There appear to be two big stories of the 2017 general election. One, that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has surged forward, taking dozens of seats. And two, that Theresa May’s Conservatives find themselves in a weaker position than before the vote.
Faced with this reality, May’s allies are now starting to jump ship.
1) The Corbyn surge
Although Labour hasn’t won a majority, that was realistically never on the table. Especially considering the constant bile directed towards Corbyn from the pro-Tory corporate media. But after winning his own seat by a vast margin, Corbyn said very clearly:
The prime minister called the election because she wanted a mandate. Well the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support, and lost confidence. I would have thought that’s enough to go…
— WalesOnline (@WalesOnline) June 9, 2017
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Corbyn also insisted that:
Politics has changed. And politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before. Because what’s happened is, people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics. They’ve had quite enough of cuts in public expenditure, underfunding our health service, underfunding our schools and our education service, and not giving our young people the chance they deserve in our society.
In other words, he took the fight to Theresa May. He chipped away at her majority. And he silenced his critics in the process. His message to Britain – that he and the movement behind him are powerful, and they’re here to stay.
If Corbyn does take Labour to 40pc, he'll have done more to increase his party's vote share than anyone since Attlee in 1945.
— Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) June 9, 2017
2) May’s allies start to jump ship
The whole argument behind May’s decision to call an election was that she wanted a stronger hand in parliament. But she didn’t get that. And her position as Tory leader is now much weaker as a result.
May’s allies in the corporate media also had to accept that her strategy had failed. The Mail, The Telegraph, and The Star all focused on how her election “gamble” had “backfired”. And The Sun, which has long proven itself to be a supporter of May’s, even gave itself time to think of its favourite pun to mark the occasion:
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 8, 2017
— Sun Politics (@SunPolitics) June 9, 2017
But the real question was, would her party allow her to survive such a failure?
Some suggested it would:
Senior cabinet minister playing down chance of May going – possibility she might stay with promise of a contest later on
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) June 9, 2017
Some suggested it wouldn’t:
ITV reporting rumours coming out of the Tory HQ, are that May will resign as PM within 24 hours.
— Hull Kingston Radio (@HullKRFM) June 9, 2017
Theresa May to give a speech at 10am amid reports she will resign:https://t.co/ZdyrWpwDUy
— Coffee House (@SpecCoffeeHouse) June 9, 2017
But former Tory minister Anna Soubry was one colleague who thought May should now “consider her position”. She admitted:
It’s bad… She’s in a very difficult place… she now has to, obviously, consider her position… She takes responsibility, as she always does and I know she will, for the running of the campaign… And it was her group that ran this campaign.
Said campaign being “pretty dreadful”, she pointed out.
Outcome: Corbyn strong, May weak
In short, Corbyn is now in a much stronger position than he was before the election, and May is in a much weaker position.
And that situation is in spite of strong corporate media bias against Corbyn, and in favour of May. So as award-winning director Ken Loach said after the release of the exit poll on 8 June, Labour gains truly represent a significant “triumph against the media presentation” of Jeremy Corbyn.
If Corbyn’s party could achieve such gains within a matter of weeks, thanks in part to voters finally being able to hear his message and policies rather than just constant media hit jobs against him, just imagine what it could have achieved if there was any semblance of balance or impartiality in the British media.
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