Friday, 24 May 2019

What people say about Theresa May

Theresa May’s departure was probably inevitable from the moment she lost her gamble to establish a Conservative majority big enough to get her withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons.

But she made one crucial misjudgement after the general election. In December 2017, she accepted the EU’s demand that the terms of the UK’s departure include a commitment that nothing would change on the Irish border. 

Professor Helen Thompson in Unherd

What comes next, for the Tories and Britain and Brexit, will prove that Theresa May’s failures, like her premiership, were modest and second-tier. History will say relatively little about her tactical record, focussing instead on acts of grand strategic failure and their authors.

James Kirkup today in his Spectator blog.

I wanted to believe Theresa May when she first said Brexit means Brexit, but I remember thinking that if she really thought that, wouldn’t she then have to sack all those Remainers in the civil service who helped push Cameron and George Osborne into their Project Fear suicide mission? Would she hell. Imagine if she had passed her deal. It would ultimately have been formalised in the small hours in the penumbras of some or other EU summit. There would be lots more of the European Court of Justice, a firming up of the common rule book, our fishing rights would be retained by the Spanish and the Scandinavians.
We would go on paying money indefinitely. Ministers Dominic Raab and Michael Gove would have turned up on the Today programme to tell us those were never really red lines — they were pinkish and, let’s face it, slightly wonky — and that the alternative was to crash out, and that would have played into the hands of Jeremy Corbyn. May’s deluded circle would have convinced themselves that they have averted catastrophe, when in reality the Tory party would be out of power for 20 years.

Stephen Robinson today in his Spectator blog.

By any objective measure, she will go down in history as the worst Prime Minister of all time. What is her legacy? She holds a number of records. She had the largest Commons defeat ever on a government motion (230 votes). She induced the largest swing against her party ever during a General Election campaign (more than 10 per cent). She led the first government ever to be held in contempt by Parliament. She has led her party to what will surely be its lowest ever vote share in the 2019 European Elections.

More judgementally, she will surely be regarded as having achieved not one positive thing in her period in office. She agreed to the worst Treaty any government has agreed outside defeat in war, including the formal segmentation of the country. She repeatedly broke her public promises — surely no other Prime Minister (even Tory Blair) will be seen by history as such a relentless and repeated liar. Her sustained breaches of faith have destroyed trust in the political system. She has facilitated the rise of a quasi-Marxist to the near-certainty of become Prime Minister, and has quite possibly destroyed the world’s oldest political party. No British Prime Minister has office with a legacy even close to as bad as this since the 18th century (when sustained incompetence lost the American colonies).

Andrew Lilico in the Telegraph

Where, then, did it all go so terribly wrong? It was as soon as she stepped through the door of Number Ten Downing Street. Instead of turning round and telling people, particularly in her own party, the truth – namely that the referendum was a close run thing, that people had voted Leave for a myriad of different reasons, that the Irish border was bound to prove problematic, and that, more generally, the EU-27 weren’t going to allow the UK to have its cake and eat it – she decided to present herself as Brexitier-than-thou.

Professor Tim Bale in Unherd

Alexander Nekrassov‏ @StirringTrouble
Theresa May leaves behind a nation divided as never before along racial, religious and national lines with relations between men and women damaged by militant #feminism and young antagonised against the old and children against parents. Her cabinet bears the blame for it as well

Alexander Nekrassov‏ @StirringTrouble
Another disgraceful legacy Theresa May leaves behind is politicising the police and intelligence services who are used to suppress political dissent. May championed the so-called hate crimes that are used to hound people who object to the far-left agendas imposed on the country.


  1. Perhaps Boris would be the man to lead the Conservative Party to victory in 2022 and then be prized out of Number Ten to make way for a man for the long haul, who for my money would be Dominic Raab or possibly Sajid Javid.

    Theresa May, the unwanted PM, failed because she didn't understand how to govern

  2. Theresa May, the unwanted PM, failed because she didn't understand how to govern

    Top Comments

    John Downes 24 May 2019 3:55PM
    I am grateful she lost her majority in 2017,

    With a majority, she might have been able to force her ghastly withdrawal agreement through the HOC, locking us in for ever, which was her intention.

    I've no sympathy for her whatsoever. Her administration was characterised by lies and deceit. Good riddance.

    George Baker 24 May 2019 4:09PM
    She was a fourth rate PM who loved the UK so much she hung on for grim life, way past her sell by date, despite the shame and embarrassment she was piling on to this country day after day.

    She has destroyed her party in the process, and all faith that anyone retained in this country’s democratic system.

    She has wasted taxpayer cash around the world via the profligate Foreign Aid budget, got the Chinese funding nuclear power, and inviting them in to develop our 5G network, and has presided over a huge expansion in pointless PC virtue signalling, all while failing to lift a finger to stop army veterans being persecuted.

    That kind of love of country we can all do without.

    Philip Griffin 24 May 2019 5:50PM
    On the bright side, bungling Brexit consumed all her time and energy so she never had the chance to accelerate the destruction of our country with her diet-Labour domestic polices. Every cloud...

    Alexander Sowerby 24 May 2019 5:57PM
    I believe you are too charitable Lord Tebbit, to think the knave to be merely a fool.

    Tony Griffiths 24 May 2019 4:37PM
    I’m afraid, Mr. Tebbit, that it's far more than Brexit and the next GE - it's what the Conservative Party have become: a left-leaning shambles of soft liberals. Where are the concerns and actions for the self-employed; the hard-working supporters of a family; low and simple taxes; encouragement of enterprise and risk-taking; care of members of our armed forces; effective policing; a robust judicial system and effective prisons? One could make the list much longer, of course, but I'm sure you get the drift. We need a clear-out, a new party that will espouse the values of moderate conservatism, the system that has, in the past, provided the UK with such success. We need the Brexit Party.

  3. I agree with Lord Tebbit here:

    "Perhaps Boris would be the man to lead the Conservative Party to victory in 2022 and then be prized out of Number Ten to make way for a man for the long haul, who for my money would be Dominic Raab or possibly Sajid Javid.

    "However, the first objective must be to keep the neo-Marxist Corbyinistas out of Number 10. We have to remember that, as Churchill observed, it is a very good thing to look ahead, but no further than you can see."

  4. I agree with Lord Tebbit that the first objective must be to keep the Corbyinistas out of Number 10. I am not sure about Mr Raab who wants to cut income tax for no good reason.. Mr Javid is as dull as Theresa May and chases easy headlines as does the quite intolerable Mr Hunt who absurdly wants to double defence spending.

    1. 'Mr Raab who wants to cut income tax for no good reason'

      1 The poor would have more money to spend.
      2 The middle class more to save.
      3 The rich more to invest.

    2. These are very good reasons and I favour tax cuts but his are not these reasons. His reason is to position himself to win MPs' votes.

    3. Amid speculation she could become Mr Johnson’s Chancellor, she said “would like to lower taxes – we have to be the low tax party because people have certain expectations and they need to be able to look after their own money”.

      Ms Rudd

    4. Dominic Raab launches Prime Minister pitch with promise of pay rise for millions of workers

      Mr Raab, 45, said: “I’m fighting for a fairer Britain – a fairer deal on Brexit, a fairer deal for workers and a fairer society for all.”

      The karate blackbelt revealed he will bring forward a Brexit Budget packed with measures to put “rocket boosters” under the economy.

      Action will include taking 1p off the basic rate of income tax and raising the threshold for National Insurance to £12,500.

      Dad-of-two Mr Raab, a 6-1 shot for the crown, said: “We should cut taxes to give workers on low and middle incomes a pay rise which many haven’t had for years – delivering a fairer deal for workers.”

      The NI changes will save the average full-time worker £464 a year and slashing a penny off income tax will put an extra £180 into wage packets.

      Mr Raab has a reputation as a tough negotiator and is convinced he can force a better deal from stubborn EU chiefs who will know he means business.

      But he warned that if they refuse to budge, he will take Britain out on World Trade Organisation terms at the next deadline on October 31.

  5. There was no humility at all. Certainly no apology for the abject mess she has dropped the country into. And like her speech on Wednesday, it was revelatory. In that speech her ‘I offered to give up the job I love earlier than I would like’ revealed an almost pathological sense of entitlement and rectitude. Yesterday’s final tears and unrepressed emotion at the end of what one of my colleagues has described as a ‘so-called’ resignation speech were purely of sulphurous, frustrated rage at being forced out, not of regret, remorse or contrition. Her sweetie bag was being taken away and it wasn’t fair!

    Someone with this type of psychological illness – and that is what I believe it is – who gives every appearance of behaving normally yet habitually inverts and distorts logic is extraordinarily difficult to deal with. Family and friends often settle for a form of what they delude themselves in turn to be ‘management’. The reality is they are walking on eggshells or allowing themselves to be bullied.

    Given the pusillanimity of May’s Cabinet, whether deriving from their respective self-interests or simply not knowing how to force the truth on a deluded woman; given a pathological obduracy that her senior civil servants have irresponsibly supported; and given the ever split opinion in his party, Sir Graham Brady achieved an almost impossible conjuring trick to pull this reluctant resignation rabbit out of the hat at all.

    It isn’t over yet. She and her Number Ten team are in situ for up to two months and what they have promised the EU and Labour we may find to be much more than has yet been revealed. The words in her speech about ‘compromise’ and ‘consensus’ indicate what she may still be plotting to tie the hands of the next Prime Minister and us into the EU. The danger is that we won’t know until it is too late.

    'The toppling of Theresa: It’s not over yet '
    The Conservative Woman

  6. “I would question the failure to get enough support for no deal. You are quite right, Parliament has passed motions objecting to a no deal Brexit. But, it passed two laws which provided for us to leave on March 29 which was subsequently delayed. Law trumps motions and the Prime Minister could have taken us out on March 29, it was the Prime Minister who asked for an extension. It was the Prime Minister who changed the date by prerogative power from March 29 to April 12. This all rests with her and on her shoulders. She has made, the Prime Minister, Mrs May, has made active choices to stop us leaving and she deserves to be held to account for that, because people ought to know the truth of the position, rather than trying to blame everybody else.”

    Jacob Rees-Mogg to Sophie Ridge on Sky News last month

    The extraordinary rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party showed this approach to be a miscalculation. It provided a vehicle for Brexiteers to indicate that they were not prepared to “suck it up”. So Farage might have a claim to have forced May’s demise. Or, perversely enough, those devoted to her but who gave her such dire advice could be held to be culpable. Step forward, Gavin Barwell. His opposition to Brexit is positively fanatical. Yet May chose him as her Chief of Staff. Thus the Government signed up to a “deal” which was so craven it was very hard to defend.

    There is a case to be made that it was Dinah Glover, the Chairman of the London East Conservatives. She was responsible for gathering the signatories for a special meeting of the Party’s National Convention to consider a motion of No Confidence in the Leader. This was to be considered on June 15th. Glover now accepts that there is “no need” for this to take place. But she proposes that the meeting goes ahead with a different item of business:

    “Each leadership contender needs to be put under the spotlight of democracy and be questioned by the membership and possibly wider about their policies, vision and route to exiting the EU. This can be happening simultaneously to the MPs voting… We need a leader who believes in post Brexit Britain and its benefits, who will ensure we leave either with a good deal or if the EU will not change their current position be prepared to leave on WTO terms. They must be able to articulate a positive Brexit.”

    In other words a hustings. We understand that her request is likely to be agreed.
    While the backbenchers and cabinet ministers were being feeble, the Party membership showed resolve.

    Harry Phibbs
    Conservative Home