Election 2017: How generous of Theresa May to take responsibility for Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit shambles

You should know by now that only Theresa May, and not Jeremy Corbyn, can be trusted not to get the best deal for Britain  

Tom Peck
Tuesday 30 May 2017 16:00

Today, out the back of Wolverhampton station, was meant to be the time and place where Sir Lynton Crosby regained control of the Conservative campaign.

Fun though the full frontal assault on both the Conservative Party’s core vote and its core principles had been, it could not go on forever. Of course, there is nothing wrong with telling old people they won’t be able to pass their estate on to their children if they get ill. It’s just that old people tend to vote Tory, and Tories tend to have strong feelings on inheritance tax, particularly, we now know, when it’s pegged to the risk of contracting dementia.

Nope. Enough’s enough. Get Sir Lynton back. He knows how to win elections. So here we were again with the “stark choice facing the country", which is not whether or not to get dementia, but whether to vote for Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Lynton certainly does know how to win elections. But it is hard to escape the suspicion that he knows how to win elections in much the same way that people I grew up with knew that if you smashed the front bumper of the ‘97 Mondeo with a sledgehammer, the passenger side airbag would go off with enough force to pop the door.

If you know an election’s weak points you don't need to sign the papers and drive it off the forecourt, you can just chuck the nation in the boot and take it for a joyride.

And for the latest on why you can’t focus too long on General Election 2017 without the overwhelming feeling that you are being burgled, we turn to the very small selection of phrases from this morning’s fully re-Crosbified speech by the Prime Minister that had not been heard before.

“During an election campaign, you don’t often get to see your opponent close up,” she said. “Last night I did. I saw Jeremy Corbyn close up on television and what I saw was revealing.”

It is, of course, distinctly possible that this was the first time in the campaign that she has seen Jeremy Corbyn close up on television, but it is hard to say it was a rare opportunity. Jeremy Corbyn is on television quite a lot these days. What is rare is for the only two viable candidates for the job to be in the same room, taking part in the same TV show, and not see one another up close, as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn did, or rather, didn’t last night.

We can only imagine what she meant to say was that during an election campaign you don’t often get the opportunity to see your opponent close up but turn it down because your campaign manager told you to. The US, France and practically everywhere else are allowed to have TV debates between the two leading candidates, but not here. Those clever folk at Crosby Sledgehammer Group say no.

“Every school in every village, town and city needs us to make a success of Brexit,” she said.

“If we want to continue to play our part on the world stage, standing up for our liberal values, with strong defences to protect us – we need to make a success of Brexit.”

That we’re utterly screwed if we get it wrong, and yet it’s still fine to walk away is a problem for another day, probably in around March 2019. For now, it’s important to know that only the Conservatives, and not Jeremy Corbyn can be trusted not to get a deal.

“This is no time for a weak government and a weak leader,” she said at the end. “Jeremy Corbyn would accept any bill, pay whatever Europe wants us to pay. As always with Labour, the shambles would be theirs, but the responsibility and the bill would be ours.”

It’s not as if you need to have even voted for anyone other than the Conservatives two years ago, or voted Remain to see that the imminent risk of Brexit shambles isn’t exactly Labour’s fault, generous though it is of Theresa May to offer to take responsibility for it.

The situation is perfectly simple. Your future’s been thrown down on the poker table so who do you want holding the cards? Theresa May or the guy who warned you not to play in the first place?

Try not to scream too loud in the dead of night. You might not hear you car alarm going off, the engine sputtering to life and an increasingly unhinged woman belly laughing at the moon before speeding off the driveway with your children’s hopes and dreams.

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