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May Ends in June

W Stephen Gilbert

British Prime Minister Theresa May reacts as she delivers a statement in London, Britain, May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville – RC18E48A96C0

History will not be kind to Theresa May. By the standards she forthrightly set herself at the outset of her premiership, she has been a dismal failure. She proposed that, contrary to most impartial expectation, she would be a socially liberal prime minister who would strive to relieve the economic pressure on the poorest members of British society (the briefly famous “just about managing”), but the only small concessions towards the relief of poverty that have been wrung from her government have done nothing to reduce the incidence of homelessness, food banks and wage rates that undershoot the demands made by private landlords, services starved of funds and price rises.

And that’s without even mentioning Brexit.

Following the self-inflicted disaster of the 2017 general election, in which May utterly failed to project herself with any conviction as “strong and stable”, she became, in George Osborne’s devastating phrase, “a dead woman walking”.

That campaign was the most complacent, least effective ever fought by a major political party in Britain, and the only explanation for the media’s astonishment at the result can be that editors and columnists had so convinced themselves that they had rendered Jeremy Corbyn, in their description of choice, “unelectable” that they could see no outcome other than a thumping Tory victory. What they could not see was that Corbyn is an inspired and inspiring campaigner, while May is as dull as ditchwater.

The social media commentator Aidan Daley summed her up admirably: “Mayvis: a political nonentity of such crushing mediocrity and insignificance that even when standing in direct sunlight she casts no shadow. A third-rate office manager elevated light years beyond her intellectual capacity, professional capabilities and pay grade. A national embarrassment and global laughing stock”.

This unsparing but unarguable buttonholing raises a historical problem for the Conservative Party that shows no sign of quick resolution. When May was elected Tory leader and hence prime minister, the field of choice was notable for its lightweight uniformity. Given the length of her cabinet experience, May clearly outshone her rivals, if not in charisma (a quality conspicuously lacking from the field). But the quality of leadership of the party has been modest at best for years. Among Tory leaders since the war, only Margaret Thatcher has managed to catch the climate of her time and impose her personality on a discernible period, however much one may deplore that climate and that period.

What is striking about Conservative politics is that those who wish to hold onto power and wealth for their own class and who have the ambition and talent and imagination to make a difference do not go into politics. They become entrepreneurs, traders, speculators. There is too much regulation and self-abnegation in politics for such people. Look back over the leadership of the Tory party and you get to Harold Macmillan before you encounter anyone who came from a (brief) career in business.

Comparing May with Thatcher and Macmillan is instructive. May has failed to create any sort of arresting public persona for herself. Aside from the tiresome bromide “Brexit means Brexit”, she has turned no phrase that immediately summons her to mind. Who could essay her political philosophy, other than hanging on grimly against insuperable odds and paying heed to no advice?

She has no imagination, no resourcefulness, no wit and no management skills. When pressed, she retreats to prepared responses, regardless of their irrelevance to the question in hand. We are now told that she is “a patriot” – the last refuge of a political scoundrel – and that she has “tried her best”, which was clearly grossly inadequate to the task.

The mainstream media will be eternally grateful to her for betraying emotion at the end of her resignation statement, thereby providing the “human interest” angle that cements the moment in history and will be trotted out in every story about the May premiership for ever after, much like Thatcher’s tear-stained face in the back of the limo as it pulled away from Downing Street for the last time. Whether this emotion sits appropriately with the “dignity” that her admirers are rushing to credit to her is a question for others to ponder.

Attention now turns to her successor. Vast though the field is, it is again notable for its lightweight nature. Smart money will be on Rory Stewart, already a media darling and a politician unusually capable of sounding thoughtful and candid. He also has the advantage of having led a colourful pre-politics life, thereby bringing instincts to his politics from beyond the confines of career consultants and spads. But most speculation centres on Boris Johnson, despite the high level of suspicion that he generates among Tory MPs. He is said to be enthusiastically supported at the grassroots.

In this as in other aspects, he brings to mind Donald Trump. If Rory Stewart would offer a safe pair of hands, Johnson would suggest a Trump-like level of gaffes and embarrassments, thrills and spills.

That would certainly draw a line under the dead hand of the May era, but is there really an appetite for it on the Tory benches? Had Trump required the support of the senate to become the Republican candidate in 2016, he would not now be president. But Johnson will require the support of the Commons to become prime minister, and we may already be sure that his elevation would provoke some party resignations.

Moreover, while a Trump-Johnson alliance looks more promising of mutual support than any other possible combo, it may well only have eighteen months in which to flourish.

A Johnson premiership would represent an uncharacteristic rush of blood to the collective Tory head, comparable to Quentin Hailsham Hogg being preferred as prime minister to Macmillan or Home. After the long drawn-out death rattle of May’s period in office, the inevitable being postponed day by day until it became unbearable to everyone, politics now reverts to its proper and characteristic rhythm of utter unpredictability.

The old saw that the frontrunner never wins a leadership race may just be confounded on this occasion. Who can say? All supporters of other parties can do is to wait and see and remain ready for any eventuality.

W Stephen Gilbert has been a writer, journalist and sometime television producer since 1971, when his first play appeared in the first season of Play for Today on BBC1. His books include first biographies of Dennis Potter and Jeremy Corbyn. He mostly passes his twilight years indexing other writers’ books.

Filed under: Brexit, featured, latest, UK, UK domestic politics

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W Stephen Gilbert has been a writer, journalist and sometime television producer since 1971, when his first play appeared in the first season of Play for Today on BBC1. His books include first biographies of Dennis Potter and Jeremy Corbyn. He mostly passes his twilight years indexing other writers’ books.

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Wolfe tone
Reader

She was sacked for failing to get fake brexit over the line. The next leader will do some turnaround I suspect. A so called ‘leaver’ might be the ticket to convince folk to accept fake brexit…….bojo anyone?

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum

‘I love this country_ _ _’
????
The increasing poverty.
The $$$$$$$$$$ucking up of wealth.
The slimy Drainstream media.
The corporate corruption.
The kowtowing to the MIC.
Yeah.
There’s a lot to love.

different frank
Reader
different frank

May at this very moment.comment image

Toby Russell
Reader
Toby Russell

I saw the final “for the country I love” bit of May’s announcement for the first time yesterday, and felt terribly sorry for the woman. Her tone of voice in that moment was of someone who neither understands nor feels understood, and horribly out of their depth. But, as most commenters here have pointed out, it hardly matters who is PM or president.

Apparently, the planet that sustains us has 60 harvests left in it. In that linked-to interview by Russell Brand of Jacques Peretti, Peretti talks about global corporate power as having rendered national political power almost wholly irrelevant. The narrow vertical scope of a national government is no match for the broad horizontal reach of the mighty corporation. Something we have all known for a long time, but are apparently ‘powerless’ to resist.

Corporations see our depleting ecosystems as an opportunity, which must be the dizzy peak of opportunistic thinking. They are investing in synthetic soil, vertical farms, off-planet (Mars) farming, and other technological ‘wonders’. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the human species, not to mention thousands if not millions of other species, are becoming in the corporate mind redundant, invisible, utterly uninteresting. The mad, runaway machine of growth is all that matters.

Surely it is our shallow, infantile notion of wealth as money- and power-based capital, as entirely divorced from the rest of nature, that is the root problem. Surely we need new, organic, nuanced, and far richer definitions of wealth.

Hugh O’Neill
Reader
Hugh O’Neill

TR. your post reminds me of RFK’s speech on GDP as measuring only that which is not worthwhile. Kansas 18th March 1968.

Toby Russell
Reader
Toby Russell

I love that speech!

The crazy thing is, none of this stuff is new, nor is it rocket science. Depression rates are sky-rocketing, ecosystem health collapsing, consumerism is both meaningless and rapaciously destructive, and yet the power of propaganda and advertising, the confusion of all that FUD and disinformation are together so great and pervasive that people barely know how to care anymore, or even if they should. But there must be a saturation point. Humans can only stay functional on nutrition-free bullshit for so long. The mechanical, infinite-growth paradigm must self-destruct, even under the crushing inanity of its spiritual/emotional vacuity, let alone the death spiral it has initiated in Earth’s life systems.

Rhys Jaggar
Reader
Rhys Jaggar

Actually, there is a very healthy grass roots common sense ecological revival movement growing. No, not tree-hugging stunts in London, but people learning to care and tend for their little patch of soil, wherever it may be.

Compost making is becoming an understood process, not a mysterious art.

Not digging soil is becoming popular, less work for better results year on year.

Planting trees or support others financially to plant trees is a growing phenomenon.

It may be under the radar, but it is happening.

Toby Russell
Reader
Toby Russell

I was just watching a Geoff Lawton permaculture video today on composting and soil creation. He really opened my eyes a few years to what’s possible with soil regeneration in a film called Greening the Desert, so I return to his teachings from time to time. Amazing what we can do. It’s all really hope-inspiring stuff. And its being under the radar is a good thing, imo. Set down good, strong roots first. When it’s strong enough to resist attacks of every imaginable and unimaginable type, that’s when it can stick it’s head above the parapet…

Jen
Reader
Jen

“… Among Tory leaders since the war, only Margaret Thatcher has managed to catch the climate of her time and impose her personality on a discernible period, however much one may deplore that climate and that period …”

That’s because Thatcher created that period with that particular climate: she was enamoured of Friedrich Hayek’s neoliberal economic philosophy and put its theories into practice, with the results that we see today, in the domination of the financial economy over the economy that supplies and distributes goods and services to the people who need them , and the impoverishment and degradation (cultural and political) this has led to.

Modern British politics is as much a creation of Thatcher as the Britain she left behind in 1990.

DunGroanin
Reader
DunGroanin

Thatcher herself was a creation of our very own madmen – Bell, Saatchis etc – as was RayGun, all part of the big neocon/lib project. Out of Chicago.

The creation of Blair followed, as the british public were sold the presidential model, followed by the equally shiney happy Cameron/Clegg show ponies and the outsider Fartage (and now Yaxley-Lennon) all in the footsteps of that rusty nail lady.

So much has the public bought into that lie – that they actually think that Corbyn would be in charge of all decisions when elected. Or that bojo would be. We don’t elect presidents. We choose manifestos and local representatives and the party with the most seats get to appoint the cabinet under their chosen leader to ennact the manifesto that won.
On which point whoever the next tory leader, they would need to honour their manifesto (with continued DUP support) or publish a new manifesto to take to the people, for honourable legitimacy of their plans for the country.

But they will resist until enough brave tory mp’s make a sacrifice.

Ken Kenn
Reader
Ken Kenn

As you say but in reverse – May was just a shadow with no material body to cast one.

Just a shadow.

Francis Lee
Reader
Francis Lee

What is true of May is pretty much also true of the entirety of the western political classes, particularly the centre-left centre-right amalgam or ‘third-way’ as it has been called. Other than the imbecilic (Trump) and self-aggrandising and conceited (Macron) the political classes of the west are uniformly mediocre, uninspiring, and a dime a dozen. ‘What are my politics sir? What would you like them to be.’ The counter-revolutionary wave of the early 80s, is ebbing and these squirming and scuttling pond-life who have been left high and are dry still promulgating the same old cliches of yesteryear. Some should tell them their leather-bound personal organizers are a little passe.

More and more ordinary folk can see it and this explains the panic response. Every time the PTB open their mouths their distance from the man in the street becomes manifest. Hence Brexit, the Yellow Vests, nationalist and populist movements across Europe. ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.’

BTW ”… Corbyn is an inspired and inspiring campaigner.” Really? Something of a moot point I think. Just think this closet Remainer, who argued for Assange to go to Sweden to face the music and end up in Guantanamo, and lets the Labour Friends of Israel run amok in the Labour party with the anti-semitic smear campaigns, and gets the party to endorse the IHRA definition of anti-semitism be accepted is – inspiring?!

Bad as the Conservative party’s fortunes are Labour cannot capitalise on them. So much for inspired leadership.

Rhys Jaggar
Reader
Rhys Jaggar

Mr Lee

It is very hard to have your own philosophy, be a (wo)man of the people and get elected, without being only just a bit above average.

You see, a philosophy which works for the middle 70% may be very damaging to the outliers.

It is very hard to truly believe in a philosophy which benefits others at the expense of yourself. It may be selfless, but probably only possible for someone whose inherited wealth would survive their own selflessness.

So it is entirely reasonable to expect politicians to be unremarkable people…

mark
Reader
mark

Wholly agree. But I would settle for merely mediocre. It’s actually far worse than that. Western leadership is the worst in its history, arrogant, venal, corrupt, deluded, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. We need a Metternich or a Bismarck and what we get is a May or a Macron or a Merkel or a Trump or a Trudeau. Whatever you think of those countries, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, all have much more impressive and skilful political leadership. If that wasn’t the case, WW3 would have happened long ago. We should thank our lucky stars that Russia has been led by Putin instead of someone like Zhirinovsky. The same goes for Xi, Khamenei, Kim.

It’s just a game of musical chairs. Whether it’s Theresa “Je Suis Juif” May, or Boris “I Am A Fervent Zionist” Johnson, or Tom “I Am A Proud Zionist” Watson, what difference does it make? They are all puppets of the save vested interests.

mark
Reader
mark

Does any of this really matter? It’s like arguing over who should be the conductor of the band on the Titanic. Obsessing over personalities is going up a blind alley. Will Johnson be any better or worse? Or Gove? Or any of the other Bags of Bugger All? If anything it just increases the chaos. We’ll have some unelected clown or nonentity as the new prime minister, another Gordon Brown, Buggins’ Turn. Leading a minority and mutinous Tory Party, lurching from one crisis and one defeat to the next for a short interlude, before another General Election probably gives yet another inconclusive result.

Maybe we should just take a leaf out of the Belgians’ or Northern Irish Book – they were without any kind of government for a couple of years and nobody really noticed.

wardropper
Reader
wardropper

She is not going to be upset by this.
It’s easy to work up a broken voice when you spend your life practising being out of touch with actual people, but if we could read her thoughts right now, I have a hunch that we would simply see her looking forward to a thirty-year future of drinking cocktails with other smartly-dressed mafioso, and occasionally joking about what a relief it is not to have to appear remotely concerned with us rabble.
“Brexit? Who cares?
I’m going to party with Tony Blair in the Bahamas next week…”

KarenEliot
Reader
KarenEliot

“A third-rate office manager…” …and we’ve all known a few of them. If anything this flatters the dismal Mrs May whose crocodile tears over Grenfell were especially egregious.

The last three years will surely be revealed as the sleight of hand of a Z list conjuror: the nation’s commons are liquidated and smuggled away to the Caymans, replaced with IOUs. while every body points and says “hey..Brexit”.

Shameful.

mark
Reader
mark

Brexit is going to be the all purpose scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in this country for the next 20 years.

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

All fine: but, primarily ya’ needed to mention how May squashed Leveson 2 . . .
A National Disaster !

AND Bri-gate ! ? & ‘D’ Notices ?

It was NOT the Russians interfering in the US elections, but the BRITISH DS GCHQ: Pablo Miller, Christopher Steele, Skripal and then Trump’s direct warning to the British Deep State, that were conspiring against Trump, in favour of HRC & Google Analytics, before & after the election.
Salisbury was a simple Trump warning.

All in all, maybe May was best, for May to dodge all coming bullets, (unlike Seth Rich), when Assange testifies, soon enough re. the DNC Leak & Vault 7 and what the CIA have been doing, in terms of ‘Marble’ & Guccifer2:0 and creating bum senders of email records: not just Fake News but, Fake Emails now appearing … thus certain members of the CIA are pretty pissed off with Assange and Bill Binney, for that matter, telling it like it is,

in “The History of the National Security State” , home & abroad,

very deep connectivity that transcends Presidents or PM’s powers !?

That was why Assange had Vidal’s book in hand . . .

Theresa is wisely getting the ‘hell outta’ Dodge … ‘

Hang ’em High ! 😉

TheThinker
Reader
TheThinker

It may also be linked to the leaked SIGINT UK eyes only re: former Home Secretary of State, Boris Johnson being asked by former GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan via Office of former POTUS asking for agreement to surveil at various Trump venues during the 2016 Election. Link to alleged Article/Document below.

https://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/gchq-boss-left-in-2017-after-obama-ordered-project-fulsome-spy-ring-against-trump/230121

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

Thinker, as Norcal says, “nice catch” 😉

As you are obviously up to speed and waiting with bated breath for Trump’s UK visit, I thought you might like to read Neon’s contact to the Italian Spy-gate Clinton Operation Charlemagne, ( insider & Accused ) ,

https://www.neonrevolt.com/2019/05/24/operation-charlemagne-the-silent-ones-and-eyepyramid-italys-role-in-framing-trump-spygate-qanon-greatawakening-neonrevolt/

Giulio Occhionero has apparently contacted Neon, as well as Devin Nunes and a few others. Consider the CIA’s ‘Marble’ programme and its’ evil potential, evidently already employed, ramping Fake News & Fake Emails, with Fake Evidence FABRICATED, to a whole new level
of deep state deceptions, most Criminal & Treasonous & Murderous ! ? (thinking Seth Rich)

Bill Binney can be trusted on these matters, imho …

Small world, Thinker 😉 🙂 prepped for growth,
in Philosophical Spheres
of Thought Processing …

Of both Automated & Artificial intelligence …

No doubt BoJo will be displaying boat loads of red cheeks,
& artificial animal behavioural patterns & signalisation,
during Trump’s visit 🙂

TheThinker
Reader
TheThinker

An update Tim, looks like the pressure is building re: Spygate Italian job see article below and NR Blog has been picked up

TheThinker
Reader
TheThinker

Hello Tim, thank you for your response and links. I was aware of the Italian connection to the Spygate intel and Charlemagne, but not to the extent of the observations and research that NR had pulled together!

RE: the AI elements of fake and/or fabricated information being used now to deflect from the the real and organised goings on’s of the ‘bad guys’ by framing others. It’s nothing new I guess, it’s just gone up another level, now The Internet of things offers many more ways to mask reality.

I came across another software recently which can actually edit out and change the words one might say, after you have been recorded saying them! Imagine you write something and release it in the public sphere, for someone to then change the words coming out of your mouth to somehow incriminate or make what you said inappropriate. Pretty scary stuff. Take Neuro Linguistic Programming to a whole other level.

Op Marble I would imagine also uses the cover of the Dark Net software TOR hiding in plain sight and uses non-spook related individuals ping nodes to further where that information may be traced back to (ie Russia) to further their aims to mask their movements and what they are planting or planning etc

Bill Binney certainly knows his craft and is not afraid to speak his mind.

The 187 of SR is a long line of psychopathic behaviours which all seem to lead to one place and the protection of certain individuals at all costs.

My personal opinion of BJ is that he missed his boat and it will be interesting to see how he reacts, given his apparent involvement! A lot of red cheeks definitely and shuffling awkwardness:-) We shall see.

Norcal
Reader
Norcal

Nice catch TheThinker, thank you.

TheThinker
Reader
TheThinker

Glad it was helpful Norcal, apologies for the late response.