How did Lenin manage to take over a vast Empire with a rag-tag bunch of fanatics, and maintain Communist rule instead of being quickly deposed? Obviously there were the particular circumstances of that time and place. But mainly it was because he was more ruthless, not just than his enemies, but more ruthless than anyone imagined was possible. Lenin imagined the unimaginable and didn’t fear to enact it. His enemies repeatedly failed to understand how far he was prepared to go to win (and of course Stalin kept this up in spades). They were, in a way, fighting the war in a more restricted mental space than him. As a result, he could run rings around them; they were like Flatlanders dealing with a three-dimensional being.
The situation is the same with Theresa May and Olly Robbins. Their enemies imagine that May’s team are fighting a conventional British political war, where fair play and traditional morality and British shame and decency play their usual roles. But they’re not. They’re fighting a dirty Leninist war and will go to any lengths to win, lengths that their opponents cannot even imagine they’ll go to. Just when you think you’ve put them into an unwinnable position, they’ll take nanny hostage, and then slit her throat. This is not conventional warfare. This is a scorched-Earth, winner-takes-all battle.
Update: Here’s an example –Michael Fabricant writes in the Telegraph that
I have become exasperated with this decent, kind, hardworking, but stubborn Prime Minister who is cursed with a political tin ear.
They don’t even understand the game she’s playing. A ‘tin ear’? Perhaps he’s being as polite as he can be to prevent all-out party warfare, but I think he’s the sort of person who gets herded into a gulag and still thinks things will be sorted out in a few days.
And all-out party warfare is exactly what the Tories need, pronto.