A 20-30 point Tory lead is now cut in half, some polls showing single digits, since Theresa May called a snap general election for June 8 on April 18. Like clockwork, American press sucked down trans-Atlantic Tory landslide spin (likely from Jim Messina, an Obama/Clinton veteran now working for the Tories). The Washington Post, no doubt on Messina’s speed dial, took comical leaps of conclusion so ridiculous it had to have been pitched to them.
No one elected Theresa May British Prime Minister. She is only PM because David Cameron resigned in 2016, after caving in 2015 to the hard right of the Conservative Party’s decades old demand for a referendum on the EU, which barely passed as Brexit in 2016. Cameron’s pathetic resignation from a hopelessly split Tory Party gave Theresa May the shifting sand on which she claims to stand “strong and stable”.
May is a sitting duck. A terrible national candidate, she runs and hides behind control freakery worthy of a Clinton. May has been around long enough to make enemies in every Tory corner, as any pro-EU Tory hack had to in order to survive on the government dole for 20 years. Her only solace in the recent Tory polling collapse is that UKIP, the fringe hard right of Brexit godfather Nigel Farrage, went back home to the Tories. UKIP as a political force was always the Tory base, much as the Tea Party has always been the Republican base. UKIP got its long awaited result, Brexit, thus, back to the Tories! Will they turnout? That’s the biggest question that will decide June 8th.
Conversely, Corbyn was plucked from nowhere then thrust into the teeth of a dying New Labour gnawing its death throes. Then beat New Labour, twice. Amidst constant treachery and coup attempts, Corbyn survived then thrived, and now stands on a movement-built machine inspired to march. Labour under Corbyn is a political party, not an accident of incompetence, as May’s Tories are.
Corbyn’s Labour movement vs. a Tory Potemkin Village is the story here, not an imminent landslide. Media either cannot see this tide from the left, or have been trying to stem it. To date, media have largely characterized the rise of anti-establishment radicalism as only from the right; Trump, Brexit, LePen. Not even Bernie Sanders’ Corbynesque leap from nothing to the precipice of the presidency has taught the landed punditocracy that a positive left radicalism can gain momentum, even power. Corbyn is thus invisible to them. But not for long.
Predictably, May’s campaign has been the spitting image of Hillary Clinton’s, perhaps Messina packed it in his luggage. Forward Together! Strong & Stable! Now, the fear. After LePen went down in flames in France, Messina speed dialed every neoliberal pundit on American TV, to pile onto the May Train triumphantly, to cement that there is no difference between right wing radicalism and left wing socialism. Capital has a funny way of mirroring every threat against each other.
Corbyn’s test now is to survive a trans-Atlantic onslaught upon him that will dwarf anything Trump, Clinton, or even Bernie Sanders had to endure, for 18 days. Showing his strength, Corbyn has pledged not to step down as Labour Leader no matter the result June 8. If the Tories survive by single digits, there is no reason for Labour to ditch Corbyn, given Corbyn is already outperforming Ed Milliband’s 2015 result. If Corbyn wins, the British left will have proven that radical movement politics can win power from the left with a positive message inspiring the working class.