19 April 2017

Theresa May's Gamble

I must say Theresa May has left everyone a bit shocked and there's a scramble on the part of pundits and commentators in attempting to interpret her actions.
Obviously frustrated, May wants to strengthen her hand which at the moment is hindered by divisions within the UK political Establishment. The Brexit negotiations are proving very complicated and difficult. The attempt to form an even closer alliance with Washington has proven dubious and has not strengthened London's hand when it comes to dealings with the Continent.

I suppose from May's perspective she has a long year or more of negotiations ahead of her that are all but doomed to produce a less than satisfactory result. And then what? Whatever her government produces will be subsequently picked apart and obstructed by the Establishment, factions within her own party and certainly elements within Labour etc.
Either way she seems to envision a fruitless legacy resulting in defeat and probably her resignation. From her vantage point she would rather risk defeat now and walk away or come out of June's election with a strong hand.
The risks are great. She could potentially end her tenure as Prime Minister... which maybe she's happy to do?
But perhaps the greatest risk that undoubtedly has many in the UK Establishment scrambling is the prospect of a Labour victory and Corbyn as the new PM. To many this is unacceptable. They've tried to run him off, marginalise him and in many ways they have made a fool out of him. He's capitulated on almost every point. His liberalism (like that of Bernie Sanders in the US) has been exposed as something of a sham.
That said, they still don't want him. The military clearly doesn't and views him as a security threat. Right now the polls give Labour virtually no chance of victory. But May certainly realises that we are in a time of great instability and popular dissatisfaction with the status quo has already manifested itself in shocking electoral results. Trump immediately comes to mind but the Brexit vote itself seems most pertinent in this case.
The Snap Election is set for June. Oh, to live in a political system that can host an election in less than 60 days! Despite the relative brevity of that period, a lot can happen. Will the British system endure another shock? May seems confident that victory will be hers and yet I cannot but help wondering if she has not instigated a great deal of ire on the part of the ruling Establishment?

One thing is clear, the last couple of years demonstrate the entirety of the Western political order is suffering from angst and a growing instability. Given the global economic fragility and rising geopolitical tensions, there's a toxic brew percolating that is more than a little disconcerting.

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