Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday September 6, 2019
No one thought a UK Prime Minister could be worse than Theresa May. Until now
Could someone be worse than Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister widely panned as “the Maybot”?
By the end of her inglorious three-year stint in Downing Street, even her most loyal supporters admitted that the robotic May would never be regarded as one of the greatest British leaders.
By comparison, Boris Johnson’s off-the-cuff, sunny disposition made him a darling of Conservative Party members who chose him for the top job when May finally resigned, defeated by her inability to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.
On his first day as Prime Minister, Johnson promised a bold new Brexit deal, bashing the “doubters, doomsters, gloomsters” and the political class who he said had forgotten about the British people they serve. It was as if an upbeat attitude alone could be enough to overcome any adversity on the United Kingdom’s path to exiting the European Union.
For a moment, it seemed he would breathe new life and, in his words, “positive energy,” into the Brexit process. Some thought, just maybe, he could manage to do what May did not.
How quickly it all went wrong.
Johnson has lost every one of his first votes in parliament, an unprecedented record in the modern era. Undeterred, the Prime Minister purged 21 members of his parliamentary party who voted against him, blowing apart his majority.
Then, his efforts to secure a snap general election — with the goal of replacing the sacked lawmakers with a new slate of candidates more aligned with his hard-Brexit views — were scuppered when opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to play along.
Now, he is effectively trapped in Downing Street, with Corbyn holding the keys. The government plans to propose new elections again on Monday, but the opposition leader says his party will only support the move when its efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit are locked down.
“Certainly his biggest tactical mistake so far was not to realize that it was Corbyn, as leader of the opposition, who effectively had veto power over when a general election could be held,” said Professor Tony Travers, director of the Institute of Public Affairs at the London School of Economics.
“It looks as if the Conservatives and their advisers thought that if they offered a general election to the Labour Party it would jump at the opportunity, but the way things have turned out — the coming together of the no-deal bill and the possibility that the opposition can frustrate a general election — creates the possibility of keeping the Prime Minister trapped in government, unable to fulfill his commitment to leave the EU come what may.”
Now the newly minted PM finds himself in a position that May never was — on his knees, begging the opposition for a general election.
How did it come to this? (Continued: CNN)