Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Evening Standard: The challenge facing a weak administration

Evening Standard: The challenge facing a weak administration


"In the face of this dawning reality the Prime Minister promises humility. If that had been her approach these past 11 months perhaps she might have avoided this humiliation. But from the first day of her coronation as Tory leader last July, Mrs May behaved as if she had a mandate to undo the work of the previous government that she had been part of. She also interpreted the close result in the EU referendum — 17 million votes for Leave against 16 million for Remain — as an emphatic vote not just for Brexit but for a hard Brexit, leaving all economic and security arrangements with our closest trading partners. Those who questioned this interpretation were dismissed as Quislings.

Now it is her Government that is on the receiving end of the electorate’s will — and the Conservative Party, which looked set for ascendancy 12 months ago, fears for the future. It is caught in the Brexit wringer, losing support among urban voters, working people, students and ethnic minorities. Its strategy appears to be — to borrow an old analogy — a combination of John Travolta and Mr Micawber: staying alive and hoping something will turn up. That is not a plan for success.

It will take a new approach to Brexit, a new effort at co-operation and — before long — new leadership to have a chance of turning things around. That’s the only way to stop Jeremy Corbyn and the hard Left reaching No 10, which would — as is evident from their alarming calls for extra-parliamentary action — make a bad situation much worse."

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