Cynical gamble failed

 

She’s Brenda from Bristol. She became an internet sensation thanks to British Prime Minister Theresa May. “You’re joking, not another one,” she told a BBC TV reporter when asked her reaction on 18 April to the snap election. “There’s too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?”

She didn’t. She had a majority of 17. British voters voted to leave the EU less than a year ago. It was a win for the older generation who yearned for a return to the 1950s. But the decision made, people expected the government to get on with leaving Europe.

Calling the election three years early was nothing to do with providing “strong and stable” government and getting a mandate for a strong Brexit. It was everything to do with taking advantage of the opinion polls. May’s cynical gamble gave politically disillusioned voters another reason for their anger.

The opinion polls showed Tory support was maintained up to a few days before the only poll that matters. The Labour Party was in disarray. Jeremy Corbyn was unpopular. The party’s move to the left was considered a vote loser. The Tories hoped it would be 1983 all over again when Labour was led by left-winger Michael Foot. The Tories won an extra 47 seats, giving it a majority of 145.

In 2017, the Tories lost 13 seats, leaving it eight short of a majority. Labour won an extra 30 seats giving it 262. May’s government is looking anything but “strong and stable”. Not so Labour. The party is stronger because of the election and more stable because Corbyn’s critics will be silenced. The critics include former Labour cabinet ministers David Miliband and Ed Balls, and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. One of their main complaints was Labour could not win with Corbyn as leader.

Well, he didn’t win the election but he has proven he is not a vote loser. A swing of 9.5 per cent is significant. And the Labour vote with him as leader was more than in 2015 and 2005 when Ed Miliband and Tony Blair, respectively, were the leaders.

May has created instability within her party and is weak. She hasn’t got the strong hand she wanted to negotiate Britain’s departure from the EU. This time, young people made their voice heard. The turnout for 18- to 24-year-olds was 66.4 percent, up from 43 percent two years ago. And most of them voted Labour.

Theresa May’s cynical gamble has irreparably damaged her. She won’t last in the job.

We don’t know what Brenda thinks of the result. She wasn’t talking to reporters when they called.

BRENDA

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