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Support for the Conservatives has completely collapsed after Theresa May's disastrous Florence speech

It was hyped as the most important speech since Britain voted to leave the European Union – a moment that would define Theresa May’s vision of exactly how Britain would navigate the choppy waters ahead during our precarious disentanglement from the clutches of EU bureaucracy.

However, not only did our hapless Prime Minister fail to convey any new clarity on the specific details of our exit from the European Union during her speech in Florence on Friday, the one big announcement she did make – that of a 2 year transitional period – has caused absolute consternation amongst huge swathes of pro-Brexit Conservative voters.

Yes, despite the fact that Theresa May’s commitment to a two-year transitional period was widely reported by much of the mainstream media several hours prior to her speech, many of the Tories’ fervent pro-Brexit supporters on social media simply weren’t having any of it at the time. Many assumed the leaks were simply a ruse to distract from the *real* announcement – their greatest desire – that Britain would be leaving the EU imminently without a deal, free to forge its own path in the world once again, finally unshackled from the red-taped tyranny of the great European project.

How wrong they were.

If Theresa May seriously intended her speech to be remembered as the one that finally united a country that has remained bitterly divided since Leavers and Remainers locked horns two Junes previous, the insincerity-soaked Conservative leader simply couldn’t have done a worse job.

Not only was her speech completely and utterly ridiculed by those of us on the left – for lacking any coherent substance whatsoever, for essentially begging the EU for a deal, and for being possibly the most over-hyped political non-event for a long, long while – the pro-Brexit masses welcomed Theresa May’s speech like a turd in a punch bowl.

It is safe to assume from the sheer scale of animosity, anger, ridicule, disbelief, and outright uproar on social media, that Theresa May’s speech has significantly harmed the party’s reputations with both their core supporters, as well as those who switched sides from UKIP and Labour to vote for a party who then seemed more inclined to push for a hard Brexit.

Since the referendum, it has become increasingly difficult to find many individuals willing to publicly decry their undying admiration for a certain Nigel Farage, but it is unquestionable that his opinion still holds considerable sway with a large nationalist pro-Brexit contingent who switched their allegiance from his former party to the Tories in the summer.

To say Farage was displeased at May’s speech in Florence would be an egregious understatement – and the furious sentiments he espoused during numerous highly critical media appearances immediately after May’s speech have been seemingly soaked up by a large section of his former faithful, and then promptly spat out again all over the Conservative’s Facebook page.

Just a few minutes after May had left the stage to a polite smattering of applause from a bleary-eyed assortment of national and international journalists, her party’s social media team had already posted a statement to their Facebook page – proudly declaring that:

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has set out her vision for Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

 

She made clear that although we’re leaving the EU, we’re not leaving Europe. Britain will always stand with its allies in support of our shared values, our security, and our prosperity.

The post was accompanied by a short one-minute snippet of the *highlight* of Mrs May’s speech – the ending – a snippet in which May’s palpably phony vocal intonation conveyed such a hideously disingenuous insincerity that even her most ardent supporters must have suffered cringe-induced shuddering listening to it. 

However, for May’s ever-decreasing circle of admirers, much worse was to come in the flurry of furious comments. It’s safe to say people weren’t happy.

With 359 likes, the top comment on the Tories’ post-Florence Facebook post was this particularly scathing one proposing an immediate leadership change:

The second highest-rated comment is this one admonishing May for being a ‘sell out’ and, with 307 likes, indicates an ominous level of support for switching votes from Tory to UKIP:

With 213 likes, the third placed comment is this heartwarming ditty:

We literally could go on for days with these comments – such was the scale of animosity towards May’s speech from the right wing. Further enraged top comments include labeling May a ‘dead woman walking’, a ‘traitor’, and another declaring May as even more ‘spineless’ than David Cameron. Out of the almost 2000 comments on the post, we couldn’t find a single even slightly positive sentiment among them. 

Whilst current polls show Labour holding a moderately strong and stable lead over the Tories (sorry, not sorry), and with Theresa May’s personal ratings plummeting even before her big Brexit speech, I would not be at all surprised if her hugely divisive declaration in Florence results in an even more pronounced collapse in the Tories’ numbers.

With the likes of Boris Johson already vying for position in any potential leadership race, and with an outsider like Jacob Rees-Mogg inspiring lukewarm enthusiasm from a decidedly deluded section of Conservative supporters, any further nose-dive in Tory polling could well become the spark that lights the fuse.

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