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Great Britain’s Theresa May Could Lose Election To Hubris and Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn

Elections are a wonder in Great Britain. A contest is called and a few weeks later people vote. Almost instantly a new government is installed. Unlike in America, there is no painful, interminable, endless campaign which causes people of good sense to despair.

When Prime Minister Theresa May surprised her colleagues by announcing an election for June 8, the result appeared as certain as the rising sun. Some observers predicted May could expand a majority of 17 to well Theresa Mayover 100, perhaps even rivaling the 144-seat margin won by Margaret Thatcher at the latter’s peak.

Now the Conservatives’ poll lead is shrinking, down from twenty to three percent in one survey. While the Tories still could gain a solid majority depending on how the votes break—the margin of error is wide—one seat-by-seat analysis predicts that May’s Conservatives could drop 20 seats and actually lose their majority. That would leave a “hung” parliament, where the Tories would have to bargain with another party to form another coalition or at least win their forbearance as a minority government. A narrow, unstable left-wing coalition also would be possible.

May might not even survive the poll. In parliamentary systems leaders who take their parties over political cliffs typically quit. A year ago Prime Minister David Cameron, on the losing side of the popular vote to leave the European Union, voluntarily yielded power. If May tried to hang on, she might face a party challenge.

May’s best chance of electoral survival is the weakness of the opposition. The Labor Party is headed by Jeremy Corbyn, an aging member of the Loony Left.

He’s a socialist true believer who wants to renationalize chunks of the economy. He’s also a fanboy of some truly revolting international characters: Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

Corbyn won the Labor leadership because the decision now is made by paying members across the nation. The parliamentary Labor Party almost entirely rejected him. Indeed, there’s been talk of more moderate MPs splitting off and creating a new party.

May’s strongest edge over Corbin is voters’ respective views of the two leaders. She is seen as competent, certainly a plausible prime minister. He is not.

Her travails look like a classic case of hubris laid low. She rules the party through a tough but loyal staff and humiliates cabinet members when convenient. Nor does she make any pretense about individual liberty.

Instead, she sounds close to Corbyn, attacking “the cult of selfish individualism”—a curious comment from someone so determined to amass overwhelming individual political power. Using the state to socially engineer society is just fine with her, a repudiation of the more free market views of the famed Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.

May got into political trouble because she refused to defend one of her party’s few attempts at fiscal responsibility, a proposed trim in elder benefits. She staged an almost instantaneous U-turn under fire.

Moreover, May appears committed to the activist foreign policy views of her predecessor. Alas, the horrid atrocity in Manchester caused in her not a single thought about how British foreign policy had helped turn the British people into targets. Yet Libya, in chaos as result of a war pushed by the Cameron government, loomed large in the terrorist’s activities.

Indeed, on this issue, at least, Corbyn proves to be the more thoughtful contender. He argued:  “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.” Unfortunately, he’s correct.

Of course, people never like to hear that their blundering harmed others, and Tory paladins made the usual demagogic attacks against him. But policies have consequences.

Indeed, the problem of foreign policy is even greater for the U.S. There’s no justification for terrorism, as Corbyn emphasized, but it is critical to understand why it occurs.

A week to go until the British election. The bookies still expect a Conservative victory, though with a smaller majority than once predicted. Even in losing Corbyn probably will be strengthened, thereby prolonging Labor’s agony, since those in the center will find it even harder to retake control of the party.

Moreover, there’s still a possibility of the great laid low and Corbyn as premier. Better for May’s story to add to the historical annals on the price paid for hubris. Then she would have achieved at least something positive.

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