Unfortunately despite presenting themselves as the safe, “Strong and stable”, option, the Conservatives have taken a second huge political gamble which has gone spectacularly wrong, leaving the public carrying the can and wondering what comes next
Running through a field of wheat is certainly no longer the worst thing Theresa May has done, writes Fiona Hotston Moore, partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants.
Theresa May called the election with the intention of delivering a far stronger mandate on which she could enter the Brexit negotiations. She started the campaign with a strong speech and perhaps at that point she reasonably thought she had it in the bag.
However, from then on the campaign was a disaster and Theresa May demonstrated a lack of commitment, passion and mettle. Many voters will have gone as far as to see it as arrogance.
The campaign did not address one of the key current issues for voters, being the funding of public services primarily the NHS, the police and care of the elderly.
Understandably the terrorist acts proved to be a key focus of attention in the campaign period. Whilst this might have been expected to strengthen the Conservative position, it actually seemed the reverse was true.
As things stand it appears we will have Theresa May continuing as prime minister, but she will now need to work very hard to win the support of her wider party members as well as those in other parties.
Unfortunately, as we go into the Brexit negotiations we have a potentially fatally wounded prime minister and we can expect to see a fair amount of party antics.
I suspect after the last couple of years in both British and global politics, few economists will attempt to predict the outcome. Certainly the pound has already slipped. Stock markets and the wider business community do not like uncertainty and are likely to be volatile.
In my view whilst the Brexit negotiations are clearly very important, we also need the Government to address the wider fundamental challenges to our economy – wealth inequality, funding of the public sector (including the NHS, the police force, care, education and infrastructure) as well as a strategy for how we deal with the issues of an ageing population.
We have a generation approaching retirement that will not have paid off their mortgages or have their own home, who will have a lot of personal debt and who may have long-term physical and mental health problems which will preclude them from working, so deferral of the retirement age is not the solution.
In conclusion, the result was a political disaster for Theresa May and the UK, but perhaps finally our politicians will realise that they have to start listening to both their fellow members and the voters and we may come out of this with a greater connection between the leaders and their public?