Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Theresa May's lack of political acumen gave Jeremy Corbyn a golden gift
The handling of the incident involving a former MI6 agent has been the lowest point of Theresa May's career as Prime Minister of Britain.
For months, Theresa May has been battered and bruised for her performance in relation to the EU and an elusive deal to settle Britain's withdrawal from the EU.
Of course that in a first instance the incident involving the MI6 former agent and his daughter might have looked like a very good opportunity to divert attention from troublesome negotiations that have divided the Conservative Party from top to botton with factions within the party that threaten to derail the whole Brexit process. When the genie got out of the bottle as the incident got a life of its own, mass media pressures forced the hand of the Prime Minister to make a statement when there isn't concrete evidence about who's done it and why. She accused the Russian government and issued ultimatums that in the end will show how weak she really is. Her behaviour threatens to damage not just relationships between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation but also relationships that will negatively affect the mass media. When the idea of banning RT was put forward, the Russian Federation immediately said that should Britain ban RT all British media will not be allowed to operate in the Russian Federation. But this is only one aspect of the predicament of her own making.
Another aspect of the predicament is that taking the issue to Parliament as she did she exposed the entire Conservative Party to criticism when the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn asked the Prime Minister about donations made by Russian oligarchs to the Conservative Party. It is well known that many Russian oligarchs are opposed to President Putin because President Putin has campaigned against Russian oligarchs and chased many of them in cases of fraud. Many of those giving monies to the Conservative Party are naturally against the Russian government and are not reliable witnesses nor the kind of people you would like to be associated with.
Before the incident involving a former MI6 agent came to public knowledge, the Prime Minister was already struggling with the fact that in the electoral contest that is due to take place in May 2018 the Conservative Party is said to be bound to do pretty badly. She practically lost the 2017 General Election because of political miscalculation. If the Conservative Party does as badly as it has been foreseen, her position as Leader of the Conservative Party will become untenable. Giving the Labour Party the motto "Conservative Party funded by Russian Oligarchs", she has done the already faltering Conservative Party no favour whatsoever.
The Conservative Party has a very difficult relationship with many of the local Conservative Party associations and a disastrous performance in the coming local elections will not improve relationships between Central Office and local associations many of which are on a war footing complaining that Central Office imposed on them candidates that they didn't want. This time round the issue is local elections but the next time round it will be about seats in the House of Commons. A weakened leader, a divided Parliamentary party and seriously strained relations between Central Office and local associations is not a recipe for success.
Can the Conservative Party be salvaged? There are several factions in the Conservative Party and there is hardly one person that could unite them all. Jacob Rees Mogg is a highly consistent politician but is resisted by a number of Conservative MPs that have threatened to leave the party if Jacob Rees Mogg is elected Leader of the Conservative Party. In the end, having Jacob Rees Mogg could be a price worth paying for the sake of having a genuine Conservative Party. Jacob Rees Mogg offers traditional Conservative Party principles and clarity of purpose is what the Conservative Party most needs at this moment in time.