To look on the bright side the Conservatives achieved nearly 60 more seats than Labour, they won both the largest share, and total vote, of any party in recent elections, and they ended all talk of a second Scottish independence referendum for the foreseeable future. Although the Tories lack an overall majority, the parliamentary arithmetic is still in their favour as the seven Sinn Fein members will not be attending parliament. In addition, she can count on the support of the ten Democratic Unionists, so in practical terms she has the backing of about 328 members, whereas the combined strength of the opposition parties can never exceed 315, thus giving the Tories a working majority of around 13.
With the benefit of hindsight it becomes easier to see the folly of Teresa May and her party becoming beguiled by favourable opinion poll ratings, and underestimating how they could melt away in the heat of a campaign. What has now become apparent is that Teresa May’s political style is managerial, lacking the human engagement with the electorate to win them over when the going gets tough. She appeared robotic and uncomfortable in interviews, and by ducking the leadership debates she gave the impression of being both ‘frit’ and arrogant at the same time. In contrast Jeremy Corbyn proved adept at campaigning and winning over audiences, in contrast to his often plodding parliamentary performances.
The ostensible reason for calling the election was to strengthen Teresa May’s hand in the negotiations on leaving the EU. However, in practice the focus on this objective was quickly overtaken by other issues, in particular Labour’s stress on ending austerity, the under-funding of public services and the failure of the Tories to raise living standards for ordinary people. The two terrorist atrocities allowed Labour to point the finger at Tory cuts in police manpower. In their complacency, the Tories alienated older supporters with ill thought out proposals for the funding of social care and the withdrawal of the winter fuel payment for most pensioners. In contract Labour could entice young voters with the abolition of tuition fees. At the end of the day little positive reasons were provided in the manifesto for people to vote Tory. Their strategy can be summarised as trust Teresa May as she is clearly more competent than the unelectable extremist Jeremy Corbyn, whom they proceeded to demonise with the aid and support of their press backers. Unfortunately for the Tories insufficient members of the electorate were persuaded by these negative tactics.
So what of the future? The main task remains a satisfactory outcome in the negotiations to leave the European Union. The election outcome should have no impact on this as the only parliamentary vote will be on whether to accept the final agreement reached. The Tories will need to do more to end low pay, improve public services, reverse the fall in home ownership, and make a more determined effort to reduce uncontrolled immigration, in particular of Muslims through arranged marriages. Unfortunately, the Conservatives commitment to introduce more grammar schools now looks a lot more problematic, given the lukewarm approach of some Tory MPs.
With regard to the other parties, Jeremy Corbyn should be congratulated for increasing the Labour vote by nearly ten per cent when many pundits, including the majority of his MPs, had written him off at the start of the campaign. Although sincere and straight talking he remains a deeply unsavoury character with his past sympathy for IRA terrorist objectives, toleration of Islamist fanatics, and admiration for repugnant or dysfunctional Marxist regimes such as those of Castro and Chavez. He would be more than happy to flood Britain with immigrants from all parts of the globe, and his reflex public obsequiousness towards ethnic minority people and their often regressive practices, and sometimes degenerate culture, is nothing more than nauseating virtue signalling.
Despite all this Labour still managed to produce some sensible policies. Gas, electricity and water are all natural monopolies, and their privatisation has provided only fake competition and negligible benefits. It cannot be right that young people are saddled with huge debts for a university education. Unfettered globalisation appears to have enriched those who caused the financial crash with obscene telephone number bonuses, yet impoverished still further those with the least skills at the bottom end of society.
As for the minor parties, UKIP is clearly finished having served its purpose. It may have a residual role as a pressure group for a clean British EU exit if Nigel Farage is prepared to resume the leadership. The Liberal Democrats plan to scupper Brexit with a second referendum thankfully gained no traction and the party remains an irrelevance. The Green Party continues on the fringe of British politics where it belongs. Although environmental protection is important the Greens’ infatuation with the ludicrous and discredited climate change hoax means they cannot be taken seriously about anything.
In conclusion, the Tories should make the best of the hand they have been dealt. There should be no backsliding on leaving the European Union, including withdrawal from the single market and customs union and ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Until the Brexit negotiations have been successfully completed, nothing would be gained by a change in the Conservative leadership, and an early general election might lead to still more support for the Labour party. So the Tories should stay united, get on with governing the country and demonstrate that they can deliver administrative and economic competence.