Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Theresa's Boo Boos.
Jonathan Arnott MEP.
Today with the DUP deal we see the culmination of Theresa May's failings as a Prime Minister.
I never bought in to the Theresa May hype when many UKIP supporters trusted her to deliver on Brexit. After all, she failed to deliver time and time again on her promises when she was Home Secretary. So why would anyone suppose that as Prime Minister she would suddenly transform? Yet the media gave her a honeymoon period which lasted far too long.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of mistakes:
Mistake 1: The early election flip-flop.
In politics, just like in life, people don't trust you if you break your promises. Theresa May didn't have to outright rule out calling an election, over and over again. But she did.
When she went back on her word, I don't suppose many people desperately wanted or hated having an election. But by going back on her word, she created an impression that she wasn't to be trusted.
Mistake 2: Assuming the result at the start
Holding an election when you don't have to is a hugely risky gamble. Theresa May came across as taking the electorate for granted.
Mistake 3: An election campaign that overly focused on Theresa May.
Vote for Theresa May's candidate, we were told. Not vote for the Conservatives or any plan. It was all centred around Theresa May personally. Fine at the start of an election campaign, but not fine after weeks of campaigning when all the other parties were bound to attack her. She was leading in the polls after all.
Mistake 4: They didn't really say very much.
The Conservative election literature in my constituency, a target seat for them which they actually won, didn't say anything. It was platitude after platitude and cliche after cliche.
They gave no positive reasons to go out and vote for them.
Mistake 5: But the one thing they did say was electoral suicide.
The so-called 'dementia tax' was always going to go down badly, and the U-turns didn't inspire confidence at all.
Mistake 6: Theresa May didn't take part in the debates.
I'm not sure that too many people make their minds up about how to vote when watching a debate, honestly. But the message that you send to the electorate by refusing to debate is like sticking up two fingers at the people. It either says 'I'm scared of the opposition' or it says 'I can win without having to bother putting myself through a debate'. Neither fear nor arrogance is particularly Prime Ministerial.
Mistake 7: A marketing strategy that couldn't match the hype.
A 'strong and stable' narrative only works if your campaign demonstrates strength and stability. It did completely the opposite.
Mistake 8: Letting Corbyn get away with far too much.
Corbyn's fantasy economics needed to be challenged, but how can you challenge it if you won't debate him?
If your election literature contains only bland platitudes about your own candidate, and you're giving no positive reason to vote for them, you'd better be giving a reason not to vote for the other side. But they failed to do even that.
Mistake 9: Fundamentally missing the mood of the country on election night.
If you don't have to call an election, and then call one, and lose seats, you can't really spin that as a great victory. Yes you just-about won, but a more conciliatory tone is needed when you've just achieved completely the opposite.
Mistake 10: Not showing a human side.
If you come across as aloof, out of touch, not interested in meeting the people...well then how do you expect people to feel about you?
May's reaction to Grenfell Tower was woeful, and that memory will stick in people's minds.
So now, through every fault of her own, Theresa May finds herself in a situation where she has to give in when negotiating with the DUP.
If she caves in so easily when in talks with a party that already broadly is in agreement with her, what on earth is she going to do in negotiations with the European Union?