OPINION: What chance strong and stable now?

A coalition of chaos '“ the one the Conservatives and DUP are trying to cobble together.

Thursday, 15th June 2017, 2:27 pm
Updated Friday, 16th June 2017, 11:18 am
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street for her meeting with the 1922 committee at the House of Commons on Monday. Picture by John Stillwell/PA Wire

The election turned out to have been a bad call by Theresa May. There was a late surge towards Labour from younger voters and she did not get the predicted landslide.

David Cameron also made a bad call with the EU referendum and ended up resigning. Now there is talk that Theresa May will also have to go. As Oscar Wilde almost said: “To lose one Prime Minister may be regarded as misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.”

Polling organisations should also take a share of the blame as Mrs May no doubt got carried away with the double digit Tory lead that was being reported.

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Someone made the catastrophic mistake of turning the election into a presidential campaign – May vs Corbyn. It might have worked if Mrs May had been as quick, deft, articulate and charismatic as David Cameron and had possessed the political savvy of Tony Blair, but she wasn’t and she didn’t. She avoided debates, failed to answer questions and did not engage or empathise with her audiences. There was no warmth, more a whiff of arrogance and complacency.

The other catastrophic mistake was to include the uncapped ‘Dementia Tax’ in the manifesto. If you know you are not going to appeal to the 18 to 24-year-olds why would you attack your previously rock solid core supporters?

The Conservative Party now seems in chaos – afraid to keep her, afraid to let her go, trying to hold onto power in alliance with the DUP, a party out of step with the rest of the UK on abortion, same sex marriage and LGBT rights.

During the campaign we also had the horrors of the Manchester and London terrorist attacks. Mrs May handled them well, but they did not appear to influence the result.

And what of Labour, led by a man previously disowned by a significant number of his own MPs, but propelled by the far-left Momentum movement, the so-called liberal elite, and the ‘youth vote’?

Corbyn and his inner circle produced a version of the 1983 Labour manifesto, promising to tax the rich, hammer the corporates, give power back to the unions, abolish tuition fees and nationalise the utilities.

Labour has done some great things – social housing, public parks, free school meals, the minimum wage, paid leave, national insurance, unemployment benefits, equal pay, the creation of the NHS and the “cradle to the grave” welfare state.

Apart from Clement Atlee, its greatest success began in 1997 under Tony Blair, now derided by the ‘Corbynistas’, who won a 179-seat majority by moving away from far left policies to a more centrist position. He went on to win two more terms. Jeremy Corbyn appears to be moving back to the 1980s.

Jeremy Corbyn – grammar school educated, union activist, anti-war, anti-NATO, anti-Trident, anti-military intervention. He has voted against all previous anti-terror legislation and supports a united Ireland.

We have now reached a position where the winning party appears to have lost and the losing party appears to have won. By losing her high stakes gamble Mrs May has sacrificed her credibility, and that will bring great uncertainty to everything she does, including Brexit.

What happens if we have to endure a second election? How would the Tories appeal to the youth vote? Conversely, how does Jeremy Corbyn get a further 65-70 seats to secure an overall majority?

We face a period of great uncertainty and we really do need strong and stable leadership from someone, but whom? Boris? Jeremy? Interesting times indeed.