HINDUSTAN TIMES, 07th JUNE, 2017
It is easy to forget amid the terror attacks in Manchester and London that Thursday’s mid-term election was supposed to be a ‘Brexit election’ – Prime Minister Theresa May has been struggling to retain the focus, but it has gone way beyond – and it shows in her ennui.
Harold Wilson famously remarked that a week is a long time in politics, but it has been seven weeks since May stood in front of 10, Downing Street, and shocked many by announcing the election intended to steamroll opposition to her version of Brexit with a clear mandate.
In mid-April, a massive win for the Conservatives and May was assumed. Few believed Labour and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, would pose any challenge to May’s juggernaut – the only point of interest was how big a majority it would be.
Three things have since then have changed perceptions: terror attacks in Manchester and London, and the remarkable rise of Corbyn, who was supposed to be a disaster and unfit for politics in the age of television.
Opinion polls, such as they are, have swung. The gap between the two has been narrowing by the hour to the point that even Corbyn’s critics in his party now concede that there is a reasonable chance of emerging as the single largest party, if not an outright win.