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The campaign had also believed that Corbyn and his entourage’s history of sharing platforms and giving succour to Sinn Fein and to the IRA, and other terrorist organisations and anti-Western socialist regimes, would play extremely badly with the electorate and would further bolster Conservative support. Yet these attacks failed to engage the electorate: for too many of them Irish Republican violence was a thing of the distant past, and in a post-Cold War world attitudes to the Soviet Union and other hostile regimes were of little interest or relevance. Corbyn’s stance on the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent and whether he would be willing to use it — which is at odds with the Labour Party’s official policy of supporting renewal — only seemed to have a major impact in constituencies where the nuclear industry is a major employer.

His sharing of platforms with Islamist organisations and his past description of Hezbollah and Hamas as his friends — despite the Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks during the campaign — seems to have had a major impact in only four north London constituencies, all with a larger Jewish electorate: Finchley and Golders Green, Harrow East, Hendon and, to a slightly lesser extent, Chipping Barnet. All these seats had a significantly smaller swing to Labour than was seen elsewhere in London and might otherwise have been expected. If it were not for the Jewish vote turning against a Labour leader who has a record of, shall we say, excessive tolerance towards anti-Semitism, those four seats would almost certainly have also gone to Labour, and Theresa May and the Conservatives would be in much greater difficulty than they are.

The Conservatives in general — and May in particular — are in a dramatically weakened position compared to before the general election. If parliamentary saboteurs were threatening Brexit before June as May claimed, one would have to imagine that the whole process was in real trouble now. Yet the Conservatives can — it is my contention — look forward to five years of strong and stable government with, or more likely in the short to medium term without, May.

To see why, one needs to look at the parliamentary arithmetic. The Conservatives have 318 seats — or rather 317 if one does not include Speaker John Bercow, who stood as “Speaker seeking re-election” rather than as a Conservative — and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which will now certainly prop them up, have ten seats. This means that the pro-government voices in the Commons can rely on 326 votes—one is lost due to the fact that one of the four Deputy Speakers, the Conservative Eleanor Laing, does not vote—a bare majority of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons. The opposition can, however, only rely on 313 votes. There are 322 MPs for parties other than the Conservatives or DUP but there are two Labour Deputy Speakers who do not vote and seven Sinn Fein MPs who do not turn up. It is a core tenet of Irish Republicanism going back to 1918 that its MPs should be abstentionist, as taking part at Westminster would give legitimacy to the, in their eyes, illegal occupation of Ireland by Britain. Thus the new government has an effective majority of 13 — and, as I argue below, possibly 15, meaning seven or eight votes would have to switch sides for it to fall.

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