Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Don't let anyone trick you into feeling sorry for Theresa May

As Theresa May's catastrophically inept handling of her own party's Brexit mess has degenerated further and further into chaos, there's an ongoing campaign to elicit sympathy for her.

There's obviously not much sympathy to be found on left-wing sites like mine, but scroll through the comments on mainstream media outlets or the Tory blogosphere and you'll see a concerted effort to paint Theresa May as some kind of poor, innocent, defenceless victim of circumstances that are beyond her control.

Here are just a few of the most glaring reasons why this outrageous "poor Theresa" narrative is disgustingly warped, and why any feelings of sympathy towards her are catastrophically misplaced.


If you're having these feelings just try to have a think about just some of the many victims of Theresa May's politics to restore your sense of political perspective to normality.

If you think Theresa May's having a hard time just consider:
  • NHS staff who are under enormous pressure thanks to 8 devastating years of Tory cuts and their deliberate ideologically-driven vandalism of the NHS. Winter is always the hardest and most stressful time for health workers, and this year's winter NHS crisis is likely to be the worst ever thanks to Theresa May and her Tory mates. Why not talk to someone who works in the NHS about how bad things have got if you've started to get feelings of misplaced sympathy towards Theresa May?
  • Since the Tories came to power in 2010 they've overseen the worst collapse in the value of UK workers' wages in history. The percentage of workers suffering in-work poverty has absolutely skyrocketed. Just try to imagine what it's like actually having a job, but earning so little you can't even cover the basic costs of living (rent, utility bills, transport, food). This is a fate that Theresa May and her Tory mates are wilfully inflicting on millions of people so don't feel sorry for her.
  • Remember when Theresa May turned up to prowl around the site of the Grenfell Tower fire, aloofly ignoring and avoiding the survivors and the devastated families of the victims? And remember how her government 'rewarded' the emergency service workers who dealt with the tragedy just a few days later by whooping and cheering as they won their parliamentary vote to continue with their malicious real terms cuts in public sector workers' pay?
  • Not only have teachers suffered huge real-terms pay cuts over the last 8 years, many are stuck working in incredibly dodgy private sector academy chains where the bosses pay themselves inflated six figure salaries by 'topslicing' the public funds that are supposed to pay for our children's education. Then there's the appalling scandal of teachers using their own money to provide food and clothes for the ever growing numbers of kids who are turning up to school dressed in rags and malnourished as a consequence of Tory austerity dogma.
  • If you think Theresa May is having a tough time, just think about the victims of the crime wave she deliberately unleashed. Ask anyone who works in front line policing or youth services how Theresa May's ideologically-driven agenda of cutting the police force by 21,000+ and the Tory policy of gutting investment in youth outreach programmes have impacted areas like gang violence and violent crime. Or just look at the crime statistics. Violent crime is soaring out of control meaning thousands more muggings, thousands more stabbings, thousands more sexual assaults and rapes. Does your pity for Theresa May really outweigh the thousands of victims of violent crimes that simply wouldn't have happened without her extraordinary police-cutting agenda?

    Outside of Britain just try to imagine the suffering of innocent civilians in Yemen. Theresa May knows that the Saudi Arabian tyrants are committing war crimes there, and using the despicable tactic of spreading famine and disease as weapons of war too (resulting in the biggest humanitarian disaster on earth). But she keeps sucking up to them and selling them £billions more in British weapons to commit their war crimes with.

Consideration of the tsunami of stress, poverty, and suffering Theresa May and her Tory mates have unleashed over the last 8 years provides a bit of valuable perspective for those who feel inclined to feel sorry for Theresa May, but there's another vital factor too.

Theresa May is an incredibly wealthy woman who is married to a multi-millionaire investor (who works for a fund with huge investments in arms manufacturers who profit from supplying weapons to the Saudi war criminals).

She's so rich that she could just walk away tomorrow and live the rest of her life stress-free in idle and extravagant luxury without having to lift a finger (completely unlike the circumstances of most ordinary workers, victims of her vile Hostile Environment policy, disabled people, emergency service workers, or the starving refugees fleeing the consequences of British foreign policy in places like Yemen).


Then there's the fact that Theresa May has brought most of her problems on herself:

  • She had a parliamentary majority to push her Brexit plans through, but threw it away last year in an unprecedented display of political hubris.
  • She had the opportunity to run Brexit in the national interest from the beginning, but she chose to run it as a closed Tory shop exclusively for the benefit of her own political party, and now she's upset that all the people she excluded from the process are dissatisfied at the shambles she's cobbled together!
  • She had the opportunity to develop a sensible Brexit negotiating strategy, but she resorted to toddler tantrum threats to trash the UK economy with a "no deal" flounce right from the beginning.
  • She had the option of devising a coherent set of negotiating objectives before she set the Article 50 clock ticking, but she chose not to because she couldn't resist the allue of the glowing 'hooray for triggering Article 50' headlines in the right-wing propaganda rags.
  • She had the opportunity to run Brexit in an open and accountable manner, but she hid the impact assessments, she hid the legal advice, she's hiding her post-Brexit immigration plan, and she's hiding the true cost of the "no deal" catastrophe she's threatening the nation with if she doesn't get her own way.
  • Theresa May could accept that nobody wants her shambolic last-minute farce of a deal, she could take the threat of "no deal" ruination off the table, she could walk away right now, or she could call a general election. But all she's interested in is desperately clinging to political power for as long as possible, no matter how much her selfishness and vanity damages the British national interest.


If you ever feel yourself beginning to slide towards having a bit of sympathy for Theresa May, just don't.

Theresa May isn't a character in some silly soap opera. She's an incredibly powerful woman with a horrifying track record of trashing the lives of people she perceives to be below her in the social pecking order.

When she imposes austerity dogma, inflicts social security cuts on the most vulnerable people in society, licences arms sales to war criminals, deports black British citizens to their deaths overseas,  vandalises our public services, triggers a devastating crime wave, and imposes wage repression policies - she knows that her status amongst the gilded establishment class protects her from all of the suffering she's inflicting.

And when it comes to Brexit, that's undeniably a mess of her own making. Yes David Cameron ran away when his gamble with the nation's future backfired and left the mess to his successor, but the primary reason the process has been even more chaotic than most Brexit critics could even have imagined back in the summer of 2016 is Theresa May's appalling combination of selfishness, hubris, control-freakery, strategic ineptitude, incompetence, and utter contempt for the concept of democratic accountability.

She's the one who made this farcical mess for herself, and she's certainly not going to have to pay any real price for it either when it all comes crashing down.

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