by Polly Loughlin on July 27, 2016, in Knowledge • No Comments
A couple of months ago I put money on Theresa May to be prime minister by the end of 2016. It hadn’t occurred to me as a real possibility, but I’ve always liked her and when it came up under politics specials on my Ladbrokes app, I saw no reason not to stick a few quid on.
Now that she is prime minister I am surprised. Surprised she wanted the job and surprised by the first speech she gave.
What I am not surprised at are the bitter Thatcher comparisons. “Look what happened the last time a woman became prime minister” I’ve heard on the streets and in pubs and even on Newsnight.
It is lazy ad hominem nonsense.
Would Americans say that about Barack Obama, a black man?
Would Belgium say that about gay former Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo?
Theresa May was the longest serving home secretary in 50 years and the first woman to hold the position. Under her auspices in the notoriously difficult job she was tough on terrorists and bravely expanded mass surveillance to the chagrin of self-important liberals who don’t care about national security.
Although she may not have advocated Brexit, she has pushed for the UK to quit the European Convention on Human Rights an unnecessary convention that should be replaced with a British Bill of Rights.
May’s first speech after taking office was full of gravitas. Her voice authoritative, she was poised, serious and in her subject matter channeled our greatest prime minister ever, Benjamin Disraeli.
Disraeli gave us many expressions; The greasy pole, laying flattery on with a trowel, lies, damn lies and statistics… but the one made most use of (even by Jeremy Paxman when he retired from the supposedly non partisan BBC when describing his own political views); one nation.
The full quote is thus:
“Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws…the rich and poor.
She coined the term “nasty party” to refer to the perception that the Conservative party has lost touch with what Disraeli would call ‘noblesse oblige’. For all intents and purposes, she looks set to try and recapture that spirit, by acting on behalf of all.
Thatcher, famously only promoted one woman during her time in office and had kept a cabinet utterly devoid of oestrogen, something which garners her much criticism, I think this could be construed as flattering, clearly she felt that it was easier to control men than her own sex.
Unlike Thatcher, May has littered her cabinet with women. She has handed the baton of home secretary to Amber Rudd. Justine Greening, who came out as being in a same sex relationship during Pride, is now education secretary, vehement brexiter Priti Patel is head of international development, amongst others, and May’s only serious rival for the role of prime minister, homophobe Andrea Leadsom  is now environment secretary.
May’s serious job now is to navigate an exit strategy for the country with regards to the EU.
One comparison that I imagine will be made is that Thatcher “handbagged her way around Europe” I hope Theresa May, in her famous kitten heels, can kick her way about. And judging by the way she smacked down shadow leader, dictator Jeremy Corbyn, she should have no problems.