British prime minister Theresa May called a snap election after only 11 months as leader of the Conservative Party in a moment of what many will now call madness. May confidently gambled that she could in one fell swoop destroy what was left of the Labour Party, consolidate power in her party and head to the Brexit negotiations with Brussels with the overwhelming backing of her country. Instead, she fell flat on her face and wrecked not only her own political career, but the future of her party’s prospects of staying in power. The Conservatives did not win enough seats in parliament to form a government, and now can only do so by forming a coalition with the anti-gay, anti-women extremist Northern Irish DUP (The Democratic Unionist Party). The coalition is unlikely to hold and another general election is almost certainly on the horizon — and it does not bode well for the Tories.
Who was responsible for this almighty mess? Firstly, May ran an atrocious, arrogant and chaotic campaign that saw her reverse positions on key policy pledges, refuse to take part in televised debates, and fail to put forward any sort of inspiring vision for the country. Secondly, the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn did the unthinkable — he did the exact opposite of May with a disciplined, thoughtful and above all hopeful campaign that took him back from the brink of a leadership crisis to the strongest position in British politics today. Corbyn may have lost the election, but he won a moral victory that puts real left wing politics back into the mainstream and cuts to the heart of Britain’s neoliberal establishment. The media wrote him off, the political classes wrote him off, and even much of his own party wrote him off, but Corbyn went on unabated and pulled off one of the most spectacular comebacks in British political history.
The British government is now in absolute chaos and May has virtually no mandate to continue, let alone negotiate the terms for Brexit. She is a dead woman walking, and everyone around her knows it. Anger at her performance will create a leadership contest in the Tory party, and May’s days are running out fast.
“She has brought weakness and uncertainty. If she has an ounce of self-respect she will resign,” said Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats said today.
Jeremy Corbyn was equally as explicit about May’s prospects going forward. “Politics has changed,” he said in the wake of the result. “Politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before. What’s happened is people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics.”
“She wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go.”
Tick-tock, Mrs May. Tick-tock.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.