WHY IS THERESA MAY STILL IN OFFICE?

As an American reporter covering the scene in the UK for the past fifty years, I am astounded that such a divisive, obdurate and short-sighted figure should still be leading the Conservative Party after four years of ineptitude. How can this be? The former Minister of the Treasury had portrayed her, following her snap election as “a dead woman walking.”

I first observed Theresa as a vengeful fighter some eight years ago when, as Home Secretary, she took on the police, cutting 20,000 from its ranks without considering the consequences. The effects have been disastrous, but she has evaded being held responsible for her actions.

Immigrants — who unlike the police, have no union, no funds, and no organization — were another group whose numbers she wanted to reduce. She professed to support immigration while creating a “hostile environment” which served to erode social cohesion in the country. During her time in the Home Office, it became possible to be hostile to Jamaicans who had been formally invited to work in the UK in 1962. The treatment of “Windrush” group’s members was so embarrassingly disgraceful that even Theresa finally had to publicly apologize last year.

As Home Secretary, her general approach to civil liberties could at best be described as careless. For example, after various extended consultations with “experts” she pledged to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and was only deterred from this misguided effort by the intervention of Brexit .

Amidst the political infighting which followed the Referendum, Theresa was selected by Conservatives as the least objectionable of the contesting candidates to become their Prime Minister. Overnight she became a devout convert to Brexit after she personally had voted to remain in the European Union. She became beholden to the extremist Leavers who had become most prominent in the Conservative party. Since then, without considering the possible negative consequences, Theresa has been steadfast in pushing for the UK’s exit from the European Union.

In an extremely foolish move she called for a snap election in 2017 expecting that she would increase her majority in Parliament. Instead she nearly lost and became dependent upon the ten members of the DUP delegation to stay in power. Since that time, she has been determined to keep to her “red lines” no matter what. This has prevented her from looking after the well-being of the nation.

Teresa has continued as Prime Minister primarily because there is no prominent figure, not even within the extremists in the so-called “European Research Group”, who wants to take over the agonizing job of concluding Parliament’s Brexit nightmare.

The “ERG” succeeded last autumn to gather the 48 members of the parliamentary Conservative party necessary to trigger a challenge to the Prime Minister’s tenure. However when it came to a vote by all Tory MPs, she received an endorsement of 200 in her favor and only 117 against. Under the Party’s regulations, this meant, Theresa could not be challenged again from within for an entire year.

The absence of a truly popular leader in a divided Parliament worked in her behalf. Most politicians would have had the good sense to resign if they suffered a 432 to 202 defeat in Parliament as this stubborn Prime Minister did this year. Not Theresa! She has plodded-on with weak promises of “short delays” to be followed by further tactics to postpone conclusive Parliamentary votes for as long as possible in order to avoid defeat and cover her inability to come up with a satisfactory agreement with the European Union.

Only now are the ardent Brexiteers slowly beginning to acknowledge that her administration is a failure. However, she seems to be oblivious to what might lie ahead: If Britain does leave the European Union, the subsequent breakup of the United Kingdom might be in the cards. Theresa, who has seriously lacked vision has irresponsibly side-lined the Scots. Most likely the Scottish Nationalists would decide to hold another referendum and because of a floundering and economically desperate United Kingdom, it would most likely succeed.

We are not there yet, but Theresa (who cannot bear any talk of the extension of Article 50’s deadline) may finally have to admit that her strategy failed. This will put an end to the tenacious hold on power of an obstinate Prime Minister who never should have accepted the leadership of her party.

4 thoughts on “WHY IS THERESA MAY STILL IN OFFICE?

  1. Dear Yorick,
    I agree with everything you say about TM’s faults and failures – and would have said more along similar lines, includinig a ‘charge sheet’ on her handling of Brexit. As Kenneth Clark said when he was on-mike but thought he was off-air, she’s “a bloody difficult woman.” She’s an administrator, not a politician: wind her up, and set her off in one direction, and she goes on in that direction until her battery fails. And so it has.
    As her version of how to do Brexit unravels, she’s got no authority left, no vision of what is beyond the exit door, no powers of persuasion to unify her own MPs much less voters up and down the country. She draws red lines but doesn’t pay attention to their likely consequences. She avoids taking clear decisions until forced into delay and denial by circumstances of which she has lost control. This isn’t leadership, but it is dysfunctional.
    i hope to see more political blogs from you, as strongly felt as this one is,
    Sarah

  2. Perhaps your question (WHY IS THERESA MAY STILL IN OFFICE?) is rhetorical, but isn’t Theresa May only still in office because all her many opponents on both sides of the house would rather have her take all the blame for an intractable political situation? However Brexit ends, many people will be angry. And however it ends, they will be angry with HER. From the content and tone of your piece, it would seem you feel she more than deserves the opprobrium which is doubtless coming to her.

  3. Excellent analysis! The only addendum I have is that T. May was very keen to become PM and canvassed hard with her team for her election. Her smile with which she stepped over the threshold of 10 Downing Street has vanished.

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