The 2017 UK general election has had a disastrous effect for the Conservative Party, with Prime Minister Theresa May under fire for having her election gamble spectacularly backfire. Despite commencing the election campaign with an excellent start, the Conservative lead quickly plummeted until it was only one point ahead of Labour just before election day. The bad news is, the Conservatives have lost the majority secured by David Cameron during the 2015 general election. The good news is, they still possess most seats in the realm.
The Prime Minister has been the main receptor of blame from all sides of politics for the election result. Theresa May has been blamed for a mediocre election campaign and has been accused of being arrogant and out of touch with the public. Her biggest blunder seemed to have been a no-show at a BBC TV debate, sending Home Secretary Amber Rudd in her stead, to which she had to endure serious backlash from her opponents.
The Prime Minister’s U-turn over the dementia tax was another one of her decisions heavily scrutinised, criticised and mocked by both opponents and the mainstream media. In all fairness, her opponents do seem to have the upper hand in criticising a Prime Minister for failing to participate in a crucial television debate and going back on a critical issue.
This has resulted in the Prime Minister’s position taking centre-stage since the announcement of a hung parliament, with various MPs calling for her to consider her position. Tory MP Anna Soubry, who held her Broxtowe seat, was at the leading edge of the cabal of Conservative MPs calling for her to re-think her position. Soubry stated that May has to “obviously consider her position” for her “dreadful campaign” despite saying “she’s a remarkable and she’s a very talented woman”.
However, it has been revealed that the Prime Minister will not resign despite leading a disappointing campaign and contributing to her party’s losses. Of course, Theresa May is the best alternative out of all options, yet it is saddening to see her lose control during the election and preventing her party from securing the all-important majority required to ensure a smooth Brexit.
Brexit itself has been the main issue characterising this election. The decision to call a snap election was branded and marketed by the Prime Minister as essential for her to secure the ‘Brexit mandate’. It was her attempt at addressing the internal divisions within the United Kingdom and its politics, and she thought an election was the best way to achieve legitimacy for the crucial process of Brexit negotiations. Yet Brexit now seems to be under threat, with Brexit Secretary claiming that Tories will lose the mandate to leave the single market if they do not secure a majority.
This almost apocalyptic rhetoric has been furthered by the Independent claiming that Theresa May’s Brexit mandate has indeed been lost. It claims that losing a majority is a sign that the people are unwilling to give the Tories a Brexit mandate. However, this superficial view is rendered invalid through a simple look at the fact that the Tories retained most seats in Parliament.
Also, all hope is not lost as the Conservatives seem to be on their way to secure a majority with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The Northern Irish party already expressed their interest and willingness to create a minority government with the Tories even before votes were being counted. However, the DUP opposes a hard Brexit in favour of, as its leader put it, “a workable plan to leave the European Union”. This raises concerns regarding the viability of a Brexit that can completely allow the UK to restore its sovereignty and sense of nationhood.
To make matters worse, the DUP wants a soft border with Ireland in order to allow free movement, which can undermine British attempts to secure stronger borders. It is easy to see why Theresa May’s decision was not the best after all. Brexit is one of the jewels in the crown of right-wing victories that occurred over the past few years, and a threatened Brexit is a source of vexation for the passionate right-winger.
Despite this, Theresa May’s decision was a good decision, and a long-term perspective renders the PM’s decision as wise. Continuing on with the remaining term raises the risk of instability because Britain would’ve seen a general election towards the end of Brexit negotiations. A general election so close to the end of the Brexit process is highly risky, as it may have resulted in having one government to handle most of the process, and a different government to end it. Having this election ensures that one government can oversee the entire process right until its conclusion, which preserves stability.
Jeremy Corbyn, of course, has celebrated this election victory, making him a successful loser as he ultimately did not win the election at all. His party performed much better than expected, however. He has blasted the Prime Minister and used this opportunity to call her to resign, despite her right decision in calling for an election. It has to be noted that Jeremy Corbyn himself does not enjoy much support within his own party, so it is quite rich for him to gloat over what is ultimately his loss.
One source of happiness for the right-winger is the possible re-emergence of Nigel Farage in the British political sphere. This mainly concerned the possibility of a second Brexit referendum should Labour win the election. This threat has, thankfully, subsided, yet the overall threats faced by Brexit currently may encourage Nigel Farage to re-enter politics. The beloved Brexit leader said he has “no choice” but to return to politics if Brexit was under serious threat, which soon may be the case.
The future is unclear as to what lies ahead for the United Kingdom and it’s people. Theresa May’s position is still under threat, despite her refusal to resign. If a leadership spill was to take place, Britain and the United States might both have a head of government with iconic hairstyles. Boris Johnson was successful in retaining his seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and he may be promoted to an even more important position. After all, unlike the current Prime Minister, he was a passionate Brexiteer.
What mainly matters now is for the United Kingdom to successfully leave the EU and the single market. The nation’s sovereignty, prosperity and safety depend on its ability to remove connections with the trans-European empire as much as possible. The deadly terrorist attacks seen over the past few months have been a legacy of regressive immigration policies that the EU, for some reason, prides itself in promoting. No matter who the new Prime Minister is, most people can rest easy that the country has avoided electing a Socialist terrorist-sympathiser. Ultimately, what matters is that British voters did not choose to be sexist this time.