Comment, GE2017

Mayday made by mistakes

To work out what happened to May’s strong and stable campaign we have to look back at where it all went wrong; the moment she called the election.

May announced her snap election on 18 April. She stood in front of number ten and told us it was for our own good. She told us that stability was required and this was the way to get it. But I don’t think anything that involves the word ‘snap’ sounds solid.

Whether a question of charisma, her debating skills, or fields of wheat, the campaign became a mess. What the Conservatives had expected to be an easy win unravelled the closer we got to the 8 June. She made a gamble and lost. By calling the snap election the Conservatives lost twelve seats and May diminished her party. She went in with a majority and came out not only losing this majority but with a hung parliament and coalition with the DUP. But why, what made it all fall apart?

May doesn’t have charisma. Not a drop. Not even the kind of charisma you love to hate. Few can deny that there is something people love about Farage, the secret quality that kept him and his unwavering stare on the news as we waited for seats to be declared during election night. There is also a quality in Jeremy Corbyn that has won over young voters, who not only believe in his policies, but in him. May doesn’t have it and no amount of party rhetoric can convince me otherwise. So much of a party is the person and whether itís right or wrong I don’t see it changing. Perhaps she doesn’t think it matters. But as the UEA bar erupted at the mere glimpse of Corbyn you canít help but think she missed a trick.

Then came the mistakes. She didn’t engage with the public, she didnít produce a positive manifesto, and most importantly, she didn’t debate. I have talked to anyone who will listen about this and, despite the polls closing, I think it is more relevant than ever. A woman of the people would talk to the people, even if it meant debating with politicians. She wouldn’t debate because she can’t.

After the horrendous attacks in London and Manchester, the political campaigns were suspended. Even though the break lost momentum for May’s campaign and interrupted the party rhetoric it was an appropriate action. Politics can be morally questionable but they got one thing right; they suspended campaigning and respected those who suffered loss.

In its final days her campaign became laughable. Perhaps she was unfairly targeted. Honestly, what would any of us say to “what’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?” Should she have gone dark and admitted to a secret life of crime or admit stealing from the Woolworths pic’n’mix as a child? But I know the answer isnít anything to do with running through fields of wheat. It isnít cool and is actually quite an expensive pastime as damaging crops can leave you with a hefty fee. The more you know.

She won the seats. She got the title. But there is one thing I am certain of; she doesn’t deserve it.


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January 2022
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