The Misjudgements of Theresa May

6 Jun

It’s nearly 4 years since I last put anything on this blog. I haven’t used the blog for anything political before, but these are worrying times and I’m trying to get my head straight, as I’ve not yet made up my mind how to vote. But Mrs May seems to have managed a truly spectacular number of misjudgements over the past few years!

When Home Secretary

I’ve a feeling there were many more blunders and few successes, but these are the two most obvious right now. First was the cuts to police numbers, and in the current context most telling, the cuts to armed police. This was compounded by her speech to the Police Federation: “So please – for your sake and for the thousands of police officers who work so hard every day – this crying wolf has to stop.”

Second, during her time at the Home Office, she failed to get policies and practices in place to get immigration under control, to the “tens of thousands” promised by the Tories. If she had managed this, who knows perhaps she would have reduced the Leave vote.

She was also a Remain supporter nominally, but I only saw one weak speech in favour of Remain by her.

After the Referendum

Once she became PM, one of her first acts was to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. This really felt like a joke, a bad one: put the most notorious, un-disciplined blabbermouth in charge of the most sensitive relationships we have with foreign governments.

And despite his woeful performance, she re-appointed Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary, and failed to sack him as he carried on making things worse.

Then despite being a Remain supporter, she flip-flopped to become a supporter of hard Brexit, without bringing the rest of us along with her. No explanation of the process by which they decided that was the appropriate way forward. It appears she doesn’t consult, not with us, nor with Parliament!

Along with hard Brexit came the idea of a cosy trade deal with the US. How was that likely to happen, with the President-elect wanting to change the terms of all deals in America’s favour?

In pursuit of this, off she trotted to Washington after his inauguration. I can forgive her the ghastly hand-holding experience- it’s become obvious that P45 is a notorious hand-grabber- but I can’t forgive the extraordinary sucking up to this dangerous man in inviting him, not for a normal visit, but to a State Visit, something never accorded to any previous President so early in their term. I can see that un-inviting him could be difficult, but let’s hope she manages NOT to achieve this visit; diary clashes might be her last resort!

Then we had the whole Article 50 issue. Proclaiming that in a parliamentary democracy there was no need to consult Parliament was extraordinary. She might have saved the day by recognising the problem, but she compounded by going the whole 9 yards… and losing. And she still doesn’t want Parliament to have any meaningful role. This is the most important negotiation of our lifetimes and she doesn’t want Parliament to be involved at all!

Following that, we had the Juncker visit; hard to tell what went on, but it seems like she engaged in the sort of hard-line posturing that had been happening publicly. She’s attempting to win the negotiation by making enemies of the 27 (or 28 if you count the Commission) people she’s to negotiate with!

And then, she lets Hammond forget the Tory Manifesto and propose raising National Insurance… prompting another U-turn.

Calling the election

Having promised many times that an election was unnecessary and would be divisive, she suddenly U-turns again and announces a snap election. The reasons she gave were transparently specious: every key vote had been won handsomely in the Commons, but she seemed to be worried that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition was doing its job. It wasn’t clear how she thought an election would fix this… a huge majority would empower her own Remainers, and a smaller majority would leave things as they are except she’d be weakened!

Calling an election to take place days before the Brexit negotiations were due to start was also a misjudgement, taking her Government’s focus away from preparations to Party matters.

It appears she thought that Corbyn couldn’t win over the electorate, and she might get a better majority now than in 2020 after Brexit had happened and the potentially disastrous terms were clear. It looks like she also wanted to get some of Cameron’s policies off the manifesto, so she could have another go at raising tax and NI. So then we had the major misjudgement of the Social Care funding issue. And after partly back-tracking she doubled down by claiming “nothing has changed, nothing has changed”.

Then there’s the focus of the campaign exclusively on her supposed “strong, stable leadership”. It seen became abundantly clear that she offered anything but that.

And how could she think it was a good idea, being such a “strong and stable leader”, not to turn up for the leadership debates. OK, they are risky, but she’s our current and proposed PM, we should be able to see her in action. It’s another thing that’s made her look weak.

That cringeworthy performance on the One Show sofa with her poor husband was also disastrous. All that stuff about boy’s jobs and girl’s jobs, and then that awful story about the woman who got into politics because of Mrs May’s shoes. I mean, please!

Overall

I might find the misjudgements above evidence of a fallible person I could relate to, except that overall she seems to want to appear as Robo-politician rather than human being. Just answer the damn questions for once, please!

You might guess from that, that I’m unlikely to vote Tory, and you might be right. My local Tory candidate had a 58% majority last time; his lead over the second-placed candidate was significantly greater than the number of registered voters who didn’t bother to vote, so I’m guessing he won’t care too much about what I do. But I care and would like to make the right choice!

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