Thursday, 2 November 2017

Theresa May's response to Michael Fallon's resignation just got even worse

Theresa May's handling of the sex pest scandal has just got even worse!

It seems difficult to imagine a way that she could have topped sending Michael Fallon a love letter in response to his resignation as defence secretary over his indecent treatment of women, but within the space of a day she's found a way.

Theresa May has reacted to the scandal by promoting her chief whip (and personal ally) Gavin Williamson to Defence Secretary, and promoted his deputy Julian Smith to chief whip.

The Tory whips office should have come under immense scrutiny given the way they stand accused of using allegations of sexual misconduct by Tory MPs as we'll tell your wife" type blackmail material to ensure uncritical loyalty to the party.

If the accusations that the whips office use these kinds of blackmail tactics to ensure party loyalty stand true it explains a lot about why so many Tory MPs have continually refused to rebel against the party line, even when the tabled legislation was absolutely toxic (the rape clause, Bedroom Tax, refusing pay rises to emergency service workers after Grenfell Tower, condemning hundreds of thousands more kids to poverty ...).

Numerous Tory MPs have responded with dismay to Theresa May's decision to promote a personal ally instead of someone with more knowledge of the MoD. Several have pointed out that it would have made a lot more sense to promote a junior defence minister to such a critical role. Others have complained that this unwarranted promotion of a close personal ally rather than someone with greater experience has made Theresa May look even weaker than she already did before.

The former head of the UK army (and unelected peer) Richard Dannatt criticised the appointment saying that the decision to appoint such an inexperienced defence minister was all about Theresa May "bolstering her position within the cabinet".

Still, putting her personal self-interest above the best interests of the nation is hardly breaking new ground for someone as ruthlessly self-serving as Theresa May is it?

Few Tories have pointed out the indecency of handing promotions to her two top whips just one day after Lisa Nandy exposed her for having done nothing about accusations that the Tory whips office has a history of using allegations of sexual assaults in order to force loyalty from MPs. However several people have noted that May blasted the opportunity to appoint a woman as chief whip, which would at least have given the slightest impression that she now gives a damn.

At the time it seemed unlikely that Theresa May could top her decision to send Michael Fallon a gushing love letter instead of admonishing him for his unacceptable behaviour, but she's managed to make the whole situation even worse by putting her own self-interest first again, and picking a close personal ally to replace him as defence secretary, rather than somebody more qualified to do the job.

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