There is an irony this post-election Friday that Theresa May will wear on her forehead for as long as she presumes the high and noble calling of governing our Islands – that the Leader who campaigned under the banner of “Strong and Stable Leadership” walked into 10 Downing street this lunch time with the word ‘coalition’ humming across British media. For her to remain in her position would be far more than unrespectable. It would be offensive.
Theresa May has harmed the Conservative Party and thereby the country, in a profound way. The Cameron-Osbourne team in 2015 considered it a divine blessing to have been given Ed Miliband as the mind-numbingly uninspiring alternative to their positive One Nation conservatism.
But Theresa May has ruined those gains and dashed the hopes of a strong and united government to lead us unwaveringly through Brexit. She was given a man with possibly the most despicable ideology ever to have graced the Labour Party as her challenger and managed to lose her majority.
She is a now a loser. Despite technically winning the election, she has lost to Corbyn by failing to unequivocally and unapologetically crush the insidious ideology which he represents.
She has made Britain more dangerous and more extreme by allowing a consensus to form on the Left around the politics of Corbynism. Just listen to the former critics of Corbyn – the 100-odd MPs who promised to abandon him as soon as he lost, by forming a new party – who are now queuing up to sing his praises.
She’s also made Brexit considerably more difficult. The number of MPs in the House of Commons who passionately support its cause is now even more limited. The Eurocrats in Brussels at who’s self-interested discretion lies tarrif-free trade with our single largest export market, have the leverage they’ve been yearning for so they can corner her into a less favourable trade relationship. I shudder to imagine the grin on their faces as the results trickled in last night.
In the run up to the election as the polls came closer together, I must admit my mind turned straight to Lynton Crosby – the man in charge of the Conservative campaign. But at the end of the day, the election was lost because Theresa May’s strong and stable brand became fractured, and her campaigning strategy was exposed: say nothing, explain nothing and justify nothing.
By comparison, in Scotland, Ruth Davidson tended to avoid meaningless clichés and falsification, and instead hit back powerfully against the manipulative and opportunistic policies of the SNP. And she’s been rewarded by the Scottish people for it – most notably in retiring both their Westminster leader Angus Robertson and the disdainful Alex Salmond from their strongholds.
A Prime Minister who cannot bring their nation with them, is not capable of properly leading them. Only yesterday I argued that despite a poor campaign, we need a strong Conservative government.
That remains true today as much as yesterday. And, while it hurts to say, it’s for that reason that May’s got to go, and go soon.