I have a deep gut feeling that this election is not going to play out the way Theresa May wants it to. ‘Hah,’ you smirk, ‘look at the opinion polls, Corbyn is toast, even the Samaritans hang up on him’. Well, maybe. I don’t for one moment think that Corbyn will win, but he will do much better than we think. All elections are won on the middle ground and they will desert him in droves. But although Corbyn is a disaster at the dispatch box, he is in his comfort zone at the big rallies of besotted, love struck, damp gussetted disciples. They will harangue the wicked press and the fascist BBC, burn effigies of Murdoch and pray for the day when the war monger Blair gets his own personal Nuremberg. May is not in her comfort zone on the stump. To be honest I am not really sure where her comfort zone is. She doesn’t have the easy charm of Cameron and is so wooden she might as well be called the Cuprinol Kid. And she would be mad to think that the press can be kept at bay. Pity the poor bloody electorate who have got weeks of this guff and counter guff.
Corbyn’ s advantage is that he has nothing to lose. For him, to quote the Blair campaign song, ‘things can only get better’. Madam has taken a gamble drawn up exclusively with her two elves. If it goes wrong, if her new mandate is corrupted by a Lib Dem surge, as I suspect it will be, she faces danger from her cabinet and back benches. When things go wobbly (every election does) it will be interesting to see when Bozo goes off message. I promise you, he will. Kong of Sulk island will soon be thumping his chest.
What is interesting is the mechanics of it all. After a fork of lightening, a crash of thunder and a terrifying storm, striding out of the gothic gloom with only his cloven hooves shimmering in the moonlight, is the brash, brazen and brilliant Lynton Crosby. His rule is simple. I’ll give you the best chance of winning this election, just follow my instructions to the letter. He makes Josh Lymon look like a mild mannered introvert. He will have a professional working relationship with May. It will certainly not be the blokish banter he had with Cameron. Somehow I just can’t imagine him coming out with the sort of remark he made about Cameron after the 2015 victory, "Christ, I could suck the guy’s cock’. It is not going to be a barrel load of laughs.
The real tension will be his relationship with the gruesome twosome, Fi and Nick. They see themselves as gatekeepers to the sacred blue flame of St Theresa. They are used to being in control. They will find it hard to take orders. But they have never run an election campaign. They would be wise to bite their tongues. Not that they will. When the polls start to slide they will do what Tories are so good at; panic. Their relationship with Crosby is going to be fraught if not toxic. Let’s revisit this is a month.
One of the difficulties May has is what is defining shape of what the mandate she wants from us. ‘Give me the tools and I will finish the job?’ Well, she is blessed with Boris, Loathsome, Grayling and Truss. And will it make our negotiations with Brussels that much stronger? I still am not entirely sure anymore. The Trump bombshell that the EU will get a trade deal before us is a serious psychological blow. But in reality the final Trump position on world trade hasn’t yet been formed. He still needs to appoint hundreds of negotiators. A friend of mine was in DC recently trying to negotiate a trade deal. He was in discussions with three different teams.Hopeless? So all is not lost yet. But this could be the TTIP of the iceberg if the globalisers prevail in the West Wing.
The European Parliament’s statement that article 50 is not irrevocable is a real and present danger for the Brexiteers and May. It is meat and drink for Farron who could wipe out 27 Tory marginals and heaven knows how many Labour ones.
Now for my gut feeling. It tends to be right, but obviously not infallible. I felt that I was going to win in 1983 and 1992. I felt that Cameron would have a majority in 2015. My emotions got the better of me in the referendum because my gut feeling was that we remainers were in trouble, but I was stupid enough to delude myself with what I wanted to believe. Indulge me. Go to your pub, club and mates and ask three simple questions. ‘Was the election necessary? What do you think of Corbyn? Who will you vote for?’ None of this is very scientific, but so far I haven’t met anyone, including Tory backbenchers, who think that this election was necessary nor a good idea. As for their views on Corbyn? So far everyone everyone has just rolled their eyes. The really interesting answer was about voting intentions. I am now talking about committed Tories and Labour supporters who have voted for them all their lives. Their answers so far have been unanimous. Two words. Liberal Democrats. Things may change. But with the biggest fall in consumer spending in seven years, wage stagnation, and a real chance that the Conservative campaign slogan to the middle classes might be, ‘Labour will kill you whereas we will merely fuck you’, anything might happen.