- May 23, 2017
- Posted by: lutherpendragon
- Category: news
This week, we were delighted to welcome John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator for The Independent, for the latest in our series of #LutherNetwork events.
Rentoul’s opening remarks focussed on the general election campaigns to date, including the Tories U-turn on social care policy, and Theresa May’s motivation for calling a general election. He argued that, to him, a Corbyn landslide would be ‘self-evidently absurd’ and that the Labour Party could benefit from a new, female, working-class leader to take his place post-election. While May’s team may lack confidence and experience, he believed that the public will in the end be persuaded by her presidential image when compared with the borrowing and spending proposed by Labour.
Guests had the opportunity to debate the issues raised and to quiz Rentoul further. Discussion focused on why Brexit had vanished as a topic of discussion during the election campaign and on the impact that leaving the Single Market might have for business. Guests were keen to discuss the retreat of the SNP, the impact of Brexit on voter mentality, and whether there is a place for Tony Blair in 2017 politics. The increasing likelihood that the Liberal Democrats could lose seats was touched upon, with Rentoul – a self-confessed Blairite – arguing that ‘the Lib Dem soufflé had deflated’. Similarly, guests agreed that a complete UKIP wipe-out was inevitable.
Looking beyond the General Election, discussion covered Rentoul’s thoughts on who might replace Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, and his predictions on which members of Theresa May’s Cabinet might find themselves on the backbenches after 8th June.
The possibility of a Macron-style uprising was also raised, but rejected as unlikely given the British political system and lack of Macron-like candidates. This led on to discussion of the overwhelmingly Presidential nature of the current campaigns, and the risks that this approach posed, particularly for Theresa May.
Rentoul concluded by reiterating that the high tax and spending mantra of the Labour Party does not resonate with the general public, particularly once they focus in on polling day, but that the strong and stable image of a leader with the Conservatives seems to be achieving greater cut through, meaning that a Conservative majority of 70-80 was most likely, in his view.
Our thanks go to John and our guests for joining us.
The next #LutherNetwork event will be with Peter Clifton, Editor-In-Chief at the Press Association, on Tuesday 6th June
If you would like to find out more about Luther Network events, including information on how to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org