal attacks on Corbyn. To his credit, he did not respond in kind, and whilst his own manifesto was full of dubious economics, it at least looked as though there was a message of hope there. The electorate have punished the hubris of Theresa May, and one thing is for certain, she will never be allowed to lead her party into another General Election. Can she carry on? Well, as long as there is no obvious successor, she can survive, but the Tory party has always been good at poleaxing failed leaders and finding new ones, so it will not be long, I suspect.

Do not take the electorate for granted or for fools.

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About chalcedon451
Catholic, father, pilgrim

11 Responses to The hubris of Theresa May

  1. NEO says:

    I think, as was stated in my article the other day, this election, like Brexit, like Trump, like Macron, and like the Italian constitutional reform, had much about it of a further rejection of the establishment. I suspect if Labour had had a bit more of a centrist feel to it (competent wouldn’t hurt, either) it would have won. But it had and has Corbyn, and so lost. From what my correspondents say, there was much tactical voting, not all of it well advised, I think.

    The hysterical reaction on air to the DUP was amazing, that in a country in which a solid majority oppose abortion after 28 weeks, and is about evenly divided on it before, possibly changing earlier. But then if the mainline churches preached what we have always believed…

    Liked by 1 person

    • chalcedon451 says:

      All very true, Neo – Corbyn offered hope, however illusory, May offered robotic responses – not hard to see which way that was going to go

      Liked by 1 person

  2. NEO says:

    And before I forget, welcome to the blog. As some here know, Chalcedon is one of my best friends, and I’m quite proud to have him post here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • chalcedon451 says:

      Very happy to be here, Neo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        🙂

        Like

  3. the unit says:

    Opinion poll lead 20 points? Same polls predicting for Brexit result? And remainers lost by only a point or two? Soft Theresa! And add Soft Team Theresa to fall for that. Better investigate Russia…no Brussels. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • chalcedon451 says:

      If you ask the electorate ‘who governs?’ you shouldn’t be too shocked if they say ‘not you’ 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • the unit says:

        No I think I wouldn’t. After reading that Brexit was like only the second or so referendum the people ever voted on prior to the Parliament having already passed a law for what the Parliament wanted done. And that it doesn’t ever have to honor a referendums result. At least that’s the way I understood it.

        Like

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    Believing the polls. Some people don’t believe in God, but these same people have faith in the polls. Scientific, don’t you know?

    I was sort of appalled how this turned out. Not terribly surprised, but definitely appalled. Europe is so far down the road to Socialism it is getting difficult to hope it won’t soon collapse under the weight of the Muslim invasion. Socialists makes dependent gutless, people. Unless someone threatens to shoot them in the back, the only way to make them fight is to make them hate. In fact, I am beginning to wonder why the Muslims want Western Europe. At the rate things are going it will soon become ungovernable.

    I don’t really know as much about the British Parliament as I should, I suppose, but what is it that May wanted to do that she couldn’t do with the majority she already had? What was she asking for a mandate to do that she could not do anyway? Was the request for an election really just about an inflated ego? I can believe it. Politicians do have big egos, but I really would like to believe there was something she expected to gain.

    Like

    • chalcedon451 says:

      She wanted a larger majority to secure a better deal for leaving the EU – which she now won’t get.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Citizen Tom says:

        What is sad is that some Socialists will blow themselves up in order to get a Conservative. So it is predicable that leaving the sacred EU will now be more costly.

        Like

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