by Atul Hatwal
The ascension of a new party leader is usually a time for rushed, breathless hagiographies and fears among opponents, within and without their party, that a new tide will sweep away their forces.
Allow me to demur.
Theresa May has demonstrated many qualities to become prime minister designate, but her position is far from imperious.
For those of us around in Westminster in the 1990s, there are some recognisable contours to the new political landscape that now confronts Labour, following the tsunami of the past three weeks.
A major economic event fundamentally that changes the narrative on who can be trusted on the economy. Personal enmities and ideological divisions spilling into public view across the Conservative party. A Tory leader facing the prospect of recession while trying to protect a small parliamentary majority.
It all feels rather familiar.
In the 1990s, the starting point was Black Wednesday. In the mid-2010s, it’s Brexit.
In 1992, Sterling’s exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) re-defined the Tories’ image of economic competence. Whatever the rights and wrongs of leaving the ERM, it became the prism through which the ongoing recession was reported.
In the process, the Conservatives became associated with a deadly combination of economic incompetence and pain.