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19/08/2017
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In the Crosshairs: Elimination of Labor

Saul Zadka (05/05/2017)

Any outcome other than a landslide in the upcoming elections would be considered a loss for Teresa May. What to expect from election propaganda

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It was Easter, walking on Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, when a green light popped into Teresa May’s head.

The day before, May had read in the papers about two public opinion polls that predicted her party a 20 percent advantage over Labor. "I was playing around last night, Phillip," she said to her husband, "about holding new elections in early June ... what do you think?" "But Teresa, you forget you have declared multiple times in the past that you would not push the elections, that you would wait until 2020 ..." replied the Prime Minister’s husband. "I have not forgotten, Phil," she said, "but I need a new mandate to strengthen my position before the Brexit negotiations. It will strengthen the stability of my government." "But thats exactly what you said then, darling, that you will not precede the elections for stability’s sake..."

It is difficult to know if such a conversation took place between Teresa and Philip May, but the Prime Minister herself said that she made the decision in her heart during the trip, after a visit to the church for the holiday. Two days later May stood in front of a battery of journalists near her official residence and dropped a political bomb on the punditry world. Even her own ministers did not share her opinions regarding anti-Leave heretics.

Pure opportunism

The magic word that crept into the public discourse was self-evident: Labor. You did not even have to whisper it. May is taking advantage of an opportunity to crush the opposition and she will do it with glee. In other words, this is pure opportunism.

The desire to beat Jeremy Corbyn and bring his party to its knees was stronger than her lack of credibility, as she repeatedly stated that she would go to the polls only at the end of the decade. A difference of 100 mandates? May could not resist the temptation. She also feared that Labor would replace its leader before 2020 and preferred to deal with him now, leaving him with little time to prepare.

But anyone who takes their political maneuvering to the polls will end up disappointed. May took a risk, a calculated risk, but one that might turn into a boomerang. The referendum on leaving Europe and Trumps election as president (not to mention the recent elections in Israel) proved that polls should not be relied on. This can also be said about the four leading candidates in the impending French elections.



A lot can change in the few weeks before the elections. Corbyns premiere during the campaign included points with which almost everyone could agree: reducing the size of classrooms in schools; diverting funds to the public health service; a minimum wage of ten pounds per hour; the ending of the recession; large investments and affordable housing for all.

However, Corbyn’s main platform is music to many ears: the people versus the establishment. Conservatives versus the public. The capitalists versus the workers. Also, repeatedly mentioning Philip Green and Sports Direct, which we heard a lot about during the campaign.

Corbyn spins his platform with the belief that he can turn the tables around in this short timespan. He will not have to answer embarrassing questions about his position on Hamas and Hezbollah. Foreign affairs will be out of the agenda. Here he would be in his natural habitat and could turn himself into the leader of the oppressed and the wretched of the Earth.

He also plans to head what his opponent called a "coalition of chaos," to which he will enlist the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party. The latter must have preoccupied May. In the most recent elections the party swept 46 out of 49 seats during a nationalist wave that could have sent chimpanzees to parliament if they had represented the party.

This time, this sweeping victory could get a slight blow on the wing. The Scots have somewhat reduced their appetite for independence and the Conservatives have Ruth Davidson, a strong leader who could deliver a "bloodbath" to Nicola Sturgeon, who has become the most hated figure at Downing Street.

It was not for nothing that May said in her dramatic speech that the Scots, Laborists, Liberals, and "non-elected Lords" had joined together to sabotage negotiations with the EU on the future of their relationship. Only with them, she stressed, could Corbin be able to inherit it.

The heirs are sharpening their knives

It is hard to believe that conservatives are "capable" of losing. Corbyn is not a sympathetic character, even within his own party. Many resent him for his ambiguous attitude towards Brexit. The some 20 parliamentarians who decided not to re-run made this attitude clear.



Around the corner, knives are being sharpened by potential successors after June 9, after the election results are announced. Among the trade unions, the main breadwinners of the opposition, there is civil war. And the press, oh the press, it would have a proverbial field day with Corbyn, as evidenced by the front page of the Daily Mail, which shouted "smash the terrorists." Even Teresa was shocked by its tone. This is the newspaper that called Supreme Court justices "enemies of the people" for daring to rule that only parliament could decide on Brexit.

The Sun, the Telegraph, the Times and the Financial Times, will follow suit by supporting any rightwing activist, as opposed to the Guardian, the Mirror, and perhaps the Independent, each of which plays a lesser role.

To a great extent, Theresa does a favor for Labor. This election will allow the party to get rid of its worst actors in 2017, and not a few years later. This would give the opposition the option of electing a new leader for five years, possibly presenting the party with victory in 2022.

Neil Kinnock, the former Labor leader, said: "I do not think I will ever see Labor returning to power in my lifetime." Still, this victory is not yet in the ladys pocket. If Mays party shows complacency and rests on its laurels before the day of the election, it’s anybody’s game.



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