Jun 09

Not Gloating

No, not me. It would be beneath my dignity.

After losing her majority in an unnecessary election, Theresa May now wants ‘stability’. But we shouldn’t gloat
by Mark Steel, The Independent
Friday 9 June 2017

The important thing now, says Theresa May, is to enjoy a “period of stability”. This is always the tricky part after an election – to keep everything stable, and not let things get messy by taking any notice of the result.

It’s probably for the best if the Tories who lost their seats carry on anyway, rather than have the newly elected ones moving in with all the fuss of rearranging plants. That makes things very unstable just as we’re off to talk to the Germans.

The Tories have been insistent on staying stable. And there can be no more stable way of running a country than calling a referendum to settle an issue, losing it, the leader of that country resigning, his schoolmate rival trying to take over but being usurped by his colleague who, in turn, is pushed out by another rival, who is adamant she won’t have an election, so she calls an election as she’s guaranteed to win a majority of 200 – but then loses the majority altogether, so her own side start calling for her to resign as well. That’s the sort of stable, loving environment that social services insist on before placing foster kids from a care home.

As well as leaving Europe and holding a snap election, Theresa May suddenly announced just before the election she would ignore the Human Rights Act, having said previously it could not be ignored. She’s not afraid to change her mind. There must have been a chance she’d get to the polling booth and say “sod it, I’m voting Labour”.

But whatever the result, it’s also fair we respect the achievements of her party, as every politician loses an election at some point. But the genius of Conservative leaders is to keep losing elections they don’t need to have.

That’s two in a year. If they cling on for a while longer, they’ll try to defeat internal dissent by announcing a referendum on whether our official language should become Danish, then go “whoops, I don’t know how we lost that”. Then they’ll hold another, on whether it should become compulsory to own an antelope; then, when the country’s full of antelopes, they’ll decide the antelopes are a nuisance so call an election against them and lose 40 seats and have to go into coalition with the antelopes.

But this would still be better than allowing Labour to take over with its “coalition of chaos”. Tory coalitions are smooth and stable, comprising an alliance with militant Presbyterians who have a Creationist minister who insists the world is 4,000 years old and dinosaurs didn’t exist; the sort of people you can rely on.

The stability we’ve come to admire from Theresa May was displayed for us at around three in the morning, as she waited to make her speech in Maidenhead. By now she knew her night had gone a little wayward, and she looked as if she was about to be presented with a box of orange chocolates for working 20 years at Debenhams.

There will, presumably, now be another vote for a new Tory leader. If it’s Amber Rudd, at the next election she can refuse to take part in the TV debate and send Theresa May in her place instead.

But maybe the Conservatives have an even bigger problem. Because, in another election, what can they say about Corbyn they haven’t already said? The newspapers will declare that “Corbyn once supported Vikings and pillaged our towns. Corbyn’s beard made from specially murdered pandas. New footage shows Corbyn speaking on same platform as breast cancer.”

In another election they’ll have run out of these phrases, so it will say “Corbyn is AWFUL on biscuits, DISGUSTING with tadpoles, SOFT on pilates, a FRIEND of wasps.”

But none of the normal tactics worked. Because it might not help to scream: “This madman wants to carry out Marxist nonsense such as renationalising railways, an extremist measure supported by only 95 per cent of the population. And he’s promising to RAISE TAX for much loved figures such as bankers and Philip Green.” The youth were dismissed, but several hundred came into towns on countless evenings to knock on doors, grime artists wrote songs for him, their enthusiasm fizzing across the country, barely spotted by most commentators and polling companies.

Pause.

No, seriously. Wait for it.

Yet the most important thing in moments like this is not to gloat. It would be wholly wrong, at this delicate juncture, to recall the thousands of Conservatives who wrote articles beginning “Ha ha Jeremy Corbyn? We can’t fail to win every seat in the world because the scruffy twat doesn’t sing the national anthem and makes sandwiches for Hamas, so let’s pay three pounds to become a Labour supporter and elect Jeremy Corbyn because then we’ll get so many votes we’ll be allowed to rule Argentina as well, and we’ll be in power FOREVER.”

And it would be impolite to giggle at the Labour MPs now saying, “It’s true I said Corbyn is a repellent earwig who could no more win an election than fly to Barbados on a marrow from his allotment, as he’s a festering pustule of uselessness destined to get no votes whatsoever, especially in Battersea and Croydon Central. But I always liked him and fair play, he appears to have done slightly better than expected.”

It’s true that Corbyn can’t seem to do all the normal politician stuff, so he even stumbled over his call for Theresa May to resign. Maybe that’s why so many people are coming to adore him. And maybe that’s why suddenly we appear to be living in a completely different country.

Gloating. Not around here.

“We could do that. But it would be wrong. That’s for sure.”- Richard Milhouse Nixon

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