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By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

Hobsons choice

When Theresa May packed up her bags for her holidays, signalling a much-needed Parliamentary recess for our beleaguered Prime Minister, she must have been hoping for a quiet, gaffe-free Summer.

Of course, discontent over Brexit, from all sides, would continue, but that was to be expected. And, as an added bonus, she didn’t need to worry about Boris Johnson, at least until the party conference in the Autumn, since he had resigned from her cabinet last month.

However, Boris had other ideas. His comments about the burka have further exposed the chasm that exists between the various wings of the Conservative Party.

Whilst some have demanded his suspension from the party, other Tories have defended the former London Mayor, and indeed praised him for raising the issue – despite the insensitive and controversial way in which he did so.

One can only imagine the irritation within the May holiday home on hearing the news – and Theresa was obliged to offer the view that Johnson should apologise for his latest deliberate ‘gaffe’.

In the background to all of this Tory turmoil comes news that Donald Trumps’ ex- chief enforcer Steve Bannon has been in discussions with Boris, Brexiter cheerleader Jacob Rees Mogg and cabinet Minister Michael Gove.

Bannon has suggested that being described as a racist is something he wears as a badge of honour. He is Alt-Right in the polite circles of the chattering classes of Islington. He is a Nazi sympathiser to those who call a spade a shovel.

That senior members of our governing party are happily meeting this character is frightening. The chaos that is enveloping the Conservatives is concerning. The fact that the official opposition are failing to take advantage of this shambles is shocking.

Even the most optimistic Labour polling puts Jeremy Corbyn’s’ party two to three points ahead of the Tories.

Back in 1996, when the Far-Left nemesis Tony Blair was the leader of the official opposition, John Major’s government trailed Labour by twenty-seven points!

The Corbynista movement, in whose eyes Jezza can do no wrong, will tell you that the pollsters are wrong – after all they didn’t call the last election, Trump or Brexit.

What they don’t want to conceded is that the vast majority of polls were within the margin of error of plus or minus three points.

The polls may not be spot on. But they’re not far off either.

The worst Conservative Government in modern history is getting away with it – because we have the worst opposition in modern history.

Anti-Semitism, the perception of a bullying culture across the party, a focus on internal party matters rather than the many issues Labour should be talking about and – worse of all – a muddled position on Brexit, are preventing Corbyn from convincing the British electorate that he should be the PM.

Many Tories sleep easy in their beds and are happy to continue their ‘men behaving badly’ antics, because they believe Momentums Messiah is unelectable.

The tragedy is that whilst our two established parties embroil themselves in internal disputes and comfort disciples with gesture politics, an increasing number of voters feel politically homeless.

Can either party pull together and offer a vision, some hope and unity to win the support of the ‘don’t knows’ between now and Parliaments return? One can hope, but the evidence so far is that we are in for further turbulence within both the Labour and Tory parties up to and beyond their respective conferences later this year.

Downtown in Business