Okay, I don’t doubt our favourite pocket Trotsky Owen Jones has already expressed the same sentiments; but it’s pretty hard to avoid remembering there were no public tears for the 72 lives lost in the Grenfell Tower inferno, no public tears for the pensioners deported to the West Indies after half-a-century as British residents, and no public tears for the sick pushed to the brink by benefits sanctions. Instead, Theresa saved her public tears for Theresa. I don’t believe public tears have a place in public life, anyway; but if you’re going to cry on camera, at least do it for something other than self-pity. Perhaps the soon-to-be ex-Prime Minster belatedly realised her own limitations and the shocking realisation overwhelmed her. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

As was confirmed by a scientific study earlier in the week, those cursed with overconfidence severely overestimate their own abilities. Not only that; they are also incapable of recognising incompetence in themselves and instinctively blame their own failings on those around them. Theresa May’s tunnel-vision persistence in repeatedly pushing her Brexit bill through Parliament and paying no heed to the fact that the majority of MPs kept rejecting it was an action characteristic of an individual afflicted with this syndrome, one so prevalent in her profession.

May’s bunker mentality the day before finally putting the country (and her career) out of its misery also spoke volumes; the prospect of being confronted by colleagues telling her what she couldn’t even admit to herself was something she evidently couldn’t handle; and so she shut up shop until eventually emerging before the machinegun-fire of the flashbulbs yesterday to announce she was resigning. It was a bit like someone rushing up to you and excitedly telling you the final score of a football match you’d watched on TV months ago. We were all there long before she was.

Theresa May is now poised to take her place on numerous unenviable lists. She joins the likes of Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Alec Douglas-Home, Jim Callaghan and Gordon Brown as being a Prime Minister whose tenure at No.10 numbered three years or less. She also joins the likes of Ted Heath, Margaret Thatcher and Iain Duncan Smith as a Tory leader forced to fall on her sword by her own party. And, of course, she joins several names featuring on both lists as arguably the worst holder of her office in recent history. Even Prime Ministers whose most notable legacies are extremely contentious ones – Heath taking us into Europe and Cameron kick-starting the process of taking us out, to name but two – still managed to achieve something, regardless of how divisive those achievements remain. Theresa May has achieved nothing other than making a bad situation even worse than it was when she began.

There’s been much talk of ‘pressure’ via the media post-mortems over the last 24 hours – and when one thinks of Mrs May’s haggard appearance and borderline Bonnie Tyler rasp, it’s undeniable the stress of the job has left its mark on her. But we shouldn’t forget Theresa May didn’t become Prime Minister by accident; she went for it; she wanted it. It was her choice to run for the Tory leadership, knowing she would be PM if she won it and that the chalice passed on by her predecessor was so poisoned it was practically radioactive. Sympathy should be reserved for those who have no part to play in their misfortunes, not those who actively put themselves in a position that serves as an invitation to misfortune. One can only really pity Theresa May to any extent if one believes her delusional faith in her capabilities to do the job she grabbed with both hands is a character trait worthy of pity.

The limitations of this personality-free zone lacking the charisma and communication skills so crucial to leading both a political party and the nation were never better exposed than during the memorable car-crash of the 2017 General Election campaign. It was clear then that here was a person incurably shy, awkward and uncomfortable when under the unforgiving media spotlight; fair enough – not everybody is suited for that spotlight. But, as with a member of the public voluntarily standing before the Cowell panel, Theresa May knew the rules when she entered the game; she can’t then court sympathy when she’s caught out. An unimaginative box-ticking book-keeper happier maintaining mystique and avoiding public scrutiny can function fine in the Westminster shadows, but you can’t switch on the lights and expect them to suddenly transform into a showman like Tony Blair. You might have been able to get away with it a century ago, but in this day and age?

For a vicar’s daughter who once stood before her own party members and belatedly informed them that everyone outside Conservative circles viewed them as ‘nasty’, Theresa May’s six years as Home Secretary didn’t demonstrate much in the way of Christian charity. In 2013, lest we forget, she sanctioned those infamous vans bearing advertising hoardings ordering illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’, touring London boroughs with a high ethnic population in the same way the National Front used to target specific neighbourhoods to march through. This was scaremongering on a scale even Nigel Farage has never managed; we should remember Theresa May has played her own not-insignificant part in fostering the current hostile climate politicians are now so prone to decrying as if they were entirely blameless. Her disastrous three years as PM and her humiliating, undignified exit could be seen as a form of payback; and the supply of sympathy for her is probably as short in clubs that cater for golfers as much as clubs that cater for working-men.

One could try to be magnanimous in the face of an individual’s evident anguish as her failings finally catch up with her – especially when those loathsome members of the Cabinet issuing hollow tributes to the boss whose dwindling authority they undermined at every opportunity have been openly (and shamelessly) jostling for her job for months. But the closing chapter of this sorry saga was written the same day as its author proclaimed ‘Once upon a time’. Watching a Remainer like May pretending to implement something so opposed to her ideology was akin to watching a match-fixing goalkeeper trying to make the goals he throws in the back of the net look like accidents. She’s got another month-and-a-bit as our alleged PM, but the reign is over; and in the event of the favourite winning the race to step into her kitten heels, we have the prospect of a tenant at No.10 from whom no one in their right mind would buy a used car. To paraphrase a far more distinguished predecessor, this ain’t the beginning of the end – more like the end of the beginning.

© The Editor

2 thoughts on “BLUE TURNS TO GREY

  1. Like you, I have no real sympathy for Mrs May – she sought and gained a job for which she was always intellectually and practically unsuited. Her party is now starting to reap the whirlwind of that disastrous ‘coronation’, the facts of which should be revealed overnight Sunday with the flatulently vacuous EU Election results.

    Any decent Opposition should be banking the votes by the sack-load but, by coincidence, they look equally challenged right now – the vast divide between the Islington Intellectual Wing and the provincial workers has never been so starkly exposed.

    The issue of Europe cuts across UK politics at right-angles to the party structures, revealing deep chasms of difference within each supposedly united group. That it has finally been made public cannot be a bad thing, as politicians should no longer be able to conceal their real views on this ball-breaker topic, they will be pursued to reveal their personal position at every turn and be skewered on it thereafter.

    The Tories’ leadership process will be fascinating to behold, as the Parliamentary members struggle to produce an outcome which fits the preferences of their voting membership, whilst hoping to maintain enough leverage for their own future careers in that sordid business.

    And all the while, 17.4 million voters wonder if they’re still not listening. . . . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Under normal circumstances, the Tories would be thanking their lucky stars that the opposition is as much of a mess as them, but as both have the Brexit Party breathing down their necks we’re probably in for a fair few more twists and turns yet.


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