Well, Theresa May took what she thought was her chance, and got it all terribly, terribly wrong. She wanted a mandate to push through with the hardest version of Brexit, and quite clearly remainers have made it very clear that they didn’t share her vision.
Labour were the huge winners on the night. But, crucially, in my opinion, they have not won the election. The party with the most seats and the only one likely to be able to form a government is the Conservatives, with or without May as prime minister.
I think we do definitely need to be under no illusions – this was a vote against what May had set out on her stall, not a show of support for the socialist agenda that was sitting on Corbyn’s.
In this we are extremely lucky that the protest vote, which went almost entirely in Labour’s favour, fell just a few points short of what he would have needed to form a government.
For my part, May ran a bit of a ramshackle campaign and by the end of it wasn’t looking anything like the “strong and stable” leader her mantra was claiming. But what I think sunk her above all else, and in “all else” I include the social care climb down, is her blatant ignoring of the 48 per cent of people who voted as remainers to say in the EU. That is what ultimately rose up and bit her on the backside.
Politically there will be a coalition with the DUP, or a minority government with their support. The Conservatives may keep May for a while, sort of nail her up to take all the flack, rather than risk sacrificing another big beast. Or they might dispatch her quickly. Either way I think she’s a spent force. There could also very likely be another election before Christmas, should whatever is bodged together not take.
The big winner, once the smoke has cleared, will however be business. Whatever happens now, the chances of an ultra-hard Brexit are significantly lessened. I’d say smashed, but the last two years have taught me there are no absolutes. You might argue, as I am this morning, that this result was exactly in line with the true will of the people – remainers – on June 23 last year.
There was undoubtedly an appetite for Brexit, but not the dystopian version that was being proposed – involving a departure from the European single market and immigration controls dictated by dogma, not common sense, as dictated by economic need.
What we see is the true will of the people teased out. Yes a majority wanted to change their relationship with Europe, and now thanks to this snap election, we now also know that a majority of people didn’t vote for the mindless, xenophobic version, and economically damaging version of Brexit that was being forced upon them.
Like I’ve always said, nobody voted in the referendum to be poorer. So I guess you could say, rather ironically, May’s biggest mistake was that she ignored the will of the people.
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