For better or worse, Theresa May managed to survive the calamitous failure of her 2017 election campaign, which led to her leading a minority government propped up by the DUP. I have to give her credit for at least managing to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power, but she should enjoy her marginal success while it lasts. After this failure of an election campaign, her career may as well be over. After this campaign, she has weakened her hand significantly, and in a minority government, she has lost all authority and credibility that she barely had before then.
How is she doomed? Well for starters, she basically killed her own campaign. She set out to commit blue murder on the opposition, but she ended up shooting herself in the foot instead. All the more damning was that she practically convinced her fellow Tories that she had it in the bag. They were hoping that she would lead them back into a large majority, giving them the mandate they need to do whatever they wanted. Now that she failed, I imagine that there are now a number of Tory MP’s looking for her head on a silver platter.
There’s already talk of a possible leadership contest in the near future. It’s mainly speculation, but it’s not entirely groundless. Now that Theresa May appears to have been weakened, it’s likely that other Tory MPs may try to undermine her, and if the time is right, they might launch a leadership coup against her, just like Labour’s MP’s tried to with Jeremy Corbyn just last year. It’s not an incredibly likely scenario, but it’s not impossible.
The way I see it, even if Theresa May survives the rest of the year in Downing Street, she’ll basically spend what I assume will be her final term lurching from one crisis to another until she is eventually either taken down, or loses the election to Labour, which I believe they will because from here on out the people will see the Tories as emperors with no clothes. The legitimacy of the Tories has been undermined so badly that the stench of failure will haunt the next government.
And then there’s the European question. In this election, the Tories have drawn blood, and like the sharks that they are, the EU leaders will likely smell that weakness, and attempt to exploit that. If Theresa May were somehow able to hardball the EU despite her weakened position, it could perhaps restore people’s faith in her, and that might translate into better electoral performance. However, there will be Tory MP’s who don’t like her approach to Brexit, some of them may have been re-elected.
Of course, even with her successes, she will be remembered for this year’s seismic election, and by extension, her failure to campaign, which has exposed her failure as a campaigner, but also her arrogance. She honestly believed that the election was her’s to win, and that the people would accept that either vote for her and give her a strong majority or we’d have a coalition of chaos. Well as the old saying goes, pride goes before destruction, and in the end, the arrogance of a politician or a party will inevitably be punished by the electorate. In fact, the Tories did so badly that it makes Diane Abbott look more competent by comparison (incidentally, she was re-elected by her constituents in a landslide).
For me, there is really no other way of looking at Theresa May’s career other than through such a pessimistic lens, because that’s the truth. She’s over. She’s overplayed her hand, she’s weakened her own party, and she may well have crippled Brexit, while handing power to her opposition. At this rate, she’s doomed. If she manages to stay in power for the rest of the 2010’s, that in itself will be an accomplishment, but she will perhaps be remembered as one of the worst Prime Ministers in history, single-handedly alienating everyone that she could. As for Brexit, this is perhaps the best result that the slimy pro-European Tories could hope for, and they will have the opportunity to do to her what they did to Margaret Thatcher in 1990.