As we enter the next 50 days of electoral campaigning, only one outcome seems possible. The question on the mind of the UK is not can Theresa May win, but by how much can she do so. With the Labour party still not entirely aligned behind Jeremy Corbyn, and the Lib Dems too small to mount any serious challenge, there remains no serious opposition to the Conservatives in England. Ignoring the possibility of nuclear war between the US and North Korea, there seems to be no feasible way May can lose.
This election was called to allow May to have no serious opposition to Brexit, and, as the Daily Mail put it, to ‘Crush the Saboteurs’. This leaves only one option for Labour; heed the advice of Caroline Lucas, ‘Labour needs to realise they don’t hold the answer to every question’.
The goal of this election should be to reduce the chance of a Tory majority, and keep May’s feet close to the fire over Brexit. A progressive alliance is the only realistic way of doing this, and the sooner Labour, and more importantly Corbyn, realise this the better. Jeremy Corbyn does not have the answer to everything, and as proved by polls, does certainly not have a monopoly on public opinion. There are some issues on which the public prefer the Lib Dems, and some issues where the public favour the Greens. As much as it may pain many to hear, Corbyn does certainly not do well when judged as a leader. We can either ignore this and live in a world where Corbyn is seen as the only politician who fights against the elite, or we can engage in the real world debate where the rest of the United Kingdom resides.
There are many who believe that Corbyn is unfit to be prime minister, but if a Labour MP stands a chance of unseating a Tory MP, or is under risk of losing a seat to the Tories, the Lib Dems or Greens should pull out of that seat to ensure the Tories are locked out. In return, the Labour party needs to realise that in rural seats in middle class areas, the Lib Dems stand a better chance.
The left and centre left show strength in numbers, but weakness in plurality. We must turn that plurality into another strength. We must show that we can work together, suspend tribal interests, and put the country above our party politics.
Theresa May has the best chance an incumbent has ever had. Going into a General Election with double the opposition’s poll rating means she needs to do nothing to secure a win. The country needs to realise what is really going on. This is simply an opportunity for the Tory party to become a quasi-democratic dictatorship. As Ian Hislop has put it in relation to the previously mentioned Daily Mail headline, ‘I thought I was reading about the Turkish Election’.
The Tories have realised they have the opportunity to seriously crush Labour. All of us on the left, Labour supporters or not, have the duty to make sure that the democracy and plurality of parliament is maintained. This opportunistic attempt by May to silence opposition cannot be successful. The age old ‘You could put a monkey up for election for Labour in the North and it’ll still win’ needs updating. This time it will be the Tories, and it will be across the whole country. May must be stopped and a hard Brexit must be stopped. We can only do that together, in a progressive alliance.
Image: Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office