Saturday, 2 July 2016

In which the Rant Mistress admits she made some terrible predictions...

In my last blog post, I recklessly made some predictions that expired like a pint of milk in the sun. In some cases, these predictions turned to crap in less than 24 hours. We have just witnessed one of the weirder weeks in British politics, a week where one could quite literally go to the toilet and return to find that something else had happened to dominate the news cycle, at least for an hour or so.

In the interests of accountability - something that appears to be anathema to our elected representatives - let me go over the predictions I made when I blogged six days ago.

1. I predicted that Boris Johnson would win the Conservative Party leadership race over Theresa May.

Hey, at least I was half-right. Theresa May is still in the running and I think she will be our next Prime Minister. Stephen Crabb, a man who believes you can pray away the gay and did not vote for marriage equality, has no business being the Prime Minister. Andrea Leadsom shouted a lot in the pre-referendum debate that, depressingly, clinched it for Vote Leave, largely thanks to Johnson's disingenuous "Independence Day" speech, but she does not command the same respect within the Conservative Party that May does.

Love her or loathe her, Theresa May's speech about why she should be the next Prime Minister was pitch-perfect. She was reasonable, she was calm, she dialled back on her awful record on human rights, she reminded people that she voted for marriage equality, she came across as competent, and she had a perfectly fair dig at Boris Johnson over his moronic purchase of secondhand German water cannon.

What I sure as hell didn't see coming, along with the rest of the country, was Michael Gove and his wife, Sarah Vine, outing themselves as Poundland Machiavellians.

Sarah Vine supposedly accidentally sent an email to a member of the public in which she is advising Gove on strategy in the leadership race. I am entirely unconvinced that this was an accident. It's a weird email fail, to accidentally send that particular email to a member of the public. It's not the same as the accidental "reply-all" when a hapless office employee inadvertently declares true love for a colleague to the entire company or lets the whole team know about an embarrassing medical appointment. Why was that email "accidentally" sent to the public and not some boring "don't forget to feed the cat" message? I am wearing my unconvinced face.

In any case, it meant we won't have Prime Minister Johnson any time soon. He is probably relieved. He wanted all the power and glory of being PM but none of the responsibility of leading post-referendum negotiations with the EU.

2. I predicted that Jeremy Corbyn is toast as leader of the Labour Party and Dan Jarvis will be the new leader.

Jeremy Corbyn is still the leader of the Labour Party, weathering storms this week that would probably bring down other party leaders. Dan Jarvis is nowhere to be seen. Angela Eagle came out as the challenger to Corbyn's leadership but now she has scurried back in her box. For now. There are campaigns across the whole Labour Party spectrum to shore up new members to ensure either a Corbyn win or a Corbyn downfall in any forthcoming leadership challenge. Whether the popularity of Corbyn within the party membership correlates with the popularity of Corbyn among the people he needs to attract to form a government is debatable.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I'll make another prediction - Corbyn will survive a leadership challenge and the Labour Party will split. If the anti-Corbyn members join forces with the Scottish National Party and the Liberal-Democrats, there is a decent chance of an alternative centre-left political force in Britain, but that will require all three elements to be the bigger person and forgive the past.

3. I predicted a new general election before Christmas and advised Labour to stick with their new leader, even in the event of a loss to maintain party stability.

I am not game to predict when the next general election will be, Labour may well still be led by Jeremy Corbyn by Christmas and the state of the Labour Party by then is anyone's guess.

And with that, I think I will take myself off the computer and pour myself a large glass of wine. Who knows what predictions I'll make next...

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