Colin Liddell, American Renaissance, May 29, 2019
Let’s hope Theresa May is more accurate about her own exit dates than she was about Britain’s supposed exit date from the EU, because her resignation—with a timetable of quitting as party leader on June 7th and prime minister as soon as a new leader is elected—was a great relief to the British public.
Few people understand or even remember all the ins-and-outs that led to Mrs. May’s failure. Many also view it through a partisan lens. But the great mass of Britons instinctively recognize that she was a weak and ineffectual leader, and history will not be as kind to her as the “white knighting” journalists and fellow politicians who are now trying to score a few points by offering her sympathy now that she is heading for the door.
The simple fact is that she made many wrong moves, showed resolution when it made her mistakes worse, and too much flexibility when it weakened her few good moves. She was also played like a fiddle by the leaders of the EU, revealing herself to be an Englander with a sense of inferiority towards the “glamorous” and “sophisticated” Europeans.
The truth is that to strike the right balance, any British leader going up against the Europeans must have a small, healthy dose of contempt for our neighbors. Theresa May did not, behaving like an awkward schoolgirl in the presence of the “urbane” Jean-Claude Juncker and the “cosmopolitan” Angela Merkel.
Apologists for Mrs. May say that the game was rigged from the start. This is partly true. She became leader in 2016, immediately after the Brexit Referendum. This was David Cameron’s failed gambit to nail down the right-wing of the political spectrum once and for all by taking away UKIP’s reason to exist, so that he could then comfortably move toward the political center without losing votes.
Mr. Cameron missed a real opportunity. He should have realized that whatever the result of the referendum, it could have been used to render UKIP meaningless. A “remain” vote could have told UKIP voters that the issue was closed, and a “leave” vote managed by a Conservative government should have had the same effect: Goodbye UKIP. An added bonus for Tories and Labour would have been the end of Europe-imposed proportional representation, which badly destabilizes the cozy Lab-Con duopoly of political power.
If Mr. Cameron had stayed and said he was going to fight to carry out the will of the people, he would probably have (a) got a better deal from the EU than Mrs. May and (b) have won the subsequent election by a comfortable majority, making Brexit a much smoother process.
Instead, the Conservative Party got the worst change of leadership possible. Rather than an effective political campaigner with potent PR skills, we got the fast-tracked daughter of a Church of England vicar, one of the “female faces” that Mr. Cameron had parachuted into his cabinet to signal to Leftist and Centrist voters how “woke” he was. The PC window-dressing became the CEO of the company.
Although Mrs. May had campaigned on the side of Remain—as did all of Cameron’s cabinet—she was seen as suitably characterless and nondescript to serve as a “compromise” candidate between the Brexit and Bremain wings of the party, which later became the “No Deal” and “Cuck Deal” wings.
It was reminiscent of the featureless John Major’s unexpected elevation to party leader in 1990 when Margaret Thatcher was overthrown. But as someone who had fought his way up from low beginnings, Mr. Major showed a lot of skill and cunning in dealing with a reborn and increasingly potent Labour Party. Mrs. May showed timidity, frigidity, and rigidity in the face of an extremely fragile Labour Party that had been hijacked by its “loonie left” activist base.
On paper, her decision to call the 2017 election made sense. The Conservative Party had a narrow majority in the House of Commons, but had a 20-point lead in opinion polls. If that lead had been maintained in a general election, it would have given her the powerful majority she needed to push any future deal—even one as flawed as the one the EU finally granted her—through parliament. But the glare of the election campaign exposed her weaknesses as a political campaigner, and that 20-point lead shrank to two points on election day. The Conservatives, while still the biggest party, lost their majority and had to rely on the small but flinty Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland.
After this disaster, Mrs. May should have departed or been deposed by her party, but fear of opening up the schism between No Dealers and Cuck Dealers meant that the Party decided to continue white-knighting for her. The schism soon opened up anyway.
More troubling is the fact that Mrs. May did not step down. She was clearly not a natural as PM, and her luck was never good. It was obvious that the Europeans saw her as someone they could toy with. Her administration smelt of failure.
After the disastrous 2017 election, she could have resigned with dignity, consoling herself that she had reached the top of her profession, albeit as a historical footnote. Instead she stayed to drain dry the cup of failure.
Mrs. May’s determination to stay on as Prime Minister suggests that she may have enjoyed the humiliation through which she put herself and her country. She almost seemed to get a kick out of being summoned to Brussels to be treated like a piece of furniture.
Perhaps the best clue to what was going in Theresa May’s mind came during her disastrous “coughing” speech at the Conservative Party conference in 2017. She wore a bracelet of self-portraits by the Mexican communist, Trotsky bed-mate, and feminist icon Frida Kahlo—an unlikely accessory for a Conservative leader.
Deborah Shaw, who usually writes about film, wrote this in the Independent:
In previous work I have noted that Kahlo has been co-opted by a range of groups and has become what her fans and admirers desire her to be: a symbol for Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Latinos in the US, feminists and LGBTQ people all over the world, who take from her what fits their identity needs. Even so—she is not usually co-opted by representatives of conservative agendas, which is what has made the Frida bracelet story so newsworthy.
Kahlo suffered all her life after a serious traffic accident when she was 18 years old. Miss Shaw speculated that “Kahlo’s long battle with pain—so often referenced in her work—may present the Prime Minister with the ideal symbol for her own political travails,” noting Kahlo’s “triumph over adversity.”
There may be something to this, but all prime ministers suffer from betrayal and unpopularity. Mrs. May repeatedly put herself and her country in deeply painful and humiliating situations.
Nor did Frida Kahlo “triumph over adversity.” She was dependent on painkillers and died at age 47, probably from a deliberate drug overdose. She was suffering from a number of health problems—including a leg amputated at the knee for gangrene the year before—and was miserable over her husband’s many infidelities.
Mrs. May seems to see the pain rather than any supposed triumph; hers was an untriumphant political career.