There is a victory in defeat and there is defeat in victory, in other words, you can lose a battle but win the war.
Earlier on in her prime ministerial reign, Mrs May insisted there would be no need to call an election, recent history should inform us not to believe any politicians, but somehow the nation believed her. The nation thought there would be at least three years before another election, following election fatigue brought on by the Scottish referendum, BREXIT and UK general election and for some areas, various local and by-elections.
Wrong we were, as Mrs May fell for opinion polls putting her party 20-point lead ahead of the nearest opposition party. The Prime Minister may have also succumbed to pressure from within her inner circle, as well as jibes from some prominent opposition party leaders such as Nicola Sturgeon who repeated reminds Mrs May of lacking any mandate because she was not elected by the country. For whatever reason, the election was called, there was a lot of enthusiasm among Tory supporters, they cannot wait to finally put Jeremy Corbyn to the sword.
Like a badly written movie script from the point of view of the conservative and a perfectly written one for Labour, something snapped, something changed and the whole conservative project failed.
What actually happened?
We believe the following:
The Prime Minister grossly overestimated her ability and or in combination with massively underestimating that of her main rival.
The Prime Minister made the election a presidential style type with too much focus on herself and too little or no focus on substance, although this tactic worked at the initial stage, like the impact on the local election held in May, just two weeks after the general election was called, but was soon found out very quickly.
The Prime Minister made the election a singular matter, BREXIT, while this could have worked, the effect was however diluted by the fact that the main opposition party leader also supported BREXIT, albeit maybe with a different style of negotiating tactics, thus the “BREXIT MEANs BREXIT” was neutralised to an extent and her “NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL” was counter by “NO DEAL IS A BAD DEAL”.
The key turning point, however, was the manifesto! Essentially manifesto and promises of what you are going to do is a form of bribery. Politicians tend to look after those demographics that are likely to vote for them. Triple lock on pension was a bribe by David Cameron, reduction in tuition fee was a promissory bribe by Nick Clegg, so what happened this time? Labour rolled out several promissory bribes to those demographics that they think are likely to vote for them, then encapsulate it in a short but well-constructed phrase “FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW”.
Although I believe Labour would not be able to deliver many of these promises, as reality is a different thing entirely, ask Nick Clegg, however the fact that almost everyone can identify with one or two aspects of the manifesto was enough to galvanize and pull people towards them. The promise to Scrap tuition fees, free school meals, child care help for working mum, removal of salary cap for public workers, free NHS parking for staff to name but a few!
Barely 72hours after this crowd-pleasing manifesto, even though it was utterly unachievable in my view, conservative turned up in Halifax, totally misread the electorate and target their own primary voters, the elderly and pensioners with the social care plan and winter fuel means testing policy! Talk about an own in a match, but to score several own goals in a match was unbelievable.
A costed manifesto:
Since the financial crisis, Labour struggle to shake off their reputation of poor economic record, it was a pressure point for them, however, the fact that Labour took the pain to have their manifesto costed, even though it was adjudged by experts to be optimistic in terms of how much tax that could be raised from the top 5 earners, the facts that Tory did not put any number to theirs suddenly open another gaping hole for opposition to attack. This was a recurrent theme in different interviews and debates.
From this point, the opinion polls never looked back.
The situation got worse for Mrs May following her U-turns, her “strong and stable” mantra was rephrased as “weak and wobbly”, this caught on very well.
Mrs May inability to engage with the electorate, either by meeting real people or by debating her opponents shifted her favourable rating to minus territory.
The students and young voters, who traditionally don’t vote or can’t be bothered came out in their droves to slam it on the PM.
This point about the young people turning up to vote is primarily due to Corbyn’s ability to engage with them! He is an avid user of social media; with Facebook followership a medium range celebrity would be proud of! To suggest that they turned up mainly because they were promised free tuition may be a little insulting to them but of course, that promise would have helped
Some non-campaign related matters that counted;
The bad news never stopped!
Like Hilary Clinton, Mrs May record in her various previous cabinet and government offices came back to haunt her, notably her role as the former home secretary who oversaw a reduction in the number of police officers and failed to meet any of her own immigration targets.
The police cut records came sharply into focus following three major terrorist’s attacks on the nation, her security credential was negatively affected, to such an extent that Jeremy Corbyn’s tag as terrorist sympathiser was no longer seen as an issue.
In the final analysis, Mrs May must take responsibility for her poor showing and inability to engage and believing her own hype.
The PM has now left the country worse off, coming from a position of a stable government, handed down on a plate by David Cameron to this point where she had to be scrambling for a deal with the DUP Is astonishing.
The Brexit negotiation, the purpose for calling the election is now firmly in jeopardy, the EU people will be rubbing their hands in glee right now. They now know that British PM does not have such a strong mandate any longer.
Yes, the winner in this election Is JR, adding 30 seats for Labour was unthinkable just over 5weeks ago! The joint two losers are Nicola Sturgeon who have now accepted that SNP mandate for indyref2 have been put in a bin, at least for now and Mrs May, who managed to throw away conservative majority and send 13 MPs home without proper notice!
Thus, Jeremy Corbyn lost the war, of course, he didn’t win the election but won the battle!
The question of course now is HOW LONG CAN SHE HOLD ON TO POWER?