David Sedgwick asks whether the general election might have been the brain-child of Tory Europhiles hoping to weaken the government’s Brexit position rather than strengthen it.
Since the day she obsequiously sported her infamous hijab on a visit to Tipton’s Central Jamia Mosque in 2013, I’ve had grave reservations about Theresa May MP. She has struck me ever since as a charlatan, the sort of politician who, devoid of conviction, is entirely malleable, liable to twist and turn in whichever direction the political wind happens to be blowing. Her actions that day spoke volumes about her character or more precisely lack of.
Recall also her guarded approach to the EU referendum in which she prevaricated until the last moment, declaring for the Remain side only when it seemed the Europhiles would prevail. Conviction politician she most certainly is not.
When she stood outside 10 Downing Street having emerged as the Tory party leader it was very telling to see her reel off a speech about inequality in Britain. Close your eyes for a moment and it could have been Yvette Cooper or Diane Abbott up there delivering a speech straight from the textbook of left-wing causes. Pandering, you could call it.
Rather worryingly it become apparent that above all else, like her predecessor David Cameron, Mrs May craved the approval of the Liberal-left media. As inaugural speeches go, it was a spectacular miscalculation; on the one hand it spooked traditional Tory voters raised on an ethos of hard work and self-sufficiency, while on the other hand to hardened socialists it merely smacked of disingenuity: once a Tory always a Tory.
In attempting to please everybody, May was in fact pleasing nobody. If alarm bells weren’t ringing at conservative central office, they ought to have been. And then there was the small matter of her record in office.
In six years as Home Secretary promises to limit migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ had proved to be just that – promises. Although she was undeniably compromised by EU free movement, had the conviction been there she could easily have halted the pattern of mass migration from Africa and Asia started by Blair’s Labour party. But she didn’t.
Getting to grips with that particular problem would have meant upsetting the relatively small but disproportionately vociferous band of metropolitan media and political elitists – Liberal-lefties to a man – who call the shots in Westminster. Theresa did not want any of that.
Indeed, her response to the recent terror attacks summed up this weak and vacillating women rather well. The government were not going to clamp down hard on the hate preachers who spread their messages within the safety of the UK’s Mosques. Mrs May was going to clamp down on the … Internet!
Yes, the prime minister’s ‘answer’ was not to attack terrorists and the communities who shelter and give succour to them, but rather to attack free speech – exactly what the globalist Liberal media are desperate to achieve. May simply kicked the problem back into the long grass, a response that was as cowardly as it was inadequate.
Looking back, it seems the Tories chose their leader well. Make no mistake, virtually the entire political class wish to thwart Brexit – May included. Had Michael Gove or Andrea Leadsom won the leadership battle, a snap general election would have been the last thing on their minds. On the contrary they would be getting on with the task in hand, freeing the UK from the clutches of the European super-state.
May however was installed precisely to do the opposite – to undermine Brexit.
Why else would you risk everything on a snap general election there was absolutely no reason to call? Heck, there wasn’t even any pressure from the opposition and there certainly wasn’t any appetite with the voting public who it seems have accepted the result of last year’s referendum and whose focus has shifted to obtaining a good deal for the UK. So why…?
Might this election have been the brain-child of Tory Europhiles hoping not to strengthen but rather to weaken the government’s Brexit position? Just six weeks ago the Conservatives supposedly enjoyed a 20-point lead in the opinion polls over Labour. Just a few weeks later that lead has evaporated. The Tories have actually lost seats! The question arises: did such a lead ever really exist? Certainly, a second term government enjoying such popularity would be virtually unprecedented in the history of politics.
Was May suckered then into believing a few ‘friendly’ polls and thereafter ‘advised’ not only to call an election but to concoct what was quite possibly the worst manifesto in the history of British politics? Possibly. Perhaps she is ‘taking one for the team.’ Difficult to say: Whether as Brexit spoiler or just as a demonstration of horrendous political judge – either way it doesn’t look good for Mrs May.
And then there was the conservative ‘campaign’ itself – a masterclass of amateurism and buffoonery. It was almost as if … they were purposely trying to screw this up: fox hunting, dementia tax, free school meals – policies that targeted animals, the elderly and children. If they were trying to alienate a sizeable part of the population the Tories were doing a damned fine job.
Every time the PM repeated her ’strong and stable’ meme I shuddered. Not only was it just a piece of empty rhetoric – an annoyingly patronising piece of rhetoric at that – as a statement of intent it was hugely disingenuous: what’s ‘strong and stable’ about plunging the country into a general election just days before Brexit negotiations are due to start? It could not get any more destabilising. If anything it was an act of recklessness.
The conservatives remember already had a perfectly adequate mandate and what is more even the Labour party had also begrudgingly signed up to Brexit. After a bruising EU campaign, the dust was finally starting to settle – thoughts were rightly turning to how the UK could negotiate a deal with Brussels.
Months of legal battles had ended in consensus. It had been a long and bitter struggle, but just as it seemed there was recognition that the future was at stake and with it a resolve to get the deal done, along comes May to throw a spanner in the works.
Why do such a thing, if not to frustrate that process? Why risk that hard-earned stability? For a few more parliamentary seats? With the majority of Tory MPs firmly on the Remain camp, it is hard to see what difference gaining a few more seats would have made. There never was, nor will there ever be, even close to a tiny majority of Brexit-supporting MPs in the Houses of Parliament or in the conservative party itself.
Though it might sound like the stuff of conspiracy theories, May’s woeful campaign becomes entirely comprehensible when seen within the context of an establishment ploy to subvert Brexit. And these forces do not give up. From direct or indirect financial largesse to promise of future enrichment and or political advancement, a lot is at stake. A glance at the Kinnock dynasty reveals as much.
In the final analysis, in calling for a snap election, all Theresa May has succeeded in doing is bolstering the opponents of Brexit. Is that the outcome she wanted? Possibly. It is difficult to tell. Because Theresa May is a lightweight and like all lightweights she goes wherever the wind blows.