The divisive inconsistencies of Theresa May

Theresa May’s triumphalism over the Brexit election result is divisive and shocking. 48% of the electorate voted Remain, apparently including, inconsistently, Theresa May. Her statement that anyone continuing to campaign to Remain is ‘subverting democracy’ is equally shocking. Do Remainers no longer have the right to freedom of speech and democratic campaigning? The Brexiteers campaigned long and hard against a previous democratic vote to join the EU, so Remainers are equally free to do the same now. And they should. I’m ready to join and support any such campaign.

Her claim to be uniting the country whilst setting ‘the working class’ against the ‘international elite’ is yet again shocking. Caricaturing a whole group of people who, in the main, are hard-working intelligent professionals working internationally in this way, and pitting them against the ‘working class’, is outrageous. These groups of people should and can respect and value each other in a civilised society.

And how is the UK going to become a beacon of free trade in the world when it is leaving one of the biggest free trade blocs? It’s all extremely divisive, inconsistent, and not even intelligent.

More housebuilding and more doctor (and hopefully nurse) training are very welcome. But then she laments low interest rates, claiming they hurt the poor. The poor by definition have little or no savings. Low interest rates hurt pensioners who therefore need a substantial pension enhancement. Otherwise they only disadvantage richer groups. Low interest rates are an economic necessity. Despite our new-found economic independence, UK is totally unable to set interest rates very far from internationally prevailing norms. National economic independence is a delusion.

* Geoff Crocker is a professional economist writing on technology at http://www.philosophyoftechnology.com and on basic income at www.ubi.org. His recent book ‘Basic Income and Sovereign Money – the alternative to economic crisis and austerity policy’ was recommended by Martin Wolf in the FT 2020 summer reading list.

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11 Comments

  • Leading foreign academics acting as expert advisers to the UK government have been told they will not be asked to contribute to any government analysis and reports on Brexit because they are not British nationals……..“It is utterly baffling that the government is turning down expert, independent advice on Brexit simply because someone is from another country,” said Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ EU spokesman. “This is yet more evidence of the Conservatives’ alarming embrace of petty chauvinism over rational policymaking.”…..Sara Hagemann, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics who specialises in EU policymaking processes, EU treaty matters, the role of national parliaments and the consequences of EU enlargements, said she had been told her services would not be required……

    Cue to Theresa May, backed by the ‘Brexit Brothers ( Johnson, Fox and Davis), singing, “I did it my way”…

  • Paul J Carroll 7th Oct '16 - 4:29pm

    Hi Geoff. Thanks for the post. I can feel your frustration in every line and empathise completely.
    Unfortunately the pathway to any change of course is eluding me at the moment. All the parties seem to be in awe of the vote and scared to challenge it (even the LibDems). The rhetoric from the government seems intent on driving a wedge between Europe and the UK before we even start any negotiations on exit (If they think this is a good negotiating tactic I think they are sadly mistaken). I can’t see any point in this headlong dash to Brexit where there will be any chance to review the decision and if there was, by the time we get there the damage done to our relationship with Europe will be irreparable. It’s all a bit depressing for the Remainers but if you can think of something, I’m all ears. In the mean time lets not be cowed, and keep on protesting.

  • David Pocock 7th Oct '16 - 6:02pm

    So as a working class remained am I now in the quiet revolution or am I now an elite.

    Frankly I found it sad that that speech came from a prime minister

  • Philip Rolle 7th Oct '16 - 9:40pm

    It is not just Remainers who find it sad.

    I voted Leave and don’t regret it for a minute. But the speeches of the PM and Home Secretary this week were terribly misjudged

  • Richard Easter 8th Oct '16 - 11:06am

    There is indeed an international elite which works solely to enrich themselves and promote corporate interests above the nation state and her people – TTIP and similar confirm this. However the UK Conservative Party is part of this group, so it is a bit rich for them to play divide and rule in this same way!

    Clegg is part of this same bunch of corporate elites, however Kennedy was not and neither is Farron – indeed Tim Farron appears to be the most working class of all party leaders – the Lib Dems can position themselves as a party for the working class by championing localism and small business. The party also needs to move away from economic liberalism and corporatism – the Lib Dems should support the Southern Rail guards, Post Office staff and stand squarely against corporate greed and job losses.

  • Sue Sutherland 8th Oct '16 - 3:05pm

    I feel totally dazed and depressed about what is happening in British politics at the moment. May is going after the working class vote because a recent survey showed that large numbers of people still define themselves as working class in spite of the decline in traditional industries. She seems to think that all these people are xenophobic and I do not believe it. Unfortunately this attitude means that those leavers who are xenophobic and racist now believe that 52% of the population agrees with them and voted Leave for this reason. They are now much more confident in their horrible beliefs and feel justified in openly expressing them and violently attacking “foreigners”.
    She has also associated this behaviour with patriotism. Until all this happened I used to be proud of my country, traditionally known for its fairness, proud that many people wanted to come here to live, proud of our freedoms and proud of our diversity. Rather than saying patriotism is the last refuge of knaves, I believe we should be speaking up for this kind of belief in an alternative patriotism.
    I just refuse to believe that people who voted leave want the kind of narrow, hate filled country that May assumes. Tim must stand up for the ordinary people of this country and restore our faith in their humanity. He is uniquely placed to be able to do this.

  • Katharine Pindar 8th Oct '16 - 8:20pm

    Very well said, Sue. But try reading this.
    ‘Whither, then, the free-market liberals inside and outside British politics? Whither those of us who are made uncomfortable by appeals to raw nationalism, who know that millions may be convinced that immigration is bad for us, but know too that millions can be mistaken? Those of us made angry by the populist dog-whistle in Mrs May’s language, the language of complaint, the language that rails against the powers that-be, as though May were not one of them? The millions, finally, who voted Remain and still wish Leave were not happening?’
    Well, we can answer that, of course – you should join the Liberal Democrats. I have tweeted the Tory journalist Matthew Parris, who wrote this in The Times today, to say so! He didn’t draw that conclusion publicly himself, but no doubt he is writing for many baffled liberal-minded centrist Tories who hate the direction of travel pointed by Teresa May and Amber Rudd this week: people who should listen to us now.

  • I think UK needs a new political party. The established parties are all irredeemable.

  • @Geoff Crocker

    The 48% were a bit wanting and didn’t really understand what they were voting for. What with their PhDs and all they were too busy to read the arguments for and against as they strolled Mahatma Gandhi like among us knuckle dragging Leavers.

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