Reading Theresa May’s actual transcript is a strange experience. Try it here. She’s a reluctant hero, being dragged against her will to do her duty for her country’s destiny. Whilst some might venture that this is an act of narrow party interest, more than a little influenced by the close examination of several constabularies into election expenses, we couldn’t possibly promote such a cynical view. If Tony Blair felt the Hand of History on his shoulder, there’s more than a little chance she could feel the Hand of the Old Bill on hers.
Her tone is plaintive and dutiful:
“It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.”
She sounds like a sort of Tory Buzz Lightyear, ‘Brexit and Beyond’. God help us all, what on earth could that mean? A boosted Conservative Party with Theresa as Buzz and Boris as Mr Potato Head?
But she’s so detached that the words of her speech can simply be lifted onto campaign leaflets across Scotland. Almost every one is a winner:
“Every vote for the Conservatives will mean we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain.”
“Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done. “
She writes painting a dystopian picture of awful certainty and almost complete incomprehension:
“And the decision facing the country will be all about leadership. It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister, or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats, who want to re-open the divisions of the referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP” … before she then descends into couplets of absurdist poetry:
“At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.”
“The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”
None of this makes sense until you realise that it’s one giant karmic revenge. Project Fear has eaten itself.
May claims she has to get a mandate, but as Iain Macwhirter has pointed out: “…she already has that from the June referendum. There is no serious opposition to Brexit in the Commons or even in the Lords. Article 50 went through without a hitch. The Supreme Court said the Scottish Parliament has no right to interrupt the course of Brexit. Labour has only offered token resistance to hard Brexit.”
She doesn’t need a mandate, this is a power-grab.
But it’s one in which Project Fear has taken a new form.
May, presenting as brave, resolute and dutiful is, apparently, too scared to debate with Jeremy Corbyn, or the titan that is Tim Fallon.
She is too scared to do tv debates. Debates where set-piece establishment figures like the Dimbleby family soft-roll you under-arm questions you’ll have rehearsed for days.
Imagine having the gall to call a shock / snap election and then say I’m not going to participate in it?
This is a scared politician operating well out of her depth.
She has been catapulted into this awkward situation not of her making and desperately needs affirmation.
The level of personal and political misdirection at play is off-the-hook. Our Prime Minister writes:
“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.”
At this point we are signing off and handing over constitutional analysis to Woody and Buzz, who, strangely, make a lot of sense…
Woody: Shut up! Just shut up, you idiot!
Buzz: Sheriff, this is no time to panic.
Woody: This is the perfect time to panic! I’m lost, Andy is gone, they’re gonna move to a new house in two days, and it’s all your fault!
Buzz: My fault?! If you hadn’t pushed me out of the window in the first place–
Woody: Well, if you hadn’t shown up inside your stupid little cardboard spaceship and taken away everything that was important to me–
Buzz: Don’t talk to me about importance! Because of you, the future of this entire universe is in jeopardy!
Woody: What?! What are you talking about?!
Buzz: Right now, poised at the edge of the galaxy, Emperor Zurg has been secretly building a weapon with the destructive capacity to annihilate an entire planet! I alone have information that reveals his weapon’s only weakness. And you, my friend, are responsible for delaying my rendezvous with Star Command!!!
[long pause; Woody stares at Buzz, incredulous and dumbfounded]
Woody: [exploding with rage] You…are…a…toy-y-y!! You are not the real Buzz Lightyear! Oh, you’re an action figure! You are a child’s play thing!!
Buzz: You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.
Woody: Oh, yeah?! Well good riddance, ya loony!
To Brexit and beyond!