2007 - 2022

Theresa May – Just about Managing

We’re witnessing one of the biggest most glaring u-turns in election history. The trouble with repeating a mantra like “Strong and Stable” and little else, as you attempt to navigate an entire election campaign from inside a hermetically sealed Tory bubble, is that those words are now embedded in everyone’s heads. They couldn’t have been clearer if she’d created a Miliband-style Ed Stone with them. This morning Lesley Riddoch hit the nail on the head asking: “Was this the weekend the Tories bungled the General Election?”

Theresa May’s abandonment of her social care policy, in which she has now said that the Conservative government would set an “absolute limit” on the amount that people pay for social care is a U-turn on the policy put forward in her party’s election manifesto only last week. But this isn’t a one-off, it’s what she does. She postures as a conviction politician, but she blows in the wind.

Here’s some of her finest moments …

1. Brexit. She moved from opposition to being a die-hard Brexiteer.
2. A British Bill of Rights. She announced we would be leaving the European Convention of Human Rights, then quickly turned around.
3. Hinkley Point.  As soon as she came into office she announced a review of the £18 billion nuclear project, then backed off completely.
4. Workers on Boards. In September last year she promised “workers on boards”. Now that’s been quietly shelved.
5. National Insurance: Philip Hammond’s budget in March announced that self-employed workers would pay higher national insurance contributions. The policy was shelved a week later.
6. General Election. She couldn’t have been clearer. There isn’t going to be a general election. It wasn’t in the national interest. A month later she announced one.
7. Energy Price Caps. Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze energy prices was branded as ‘Marxist” by the Tories in 2005. The Daily Mail was apoplectic. Now it’s Tory policy.
8. Foreign Worker Lists. When Amber Rudd announced that companies would have to publish figures on their number of foreign workers UKIP branded the plans a “step too far”. Now they’ve stepped away from that, though companies will be charged £2k per foreigner.

Opportunism is her defining feature. She’s like a spinning top. Her latest position lasted a total of four days.

Yet she manages to combine this complete political flexibility with a rigidity bordering on intransigence. On Brexit and Scotland she managed to remain completely unmovable. Presumably there’s nobody whispering in her ear “that’s a vote-loser”.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Now she’s taking a Trump line attempting to brand the Labour Party of ‘fake news.’

It’s as if only Lynton Crosby is allowed to use words during an election.

Control-freakery is infectious but it’s also blinding. The more you protect yourself from the world the more you believe your own bullshit.

The Tories fury about their policy quickly becoming known as the ‘dementia tax’ is reminiscent of their anger when the ‘Community Charge’ became known as the Poll Tax. As Labour’s Yvette Coooper put it: “So it’s an optional cap at unspecified level to be included in a future consultation? Can’t even do a competent u-turn. Still a

At a press conference earlier today the Prime Minister claimed: “we have not changed the principles in the manifesto….we have clarified”.

Now they are trying to wiggle and squirm on this, but it couldn’t really be any clearer. Here’s Jeremy Hunt only a few days ago:

“Not only are we dropping [a cap] but we are dropping it ahead of a general election and we’re being completely explicit in our manifesto that we’re dropping it,” the health secretary said. “We’re dropping it because we’ve looked again at this proposal and we don’t think it’s fair.”


What people are calling ‘the optics’ aren’t good:

She’s beginning to look like a bad copy of Thatcher, a botched look-a-like.

This was supposed to be a coronation, against a useless opponent the Tory media would vilify and smear. But this u-turn – the like of which no-one can remember – is particularly damaging for the Conservatives as the issue hits home to voters aged over 65, which is the very section of the electorate which turns out in the greatest numbers, and faithfully votes Blue.

Many will be Daily Mail readers, whose front-page from last week, sadly, hasn’t aged well.

The dangers for a politician posturing about their own convictions is being exposed.

The desperation is tangible as her lead tumbles and the polling turns against her.

A Guardian/ICM poll shows Tory lead in Labour marginals narrowing from 20 point lead 52-32 last week to 3 point 44-41 this week. They are now panicking in full- public glare.

The problem for her team is that her track record is visible and they have a leader who has neither the oratory, charm or political nous to move quickly and confidently. Everything is choreographed, crafted, carefully measured for impact. This is a politician deeply ill-at-ease contesting an election she didn’t need.

Her trademark is honesty stability and strength, yet she’s visibly falling apart on the campaign trail.

Even the pliant media smell blood. This isn’t something she can control, and the ‘Big Gun’s around her have been dispatched or sloped off. Who’s she going to call on to help her steady the ship? Boris Johnston?

“Nothing has changed!”

“Nothing has changed!” she screams.

You got that?

Comments (26)

Leave a Reply to Mach1 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. TheStrach says:

    She’s right. Nothing has changed. She’s still the worst Prime Minister I’ve ever seen. She can’t answer a simple question or even talk coherently about her own policies.

    She is weak, inept and backs down under pressure. The EU will make mincemeat of her during Brexit.

    1. Patrick says:

      Always remember Bonaparte:
      Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
      The policies of all powers are inherent in their geography.
      Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.
      had you ever ask yourself way British sent him to Insulate Island?

  2. Sheikh MaBunnet says:

    Neatly summed up. The only question now is whether she falls completely apart before or after the GE.

    Pass the popcorn.

  3. Chris Clark says:

    Weak and Wobbly. She’s exposed for what she is. Let’s imagine the Brexit negotiations. At the first sign of resistance she’ll sacrifice Gibraltar to save the ex-pats in Spain. Think of the fudge around reciprocal “rights” for British subjects and EU citizens. Where’s the bargaining chip? The Lady is plainly for Turning, and they will turn her over. Theresa May, but then again she May Not. To look on the bright side we might get a second Scottish Independence Referendum when the Scottish people want it and not when Mummy T, mendaciously supported by Ruth D and her troupe of Foodbank BUPA nurses, tells us we can have it.

  4. muttley79 says:

    May has managed to turn what should have been an easy victory for the Tories a month or so ago (it still might be of course) into a complete train wreckage of a campaign. I mean what possessed the Tories, and May in particular, to decide to piss off and completely alienate their major constituency core vote and support, the elderly and OAPs, two weeks or so before a general election? What on earth were they and are they thinking about? I can only assume that it was hubris, their natural arrogance and cruelty that brought them to this sorry state and position. Major, major debacle and shambles here from May and the Tories.

    1. Alastair McIntosh says:

      Well muttered, Muttley. My questions too. The theologian in me has been thinking that here at last we’ve found a proof for God(s); if they first make mad those they wish to destroy.

      Meanwhile, the psychologist in me muses that Brexit with its xenophobia came from out a dark place in the national psyche, and the political problem in a democracy of such archetypal inflations (Jung) is that they’re very prone to inversion, to flipping over, and are therefore the antithesis of stable strength. That, of course, is why reactionary regimes tend towards becoming totalitarian in their grip on control.

    2. ben madigan says:

      maybe Theresa May and the Conservatives don’t want to win the General Election?
      perhaps they expect to pass the poisoned brexit chalice leftwards?
      They do not seem to have made any negotiation plans beyond saying that if they can’t cherrypick they’ll flounce outof the EU and into the arms of WTO rules


      1. John Haynes says:

        I totally agree with you, they appear to be tying to piss off as many Tory voters as possible the large majority of their following are senior citizens who face loosing pension increases, winter fuel allowance and their houses,
        Meanwhile Labour are promising the earth to everyone and going for a huge amount if students who don’t normally vote, well they will now for Labour re no University fees, faced with about £40,000 saving I would vote them in if I was a student, so yes I also agree the Tories want to loose the election as they are shit scared of the Brexit nogotiations and consequences they want poor Jeremy and his lot to take the wrap

  5. bringiton says:

    Governance has become completely about media management and nothing to do with principles or policies.
    The Westminster establishment and it’s representatives in Holyrood will say and do anything even if it means contradicting themselves in order to attract votes and then do whatever they please once elected.
    Unfortunately,this is the only way they know how to conduct politics and as long as we are stuck with London rule,we will be stuck with this nonsense and stuck with these sort of people.
    Political pygmies hoisted by their own petards,just not in public.

    1. john young says:

      Just for once Scotland stop whingeing and take the “bull by the horns” declare independence,we have backed down so often it has become a national trait,no wonder they laugh out of their a–es at us.

  6. Alba woman says:

    How is it she can do a screeching U-turn on social care for the elderly but not for the Rape Clause.?

    Wonder if the huge Tory leaning turkeys will waddle their way to the polls and vote for this despicable legislation.

  7. Willie says:

    The so called Dementia Tax reflects the Tories at their very best. Getting the stover into the homes that folks have worked any paid a lifetime of taxes for is about as divine as it gets.

    There’s rich pickings to be had racking up care bills from these old incontinent retatards and the Tories know. It.

    And who knows, once they’ve burnt their dosh, there’s always Switzerland calling. Come and get a shower was how it was in 1930s Germany. 2017 Tory Britain doesn’t really look that much different.

  8. Frank says:

    A bad day for the Tories but perspective is important. Strategically May has done the right thing because to have continued with the policy would have been costly.

    Despite an improvement in the polls, Labour are also showing no signs of recovery in Scotland. Kezia spent most of last night’s debate attacking Sturgeon and letting the Tories of Scot free: Scottish Labour’s obsession with opposing independence also prevents them from winning back SNP voters. Its time for a more ambiguous position on indy but that requires new leadership in Scotland.

    1. Willie says:

      Time you say Frank for Labour to have a more ambiguous position on Independence.

      Personally, and as the polls show, most folks think that Labour are so ambiguous that they nobody is voting for them.

      No principles, no policies, flip with Tories, flip with anybody bar the SNP, change useless leader after leader, say one thing, mean another.

      Yes maybe they should be more ambiguous. It’s done them proud thus far as the voters have ditched Labour to the point of near extinction.

    2. It may have been costly but my point is that it shatters the very careful image-building that they have been engaged in. Having created this ‘strong and stable’ meme they have now shot themselves in the foot. There are two very different elections going on north and south of the border.

  9. Vweeme says:

    If what Theresa May says in Andrew Neil interview is correct, she’s promising 30 billion times the pounds in circulation on the NHS?

  10. Juteman says:

    I’ve said from the start that the Tories don’t want to win this election. They don’t want to be held responsible for the damage that losing Scottish assets and Brexit will cause to the rUK economy.
    A minority Labour government, supported by the SNP, will make winning, or even calling, a referendum much more difficult.

  11. George Gunn says:

    I don’t think the Tories want to lose this election because power is everything to them. That was why the Brexit referendum happened and now they plan to destroy Labour in England and who knows may be there will not be anther election? After all democracy is expensive. Think again if you think that an outrageous statement. The Tories strategy is to appear chaotic but at the same time hang on to everything, that way attention gets diverted from what really matters and what they are really up to. As far as Scotland is concerned as long as we have the yapping tykes to snarl at Nicola Sturgeon on TV then the job is done. By this time everyone on the left in Scotland knows what has to happen and the sooner it happens the better for all our people and for Europe. Alastair McIntosh is dead right when he talks about totalitarianism. That’s where we are headed. At least in Scotland we can do something about it. And, as I’ve said, we better do that thing now before the Tories make it impossible democratically. Mike Small is our champion for just keeping at them.

    1. John O'Dowd says:

      Well-aimed Gunn, George -and Alastair McIntosh.

      I fear we are well down the road to totalitarianism – with a deeply unpleasant government, led by a woman who brooks neither justified criticism nor legitimate opposition, and is kept insulated from the (soon to be abolished?) electorate. A ‘National Emergency’ will do the trick – and there will be lots of pretexts resulting from Brexit.

      Alastair’s comment slightly bemusing: ” Meanwhile, the psychologist in me muses that Brexit with its xenophobia came from out a dark place in the national psyche”: I presume the English/Britnat psych? But seeing the ‘Scottish’ Tories and ‘Scottish’ Labour in recent action, be can hardly be complacent. Fascism and other hard-right, xenophobic simplistic nostrums can become infectious – especially in the midst of moral panic.

      Never mind, the BBC can always find us a (BUPA) nurse to mop the sweating brow, between swigs of champagne. Mad times

    2. Wul says:

      I’m reading Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” just now.

      Klein suggests a useful word which, I reckon, helps to describe the type of power & wealth concentration we are now witnessing in the UK. The word is “Corporatist”. She says:

      “A more accurate term for a system that erases the boundaries between Big Government and Big Business is not liberal, conservative or capitalist but corporatist.
      Its main characteristics are huge transfers of public wealth to private hands, often accompanied by exploding debt, an ever-widening chasm between the dazzling rich and the disposable poor and an aggressive nationalism that justifies bottomless spending on security. For those inside the bubble of extreme wealth created by such an arrangement, there can be no more profitable way to organize a society. But because of the obvious drawbacks for the vast majority of the population left outside the bubble, other features of the corporatist state tend to include aggressive surveillance (once again, with government and large corporations trading favors and contracts), mass incarceration, shrinking civil liberties and often, though not always, torture.”

      Sound familiar?

      We really need to be making different choices now in Scotland or we could run out of time.

    3. Juteman says:

      George says “I don’t think the Tories want to lose this election because power is everything to them.”

      Westminster never loses that power, no matter what colour of rosette is in Downing St.

  12. Mach1 says:

    There is nothing tactical about the dismal May’s blundering on key policy announcements, it simply reflects a split Tory leadership with the right-wing calling the shots. Her fear of media exposure – whether ducking the leaders’ debates or seeking Tory-friendly platforms to peddle her wares – suggests deep personal insecurity which does not suggest she is going to be at Number 10 for very long.
    Back on the home front, while we all take time out to reflect in the aftermath of the Manchester atrocity, it is more than apparent that the independence cause faces a hostile media, which at its worse (Question Time) is geared to magnify rightist sentiment at the expense of reasoned argument.
    In relation to the furore surrounding ‘nurse’ Claire Austin, Wings Over Scotland seem to have her pegged. It is, however, to the BBC that we should look for inherent bias, not least its unerring willingness to let the Scottish Tories set their agenda. Other news outlets are only marginally better, with home-grown comment from STV being, in my opinion, the most reliable.
    It really is time that the BBC was dismantled. The damage it continues to do with its vacuous 24-hour news and erosion of local journalism needs to be halted. A full restructure, with the creation of a separate SBC might be a halfway house, but in these times of austerity, an austerity the BBC itself gives credence to on a daily basis, perhaps it is time to think the unthinkable: do we really need a public broadcast giant of the scale of the BBC to provide such biased coverage of our public life? Might it not be time to say farewell to the BBC, an organisation which owes its creation to the war effort, and has since sought merely to secure the peace for the Westminster establishment.
    What would we save if we got rid of the BBC? Would public discourse suffer or thrive?

  13. Willie says:

    Of course ” we”don’t need a media giant the size of the BBC but ” they ” do Mach1. It is how they keep control. That is what the BBC is about.

    But consider the absolutely horrendous events of last night in Manchester where terrorists went undetected to commit the most heinous of crimes.

    It was only a matter of weeks ago where the foul Conservative Government were saying that unless they got the trade deal with the EU that they wanted, then they would restrict intelligence co-operation and information sharing until they did.

    So where is the BBC in calling to ask to what extent the lack of a trade deal prejudiced the discovery of the terrible terrorist attack. Surely sharing intelligence in the interests of a terrorist attack is worth more than a trade deal.

    Was information sharing restricted in an attempt to secure a trade deal. Our dead children need an answer to that. This is about more than a stinking Brexit trade deal.

    May and her government out of their own filthy mouths are a total disgrace and the BBC is complicit.

    The BBC and indeed our politicians must ask the questions. This cannot be ignored.

    1. bringiton says:

      The most significant issue for the Tories that comes out of this atrocity is,with the most draconian surveillance systems in place of any “democratic” country in the world,why were HM secret services apparently unable to prevent it happening?
      Might it be that ISIS are smart enough to realise that using the internet is not going to keep their plans secret?
      Bin Laden knew this and used couriers to relay messages and who knows,perhaps carrier pigeons as well.
      So what is the real purpose of internet surveillance?
      I suspect that if May is returned to power,we will shortly find out.

  14. James Dow says:

    Wrong and unable.

  15. ThisDayZ says:

    It is now time for new conversations and new ways of considering the distribution of power, land and decision-making, it s time to get above ourselves.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.