Tag Archives: theresa may

There may be a snap election – your country needs you to do your duty

 

The key question on the mind of most journalists is whether Theresa May will call a snap general election. Personally as a supporter of fixed term parliaments I would not be in favour of this as we have had enough uncertainty of late.

Yet, there are very powerful reasons why she might do, which relate to the strength of our democracy.

Firstly the awkward squad of right wing Eurosceptics has far too much leverage in a government with a majority  of just 12. A group of 25 Tory Brexiteers in the Commons (2016 lexicon for those Major called bastards) are already meeting to try to form a policy which would aim to minimise immigration at the expense of our membership of the single market. I am not too old to remember the paralysis and internal division of the Major government over Europe and he had a bigger majority than May does. Indeed we know that Boris and Liam Fox have already began a spat worthy of my six and four year old girls over who should have the ability to call decisions in the Foreign Office. Mother May it would appear, was not amused.

If Theresa May were to call an election and win big, then she would have a comfortable majority to work with where she could come up with a Brexit Strategy without the influence of the awkward squad. I am not sure the City or most international busineses would be happy seeing their role dimminished just to enable the sulky teenagers IDS, Fox and David Davis get what they want when it comes to immigration (i.e. bringing numbers down to the impractical tens of thousands level promised by Cameron).

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Through careful language, Theresa May leaves her options open on Brexit

I’ve mentioned before that Theresa May is, as one might expect, using very careful language on post-Brexit options.

In her leadership launch statement, she said:

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LibLInk: Alistair Carmichael: Theresa May’s liberal rhetoric a surprise

Alistair Carmichael has written an article for today’s Scotsman in which he matches up Theresa May’s words on entering Downing Street to her actions in government. Certainly we can all remember Margaret Thatcher’s warm words about bringing peace and harmony when she entered No 10, and we know how that turned out.

For many people there were three main reasons for being pleased to see Theresa May enter No 10 Downing Street last week. Firstly she was not Boris Johnson; secondly she was not Michael Gove and thirdly she was not Andrea Leadsom. As a father, I felt it could have been worse. Mrs May, a vicar’s daughter we are told, delivered a little homily for the benefit of the world’s media outside her new residence. The rhetoric was good. I know from five years in coalition government that getting some Conservatives even to acknowledge the inequalities of modern life can be difficult. Here we had a Conservative prime minister not just acknowledging them but promising to tackle them.

But her record so far doesn’t quite reflect this:

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Boris as Foreign Secretary? That was unexpected…

So, just as Theresa May left Buckingham Palace, I had to leave home to go for a meeting. When I stepped out into an Edinburgh street and checked my phone two hours later, I realised I’d stepped into a parallel universe.  I must have done. I mean, a new Prime Minister known for careful and cautious deliberation appointing a man who had grossly insulted the President of the United States just a few weeks ago as the country’s top diplomat? It’s probably worth reminding ourselves of Boris’s response to President Obama’s “back of the queue” speech.

Johnson, a high-profile figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, wrote about the decision of the Obama administration to remove a bust of Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill from the Oval Office.

“Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender,” said Johnson in an article designed to hit back at Obama after the US president waded into the EU referendum debate on Friday.

As it happens, the bust was removed before Obama even took office. Again, like many of the Leave campaign’s claims, only the most casual relationship with the truth.

And then there was the time when he compared the EU to Hitler. 

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Theresa May open thread

So congratulations are in order to Theresa May on becoming Prime Minister.

May has usually been described as dull, diligent and effective, but I expect now that she has the top job a little more of her personality will be stamped on the government. She is famous for calling out the Conservatives for allowing themselves to be seen as the ‘nasty party’ and was considered a moderniser, but has not always risen above the nasty herself – the “Go home” billboards for example.

Posted in Op-eds | 25 Comments

Hopefully this will be the last stunning day in British politics for a while

Well, well, well. Yet another stunning day in British politics.

There we were expecting two months of two candidates touring constituency Conservative parties. And then suddenly we hear that we’ll have a new Prime Minister on Wednesday evening.

Our Prime Minister exits the stage humming a bar of the West Wing ending theme tune.

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Think about Andrea Leadsom’s target audience

Most of the progressive side of social media is frothing in collective disgust at Andrea Leadsom’s comments in today’s Times (£).

There is no doubt that they were absolutely disgusting.

After explaining that, as a former banker, she understands “how the economy works and can really focus on turning it around” — unlike, by implication, the home secretary — she stresses that she is a “member of a huge family and that’s important to me. My kids are a huge part of my life, my sisters and my two half brothers are very close so I am very grounded and normal.” Mrs May, of course, has spoken of her heartbreak at realising that she could not have children.

In case the contrast is not clear enough, Mrs Leadsom goes on: “I am sure Theresa will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’ because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.” There is also an empathy that comes from motherhood, she suggests, “when you are thinking about the issues that other people have: you worry about your kids’ exam results, what direction their careers are taking, what we are going to eat on Sunday”.

Lest you think the Times might be making it up, here’s the audio:

It should go without saying that whether you have children or not, whether that’s by choice or not, has no bearing on whether you care about the future of our planet. However, what Leadsom did was made even nastier because she knew perfectly well that Theresa May and her husband had not been able to have children. The pain of infertility is really tough to go through, as you come to terms with the fact that your life is going to be different than you thought it would be. It gets harder as you see your contemporaries all having children and embracing family life. Leadsom disproves her own argument, that being a mother gives her more empathy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 40 Comments
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