What still gets me about the general election result


I have been writing less of late, blog-wise. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which has been the birth of my son this past week. But I have to admit there are more than simple pragmatic considerations standing in the way of my standard verbosity.

It has to do with the general election, or rather, one particular element of the result.

I was sure of a Tory landslide right up until the exit poll came out. Certain that not only would the Conservative Party win, but win big. The reason for this came down to one, straightforward variable: Theresa May. My impressions of May going into the general election campaign were as follows: robotic, vacuous, lacking in ideas as evidenced by her love of empty slogans, a poor public speaker and debater, vindictive, childish, and given to a political formula that seemed to involve wooing UKIPers as much as possible.

Nothing she did on the campaign trail convinced me she was any better or any worse than my previous impression of her had told me she was. Therefore, I couldn’t see why anyone else would go off her simply because she was being what she had always been.

Having heard the “red, white and blue Brexit” tosh and still given her a 60 per cent higher net approval rating than Jeremy Corbyn, I thought the situation settled; that the nation had decided. As a result of all this, I’m still struggling a little: what did the public see of May they didn’t like in May 2017 when she was just doing what she had always done, saying the sorts of things she had always said? Is public opinion really that volatile these days?

If so, there are several things to conclude. One, Jeremy Corbyn should enjoy it while it lasts, for it seems that the British public are very much in the mood to build pedestals for flawed figures only to then knock them back to Earth with a thump even though they have changed not one iota in the interim.

Two is much more serious: the upheaval we are witnessing has only just begun. If the public wants change, but has no idea what that change should even remotely look like, then ultimately no one can really change things for the better since they will never be given a chance to do so. Given the challenges we now face, that is an unpleasant thought.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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