May herself is struggling, but the Conservatives have always been remarkably good at steadying the shipby Rachel Cuncliffe / June 26, 2017 / Leave a comment
Parliament only reopened last week and already the new government seems in trouble. The country is united in its disapproval of Theresa May, half the proposals from the Conservative manifesto have been dropped, and the Tories have been forced to make large concessions in order to hammer out a deal with the ten DUP MPs who could make or break their government. Meanwhile, shadow chancellor John McDonnell and his entourage are encouraging people to “defy Tory rule,” and acting as though May lost the election. And that’s before we even talk about Brexit.
And yet, despite the mess that May has very clearly made for herself, we shouldn’t be fooled by reports of the Conservatives’ demise: the Tory party itself is doing just fine.
The truth is, the election result really wasn’t as bad for the Tories as the left is pretending. To start with, it’s important to remember that May actually won the most votes and the most seats, and while the result devastated the cult of personality she has built around herself in Downing Street, the fact remains that the Conservatives did significantly better than Labour. That is why May was dutifully meeting military personnel on Armed Forces Day on Saturday, while Jeremy Corbyn was free to champion socialism on the stage at the (decidedly capitalist) Glastonbury festival.
Second, don’t be misled into thinking the Labour party is any more united than it was a year ago, when 172 MPs voted against Corbyn in a No Confidence motion. The rallying cries of celebration from Labour obscure the fact that Corbyn won just four more seats in this “triumphant” election than Gordon Brown did in the “failure” of 2010. Corbyn defied expectations, yes—but only because they were so low to begin with, with predictions of a mass Labour wipeout.
That’s enough for Corbyn-sceptic Labour MPs (who, to varying degrees, make up the majority of the PLP) to bite their tongues for a while, but now parliament is back in session, it won’t be long until the country will be reminded of the opposition leader’s utter incompetence. Those Labour moderates won’t stay quiet forever. The internal power struggles within the Labour party aren’t over—at the first Corbyn gaffe of the new parliament, expect to…