UK election: Theresa May like ‘decomposing Findus Crispy Pancakes’
Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered one of the most dramatic reversals in British political history, losing her overall majority in parliament after an election she thought she could win easily. May needed 326 seats for a majority but could only win 318 so far. Labour has 261 and the SNP won 35 seats.
Published: June 9, 2017, 12:40 pm
When Theresa May stood outside Downing Street 10 six weeks ago, announcing a snap election, she thought it was going to be a landslide. But two referendums, one on Scottish self-rule and the other on Brexit, have left the UK divided.
In a BBC video which had been shared widely on social media, a woman called Brenda screamed: “Not another one! Oh for God’s sake! I can’t stand this!” when she heard about the snap election announcement.
“It’s almost as if Theresa May looked at Hillary’s campaign and said: ‘Let’s do that’,” a Financial Times journalist, Robert Shrimsley, tweeted in dismay. The results so far indicate a hung parliament. The final results are expected soon.
May is now facing pressure to resign. “She ran a pretty dreadful campaign,” Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, told AFP and said May should “consider her position”. Early results suggest Britain could be heading for a hung Parliament with no party in an overall majority and UKIP without any seat.
Exit polls, based on people who have already cast their vote, show gains for Labour and the Tories falling short. In the nine seats to declare so far, UKIP won 56 780 votes in 2015. In this election they only won 13 490, despite significantly rising turnouts overall.
The arrogance of The Conservative Party has meanwhile become obvious. Voting against the European Union had already been difficult enough for the party who had wanted to be part of the EU, but calling an unnecessary election with the arrogant belief that Labour and Jeremy Corbyn were fundamentally unelectable, proved to be a bridge too far.
Young British voters were not too lazy to go and vote after five years of May’s Conservative establishment globalism and they voted for Corbyn. Unusually high projections for youth turnout became a problem for May, because the British youth vote left.
“It was a self-inflicted error, a self-inflicted wound,” Brian Klaas of the London School of Economics (LSE) told AFP.
May was however still repeating “stability” like a robot and used it seven times in three minute speech after her stunning losses were revealed.
And the terror attacks in London and Manchester did May no favour after her six years as interior minister came under scrutiny, particularly her cuts to police numbers that can now be blamed for the failure to stop the assailants as well as her decision to send fighters to Libya in the first place.
May had called the election on April 18, with a 17-seat majority to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations. But Brexit negotiations start in 10 days and Britain and Europe will have to deal with fatally weakened May, incapable of leading the country.
Opinion polls at that time had given May’s Tories a 20-point lead over Labour, enough for a potentially triple-figure majority due mainly to media bias. The BBC hierarchy is openly Tory – the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust, the Head of News James Harding, Sarah Sands, Nick Robinson, Andrew Neil, are all declared Tories.
But one poll marker which consistently goes with the winner, is “likeability”. According to a YouGov poll, voter attitudes over past four weeks showed that despite every attempt by the media to counterbalance Corbyn, his public speeches had nevertheless led to massive changes in the public perception of both May and Corbyn. Across the board Corbyn’s likeability had improved by over 10 percent from last year.
In a rare unknown encounter with a voter that was filmed and became viral, May responded by repeating empty campaign slogans after the angry woman faced her about welfare cuts. Her bold plan to change the way elderly social care is funded, had to be hastily amended after a backlash among older, mostly Conservative-backing voters.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, says the Brexit negotiations should start when the UK is ready, but that the two-year timetable has been set. The European council president, Donald Tusk, reminded the UK of the ticking clock on the negotiations.
Bohuslav Sobotka, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, said the UK is not ready to start negotiations.
Brexit spustil v Británii pohyb, který je stále méně předvídatelný. A tak ani rok po referendu nejsou Britové schopni začít jednání s EU.
— Bohuslav Sobotka (@SlavekSobotka) June 9, 2017
The Scottish National Party, Britain’s third largest party, could possibly form a so-called progressive alliance with the Labor Party to push the Conservative Party out of government.
The leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon did not want to confirm or deny it and said it was too soon to make any decisions. The Scottish nationalists lost more than 20 seats in the election, but their votes went to Labour.
May’s vanity of calling a snap election may also ironically mean that her big rival Boris Johnson can emerge as a new prime minister, as well as yet another general election and a bigger mess at the Brexit negotiating table for the Conservative Party.
Her endless mantra of “strong and stable Leadership” had begun to annoy many and gave her the nickname of “Maybot” because of her robotic repetitions and programmed blank phrases. Compared to Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn, May’s lack of personal warmth was a disappointment.
“Theresa May has the personal warmth, wit, oratorical ability and attractiveness of an Indesit fridge-freezer which has been faultily connected by a man called Trevor for five quid, cash in hand, and which is now full of decomposing Findus Crispy Pancakes,” satirical writer Rod Liddle wrote in the conservative political weekly The Spectator.
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