It’s hard to believe last year’s Tory party conference was only last year. Back then Cameron seemed indestructible and Osborne was the assumed next prime minister. It is amazing to think that less than eleven months later, here we are, both of their political careers over.
Or are they? We live in such strange political times, writing anyone or anything off is dangerous. But the fall of Cameron and Osborne makes me think that perhaps we are entering a period in which prime ministers will come and go with reasonable regularity. Winning the Tories their first majority in over 20 years wasn’t enough to save Cameron – how safe is May, particularly given the minefield of Brexit she has to try and now cross?
This may even be the reason that May doesn’t want an election, at least in part. At the next election, unless something miraculous happens to the Labour Party very soon, the Tories will end up with a thumping great majority, one they will hold onto for some time. Surely that would cement May’s position? I don’t think so. The Tory MPs will know that Corbyn played a greater part in achieving that majority than anyone else did. In a sense May got the premiership by default after the referendum, when the Brexiteers panicked. If they are displeased with the Brexit package May negotiates then I don’t see why they wouldn’t feel empowered to move against her. Why worry about signs of disunity when there is no opposition?
Having voted for Brexit and cast Boris Johnson in the role of Foreign Secretary, the United Kingdom is in danger of becoming a joke in the eyes of the rest of the world. A never ending series of coups, out the other end of which our prime ministers just get increasingly right-wing, may cement this vision of Britain abroad.
All of the signs are there for the door to Number 10 becoming revolving: division with the Tory ranks (which the May coronation only froze for the time being), the Left in pieces, the rise of the alt-right (which is only just starting to make the kind of dent in the UK they have in the US); a period of instability beckons. Like most things I write about these days, I really hope I’m wrong about this. Whatever her faults, Theresa May is definitely the best prime minister we’re going to get anytime soon.