Thursday 13 July 2017

Someone should tell Theresa May that self-pity is not a good look

Theresa May has been prompted into admitting that she cried on election night when it became clear that she'd thrown away her parliamentary majority in a truly monumental display of hubris.

Image management

Theresa May has a team of new advisers, with the hated Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy forced out by a mutiny amongst Tory MPs and several others having walked out of their own accord, and their ploy is absolutely obvious: They're trying to soften her robotic uncaring persona.

They're obviously an inexperienced bunch because their first effort to soften her image was to completely reverse the "crush the saboteurs" rhetoric with an extraordinary appeal for Labour and the opposition parties to help her. This was such obvious ammunition for Labour it's incredible that nobody at Tory HQ pulled the plug on it. Jeremy Corbyn responded by sending Theresa May a signed copy of the Labour manifesto, and Emily Thornberry used it to land a couple of absolutely glorious sucker punches on Damian Green when the pair were standing in at PMQs.

The next ploy to soften Theresa May's glowering and aloof persona is this staged admission that she was so upset at the election result that she "shed a tear" when she realised what a monumental screw up she'd made of her opportunistic snap election.


Theresa May has obviously been advised to soften her aloof and scarily authoritarian persona, but talking about how she cried over the failure of her of self-serving power grab is so obviously not the way to do it.

Does she not have the wit and wherewithal to understand that self-pity is not a good look under the best of circumstances, let alone when the wounds were purely self-inflicted?

Perhaps her advisers were too inept to point it out to her? Or perhaps Theresa May has already built herself another domineering inner clique so that people with sense enough to see that self-pity is a bad look were afraid to raise their objections?

Narcissism vs empathy

Wallowing in self-pity over your own self-inflicted problems is not a good look, but wallowing like this when you're responsible for inflicting untold misery and suffering on hundreds of thousands of people is just ugly.
  • Think about all the people (and their families) to have had their lives wrecked by Spice. Theresa May was repeatedly warned that turning the entire market in novel psychoactive drugs over to the criminal underground would cause a surge in usage, just like it did in Ireland, but she ignored the expert advice and went ahead anyway, because her puritanical "ban it, ban it all now" attitude overrode all of the facts, evidence, and expert advice.
Has Theresa May shed tears for the victims of any of these Tory polices? Has she apologised for introducing Home Office legislation designed to rip apart so many families and destroy people's lives by handing the entire novel psychoactive substance market to unscrupulous criminals?

No. Of course she hasn't. She's too busy crying over her own self-inflicted political woes to give a damn about any of the real people she's condemned to death, suffering, impoverishment, life in economic exile from the UK, spice addiction, and systematic abuse at the hands of the state.

She won't ever shed a tear for any of the victims of her policies because the only person she's capable of genuine human empathy towards is herself.

An unconvincing fantasy

Moving on from the contemptible way that she admits having wept over her own self-inflicted political failure, but not for the victims of real tragedies, another consideration has to be the sheer unlikeliness of Theresa May quietly weeping rather than having a temper tantrum.

We all saw her uncontrollable fury responses during the election when she wasn't getting her own way.

We all know that these uncontrollable facial grimaces and her tendency to erupt into bizarre temper tantrums ("nothing has changed. Nothing has changed!") are two of the big reasons she was advised to evade unscripted head-to-head debates with her political opponents.

I think we all, even those of us with some Conservative sympathies, can find it a lot easier to imagine Theresa May having a foot-stamping tantrum and shouting something along the lines of "how dare they disobey me" about the electorate that she so obviously holds in contempt, rather than quietly crying to herself in a corner.

Be wary

The first two efforts to soften Theresa May's robotic and uncaring persona have been absolutely inept. 

First they handed the opposition parties a load of political ammunition every bit as potent as Liam Byrne's foolish "no money left" note at the treasury, then they tried to make her seem human by getting her to portray herself as the kind of utterly self-obsessed narcissist who cries over their own misfortunes, but who doesn't give a damn about the much more serious sufferings of others.

The Tory spin machine not going to give up trying to soften Theresa May's public image, and they'll probably get better at it with practice. So just beware that they're going to try every trick in the book to make her look more human by pulling your emotional strings to feel some kind of empathy towards her, and don't be suckered in by it.

Until she feels enough human empathy to put an end British arms sales to Saudi Arabia so that they can use them to commit horrific war crimes in Yemen, apologies for her previous actions, and sheds genuine tears of remorse for her victims, then you shouldn't let her spin doctors elicit the remotest shred of personal empathy towards her.

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