Theresa May doesn’t think we’re worth it. She doesn’t want to talk to us. She doesn’t believe in public accountability.
She’d much rather hide in Downing Street, making the most of her final week: because that’s the way the polls are heading.
After projecting a Hung Parliament and with Labour just four points behind the Conservatives just 30 hours ago, YouGov released a second poll yesterday putting Labour on 39%, just three points behind the Conservatives.
If Labour continues to climb the polls at this rate, Labour is on-course for a majority.
No “Coalition of Chaos,” no “deals with the SNP,” but an outright majority. A stable government. A fair Brexit. For all.
Given Labour’s rise in the polls, last night’s debate was an opportunity; not so much for Labour, but for Theresa May to show she isn’t afraid of her own shadow and respects the political process of a modern democracy. Like it or not, TV debates are part-and-parcel of the political process, allowing voters to hold politicians to account in a direct, largely unfiltered, space.
The fact the leader of the Conservative Party was too afraid to show-up led to some bruising attacks from the six other Party leaders. But Caroline Lucas (Green Party) stole the show: “I think the first rule of leadership is to show-up.”
This was by far the most popular line of the night both in the studio audience as well as, it seems, via social media.
Indeed, if there was a clear winner of last night’s debate, it was Caroline Lucas. Her sincerity, passion and empathy will have won a lot of hearts – including my own – but whether this is enough to make a significant challenge in the polls is another issue.
Whether people decide to vote Green after this is not too important: the key point is viewers recognised the significance of Theresa May not being there. And they didn’t like it.
Coverage of last night’s debate in today’s news programmes has been focused on the Prime Minister’s refusal to take part and exchanges between Jeremy Corbyn and Amber Rudd (in Theresa May’s place).
Unless people watched the whole of last night’s debate, the snippets they see throughout the next couple of days will be of Jeremy Corbyn versus “Not-Theresa-May.” It shouldn’t matter too much that Jeremy didn’t have a great night. What matters is that he didn’t have a bad one, and it is Theresa May who looks untrustworthy, haemorrhaging credibility.
Corbyns’ team spent the rest of the night re-strategising the final week of the campaign (given recent poll changes), and I expect we’ll see a greater focus on Conservative-held marginals over the next week.
Having called Theresa May’s bluff (an important ability in the Brexit negotiations), Jeremy Corbyn is looking increasingly “strong and stable,” while the Conservative leader is looking increasingly, as Angus Robertson put it, “weak and wobbly.”
The Prime Minister is widely recognised as a liability in a number of areas. It is only a mater of time until people recognise this applies to Brexit as well.
Getting out-manouvered by Labour, her own Party – even her own self – is far from an ideal start to the Brexit negotiations.
The next TV event is on Friday at 8:30pm, BBC One, with Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn answering questions from a studio audience in York, hosted by David Dimbleby.
Much like the Sky News/Channel 4 Q&A earlier this week, Jeremy Corbyn should emerge victorious, which in-turn should narrow the polls further and maybe – just maybe – put Labour into the lead with less than a week to go.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. So let’s not let-up, let’s work hard and let’s make sure it is Jeremy Corbyn – not Theresa May – heading into Downing Street next week.
(For more on campaigning and what we can do, see my article here).