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Theresa May leaves a broken Tory party in her wake

This article is over 4 years, 9 months old
Issue 2657
Theresa May and others met with US president Donald Trump on Tuesday
Theresa May and others met with US president Donald Trump on Tuesday (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)

Theresa May was to step down as Tory leader this week in a fitting manner—humiliated, derided and friendless.

Even Donald Trump weighed in to denounce her failures in negotiations with the European Union and to suggest that Nigel Farage would do a better job.

The Peterborough by-election, which happened after Socialist Worker went to press, was certain to see a collapse in the Tory vote.

Two years ago the Tories almost won the seat. It would be no surprise if this time they came fourth.

The result, announced on the day May goes, was expected to see a surge in the Brexit Party vote.

At the last general election the bulk of the millions across Britain who had voted for the racist Ukip party in 2015 returned to vote for the Tories.

Now the flow is the other way. Many people who previously had almost instinctively voted for the Tories are abandoning them for Farage.

If recent analysis is correct, the next Tory leader will be chosen by people who mostly didn’t vote Tory at the European elections. Brexit Party voters are going to choose the prime minister.

That’s another reason to fight for a general election.

Nobody should underestimate the scale of the Tory crisis. There were three recent opinion polls for a general election.


Each had a different party in the lead—but none of them put the Tories first.

And the Tories’ leadership election, soon beginning, formally underscores the chaos and lack of direction.

On Tuesday there were 17 possible candidates to be leader, although “only” 12 had the nominations required to enter the contest. They will slug it out, deepening the divisions and making it even less likely that they will be able to agree on a unified position over Brexit.

Nobody can miss the scale of the political crisis. It goes wider than the Tories and is raising questions about the whole way we are governed.

But at the moment the racist right are the main gainers. It’s urgent to take them on and to pull the bitter anger in society leftwards.

This week’s mass protests targeted Trump. But for many they also confronted his racist friends Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

Just like Trump they are identified with vile Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism.

They share his determination to pamper the super-rich and to make ordinary people face cuts, privatisation and attacks on public services.

In a time of crisis, business as usual is not enough. We should make the march on the Tory conference in Manchester on 29 September a focus for rage against the Tories.

And in September we should push to answer the call for workers’ strikes over the climate.

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