THE response of the UK right to the whirlwind that engulfed the Tories at the polls last month has been manifest in several stages. Its immediate reaction was to portray the harrowing of the Conservatives’ majority at Westminster solely as a personal disaster for Theresa May. There is no organisation more ruthless at dispensing with its leaders once they are deemed to be politically obsolete than the parliamentary division of the UK Conservative and Unionist Party. Thus May has been traduced in all the usual outlets amidst alarums and excursions set off by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Philip Hammond and their outriders, the present-day men in grey suits who drove the tumbrils the day they came for Margaret Thatcher.

Only a few months ago May was being hailed as Thatcher incarnate by her Westminster MPs and those among the right-wing commentariat who still light candles to the memory of the Siren Lady. Now they are taking bets on the likely date of her abdication. The Tories went confidently into the election with a working majority and emerged on crutches to the sound of flutes and banjos. May is being impelled to walk a very long plank while party managers decide what to do with her. Her humiliation was a mere aberration and nothing whatsoever to do with the Conservatives’ political and social values.

The next stage of the normalisation narrative was to somehow mitigate the General Election disaster by dragging Nicola Sturgeon into the frame. In this scenario, faithfully advanced by the right’s loyal retainers, Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon are portrayed as leaders undone by their own hubris and sense of entitlement. It’s an old trick. What better way to diminish the scale of a major malfunction than to seek to extend it to the front doorstep of one of your political foes? The people who espouse this fantasy are also those who insidiously equate Scottish nationalism with the racist and right-wing movements which have disfigured European politics in recent years. They are also the ones who were asking for UN peacekeepers to be brought in to that nasty and brutal independence campaign of 2014.

Lately another strand of the right’s post-election analysis has begun to emerge. This is the “mass-hysteria theory” and, like the “Sturgeon mitigation”, it also follows a well-worn path. The massed ranks of the UK’s right-wing media had attempted to persuade UK voters that Jeremy Corbyn would have us all forced to read tracts from the Communist Manifesto at dawn recitals in town squares. So how would they explain the fact that this political werewolf, who refuses to bend the knee to royalty, gained 41.2 per cent of the popular vote and is now unassailable at the head of the Labour Party? Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy: it was all because an inexplicable wave of mass hysteria swept over Britain’s young people on June 8.

These ill-educated and unsophisticated curs haven’t yet grasped that greed is good and that turning a profit by all means possible is the only game in town. Social media is mainly to blame because there are no filters to weed out seditious talk. Thus impressionable young minds are easily trapped into thinking that they can change the world by doing silly things like distributing the fruits of their labours equally; making big business pay its legal dues and taking the profit motive out of basic human needs like health, social housing and education. Naïve young jackanapes that they are: they’ll soon learn.

The demonisation of Corbyn by the UK right over the past two years follows a centuries-old pattern in this country. Thus, socialism or the irresponsible dissemination of dangerous ideas about fairness and equality are condemned as “extremist” or “Marxist”. Those who have held such irresponsible views are accused of being threats to national security and of seeking to reduce Britain to the status of a third-world country. Publicly funded services; nationalising the major sources of production; encouraging trade-union membership; seeking higher wages; making rich people pay more: all of these are the fruits of extremism and must be crushed. They are bad things and demonstrably so. Yet, each and all of them, when eventually implemented, have brought about the greatest and most long-lasting social improvements to the vast majority of UK citizens. Each and all of them were also fiercely resisted by the UK right who, with a degree of truculence, assented to them as a price that had to be paid for defeating Hitler. Political extremism has always cast a shadow over the progress of modern British history, but it’s not the extremism of the left. The biggest confidence trick perpetrated by the UK elite on the rest of us has been to convince sufficiently large numbers of us that there is no such thing as a hard right; only a hard left. It wasn’t the UK left, though, that built an empire waging endless war on Third World countries for the sole purpose of enriching the privileged classes and maintaining their influence. It wasn’t the left who waged illegal wars, and hoarded arsenals of weapons of mass destruction.

They didn’t kill off profitable industries and replace them with a feral financial sector free of any meaningful checks and balances, then allow them to crash the economy. The Cambridge spy ring which betrayed this country to our mortal enemies didn’t emerge from the UK working class. Nor did socialists turn the city of London into a giant speakeasy for international money-launderers and the princes of regimes built on trampling on the human rights of its citizens. And it wasn't the socialists who then introduced a programme of mass social cleansing to clear space for them.

In Christian tradition the greatest triumph of the Devil has been to convince people that he doesn’t really exist. In modern UK politics the biggest triumph of the hard right has been to convince us that it doesn’t exist either and that this is a moderate country best served by government from the centre. It’s a mirage carefully cultivated by generations of the corporate and media elite whose owners all have a vested interest in ensuring that it never ends.

If Britain were to be governed for the next 100 years by a socialist administration, properly red in tooth and claw, it wouldn’t even begin to redress the inequality and illegality that have held sway in this gangster state for many centuries.