Saturday, June 10, 2017

How Did British Prime Minister Theresa May Blow the Election So Badly?

If she didn't have a seriously well thought out strategy why demand a vote?

I was shocked when I heard May was planning a general election. Why now? And I still don't have an answer. From British press reports (and this analysis is scathingly accurate) she decided over the course of a walking holiday and just sprung the news on everyone when she got back. More to it of course but what?

Then to come out with imagery of May as "stable and strong" as if she can do no wrong but then hide her from debates and from the sort of one on one retail politics that shows a confident candidate. This was followed by a rushed and poorly presented major change in benefits for the elderly (everyone in Britain is on some sort of benefits; should be a cautionary note for Americans) that had to be retracted after the uproar.

All this made May look weak and wobbly. Nothing like strong and stable.

Granted May is NO Margaret Thatcher. What fire there is in her is well concealed behind an almost droning monotone voice. There is little about her that is inspiring.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn, under attack from members of his own party for the past two years for being a boob (and even smacked a woman in hers) went on to promise younger voters free college tuition, no repayment of student loans and about everything else he could think of without ever being challenged on a complete inability to get any of his program enacted and paid for.

In the voting results Labour saw a huge surge of 9.5% in total vote. But even the Conservatives managed to score a 5.5% increase. All of this at the expense of the smaller parties. In the end Labour added 30 seats. The Conservatives lost 13 and would have lost more except for the implosion of the Scottish National Party which lost 21, many of which went to the Conservatives for the first time in a long time.

The result was a major reshuffling of the deck in which the two main parties are stronger and the minor parties all but irrelevant except as kingmakers in a coalition government. If in future this trend towards a more two party system continues it may be favorable for the Conservatives who hold an edge in total seats and votes cast.

As for now, PM May is in serious trouble from her own party. Reports suggest many Tory leaders want her out sooner rather than later. But that sets up another election to follow. Hopefully whoever takes over will be better prepared and not talk like a government wonk but a REAL leader. Bold themes are better than watered down socialist me too politics!

Full size graphic here. BBC results page here.

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