Theresa May had to spend much of the summer wining and dining more than 100 Tory MPs at the Chequers country pad in Buckinghamshire.
That’s the scale of the charm offensive the desperate prime minister felt she needed to shore up support inside her own party.
But hawking what’s left of her political credibility may not be getting her very far.
As one Tory backbencher put it this week, “The prospect of Theresa May leading us into the next election is as likely as finding out the Pope’s married.”
Once parliament returns May will have to ride out ongoing divisions and difficulties over Brexit.
Labour’s gains at the general election and the success of Jeremy Corbyn’s recent rallies are reminders that patience with austerity is wearing thin.
The Tories have spent seven years wreaking pain and misery on working class people, with little to show for it and less still to offer as an alternative.
Weakened and discredited, May will have to preside over this mess. And she’ll have to do it with few allies even in her own cabinet, let alone the wider Tory party—or, for that matter, the general public.
A potential cabinet reshuffle in October could be another flashpoint of discontent, with the likes of Davis and Boris Johnson resisting May loyalists being promoted.
These divisions are our opportunity.
As John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said, “We’re working on the basis that the government could collapse at any time. We’ve got to do everything we possibly can to divide and demoralise them—and push that collapse because that’s coming.”
The Tories aren’t happy with May, but they’re in no rush to get rid of her. With no obvious replacement, they fear her departure would unleash a bruising Tory civil war—and open the door to a Labour government.
As one minister said, “People were jockeying before the summer but there is no groundswell for a new leader at the moment.”
We need to take the fight to them.
The victory by bin workers in Birmingham last week shows that when workers fight they can win.
We need to build resistance on a national level to harness the mood against the Tories and use it to push them out.
The Royal College of Nursing pay rally on 6 September is one important opportunity to get organised and on the streets.
Crucially, when the Tories hold their conference in Manchester they should be surrounded by protesters.
Building the People’s Assembly demonstration there must be the top priority for every activist in the coming weeks.
Big Ben may have fallen silent over parliament, but if we fight we can sound the Tory government’s death knell.