Theresa May accidentally launched her ‘Battle Bus’ campaign with the wrong Brexit message. Because eagle-eyed observers noticed something pretty awkward about the license plate on the bus:
If you check the numberplate, Theresa May is now touring the country in last year's "Remain" bus. pic.twitter.com/TV2DE2VyZo
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The media has widely reported the turn of events. Instead of hard-Brexit posturing, the bus reminded voters that the Conservative leader was campaigning for Remain less than a year ago. The battle bus is a repainted Remain campaign bus from last year.
May’s hard-Brexit stance is one of her many U-turns. In only April last year, the sitting Prime Minister asserted
I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union…
Among a catalogue of anti-Brexit statements, May also expressed doubt over a post-Brexit deal with the EU:
It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.
Leaving the EU presents us with a world of opportunities and I am determined to seize them.
Whatever your view on Brexit, the Conservative leader’s inconsistency means people find it difficult to believe her. Here are a number of other key issues May has U-turned on since becoming Prime Minister:
- Announcing an increase in national insurance, after the 2015 Conservative manifesto ruled that out.
- Taking in 3,000 refugee children. May’s government took in just 350 before changing its mind.
- Publishing the number of foreign workers a company has. Barely a week later, May U-turned on the dog-whistle policy.
Even on the issue of the general election itself, May flip-flopped. She ruled out a snap election many times throughout her tenure. Launching her campaign to become Conservative leader, May said
There should be no general election until 2020…
In a number of later instances, she claimed it would cause “instability”.
Then May U-turned again, calling for a snap election. May said she had to call the election because opposition parties were trying to “force us to change course” from Brexit. But in reality, Labour MPs voted overwhelmingly for triggering Article 50, the process for leaving the EU.
Moving away from May’s rhetoric there is a host of other reasons she may have called the election. For instance, the Conservatives were well ahead in the opinion polls. And the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was investigating her party for alleged electoral fraud. Another possible reason for U-turning and calling a general election could be making political capital for herself. A similar pattern to when she flip-flopped from a Remain supporter to a hard-Brexiteer, shoring up the UKIP vote.
The sitting Prime Minister could make many pledges during this election campaign. But given May’s record, will voters believe her? Unfortunately for the Conservative leader, her battle bus campaign has become another timely reminder of her wavering nature.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. People can call 0300 200 3500 if they don’t already have a national insurance number.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via Policy Exchange
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