Corbyn: Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Statesman


Theresa May might well say: "if this is Victory, give me Defeat". But the reason for Jeremy Corbyn's combative declaration about imminently toppling her is that those sentiments are felt even more deeply by the Tory party itself.

The unfolding events since the election result have only deepened their concern. Their growing worries are felt across all political shades. The U.K. business and political establishment simply will not eat a May-baked Brexit cake topped with DUP icing. Here's an outline of the political dynamics now playing out and the rationale behind Corbyn's strategy.

Saturday's torpedoing of May's plan for a DUP-Tory grand coalition is the beginning of the end for her. It showed that she has no hand to play and demonstrated that the DUP have overplayed theirs. May's attempt to bind the DUP to the Tories in a formal coalition which envisaged junior ministerial posts going to the DUP was bereft of political nous.

It was quickly shot down by senior Conservatives agast at the thought of being doggedly wagged by the Ulster hardliners. Even worse, despite a claim by 10 Downing Street that a more hands-off confidence and supply arrangement was agreed, the DUP ended a tragic day for May with a midnight declaration that there was no such deal.

This comedy of errors by the two parties was their undoing. If May could be bounced around so pathetically by the DUP, then what hope is there for her ability to hack a deal with the EU? And if the DUP could not see that this was a time to play loyal softball in public -even if negotiating in a hardball fashion, then they are blind to the sensitivities of mainstream mainland opinion.

Then there's the terrorism risk. Already reeling from ISIS lunatics reddening the streets of Manchester and London with blood, the conservative leader's marriage of convenience in Ulster would hand a second bunch of lunatics in the rump of the IRA all they need to recruit support for their own terror war. "We told you the Brits would sell us out," they would shout. "Sinn Féin were wrong to ever trust them."

So let's just nail the real requirements for a DUP deal. The power-sharing devolved government in Northern Ireland is currently suspended and in lock-jam because the DUP have already been overplaying their hand. There can be no deal with the DUP which does not include the resumption of agreed government in the province. Empowering Irish terrorists while politically neutering Sinn Fein would be the gravest of security blunders. That such a plan was ever conceived of has shocked senior political figures in Britain's establishment.

There is a deepening cross-party conviction that it is time for Britain to stop shooting itself in the foot. Among leading Tories a conviction that opportunists and fundamentalists are wrecking the nation politically and economically. That is why May has attempted to placate liberal Conservatives and appeal to ambitious Brexiteers by co-opting representatives of both elements to her cabinet. But it's too little, and far too late.

The opposite of fundamentalism is pragmatism. The opposite of the political opportunist is the political statesman. Corbyn was not a statesman when elected leader of Labour. But he became one over the course of that party's internecine battles and during this recent general election campaign. His party colleagues have seen that transformation and now realize that they have on their hands a leader who can reconnect politics with the people.

The Tories realize that also. They fear that any alliance with the DUP will only paint the Conservative Party into an ageing demographic corner from which they could never hope to escape. The same problem of an ageing conservative power-base had confronted the GOP in the United States. Regardless of what you think of the man, Trump rescued that party from certain demographic death.

Tories know that May is digging the party's grave. They now understand  that the politics of all this means Corbyn will one day be prime minister. They realize that May staggering on for some months in a minority government while Corbyn builds on his success, is a path to decadeal demise for the Conservatives.

Corbyn is savvy to these political realities. He is about to take the high moral ground. He is about to make the Queen's Speech of a statesman. His will be a call to national unity and the national interest. In the same way as he has avoided vindictiveness in his own party's internal wars, he will extend an olive branch to political opponents who share his focus on Britain's national interest.

Such a grand vision is the secret to his declaration about unseating May within days. He is aiming at political realists among Tories who understand that their own party needs to rebuild without May and perhaps without governing. There's clever political calculation also at play. If his gracious entreaties are rejected, it will enable him to rob the Tories of middle-ground voters at a general election which would come sooner than later.

Cometh the hour, cometh the pragmatic statesman.

Jeremy Corbyn's hour has come.

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