Leading up to the British General Election on June 8, Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May’s once comfortable lead has gradually been disappearing, with the Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn closing down her lead in polls to within one point. She dodged a televised debate a few days ago to avoid worsening her downward trajectory. Now, in the wake of a terrorist attack in London that has claimed the lives of seven people and injured dozens more, May has swooped in to try to revive her political campaign, exploiting the attacks and asserting that she is exclusively warranted to benefit from the politically charged atmosphere.
All political parties in the UK have announced a suspension in political campaigning until June 5 due to the attacks, though local parties will still canvas. But the second half of Theresa May’s speech on Downing Street was political theatrics at their worst. “The prime minister moved from the realm of non-partisan opinion and warm platitudes to a political argument, going so far as to outline a series of policy measures in response to the attacks. The big items: further regulation of the Internet, more powers for the security services, a continuation of our military efforts to defeat and destroy the self-described Islamic State and a clampdown on supports of jihadism in the United Kingdom,” wrote Stephen Bush for the New Statesman. In moving away from the circumstances of the attack and towards what our response should be, May is effectively campaigning. She is offering a series of measures which can only be brought forward after 8 June if enough people vote for the Conservatives.” He added she is doing this while effectively prohibiting any criticism toward her policy ideas and solutions from political opposition.
May is also using the attack to propagate her long-held policy stance that the Internet should be regulated, claiming terrorists have safe spaces online. She anchored her speech with talking points from her political campaign, using her platform to instill fear and intimidation into voters for supporting her in the upcoming election. Establishment media outlets, like CNN, reported her political talking points from the speech uncritically, enabling May to propagate her campaign rhetoric as a non-partisan pseudo-patriotic response.
It’s ironic she has the audacity to make the sweeping policy claims when The Guardian reported on May 31, “an investigation into the foreign funding and support of jihadi groups that was authorized by David Cameron may never be published, the Home Office has admitted. The inquiry into revenue streams for extremist groups operating in the UK was commissioned by the former prime minister and is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis.” May’s Administration is actively covering up her party’s role in aiding and abetting domestic extremist groups, likely because its release would be politically damaging, while simultaneously lying about the counter-terrorism efforts her political party has undertaken.
In an interview with SkyNews, former MET investigating officer Peter Kirkham explained, “basically people alleging that are lying,” he said in response to Conservative Party claims that more armed police officers were on the street. May has cut security and intelligence funding and resources and only promised to restore the police forces to 2010 levels by 2020. Diane Abbott added in an op-ed for The Guardian on May 28, “under the Tories, more than 20,000 police officers have been cut. The government was warned by experts, by police officers and, yes, by Jeremy Corbyn and others at the time that this could have grave consequences in the fight against terrorism. But with Theresa May as home secretary, they cut anyway.” Despite this record, Theresa May is using the latest London terror attack to sweep it under the rug and try to suppress her diminishing popularity as Britain’s leader by using fear under the false pretenses of non-partisanship to give her own campaign much-needed life before the June 8 election.