The Descent of May

Politics is a precarious path for a career, that’s for sure. Not so long ago, Theresa May was flavour of the month. The new strong woman, adored by many of the rank and file supporters, a better option than Thatcher; less abrasive, no annoying children, and smartly dressed too, in designer clothes.

Even though she hadn’t supported leaving the EU, she boldly threw her hat into the ring to succeed Cameron, emerging as the new leader with her own catchphrases, ‘Brexit Means Brexit’, and ‘Strong And Stable’. Even her enemies had to concede that she had a handle on things, and that she epitomised the Conservative ideology in a way that the public schoolboys preceding her never could.

Somewhere along the way though, it all went very wrong. Perhaps she was badly advised, or maybe the whole thing just went to her head. She could have waited out the term of the government, got on with the job, and led the negotiations around leaving the EU. But she wanted more. Personal approval, public affirmation of her leadership, and the possible destruction of any viable opposition.

So she called an election. One she was expected to win. One I thought she would win. I expected a Conservative landslide, the end of Jeremy Corbyn as opposition leader, and successive Conservative governments ruling unhindered until my dying day. All she had to do was to keep her nerve, and not disclose the reality of their policies. Say a few nice things, meet a few real people, including some who didn’t agree with her. Get her hands a little dirty on the campaign trail, and try to come across as someone behind the mask, and that iron grey hair.

But no. Instead, she decided to tell us what was best for us. The rich would continue to get richer, the poor could stay where they belong, and everyone in the middle would just do as they were told. She scolded her greatest supporters, the elderly, by taunting them with the prospect of selling their houses to pay for social care. She would not increase their pensions, and would means-test them for every benefit and allowance. As for the young, they wouldn’t vote anyway, so they could all shut up.

Why bother to appear on national TV debates, to argue her point? Why meet people in deprived areas that she didn’t want to associate with? Better to travel to nice comfortable places, where she would be welcomed by the wealthy and unconcerned. Better to give solo interviews to reporters than to face questioning from plebs about her policies. She didn’t need to do any of that, she was certain. Her victory would be enormous, the insiders and the pollsters had all told her, and she believed them.

They got it wrong, and so did she. She emerged with a tiny majority, and had to seek support of the far right DUP to prop up her government. Anyone else would have admitted failure, and resigned. At the very least, they would have gone back to the country with another election, apologised for their previous errors, and sought a bigger mandate. But she decided to cling on, to become an embarrassing figure, a female John Major, going from ‘The Grey Men’, to ‘The Grey Woman’. Then came the additional mistakes. Refusing to meet the victims at the site of the Grenfell Tower fire, and refusing to give interviews to the BBC journalists at the scene. As her political opponents showed their chops by hugging homeless victims, and helping to shift boxes of aid, she hurried back in her car to the studios of the BBC, to give a ‘personal’ interview with one chosen reporter.

She then threw away any chance of redemption via that interview, by harping on about the same things, boasting about the £5 million in aid for the victims, but unable to tell the reporter when and how it will be given out. She refused to accept any government responsibility for ignoring safety warnings after similar fires, and repeated her prepared quotes like a broken record. She looked older already, the signature eye-bags bigger than ever, her posture slumped and defensive. The reporter eventually gave up, her voice tinged with frustration at the attitude from the leader of Great Britain.

Mrs May is on her way out of politics, that’s for sure. And she only has herself to blame.

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20 comments

  1. Cousin Ian

    Am loving your ‘nod’ to Charles Darwin and/or Grayson Perry!

    When I first saw her during PMQs after she had taken over as PM, I thought she looked competent, feisty and somewhat at ease when sparring with her opposite numbers. She seemed to improve her composure as time passed. Then again, she had all the questions in front of her (as every PM has) and therefore had time for her team to craft the best answers and put-downs!

    However, in the wake of recent events, I have to concede that she has been found-out! She just isn’t a ‘people-person’! It’s not that she’s a bad person, but I don’t think she relishes meeting other people, whether they’re on her side or against her. Many PMs and MPs have earned reputations as ‘glad-handers’ or ‘baby-kissers’, usually for their own self-promotion, but she just doesn’t have the ‘chops’ for that! I doubt that her close (ex-) ‘advisors’ could make her a bit more engaging with the public!

    I was really close to abstaining in the Election due to the Tory manifesto, even if that would have demeaned the sacrifices of people before me, for which I would have felt forever guilty and ashamed. Luckily, Corbyn shamelessly ‘bribed’ our young people with at least £27,000 if they voted for him! Which would, no doubt, have been paid for by people like me, although the funding details were never actually specified! So I didn’t abstain! There is a huge ‘student population’ where I live, most of whom study ‘media’ or ‘drama’ and only live here during term-time and, guess what, the previous Tory majority of 1,400 odd was overturned into a Labour majority of 1,500 odd! So Corbyn, corruptly, changed the political landscape, gave no money away, and still lost! Yes, he lost, but thinks he has won, but has forgotten that even Labour tried to schmooze the DUP when it suited them!

    It all stinks! Including May!

    Regards to you and family and all in the DPRB.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Cheers, Ian. You will be pleased to know that our Tory MP sailed through comfortably, though I expected nothing less. Compared to Cameron, I thought May was a better leader, if we really had to have a Tory. But it seems that she was all spin and soundbites, and once her puppet-masters got the sack, she is all at sea in the ‘real world’.
      As for university tuition fees, we grew up at a time when free higher education was a right for all, whether they were studying drama, or ancient languages that nobody had ever heard of. Corbyn may well have been cynical in his ‘bribery’ of the young voters, but that doesn’t change the fact that free university places should be the right of those who cannot afford to take them otherwise.
      I live surrounded by a sea of ‘Blue’ parliamentary seats, and struggle to support an opposition that is nowhere near as left-wing as it is painted. I have to constantly deal with the frustration of the shattered dreams of my youth. Perhaps I should get a grant? 🙂 No point though, as they are already taxing my old age pension, in case I accumulate too much ‘wealth’.

      (The title is a corruption of a TV series from 1973, ‘The Ascent of Man’, by Jacob Bronowski.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ascent_of_Man )

      Love to all up there. We are going to the heady delights of Sutton-on-Sea in September, if you get a chance to pop over and visit. I will let you know the dates nearer the time. Pete. x

      Like

  2. Ian Gibson Photography

    So far she had spent a week trying to reach a deal with the political wing of the seventeenth century (the DUP) for them to give her Westminster votes she could count on anyway. And this is the supreme negotiator who will lead us through the exit negotiations with the EU?

    I hope that the people who voted for this charlatan are happy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • beetleypete

      That DUP deal will come back to haunt her, with a return to ‘The Troubles’ likely now.
      I am a little concerned that they may replace her with someone who knows what they are doing.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Like

  3. PJR

    ….and the Tories have a set of survival instincts and succession rites surpassing all other political parties – they will wring hapless Theresa out first – and the rest of us. I loathe the woman and all her works, and her shoes, but feel a twinge of pity for a woman down. She lacks the common touch and knows it; perhaps a sort of tact stopped her talking to victims?

    Liked by 4 people

    • beetleypete

      I agree, Pippa. She knows her place, and that is far above the common person. Doubtless, she would not only have not known what to say, but also feared confrontation, I’m sure.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 3 people

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