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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > April 2017 > The May mirage

The May mirage

The PM’s dominance might look total, but she could come unstuck

You don’t need opinion polls to tell you that Theresa May “can call a general election any day she chooses and win by a landslide,” as Tony Blair put it to me the other day. The opposition is falling apart so fast you can almost hear the seams tearing.

The polls still give you a feel for how sweeping her victory could be, however. Despite being in mid-term and presiding over a sluggish economy and visibly failing health and criminal justice systems, a Conservative government with laughably inadequate Foreign and International Trade Secretaries enjoys an 18-point lead over Labour. May leads Jeremy Corbyn in every nation and region of Britain, north, south, east, west and all places in between. Women prefer May to Corbyn as well as men. The young as well as the old. The upper and middle classes prefer her, as you would expect. But her popularity among the working class is also extraordinary. Blair’s former aide Theo Bertram collected the data and concluded Labour’s core vote was “collapsing on a scale that is worse than any point in history.” Everyone who has been denounced by the left for not being left enough can enjoy a bleak irony. The far left claimed to be the true voice of a fantasy working class. Now it controls the Labour Party, the actual working class is repelled as it has never been repelled before.

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In Prospect’s April issue: Ross McKibbin, John Curtice and Lisa Nandy examine the state of the Labour Party and question its survival at the next general election. McKibbin takes a long view and suggests that the party’s problems started long before Jeremy Corbyn, Curtice argues that breaking the party is unlikely to go as well as some may think and Nandy argues that tackling unaccountable power could help restore faith in the party. Nicholas Timmins says the NHS has always experienced financial crises so is this time any different? Lucy Wadham charts the rise of France’s Front National. Also in this issue: Owen Hatherley explores Edinburgh’s architectural conundrum, Freya Johnston on Jane Austen and Avi Shlaim on the tragedy of Yitzhak Rabin—the last best hope for peace.
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