Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How Theresa May Helped UK Voters Understood Corbyn Better

I have always believed that Jeremy Corbyn will win a lot of votes, possibly a majority had the Labour Party, especially the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) accepted and supported his leadership. In fact, until I went to bed by 4am on the election night itself, I was still optimistic for a Prime Minister Corbyn and tweeted it blatantly throughout the campaign. The following are examples of how Mrs May shot herself in the foot at every turn throughout the election;

1. Took a gamble on Corbyn's principles:  Theresa May seems to know fully well that with Corbyn's principled, social standing, an election with him was always going to be a gamble. However, she banked on her poll lead having egged on the PLP to continue the war against their leader, knowing too well that nothing works best against anyone or team than attacks from within.

2. Changing her mind to call an election: Having secured the above scenarios, changing her mind [yet again] to call an election from the blues was no big deal, her team thought. What they didnt envisaged is that Jeremy Corbyn will be able to put together a manifesto and that the PLP was going to resign from obstructing the very principles they've collectively called extreme left and damaging.

3. Believed that Labour MPs will see election as opportunity to remove Corbyn: The May's team thought that the PLP will water down Corbyn's principle from forming the foundation of the manifesto. And that their continuous attack on him on Trident will prove an event of unprecedented internal fight , which could lead to chaos in agreeing and releasing a manifesto let alone a coherent one. Funnily enough, the PLP has their own attack approach on Corbyn. And that was to let Corbyn fail; and fail alone.

3. Did not realize that Labour MPs want a different attack this time:  So when the PLP decided instead to let Corbyn run with his views in the manifesto as a means to see his 'extreme-left' views rejected by the voters so that they - the PLP - can then pounce and remove him, the May's team's main plan fell apart albeit still favourable to them. So the PLP adopting a subtle attack of erasing and refusing to endorse Corbyn, with some of them publicly declaring that Corbyn's photo will not feature on their leaflets; some went as far as saying that they are defending their seats only, and others on TV/media practically but indirectly endorsing Mrs May. All this was working for May but not as initially planned.

4. Put herself as an example of an authoritarian: On other hand, the PLPs decision to not feature Corbyn on their leaflet also turns into portraying Corbyn as not self-centred, imposing or controlling. This was rather more vivid also when May employed the 'me, me, me' approach, using 'me and my team', 'give me a mandate to...', 'give me your vote', and worse still, reducing the name of her party to near invisiblity on posters while her name took over. At some point, I tweeted that I never knew there was a political party in the UK called 'Theresa May'. It seemed so from their approach.
5. Theresa May's endless attacks on Corbyn crystalized his humble leadership: But of course, the election provided a never-before-had opportunity for people to actually encounter Mr. Corbyn, hear his principles, reviewed his record. So the more the Conservatives attacked him, the more they helped a lot of people mule over the man himself. The attack on him as a security threat was falling apart by the day as many more people learnt that he was seeking reconciliation instead of supporting terrorism. The attack that he opposed anti-terror legislations fell apart as people understood that he did it to protect [everyone's] civil liberty and ensure proper judicial oversight. And on this matter, Theresa May's self-centred, authoritarian approach to the campaign became a practical demonstration of what a govt with all the control as to whom to incarcerate, could be. And surely, British people do not like authoritarianism. So while May was attacking a man of humility, principle, collaboration, reconciliation, she was herself playing out exactly what the opposite is and thereby crystalizing the good in Corbyn's approach to leadership.

6. Mrs. May failed to borrow a leaf from the Queen: In this regard, Theresa May fail to learn a lesson the Royal family has perfected: that to be appreciated, loved and reverred in Britain, you have to at least pretend that you have or want no more power. In fact, you have to play along and give up portraying power while occupying the core of it. And secondly, you have to endevour to be seen, appear both approachable and accessible, in a two-way traffic system: go out there and meet the people, take a stroll among and mingle with them, focus on their everyday life not on your power, engage in small talks and listen with the occasional questions and careful but human responses. If the people feel they know you, they will let you "get on with it". This a lesson only the wise adopts. To do otherwise, you have to be exceptionally charming, consistent and sticking to your plan; all of which, Mrs May lacks anyway. Whereas Mr. Corbyn on his own part, seems a king in engaging with people, probably better than the Queen.

7. She was too obsessed about Corbyn especially making a lurid comment about him: Another issue was that Theresa May spent more time talking about Corbyn than Corbyn talked about her. In fact, there was no time you heard Mrs May speak throughout the campaign that she did not mention Jeremy Corbyn. It was so common it reached a level of obsession and peaked the moment she made the 'naked' reference to him which came across as lurid losing the effect of 'disunity' in the Labour party that she was trying to paint. In fact at some point, the obsession came across as jealousy and thus helped make more people curious about the man. And the more curious people got, the more they want to know more, the more they dig for themselves and the more they learn something new and want to listen to him. 

8. She chose to avoid the very people she is encouraging to avoid Corbyn: Finally, Theresa May failed election campaign test when she chose secure, private appearances with handpicked - if not vetted - Tory members only. Each time she appeared in the media, the 'crowd' was countable on the fingers and usually appear vaguely motivated behind her like props. This arrangement fed into the all powerful, dictatorial tendency she was blurting out through 'strong and stable'. In contrast, the man she attacks at these events appears to take to people and seen constantly among real crowds; at rallies, hustlings, open spaces, huge halls, in rain or shine. This went a long way too to drive home the point that Theresa May is afraid of the people to the point of contempt and therefore not likeable.

In all, her inability to appear genuine, difficulty in smiling, lost of words for real questions, repetition of slogans to every question and worse still, the arrogance of the u-turn when she her chose response was, 'nothing has changed'; as if those pointing out the change were fools and a nuisance to her, all played together to make it difficult for her to walk where she would have run. Had Theresa May played like Corbyn, or at least, like Cameron, she'd have got a majority. In fact, I strongly think that she contributed to shining more light on the human in Corbyn than otherwise. But then, in all, it was wrong calculation and the intention to manipulate situations that fried her up.

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