It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, in which Britain crashed out of the EU, a PM announced his resignation, a coup was attempted then stalled against the leader of the opposition and the most odious man in the world after Donald Trump resigned declaring his mission accomplished.
But what next? Well, some things we already knew would happen have happened. The pound has fallen in value, businesses are worried and the political fallout has been huge, both home and abroad. We also now know that the next Prime Minister will be a woman – either the vaguely dull, incompetent (no seriously, really incompetent) Theresa May or the utter shambolic summing up of the country hitting absolute rock bottom that the election of Andrea Leadsom would demonstrate.
May is well backed by the media though and it may well be she simply takes post-truth politics to a new level. If she can find a message that sticks and repeats it enough it will become the truth in the same way as Labour profligacy, single teenage mother benefit scroungers and bloody immigrants ruining the country have entered into public consciousness despite a dearth of evidence to back the assertions.
Indeed she has already started with talk about healing divisions within the Uk. This is all nice and hard to disagree with, it’s just a little rich coming from the prospective leader of the party which has caused a good deal of said division. Since the Tories took power, they have attacked disabled people, immigrants, public sector workers (police, doctors, teachers, you name it) the unemployed, the young and of course gave us the EU referendum itself which has laid out the greatest division of all for all to see (and resulting in a big jump in hate crimes). If she can genuinely spin herself as a ‘unifying’ figure, a second Thatcher, intent on leading the country ‘back to glory’, then regardless of what’s happening in the actual economy, she may well be able to stay in government.
The other issue of course is what Labour do. Government’s lose elections as opposed to oppositions winning them, but non-existent oppositions make for less appealing choices at the ballot box and the prospect of a split Labour party would almost certainly usher Theresa May to a general election victory in similar fashion to Thatcher in 1983 against Labour split with the SDP.
Equally, there’s no saying May will call a general election – at least not anytime soon. Gordon Brown did not call a general election after he took power and the Tories would be in no hurry to call a general election if the economy is weak. Better to wait a year or two on the argument of requiring stability for the EU negotiations, let the economy recover and fight an election then.
So what will happen over the next 9 months and will it mean? Well, I take it for granted Theresa May will be the next Prime Minister. To think otherwise is just… *cringe*. I see a year or so of her governing, negotiating with the EU and blaming any negatives in the meantime on uncertainty plus poor people (you can never blame the workshy, scrounging, Jeremy Kyle lay abouts enough as a Tory PM). When and whether she calls an election is also a big question and comes soley down to her. You’d imagine a Tory landslide would be inevitable, but depending on the situation in the country at large it could go either way. Going beyond 9 months I don’t think whoever does end up as PM will be there for 2020.
Corbyn face challenges within his own party, and an SDP esque split is still a possibility, as is his removal. Worst still, a protracted period in which no one challenges him and he just stays in place as a lame duck leader, unable to truly rally the party come election time. Still, if he’s able to face an election he could do better than expected and at least an election (whether it ends in victory or defeat) would resolve Labour’s leadership situation one way or the other.
Anyway, my point here is simple; the next 9 months of British politics will be just as important as the last two weeks, if not more so. Who the Tories pick, whether Labour oust Corbyn and with whom he’s replaced and most critically whether a general election is called in this timeframe are key to determining the future of the country. Ironically, what comes after the next nine months I think is far more easy to predict than what will happen within it.
As the apocryphal statement goes; may you live in interesting times.