Copeland was a nice victory for Theresa May, but she has a long marathon ahead of her.

Photo: Number 10

Politics is a hard road to take with very few real victories along the way to make the hardships worthwhile, which is why they deserve to be celebrated when they do occur. Theresa May clearly subscribes to the same idea as she was quick to speed across to Copeland on the day of her astounding victory and bask in the adoration of the newly conservative constituency. You must appreciate the euphoric high the conservatives experienced in being the first governing party to actually gain a by-election seat since 1982.

Yet no matter how great the Copeland result was for Theresa May the real tests of her character are still ahead of her and the feeling of euphoric high must not be allowed to linger. Of course May’s biggest challenge has and always shall be that of Brexit, an issue upon which her own party is divided, not to mention the entire country at large.

For one thing the government is being deliberately quiet on the specific ideas of what a May led British exit will eventually look like, which an unnerving thing for many individuals considering she wishes to begin formal negotiations of the withdrawal by the end of March.

In terms of May’s trade plans for Brexit she seems to be sticking to the route of double bluffing Brussels and hoping for the best. She’s essentially telling the EU to give Britain the deal they need us to have or she’ll leave with the barest provisions stipulated in the World Trade Organisation treaty. Quite frankly May’s idea here seems to be holding a gun to her own head and telling the EU she’s not afraid to pull the trigger.

May’s best ally in all of this may well be Angela Merkel, who if May gets her way, has more power than any other European leader to give her what she’s asking for. That possible ally however is trying to see off a threat to her power which may eventually see Martin Schulz of the Social Democrat’s come to power. Let’s just say he’s not even a minor fan of the UK Tory government.

She will also have an eye on the up coming elections in France where the current presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron has made it absolutely clear he will take a tough stance in the Brexit negotiations. Indeed on his visit to London earlier this month he was quoted saying:

“I don’t want to accept any caveat or any waiver to what makes the single market and the EU.” – Emmanuel Macron

Of course all fear mongering aside Britain cannot, and will not, be left out to dry by the EU. Such a big trading partner so close to the continent cannot be allowed to shift its ties to the rest of the world. Yet May needs bankable and dependable allies within the European Union if she wants to get a deal weighted slightly in her favour.

Jamie Hall

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