People claim what they wish for. And without a doubt, many – perhaps all of us – are seeking for strength and stability in their lives, especially when we live in a time of the greatest turmoil since WWII. Politicians are no exemption from this rule. And both might have been the reason why Theresa May has decided to make “strong and stable” her favourite mantra for the upcoming general election. She wishes for it, for herself and for the country, and she might also think that this slogan is going to resonate with the British people, especially in this time of uncertainty.
Tory policies do not lead to strength and stability
But here is the fundamental mismatch: The policies of the Tories are not supporting their claim. Not at all! Their policies are divisive, they fuel the new nationalism in Great Britain, they are economically risky – to say the least – and the whole Brexit is still jeopardizing Britain’s own Union. The Tories have become again the nasty party. In fact, they have taken over policies and rhetoric from UKIP. As a political commentator wrote it brilliantly a few days ago after the local election: UKIP is “more powerful than ever. It has transcended its physical body and its soul has entered the Conservative party. Its spiritual victory required the end of its physical form.”
Attack vigorously that Tory policies do lead to strength and stability
Nevertheless, many Remainers were just laughing at Theresa May and her claim. But in fact, that is very risky too. Because there is a real chance that many British voters will indeed get entangled by her slogan in these times. Theresa May can not only be a “bloody difficult woman”, even more than that, she is a very sly woman! That’s why she survived so long as Home Secretary and why she prevailed in the election as the new leader of the nasty party. And that is also why she is currently exploiting the weakness of the British opposition and the broken British electoral system and called for a general election at this moment after having stated several times before that there should be no election before 2020. It is very important that all Remainers realise this and what they are up against! Because here is the problem: There is currently no political leader in Great Britain who seems to be strong enough to rethink and challenge all this. So, all Remainers are left on their own, as citizens. And that is why it’s so important to realize the current status and then to take the initiative, to collaborate and to unite with others in the next four weeks.
So, instead of making fun of Theresa May and her slogan, in my view, all Remainers and the British opposition should acknowledge that this is what she and many voters are thriving for. But at the same time, all Remainers and the British opposition should challenge vigorously that the far-right Brexit Tory policies are the way to achieve strength and stability for the British people. They are not, they can not and they never will be!
Compare it with other European nations
Just compare it to Austria, to the Netherlands and now to France! Didn’t the election of Van der Bellen in Austria, of Rutte in the Netherlands, of Macron in France bring more stability, more political calm, less racism and new hope along? And compare it to Poland as well. Wasn’t the victory of PiS, the Polish nasty party, not only possible because of a weak and divided opposition? And how does Poland look like today? Isn’t the Polish society more torn than ever since the last general election?
Unite against the far-right Brexit Tories
In order to avoid a Polish scenario for the British society in the next five years, Remainers and the British opposition must unite. Currently, that is their only chance to make the upcoming general election a success! The reward of such a unification would be tremendous. It would allow them to win more seats in Parliament, for sure! And if the far-right Brexit Tories are not getting an absolute majority in the House, they will need to collaborate with someone in the upcoming five years. This would already lead to a more balanced and prudential approach.
Political leaders of the opposition in the UK are a total failure so far
However, it turned out that there is a major problem currently. The leaders of the British opposition are starting to become a total failure. Jeremy Corbyn continues to be remarkably stubborn and unclear about remaining in the European Union even though the majority of Labour voters do not want to leave at all. Tim Farron appears to be terribly egoistic, driving his show and is attacking other opposition leaders and parties with disastrous rhetoric. And a Green party Co-leader attacked Labour last week for not cooperating against the Tories in such a way that for sure, it will not lead to more cooperation. It’s hard to accept, but it currently looks like Theresa May is not only right, she is more than right: it’s not even a coalition of chaos, it is not a coalition at all. May’s biggest strength so far is the failure of Britain’s opposition party leaders. If it continues like this, it is very likely that Britain will end up like Poland: PiS won there mainly because of the divisiveness and weakness of the opposition.
Be careful: chaos on the constituency level can make things even worse
As if that were not enough, chaos on the constituency level doesn’t make things better. In Vauxhall, for example, the Labour member Roger Casale has announced to resign from Labour to challenge and unseat the current incumbent Kate Hoey. She is in favour of Brexit, but the big majority of her voters are not. What sounds nice in the beginning, could prove even worse. Kate Hoey is from Labour and there are press reports that the Liberals are targeting Vauxhall as well. So, having checked the results from last election and with voters split across three candidates this time, it could turn out that in Vauxhall, the Brexit Tories will be the winners in the end… Congratulations! Well done!
What can ordinary citizens do?
Acknowledging the situation as it is is the first step to change it. There might not be so much chaos in each of the 650 constituencies across Britain as it is in Vauxhall. Citizens need to actively take their political fate in their own hands. It’s high time to engage, to collaborate and to unite with others. Local alliances in each constituency are still the best way forward, especially when opposition party leaders fail – the more unity, the better. If all Remainers check who is the most promising candidate in their constituency, if they unite as much as possible, if they attack actively their local MP candidates to unite against the Conservatives and campaign finally together for the most promising candidate, at least 16 million votes would be used in the right direction. And remaining in the European Union is simply still the best way to secure strength and stability for Britain: Economic uncertainty would be reduced to just the normal level. Companies would not downsize their production to the size of the British market. The British Pound would raise overnight. The question of a second Scottish independence referendum could even be off the table immediately. And a lot of energy in Britain wouldn’t be wasted on an unnecessary divorce process over the coming years. There are a lot of good arguments. I am sure, you already know them or you are able to find even more. So, let’s get the positive message out and across to all fellow citizens: Remaining in the European Union is still the very best way to ensure strength and stability for the British people! Far-right policies of the Brexit Tories and the exploitation of the British electoral system together with the weakness of political opponents will never lead to them. Never!Oliver H. Schmidt