It is very easy to take the piss out of MPs and their “familiars” of the Press as they get caught up in their symbiotic relationship and the consequent fantasies of the Westminster Bubble but sometimes they do make it all too easy. Grant Shapps who has been outed as the latest “plotter in chief” behind a not so subtle move to have Theresa May replaced as Leader and therefore PM is an example of total stupidity.
The Conservative Party should shudder to recall that this man was once their party chairman because he is totally politically naïve and lacking in the basic grasp of the real world of politics. This post is not a defence of Theresa May but I hope it is a realistic view of the status quo.
So Theresa May had a bad ‘conference’ because of a cold, a prankster and a dysfunctional stage set, so what because none of those things change the underlying fundamentals of where we are and that remains true even if we throw in the last general election where the Conservatives lost their majority. I have posted on that previously, little point in going over old ground : http://baldysblog.co.uk/2017/06/22/the-uk-media-has-totally-lost-it/
What I find amazing is that there is even the slightest question concerning Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister because unless the party were to collapse thus triggering another general election, I would have thought that her position this side the end of March 2019 is pretty impregnable.
Nobody Wants the Job
The most ridiculous aspect to this ‘plot’ concerns that nobody in their right mind would want her job until Brexit is over simply because whoever is Prime Minister when the final deal or breakdown happens will get shot at by both sides, Remainers and Leavers because for neither side will it be “right”. For Remainers the deal will be “Not Enough” for Leavers it will be “Far Too Much”, absolutely no one will be pleased and the sitting PM will get all the shit thrown at them, by the cartload. In fact Theresa May is signing her own suicide note as far as her political career is concerned, because of Brexit she is on the road to being a “Former MP” by late 2019.
Anybody in or around the Cabinet today with the gravitas to be a serious contender for the job will know that and even though many might lust after the top job, political nous would tell them to hold back until the die is cast and whatever the outcome of Brexit, they can then claim, “It wasn’t my fault, I’m just dealing with the mess/result…” Keeping Theresa May in Office right now is absolutely essential if their personal ambitions are ever to have a chance of being realised is a hard fact.
The Political Dynamic
However and quite apart from committing political suicide by taking the job up right now as every contender would know there is another factor to consider which is just why Theresa May rapidly became the only choice after David Cameron ran away. The question being, do those same factors still apply ?
The answer is probably yes and that nothing much has changed in 18 months. Theresa May was nominally on the Remain side during the referendum but didn’t campaign much for it so unlike say Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond, she was not seen as an “Arch Remainer” and therefore was ‘acceptable’ to the Leave side of the Conservative Party and the Country at large. Is there anybody today who has similar credentials because a strident Leaver or Remainer would not be conducive to party unity. I suspect that there isn’t a similar candidate to replace her is a large part of the problem and a nondescript unity candidate would see the Conservatives voted out of Office at the earliest possible moment so that’s a non starter too.
Given that in calling the election Theresa May had two objectives, to extend the life of the Parliament beyond just the one year post Brexit and secure herself from the head bangers on both wings of her party, she ended up securing both though the latter not as intended. However it still works because given the position of being a minority government plus whoever forces the next general election this side of Brexit will get punished severely by the electorate because they are fed up with polls, party unity, albeit through gritted teeth is essential for the survival of Conservative Party MPs and their jobs.
As stated above, Theresa May is on a political suicide run with an 80/20% certainty that she will hit political oblivion by late 2019 however, I wouldn’t write her off too quickly.
It is remembered by people of my age that Margaret Thatcher’s first term as PM was destined to be her last but then, the Argentinian Junta decided to invade the Falkland Islands and the rest is history.
Today Theresa May faces another group of people who have demonstrably already seriously underestimated the British people, what they think and very stupidly jumped on the anti May band wagon, Theresa May could well be given her own “Falklands Moment” because of all that. Having made a fair pitch in her Florence speech, the EU needs to grasp the moment and move things along quickly if they don’t, they could well be giving Theresa May a new lease on her political life, I wouldn’t bet against it.
Although I cannot claim to be some kind of political oracle, I really cannot see just why Grant Shapps even got involved, if I can see it surely he must or does hurt pride at not being involved in her government trump all for this clown ?