We learn that May told her MPs: "I got us into this mess, and I'm going to get us out of it". I even take a tiny crumb of comfort from her use of this phrase because it's appropriate, modestly-couched fighting talk - a line that (I assume) was fed to her by someone with half a brain. If there's one thing she can do, it is pulling herself together, head-girl style, with an evident sense of duty, a straight back and a clear delivery of a prepared line.
The right wing commentariat has been replete with five-point plans for her (we've already cited Lilico's), not many of which go beyond statement of the obvious, nor count as much of a contribution towards a proper strategy. The much-lauded Gavin Barwell might prove to be a fair choice as May's Chief of Staff: he's not a bad mini-strategist. (Equally, he might be out on his ear soon if the tower-block fire-risk fiasco is laid at his door.)
The essence of her strategy (or, the Tory's, as you prefer) must be: play for time. Playing for time always seems lame, almost sordid in an intellectual sense: where's the creativity in that? But it has its place in the armoury of off-the-peg tactics and strategies - and isn't always trivial to execute. (Let's see them get through the summer without serious riots ...)
Meanwhile, some more exalted strategising can take place, to which end it's worth considering some real-life cases of leaders / regimes / etc who seemed down-and-out, but made it through - if not triumphantly, then at least in a functional sort of way - to win out in the end.
I propose to start a collection of interesting historical precedents, and invite readers to add their own in the comments: the more diverse, the better. Obviously any 'precedent' needs to be examined carefully for false analogies: history doesn't repeat itself, it only rhymes.
But some rhymes are very compelling. To start the ball rolling, here are three I made earlier, in chron order.
1. The Jacobite Rebellion of '45
In pursuit of full-scale regime-change, Bonnie Prince Charlie made it as far as Derby with his Scottish army, a far deeper incursion than anyone had foreseen. Despite clear numerical superiority, many in England were wetting themselves - an outright panic. Still, it all came to a halt, then a retreat, then a massacre - the 'predictable' outcome to such a romantic, ill-conceived venture, despite how it looked for a brief moment.
2. Stalin in 1941
Operation Barbarossa took Stalin utterly by surprise. For days, nothing was heard from him, and rumours abounded he'd fled Moscow in ignominy. He had been taken for a fool, proved to be strategically inept, and was in genuine, serious peril. So it seems likely he had some very bad nights. But after a bit he got a grip, stayed at the helm ... and we all know the rest.
3. Saddam in 1991
The invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had gone like a dream, and Saddam commanded one of the two largest battle-tested armies in the world (the only other one being Iran's). But he hadn't reckoned on the American response, and by January 1991 was looking down the barrels of quite a few guns. Even then, he had a few tricks up his sleeve: for example, on the first day of the air war (Desert Storm) he shipped his air force to Iranian airfields. (Sitting in an Allied HQ at the time, let me tell you, no-one saw that coming ...) But in due course his army was swept from the field, and things can't have looked great by the time the last grain of Kuwaiti sand had been prised from his grasp.
But he was still in power 12 years later ...
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History is replete with stories of these kinds. One of our Anon's has already suggested Alfred the Great. So - your further suggestions below, please.