Friday, 24 May 2019

Why is Theresa May not resigning as Tory leader now rather than in 2 weeks?

Theresa May did not resign the leadership of her party this mornning. She announced she would resign in two weeks' time.

She should have resigned  today so that the party can get on with choosing a new leader quickly and the country can get on with solving the Brexit conundrum.

Instead she is as selfish in her standing down as Prime Minister as she was in clinging to office, after losing the election she foolishly called. Her tears this morning were for herself and not her country.

She hangs around for two more weeks to meet Donald Trump, without what she considers the 'humiliation' of having a leadership election going on.

What fun he will be, unlike her. I wonder if he will pay compliments to Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson. I suppose the President will be briefed that Boris said in December 2015, "The only reason I wouldn't visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump".

In fact the Tory election will be going on. Had she resigned today a new Prime Minister could have met the American President. Instead we are getting closer to the recess and time is running short. On 31 October our EU membership vanishes, like fairy gold. Or so President Macron said. I don't think I believe him.

In her resignation speech the Prime Minister said that freedom, security and opportunity were her three guiding principles. In fact no Conservative Prime Minister ever cared less for freedom. She then went on to talking about the importance of equality, which is the antithesis of freedom, as Mrs. Thatcher never tired of saying.

Her insistence on no hard border in Ireland, which wrecked the chances of agreeing Brexit, was not about principle but lack of intelligence or imagination. The other promises she made she changed her mind about. She did not have the courage to honour her robotically repeated assertion that no deal was better than a bad deal. No-one believed she was sincere anyway.

Beth Rigby on Sky News sounded a bit like Dame Sylvie Krin when she said she defied anyone not to feel sympathy for the Prime Minister. I felt no sympathy. Lots of people, I am sure, didn't.

I was reminded of Lytton Strachey's remark that the deathbed of an egoist is not inspiring.

Kenneth Baker, whose voice was so familiar but now terribly frail, told Sky that history will be kinder to her than her contemporaries. This is not true. 

He was right, however, when he said that because she was Home Secretary for six years she had no political antennae and therefore did not realise that the Irish backstop would never win a majority. 

Let's all be grateful that Theresa May was too preoccupied by Brexit to do anything about the burning injustices she had hoped to fight and for which she would no longer have found pointless and authoritarian false solutions.

What historians will say of her is that she was probably not up to being in the cabinet at all. Education at a state school, a lower middle class accent and being a woman are assets in the modern Conservative party. They, her iron determination, guile and utter ruthlessness, plus a lot of luck, explain her rise despite the long catalogue of her mistakes.

She became Home Secretary only because George Osborne told David Cameron that they needed a woman in one of the 'three great offices of state'. She is the most glaring example of an inadequate person overpromoted because of affirmative action. 

The full story of her incompetent career is here in an article that she persuaded the Daily Telegraph not to publish three years ago during the last leadership contest. I quote from it.

'In general Mrs May has avoided taking on the most serious institutional problems that afflict British policing. These include a disturbing willingness by some forces to let public relations concerns determine policing priorities, widespread overreliance on CCTV, the widespread propensity to massage crime numbers, the extreme risk aversion manifested during the London riots, and the preference for diverting police resources to patrol social media rather than the country’s streets.

'There is also little evidence that Mrs May has paid much attention to the failure of several forces to protect vulnerable girls from the ethnically-motivated sexual predation seen in Rotherham and elsewhere. Nor, despite her supposed feminism, has Mrs May’s done much to ensure that girls from certain ethnic groups are protected from forced marriage and genital mutilation. But again, Mrs May has managed to evade criticism for this.....

'It is possible that Mrs May’s intimidating ruthlessness could make her the right person to negotiate with EU leaders. However, there’s little in her record to suggest she possesses either strong negotiation skills or the ability to win allies among other leaders...'


  1. 'Sir, Politics has always been a dirty business and prime ministers rarely find an elegant way of leaving office, but the hounding of Mrs May by her party and others has been disgusting. She was left an impossible job by David Cameron and she did it badly, though no one has put up a credible case for anyone who might have done it better. I would never vote for a Conservative but I have some sympathy for her.

    'We have had the sight now, for several months, of zealous MPs putting their ideologies before country and before party to the disrepute of both and to the general disadvantage of the country. We have had names for some parliaments (the Long Parliament, Barebones Parliament and, as Aneurin Bevan memorably described, the Squalid Parliament that backed the deception of Suez), but this one demands to be called the Rotten Parliament, in every sense. Future historians will look back upon it with shame. A new prime minister should be accompanied by a general election and a new parliament; it wouldn’t be enough to clean the stables but it might be the start of something better.'

    Harold Wilson's adviser Joe Haines, who is 91, in a letter to The Times today

  2. She then went on to talking about the importance of equality, which is the antithesis of freedom, as Mrs. Thatcher never tired of saying.

    That might be true of economic freedom, but there's more to freedom than economic freedom. Thinking of freedom in the sense of freedom to get rich is a very narrow way of looking at freedom.

    Freedom is in any case merely liberal ideology and needs to be regarded with a certain amount of scepticism..