The Brexit shockwave that just confirmed the British establishment’s worst fears

May and Corbyn
James Wright

A Brexit shockwave has confirmed the worst fears of Theresa May and the wider establishment.

May is currently striving to rally support for her proposals on a future relationship with the EU. If the Brexit negotiations do not take a turn for a better, the establishment may face its most terrifying prospect: a general election. And a new BMG poll shows that the majority of the public believe the government must go to the country if the sitting prime minister falls.

Historic

The threat of a Jeremy Corbyn premiership is a major driving force in the Brexit negotiations. If Tory rebels don’t fall into line, they risk toppling May and triggering a general election where there is a strong risk of a Corbyn government. Labour and the Conservatives were almost tied on voting intention in the BMG poll. But in 2017, Corbyn’s Labour went from over 20 points behind to almost winning, increasing the party’s vote share by more than at any point since 1945.

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Crucially, a Corbyn victory would end 30 years of neoliberal rule, where privatisation, deregulation and cuts in communal spending have defined the very fabric of our society.

The poll found that 51% of the public want an election if May resigns, while only 29% said we wouldn’t need one. Remove the people who chose ‘don’t know’, and that’s 63% against 37%.

As Guardian columnist Dawn Foster told the BBC on 8 July:

And actually the Conservatives realise that any kind of big revolt will weaken the Conservatives, as much as they would like to weaken May, and that in turn strengthens… Jeremy Corbyn… The Conservatives don’t really care about Brexit as much as they say… all they care about is keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of power.

Brexiteer cabinet ministers have not made any major moves against May’s so-called ‘soft’ Brexit plans. Although, she does face the wrath of backbenchers in the Commons on the 9 July.

The threat of Corbyn

Without the imminence of a Corbyn government, it’s unlikely May would still be prime minister. In 2017, May went to the polls and asked the public to “strengthen her hand” in the Brexit negotiations. As a result, she lost the Conservatives’ their majority in parliament. Then, the Conservative leader  used £1bn of taxpayer’s cash to secure the parliamentary support of the Democratic Unionist Party, clinging to power. And it’s been a rocky ride ever since.

When Amber Rudd stepped down as home secretary in April, May lost her fourth cabinet minister in just six months. The prime minister appears to be able to survive anything because of the threat of Corbyn. If she falls, the Conservatives, the corporate media and big capital know they risk losing the British state to progressive change.

Now, a poll has shown clear majority support for another general election should May step down. This has confirmed the establishment’s worst fears. If May cannot gather enough support for her Brexit proposals, the keys to Downing Street could be with Corbyn within months. This is the open secret that is terrifying the corridors of power in Britain.

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Featured image via 10 Downing Street – YouTube and Chris McAndrew – Wikimedia

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