I wouldn’t like to be the Downing Street paper boy or girl this morning. They probably had all the newspapers thrown back at them.
Theresa May receives the pasting she deserves from the Sunday papers. The Sunday Telegraph sums up her dire position with the headline: “In office, but not in power”, while the Observer has “May’s premiership in peril”, and the Sunday Times has a banner declaring: “Down and out?” – above the headline: “Five cabinet ministers urge Boris to topple May.”
Even her toady old friends at the Mail have thrown away the May bunting – “Boris set to launch bid to be PM as May clings on.”
Ah, dear old Boris – that loveable toff caricature hiding a ruthless plotter and self-advancer. I wouldn’t trust that man to run a Pimm’s party, never mind the country.
If Boris Johnson manages to wheedle his way into Downing Street by climbing over the garden wall, then there really will need to be another election.
But what price democracy? Oh, I have seen the figure of £130 million put up as the public cost of Mrs Maybe’s unnecessary election. Another election will cost a similar amount, presumably – and that’s before all the money the parties will have to come up with.
This morning’s headlines illustrate the ways in which the newspapers can become a feral pack – especially the once-friendly dogs of war now snapping at Theresa May’s ankles.
Incidentally, the slavish Express tries its best with: “May’s ‘toxic’ aides resign” – a reference to the departure of joint chiefs of staff Nicholas Timothy and Fiona Hill. Ah, the toxic advisers are despatched – but not the toxic prime minister.
It’s worth recalling that some of those newspapers were the same ones that over-sold us Brexit and then over-interpreted a narrow ‘yes’ vote as that least trustworthy of megaphones, “the voice of the people”. The people who could be bothered to vote a year ago – too few, and shame on those who didn’t – were evenly divided, with a narrow victory for ‘yes’. That leaves around 28 per cent of the population who backed the Leave vote, which is hardly the ringing endorsement we’ve been sold.
The curse of the Brexit black spot has already seen off one Tory prime minister; and it looks certain to be passed to another.
On the morning of the election, I joked about making Theresa May toast for breakfast. And by the next morning, she had been popped under the grill – an outcome that was as surprising as it was pleasing.
She is at present trying to get herself out of that toast scenario by coming to a grubby arrangement with the DUP.
As for Jeremy Corbyn, he performed brilliantly and good luck to him with whatever comes next – possibly another election, as happened in 1974, when there was great political flux, and there were two elections within eight months.
Some Tory sources are reported today to be what might be termed as shitting their pinstripes over the prospect of another election, believing that Corbyn could pick up even more votes.
It’s worth adding a degree of caution to all the excitement – and, yes, it is exciting, and I am excited – by listening to Professor John Curtice, that bouncy castle of an election expert. He points out that Labour’s tally of 262 seats is only a handful higher than the total won by the party in 2010, when Gordon Brown was shown the door.
“Labour is still a long way away from winning a majority for itself,” the wise prof cautions.
Such a view will be apostasy to the disciples of Corbyn, but it’s always sensible to consider the long drop of history.
Anyway, another election – is that what we need? Time now to stop and make more Theresa May toast for breakfast, with some of Jeremy’s jam on top.
Incidentally, Jeremy’s jam is either what he produces from his allotment or it is his good fortune in having faced the worst Tory leader in memory.
Either way, it’s time for breakfast.