On April 18, Theresa May called a snap general election because she was confident the Labour party under Jeremy Corbin (a left winger) would offer her little resistance and she would win a landslide. The May 8 election result proved how wrong she was.
She misread the mind of the British public. In other words she was out of step with the voting public, who were tired of austerity, cuts in public spending and a fall in the purchasing power of incomes. The people wanted a change for the better, where all sections of the people enjoyed a fair share in governance and a better life.
Brexit had left Britain divided with nearly half the voters having opposed to breaking with Europe. But May did not get it. She campaigned for an inflexible continuation of the same and ran a campaign of simply insulting the Labour Party leader, other political opponents and completely ignoring the views of nearly half the voters who opposed Brexit. This section of the voters were treated as almost unpatriotic both by May and the right-wing media which backed her.
It brings to mind a similar situation which arose in Sri Lanka when just two years ago, when incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa called, for no reason whatsoever other than a soothsayer’s advice, a snap presidential poll after having changed the Constitution of the country so he could continue in power indefinitely.
Mr. Rajapaksa, whose sense of public relations endeared him to his people, completely lost it after coming into power. He began brooking no opposition, silenced his opponents, provided no benefits to a nation suffering after a 30-year long civil war, lost all touch with the common man and surrounded himself with a coterie of hangers on who effectively isolated him from his people and their needs. Like May’s campaign, Rajapaksa too campaigned for a continuation of the same and subjected his opponents to a steady stream of insults and intimidation.
The end result, he had lost.
Surprisingly, the immediate past President (before President Rajapaksa) Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge too called presidential elections earlier than necessary fearing mounting difficulties would make her unelectable when elections were due. She won the election but lost out on her period in power, when the Supreme Court ruled her term of office ended five years from the time she was elected and took oaths!
In all three cases, it was the greed to cling to power which made all three leaders lose their hold on power. Unfortunately the similarities do not end there. Ms. Kumaratunge disputed the period her presidency ended and was thrown out by a Supreme Court ruling. Mr. Rajapaksa had the constitution changed so he could extend his term as president.
Today we see Ms. May attempting to cling to power by hanging onto the coat-tails of the Irish Democratic Union Party - a reactionary political outfit opposed to gay rights, abortion and whose leaders according to the ‘Guardian’ are alleged to have links with the proscribed Northern Ireland militia the UDA. No one quite knows the agreement she has arrived at with this party.
Like all power hungry politicians who attempt to cling to power come-what-may, Ms. May has failed to read the will not only of the electorate but that of her own party as well. Already the right-wing media which backed her when she called for a snap election is calling for her blood. Senior members of her Conservative party are making known they may not accept her leadership and members who lost their seats are crying for her ouster.
Boris Johnson, May’s former Foreign Minister has openly stated he did not know if he would back her and British bookies are tipping him to be the new leader of the Conservative Party.
Come, come, Ms. May, its really not cricket. You lost. It’s time to go, a time for the old leadership to step aside, a time to take responsibility for bad decisions, a time to make way for new thinking and time to take cognizance of the new reality.