Theresa, May You Resign in Peace
Eric Lendrum, Politics Contributor
Opinion -- It is indeed a rather sad day for the United Kingdom. Not only did the Conservatives lose their majority, but one of the best performances in modern history for the Labour Party was achieved under an ultra-Marxist, anti-Semitic, terrorist sympathizer named Jeremy Corbyn. Yes, the Conservatives will retain power thanks to the North Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but that is not the point - the Tories lost 11 seats, losing their narrow 4-seat majority.
And it’s not the fact that they lost - it’s the fact that this election was 100% unnecessary.
The Tories already had a 330-seat majority, and were free to negotiate Brexit as they saw fit - May had very high approval ratings, both among British voters and among Conservative voters, so it’s not hard to imagine that she could’ve easily kept virtually all of those 330 Conservative MP’s in line behind whatever deal she struck with EU leaders.
But for whatever reason, May decided that she needed an even bigger majority. It’s possible that she did so because she believed she couldn’t keep five or more MP’s in line on her Brexit deal due to individual disagreements. Some have suggested that perhaps it was a bit more personally motivated: She felt that she had to “earn” her status as Prime Minister by overseeing a Conservative victory in a general election, eliminating the stigma of being a so-called “unelected Prime Minister” who only rose to power after David Cameron resigned. And, some simply postulated that it was pure ego: she saw what she interpreted as a chance to increase the Tory majority to a nearly historic size, and she put all the chips on the table behind that bet.
But regardless, it is now painfully clear that all the previous comparisons between May and the original Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, have come to a grinding halt with this embarrassing defeat.
It is understandable why May felt so confident at first - at the time she called this snap election on April 18, the Tories were averaging double-digit leads over Labour, anywhere from the low teens to the mid-twenties. The Labour Party was still in disarray; Corbyn maintained some of the lowest approval ratingsfor a Labour leader in modern history after surviving a recall election, and the Labour Party suffered a landslide defeat in the local elections on May 4.
Yet Theresa May still managed to royally screw up this entire situation in a manner that almost matches Hillary Clinton’s historic loss in 2016. Among other things, May skipping out on several debates certainly didn’t help, while two different terrorist attacks in two weeks may have resulted in a public perception that May was incapable of handling the epidemic of Islamic terrorism in the U.K.
But the bottom line is that May completely erased a 20-point lead to a mere 2-point lead in the actual election, lost 11 Conservative seats, and combined with the 10-seat DUP, will ultimately maintain a coalition government of 329 seats - just one seat shy of the very majority that May sacrificed to hold this election. It was, indeed, one of the worst electoral miscalculations in modern history, joining the ranks of recent stunning upsets in the last couple of years.
Hence, the title of this article: Prime Minister May, you simply must resign. You have lost the confidence of conservatives and you nearly handed the country over to Labour and its ultra-Marxist leader, who would undoubtedly try to reverse Brexit if given the chance. You must step down and allow for a better, more stable leader to take control of the party and become the next Prime Minister.
While there are several possible successors to May, it should be overwhelmingly clear that the frontrunner in most betting markets is, in fact, the perfect candidate: former London Mayor and current Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Not only was he one of the most significant pro-Leave campaigners during the Brexit referendum, but he was widely held as a favorite to win the previous leadership election in 2016, following Cameron’s resignation. Had it not been for the betrayal of his former pro-Leave ally, Michael Gove, running as a spoiler to stop Johnson and indirectly give May the position of Prime Minister, it is very likely that Johnson would have won - and this snap election might have never happened in the first place.
Since then, Gove’s reputation has gone straight down the drain, and he was fired from his Cabinet position as Secretary of State for Justice. Conversely, Johnson was promoted to the important position of Foreign Secretary, where he has since been able to boost his own credentials as a diplomat, thus making him even better fit for leadership.
It should also be abundantly clear, as Nigel Farage has said, that choosing someone who was originally pro-Remain to lead the party and negotiate the Brexit deals with the European Union “was a huge error.” Only someone who believed in the cause from the very beginning is fit for this crucial and historic task, and there is no pro-Leave figure better fit for the position, here and now, than Boris Johnson.
All the other possible successors have much weaker chances of winning the position. The one other prominent, possible pro-Leave candidate, Brexit Secretary David Davis, has ruled out the possibility of him trying to succeed May. The only possible candidate for the more establishment, pro-Remain wing of the party is Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who “survived by the skin of her teeth” with just over 300 votes in her constituency of Hastings.
It is abundantly clear that May is responsible for one of the biggest failures in the party’s history, and at the dawn of such a crucial and historic period like the Brexit negotiations, this is an unacceptable sin. At the same time, all of the stars are aligned for Johnson to finally take the position he was robbed of last year.
And so, Mrs. May, for the good of the party and the country, for the future of Brexit and the implications it carries for the possible salvation of Western Civilization in the modern world: You must resign, and endorse Boris Johnson as your successor. Doing so would, in a final moment of poetic irony, indeed give you one last comparison with the woman you hoped to emulate, Margaret Thatcher; for she too understood the necessity of resigning - as painful as it is - when her leadership was called into question, for the sake of the party. If you refuse to do the same, it will only reinforce the same hubris that got you here in the first place: your ego.
Until she does so, I shall officially remain in support of the Tory-DUP government, but anti-Theresa May.
You can follow the author on Twitter: @EricLendrum26.
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