I wrote a month or so ago about how Theresa May was lucky in her enemies. The actual election result this week shows how incredibly lucky she was because it turned out she very nearly lost the thing completely. I don’t know how many seats were saved by people thinking they couldn’t really stand Corbyn but I’m sure it was more than a couple, particularly after the terror attacks showed just how much of a terrorist sympathizer he is. The fact that up in Scotland the Tories managed to present themselves as the only credible opposition to the Poison Dwarf and she/the SNP ran a pretty dire campaign meant they gained a record number of seats there (and took the scalps of a number of SNP sleazeocrats). Without those she’d be toast, having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. As it is, she’s probably just fairly warm bread in danger of becoming toast after the next failure. May looked at the original polls, decided that they were just too too tempting and went back on her word to not have an election. Then she campaigned incompetently. A commenter called Stonyground made a remark that Samizdata picked up which I think is pretty much right on the money:

The Conservative party gave me absolutely nothing in their manifesto that would make me inclined to vote for them. They have done nothing while they have been in power that would make me inclined to vote for them. The only thing that they had going for them was that they were not Labour. As far as I can see, the hung parliament is a result of [t]his party being utterly rubbish and running an utterly rubbish campaign. They took the electorate for granted when they sowed and this election result is just what they deserved to reap.

The muppet seems emblematic of the Tory campaign – except that it’s in Labour Red

As I think is fairly clear to my regular reader(s) I’m not exactly a fan of Mrs May. I did, however, see the logic behind the original election decision in that a sweeping victory would have helped the government handle the Brexit negotiations with the EU from a position of greater strength. Amazingly Brexit barely seemed to get a mention in the campaign. What did get mentioned was promises by all parties to harvest the magic money tree in various levels of unsustainability. I’m not sure the campaigns convinced anyone to change their mind, what they mostly did, I think, was influence who came out and voted and who stayed at home.

What I think was worst about the Tory campaign is that they wrapped the campaign around Mrs May and then she hid away from the electorate and the media. She didn’t do TV debates, she didn’t do interviews, she didn’t do hustings. In fact pretty much all she did was show up in various places to make speeches in front of vetted loyalists. Even worse her intended It all sounds a little like the failed campaign of Mrs Clinton last year only without the sleaze and pathalogical lying. Perhaps worse, thanks to a pretty miserable manifesto, she and her team then spent half the campaign rowing back key elements of it and generally denying that they were doing so. This did not exactly inspire anyone to believe the spin that Mrs May was a tough leader, a good negotiator or anything similar. All in all if you are going to run a campaign that suggests that Mrs May is the reincarnation of the Iron Lady Thatcher (pbuh) then it would help your narrative if your candidate can actually stand up and face the media and the public and smite the naysayers.

Hence, as the dust settles, we have lots of noise about leadership changes, another election yadda, yadda.

The good news is that a lot of the bile seems to be coming from people like George Osborne, who have been sacked or otherwise lost previous bouts with Mrs May while the obvious actual challengers (such as Boris Johnson) are urging loyalty and rallying round. To no one’s surprise the BBC is busily spreading FUD over the DUP alliance by pointing out that the DUP is anti-abortion and gay-rights, but I’m fairly sure they are busily making mountains out of molehills. On the other hand her minor post electoral cabinet reshuffle has seen the re-entry of Michael Gove, which should give it a bit more credibility with the Brexiteers and possibly also give it a bit more intellectual heft.

All in all the election seems to have done very little other than show that Mrs May is rather less invincible, rather more incompetent and poorer in judgement than she thought she was. I doubt it will make much difference to the Brexit negotiations and I doubt it will make much difference to the less than wonderful Big Sister state policies she’s been implementing.