Theresa May’s political gamble has backfired in the most spectacular fashion — unsurprisingly
June 8 was supposed to be her day. May entered office with almost no official opposition, enjoyed the longest Tory honeymoon period in recent history, and had the backing of most MPs within her party.
On that thought, one simply cannot imagine her face as the first exit poll forecast came through on Thursday night.
She had the most seats, but her majority was not strengthened by 100+ as some predicted, it was gone.
In reality, the outcome of the election should have been a surprise to no one.
To put it kindly, May ran the most patronising, dislocated and uninspiring campaign. At the centre of this was her clear refusal to engage with the public.
Simply by repeating the words ‘strong and stable’ in a mechanical fashion, May thought she could scoop up former working-class UKIP (and populist-prone) voters.
She failed dismally to take in two major factors however: her own charmless character, and the youth vote.
The Tories offered nothing to young people.
Generally more Europhile in their views, May’s manifesto offered hostility with Europe and a neo-imperialist approach to trade.
Contrast this with the socialist rhetoric of the Corbyn campaign, and it is clear why over 70 per cent of young people came out to mark their ballots.
With this vote, May’s complacent pitch to stay in power was punctured.
With pre-campaign Corbyn being seen by many as the weakest Labour leader since Michael Foot, May has no one to blame but herself.
She thought, as many did, that regardless of how she behaved in the campaign, Corbyn would lose by a significant number.
Now May’s position is weaker than ever.
Corbyn has finally legitimised himself at the top of the Labour Party. He now has the backing not only of his MPs, but also the public. It is questionable too if even the cabinet supports May’s position, with a rumoured scheme in the work to oust her by Boris Johnson.
May should reflect on what can only be described as a dreadful and complacent attempt to stay in power. On this note, she should take full responsibility for what happened on June 8.