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Westministenders. Boris and the Country find out what ‘Mayism’ looks like.

(1000 Posts)
RedToothBrush Sat 07-Jan-17 11:04:43

Its fair comment to say that Theresa May doesn’t like people who disagree with her.

In her New Year’s message, the Prime called for unity. She insisted that she would represent the interests of the 48%. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding these comments rather at odds with her actions.

The New Year hasn’t started to well for her with the resignation of the UK’s ambassador to the EU, Ivan Rogers in which he accused the government of ‘muddled thinking’ and urged civil servants to stay strong in delivering bad news to ministers.

Rogers had, made a point of stressing that the UK needed a transitional deal which would be around 10 years which went down like a cup of cold sick. His resignation has been greeted by howls of joy by rampant Brexiteers. Yet given that when the UK entered the much less complex European Community in 1973, we had a seven year transition period in, the suggestion of a 10 year exit, actually makes sense if you want to Leave the EU and its far from an obstructive position. Rogers has subsequently commented that he thinks we have a 50:50 chance of a chaotic exit now, given ministers refusal to listen to reason.

In all honesty that looks like an optimistic assessment at this moment in time.

It all begs the question of what next?

To look at the future, it’s worth rewinding a little and seeing how we got here. Just how did May become PM over and above her political rivals when she has very few political allies and friends.

Back in October 2015, as still Home Secretary, Theresa May made her speech at the Conservative Party Conference and said that immigration makes it "impossible to build a cohesive society."

This Telegraph Article from the time made the observation that the speech was designed to fan the flames of prejudice in a cynical attempt to become Conservative leader

How is this ever going to be reconcilable with Remainers? That is not just an anti-immigration stance. It goes way beyond that. May was apparently a reluctant Remainer, but there has always been this accusation that she was never fully on board and never actively campaigned. I just don't buy it anymore.

Then there was how she worked with the Coalition Government.

In September the Liberal Democrats made the accusation that she repeatedly trying to interfere with a crucial Government report on the effects of immigration back in 2014. This was not the first such accusation. It suggests she was anti-expert and post-fact just as much as any hard core Brexiteer. Norman Baker also accused her, before he later resigned, of suppressing information about to deal with people on drugs. His resignation letter, is incredibly reminiscent of Ivan Rogers resignation letter:

In a scathing verdict on Ms May’s leadership, Mr Baker warned that support for “rational evidence-based policy” was in short supply at the top of her department.


He told The Independent yesterday that the experience of working at the Home Office had been like “walking through mud” as he found his plans thwarted by the Home Secretary and her advisers.

“They have looked upon it as a Conservative department in a Conservative government, whereas in my view it’s a Coalition department in a Coalition government,” he said.

“That mindset has framed things, which means I have had to work very much harder to get things done even where they are what the Home Secretary agrees with and where it has been helpful for the Government and the department.

“There comes a point when you don’t want to carry on walking through mud and you want to release yourself from that.”

Was Theresa May to blame? Did Norman Baker have a point? Well Ivan Rogers seems to think he does.

The Economist’s Indecisive Premier article does say that May worked well with people she got on well with or had a shared vision with – including Lynne Featherstone, the first Liberal Democrat to work with her at the Home Office. The trouble is, that there is an ongoing pattern of her having problems with those she doesn’t get on with and her desire for control and micro management lead to a tendency to build an echo chamber rather than build a consensus or more pragmatic approach. It also notes she had personal clashes with Gove, Osborne and Johnson on key issues. Its not just Liberal Democrats she has a problem with. Of course, she only has one of the three in her current Cabinet. Let’s not forget Mark Carney either. It rather leads you to suspect that Baker was not the first, nor will Rogers be the last.

This does not bode well for compromise with the EU. May does not seem to do compromise unless backed into a corner and then its because she has been forced and then not on her terms. May can not bulldoze in the same when she does eventually sit down for talks.

It does not bode well for the future of this country, if senior positions are only for Yes Men regardless of whether you are a Remainer or a Leaver. If she has these ongoing issues with Gove, Osborne and Johnson, is it a problem? Will they continue or will they quit? Will Davis or Fox get frustrated at her constant slap downs. Will the lack of friends be a problem in the long run. Especially when one of her closest allies in Phillip Hammond is also seeming to be facing the same frustrations.

Of course, no friends, also means May has plenty of people she has no problem with throwing under the Brexit Bus.

Will May take any responsibility if it all goes wrong? Who did Theresa May blame for not achieving the all-important immigration target in 2014?

Theresa May: Lib Dems to blame for immigration target failure

It was not her failing. Of course.

And the legal battles she lost whilst at the home office? Not her fault. It was the left wing liberal human rights lawyers, therefore Human Rights are the problem and must be removed.

Never hold up the mirror and admit your beliefs are wrong. Fudge the figures, supress the reports, fuel the flames, blame others, send people to Coventry or ignore them until they quit in frustration. Anything but take responsibility or listen to what you don’t want to hear. She is well versed in it all. These are not the hallmarks of a great consensus builder.

When May calls for unity, is it genuine or merely a precursor for the inevitable blame stitch up? Excuse my cynicism but this is the very definition of what Mayism is. Oh and don’t forget the Red, White and Blue bit. Patriotism the last resort of the scoundrel.

May is set to make a speech later this month outlining her commitment to Brexit. It sounds like yet another guaranteed source of conflict and division rather than unity. Davis and Johnson are helping write it. Fox has been sidelined... which fits with the rumours that he's first under the wheels.

May WILL unite Leavers and Remainers in the end. In how we look back at how she drove us off the cliff and how she sold us all down river with her hard headed blinkers.

Unfortunately the chances are, this will be after it is too late at this rate, unless people on both sides wise up and realise what is really at stake.

Kaija Sat 07-Jan-17 12:01:28

Thank you. Interesting connection with the Norman Baker episode.

And to think, back in the summer, May seemed like the closest thing to a rational and well-informed leader out of the available options. But it's all relative.

lalalonglegs Sat 07-Jan-17 12:20:14

In her New Year’s message, the Prime Minister called for unity. She insisted that she would represent the interests of the 48%. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding these comments rather at odds with her actions.

But this is yet another example of politicians completely lacking shame when they tell a bare-faced and absolutely provable lie (^vide^: Fararge "I'm no racist"; Trump "Nobody has more respect for women than I do"; Osborne "We're all in this together"; various Brexiteers "We never promised more money to the NHS/a cap on immigration" etc etc). It seems it's enough to say the words, you don't even have to pretend that you mean them. As you've mentioned before, Red, the liberals and lefties among us howl with outrage at this sort of statement but we try to win the argument by calling out the untruth and that no longer seems enough sad.

Is anyone else puzzled by the Theresa Maybe characterisation? I wish she were a bit more indecisive then she might listen to reason and we might not be heading for national suicide. She seems absolutely hell-bent on creating a train wreck of a situation as far as I can see.

Thanks for yet another excellent start to a thread, Red. I look forward to everyone's observations and links. This thread could well encompass the Supreme Court ruling.

Mistigri Sat 07-Jan-17 12:25:46

nd to think, back in the summer, May seemed like the closest thing to a rational and well-informed leader out of the available options. But it's all relative.

Even now, that is true. Liam Fox? Andrea Leadsome? Gove? (Who has all the same shortcomings as Theresa, but in spades). There wasn't a good candidate, any more than there were any good candidates in the last Labour leadership election. All the candidates with a brain and some common sense are sitting it out for now, on both sides of the commons.

For all her many faults May was the least-worst candidate. (I suppose the only counter argument is that if Leadsome had won, the brexit bus would have crashed and burned much quicker and there might have been less long term damage.)

Kaija Sat 07-Jan-17 12:34:08

Yes I agree she was the least worst. Although perhaps there might at least have been a swift implosion with Leadsom at the helm. Hard to imagine really.

lalalonglegs Sat 07-Jan-17 12:39:53

Misti - but how long are they prepared to wait? What if a hard Brexit is a done deal by then? I can't imagine that taking over a country (and I'm assuming the Tories will still be in government at this stage) which has lost its ability to trade with the wider world won't be a cake-walk. The leaders in waiting need to swoop soon. (Or, the Supreme Court has to refer the matter to the ECJ to find out if Art 50 is reversible.)

lalalonglegs Sat 07-Jan-17 12:42:57

sorry will be a cake-walk

whatwouldrondo Sat 07-Jan-17 13:44:49

Thank you Red. It is truly scary that we have such a narrow minded obsessive control freak in charge. I agree that Gove was more of the same and his anti expert dogma driven stance in education did untold damage with schools now struggling with his legacy which young people will have to live with for life, especially those for whom a system focused narrowly on "academic rigour" will strike a death knell to their life chances. However even that is being tweaked, and is evolving. Brexit, of course, does actually mean Brexit in the sense of something we can neither fully influence or change.

Perhaps Loathsome would have been a Reagan and known to get in the right advisers, and accept their advice? I assume that some element of effective delegation / organisation was how she survived in her broom cupboard in the city?

Mistigri Sat 07-Jan-17 13:58:25

Perhaps Loathsome would have been a Reagan and known to get in the right advisers, and accept their advice? I assume that some element of effective delegation / organisation was how she survived in her broom cupboard in the city?

If I recall correctly, her city experience was greatly exaggerated.

How is she doing at agriculture? That might give us a clue. I seem to remember that she last popped up boasting about an extremely small deal to export pork (that is absolutely dwarfed by EU pork trade). Which doesn't suggest that she has been listening to the right people.

lalalonglegs Sat 07-Jan-17 14:11:05

Didn't she tell farmers last week that Brexit wouldn't mean an end to bringing in immigrant seasonal labourers? But it would mean an end to all that dreadful EU regulation. A Green Party spokesperson pops up at the end of this report to describe her proposals as "our worst fears being realised"...

BestIsWest Sat 07-Jan-17 14:25:16

Just marking place. Thanks Red.

BuntyFigglesworthSpiffington Sat 07-Jan-17 14:26:35

The farmers seem decidedly unimpressed with Leadsom. She attended a farmers' conference last week where she asked for a show of hands as to who agreed with her that her Rural Affairs dept. was Brexit ready. Apparently not a single farmer raised their hand.

Kaija Sat 07-Jan-17 14:29:16

She also came out with the "farming is as old as mankind" line. Perhaps it's pedantic to point out the error, but...

SwedishEdith Sat 07-Jan-17 14:32:15

Leadsom tweeted some baloney from the Daily Fail last week about the UK's "trailblazing" exports defying Brexit doom-mongers, It was pointed out (*again*) that a) we haven't left EU and b) this has happened whilst in EU. Pesky EU, hey.

SwedishEdith Sat 07-Jan-17 14:51:44

David Cameron's close ally Oliver Letwin: Our biggest immigration mistake was not challenging Ukip enough Well, yeah. Bit late now.

howabout Sat 07-Jan-17 14:57:06

Interesting piece by Matthew Paris in the Times today pondering the possibilities for reform to farming subsidies and land management in the post-Brexit World.

Gumpendorf Sat 07-Jan-17 15:04:46

Thanks for the new thread and superb summary, Red.

Kaija and Mistigri, reminds me of Marina Hyde's article back in the heady days of the leadership campaign. Having dissected Andrea Leadsom, Hyde concluded

Which leaves us with Theresa May. Has it really come to this? Yes. Yes, I’m afraid it has. There are few neater indicators of quite how far we’ve travelled over the past 14 days than to find so many people, particularly non-Tory voters, now actively yearning for it to be Theresa May. “Christ,” muttered one friend with wry despair, “I now want this more than I did Obama.” Yup, we’re all realpolitikos now. Stick a fork in my dreams. They’re done.

It's hard to believe Leadsom was seen as one of the knowledgeable stars of the Leave campaign. What a trick that was. She is revealed as truly lightweight now.

Kaija Sat 07-Jan-17 15:13:57

God yes. That was exactly how it was.

Marina Hyde was just heroically brilliant last year.

whatwouldrondo Sat 07-Jan-17 15:17:58

Bunty I posted that link. I am obviously no fan of loathsome, who is clearly capable of epic levels of delusion. Her career in the city was exaggerated, she was sidelined to "projects" which is a euphemism for couldn't run a piss up in a brewery. However putting project plans into place does need you to listen, and I do think she has an inkling of her own limitations which is of course why she never made it much past the starting gate. She is also more charismatic than May, she was a powerful voice for the Leave campaign because she could make what she was saying sound so plausible, a perfect sidekick to Boris and his Churchillian crap. It was why I shouted at the radio so loudly when she came on. I knew she was talking crap because she used economies I know a bit about as her models for a future UK but her city background and delivery did give it provenance and I could imagine believing it. Of course she got found out, the other reason she did not make it much past the starting gate so it is academic.

I just think that maybe she would have been less dangerous than May. Reagan was also bumbling and none too bright and so left things to better minds whereas May is intent on her own obsessive agenda.

Kaija Sat 07-Jan-17 15:30:52

Whatwould - I think that made me feel that Leadsom would be more dangerous, given the agenda of the people who were backing her.

AmberEars Sat 07-Jan-17 15:36:44

Place marking

MangoMoon Sat 07-Jan-17 16:24:48


woman12345 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:38:15

Rip Van Corbyn has woken up:NHS crisis: Corbyn calls on May to face urgent Commons questions

DarthPlagueis Sat 07-Jan-17 18:51:42

Dear old Noam completely accurately describes what is happening to the NHS in one sentence:

""That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital."

woman12345 Sat 07-Jan-17 19:06:03

I so hope not darth but it's looking like it.

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