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Theresa May is rebranding as a national treasure

Theresa May speaks to Richard Coles on 14th September. Credit: Southbank Centre/Pete Woodhead

September 15, 2023 - 8:15am

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

“People expect you to be more of a celebrity,” Theresa May ruminated about the modern-day demands on frontline politicians. “I just want to talk about the issues.” 

The former prime minister was speaking to a packed house at London’s Southbank Centre to promote her new book, The Abuse of Power, which argues that those with influence squander their duty to the public in favour of self-interest. Two years ago May was judged to have been Britain’s joint worst postwar leader, but last night she gave off the confident air of a national treasure. Post-premiership, she has inexplicably reinvented herself as a Tory whom non-Tories can admire, if not for the specificities of her politics then at least for her apparent decency and earnest appeals for a better world — Rory Stewart in kitten heels.

The Southbank chat was, fittingly for vicar’s daughter May, conducted by media clergyman Richard Coles. His gentle line of interviewing — complemented by softball, pre-selected audience questions including a query as to how she has managed to “uphold integrity” among today’s rotten parliamentarians — brought us no closer to understanding a figure who concedes in her book that she has a reputation for “being too careful with my words, not sufficiently willing to open up, robotic and uninteresting”. 

The Abuse of Power is not exactly a memoir, and despite occasional moments of candour May remains an oddly spectral figure in her own story, present only to condemn or to order an inquiry into the misconduct of others. In the case of the Hillsborough inquest, she rides on the coattails of the Labour ministry which championed and established it. 

While Andrew Marr’s review in the New Statesman claims that she “owns her mistakes”, the ex-PM is still seemingly reluctant to apologise in the book. Everything — Windrush, Grenfell, the fallout from Brexit — is not just someone else’s fault but an active abuse of power. She reminds us of this by solemnly intoning at the end of almost every chapter that John Bercow/Donald Trump/the Metropolitan Police/the Taliban “abused their power”, a universal critique somewhat strained by its application both to MPs who opposed her Brexit deal and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

As a writer and an orator, May is the anti-Boris, her words devoid of metaphor or anything resembling a flourish. The Abuse of Power is a series of reports and judgments and inquiries, a mounting pile of paperwork which only further obscures the woman behind it. The book doesn’t have many jokes, but those there are have been helpfully signposted with an exclamation mark.

Speaking to Coles, May seemed more at ease than she ever was at the dispatch box, and more fluent than her prose might suggest. She even made some concessions, reaffirming her regret about not speaking to Grenfell Tower residents on her first visit to the site after the 2017 fire, and saying she was wrong to use the phrase “hostile environment” when discussing migration during her time as home secretary.

While she insisted yesterday that she has always been a conservative, because “the Labour Party is quite content to keep holding people down” and her side “tries to raise people up”, May also squarely positioned herself in the sensible corner. Public life is suffering thanks to “populist thinking”, which “is a problem because the answers to most things in life are not easy. Today’s populist politics expects the easy answer.” In a clip trailing a Times Radio interview set to be broadcast this afternoon, she claims that “I’ve always said that immigration has been good for the country,” though she made clear to Coles that “a lot of people coming are economic migrants.”

In many ways, this week’s BBC documentary State of Chaos, whose first episode covered the implosion of May’s government, revealed more about her than either her gloomy new book or cheery appearance at the Southbank. When asked by the programme, almost no former advisors, mandarins or ministers were able to argue that she was a success as PM. Former Tory leader William Hague claimed that “Theresa May’s a good person, but it’s hard to say she was a good prime minister.” Some might say that Nadine Dorries, demonstrating characteristic restraint, was closer to the truth about May’s time in No. 10: “it was an utter, catastrophic disaster.”


is UnHerd’s Deputy Editor, Newsroom.

RobLownie

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Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Good God what ever next?
The only reason May ever got away with it is because far too many of the demos thought she was a reincarnation of Lady Thatcher.
May was a disaster, better now she returns to her favourite hotel in the shadow of Cader Idris and leave us all alone.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago

Wow. I just gave you TWO votes. Is Unherd’s voting system whacky-whacky woo-woo?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Just press the ‘thumbs down’ and that should cancel it.

Paul T
Paul T
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

You pressed like at the same time as someone else.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Unherd is that popular?

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

It only updates on a page reload or when you press the button. Someone else pressed it between the page loading and you pressing the upvote (or a net +1 of up and down votes).

Josh Allan
Josh Allan
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Corruption of democracy

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
10 months ago

Quisling May.
Both a disaster and a sell out who threw the country under the bus. Posed as Thatcher to get elected and then we all found out she was a 12 cylinder Quisling. Her PM time was cringeworthy from start to finish. Boris talked of the sunny uplands ahead but I expected a rough divorce from the EU having had the experience myself….
However, when your own solicitor is working for the other side you know its not going to end well….

Last edited 10 months ago by Paul Curtin
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Paul Curtin

Spot on Sir!
Off to the ‘Tower’ with her!

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago

Yes, what happened to traitors gate?
I don’t consider her a traitor.
She was just misguided incompetent.
Sort of Joe Biden type but without excuse of his dementia.
She sounds as if English is foreign language to her.
How did she get to Oxbridge?

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew F
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Brought up in the Oxford Circle, father was Vicar there.
Then St Hugh’s an all Gorgon College in her day. 2nd in Geography!

Reputed to be fiercely ambitious from her juvenile days.

ps. “Traitors Gate” now debunk due to drop in water level.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago

Theresa May, as rightly famous for her personal warmth, political flexibility and persuasiveness as she is for her lithe and lissom grace on a dance floor. Like Rosa Klebb without the naïve charm.
She lied throughout her premiership; to the people, to Parliament and to her closest party “allies”. She made aggressive noises towards Brussels and then cravenly backed down. Similarly she made patriotic, pro-Brexit noises in her early pronouncements but secretly started backing away from all of her promises step by step as the process went on. She is a walking case-study in how NOT to be an effective PM, every facet of her premiership was a failure. Lacking any vision to see any opportunity in Brexit and thus lacking the ability to convince either side on her unpalatable compromises.
Actively undermining the efforts of her own Minister in charge of Leaving the EU by secretly carrying on parallel negotiations in the shadows with a foreign power – all at the behest of her witch’s familiar, Olly Robbins.
I fear she’ll now morph into Edward Heath before our eyes. Simmering resentment at being rejected by party and people alike, and then that resentment boiling over as she watches as her successors take over the party and try to unpick the messes she gifted the nation.
I used to be of the opinion that former PMs shouldn’t necessarily quit the Commons – that their experience of the top job should be an asset to a serving PM, even if that is kept to offering advice or holding them to account behind closed doors. But the reality is that vanishingly few ex-leaders ever offer any objectivity. Bruised egos and a stunning lack of self-awareness of their own shortcomings seem to go hand in hand.

Last edited 10 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Lacking any vision to see any opportunity in Brexit

Johnson had that. In spades. He had so much vision that he could see things that had never existed and never would, and convince other people that the unicorns were really there. Theresa May at least had the kind of vision that allowed her to see the problems, which is the first requirement to trying to solve them.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Rasmus,
Her “vision” if you can really call it that, was an ill-thought through, compromised fudge that was rightly rejected from all sides of the Brexit debate.
In negotiations there are certain points of contention that can be resolved by accepting a compromise – if Team A asks for £1 Billion and Team B says £500 million, then £750 million is a reachable compromise.
But when the positions are binary, no sensible compromise solution is possible. Mrs May thought her “WA solution” was a compromise, but the “May Deal” which was pretty much devised in Brussels, by Brussels and for Brussels, was not it.
There is no middle ground between In and Out. At least, what middle ground there is, was wholly unacceptable to both parties – as evidenced by record defeats every time she tried to get it passed in the House. It was demonstrably worse than either fully Leaving or fully Remaining, it was the worst of both worlds.
If you took a vote on where to go on holiday and one side voted for Bali and the other side voted to go to Barbados, a compromise solution roughly halfway between them would be South Sudan.
It would not really represent an appealing choice of destination.

Last edited 10 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You have to consider two things here. One is that opinion, in the country and in parliament, was essentially a circular firing squad. Remain, soft Brexit and hard Brexit each had about a third support. Remain would beat hard Brexit, since too many people were afraid of the damage that would do. Soft Brexit would beat remain, since a majority wanted some kind of Brexit, either because they wanted change or because of the need to respect the referendum. And hard Brexit would beat soft Brexit, since a majority could no see the point of going to all that trouble for only meagre advantages.

The other point is that the Brexiteers had promised a result that would keep most of the advantages of membership. That is surely why they won – why not take a Brexit if you can convince yourself it will not cost anything? May tried for the hardest Brexit she could get without breaking negotiations or accepting a border in the Irish sea. Johnson promised he could do better, but in the end he had to face up to reality and make a compromise between In and Out after all. Indeed, he got elected promising there would be no border in the Irish Sea and no EU influence on the British economy – and broke both those promises to make some kind of deal. Which just goes to show that promising the impossible is a lot easier than delivering it.
If you wanted to avoid that kind of compromise you needed not just Hard Brexit, but No Deal. Which would have left Britain at daggers drawn with her neighbours, in a trade war with her biggest market, with a hard border in NI, etc. Just try to stop those small boats once France refuses to collaborate! You may believe that this would have been a good place to be, but there is no way you could have got a majority in either parliament or electorate to vote for it.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

All the talk of Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, Diet Brexit and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Brexit, was something of a con – There is Brexit, which involved leaving the institutions of the EU and the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and then there were a whole variety of fudges, none of which amounted to actually delivering on the vote to leave. (Despite what continuity-remainers now try and claim, both sides were clear in the build-up to the referendum that leaving would mean leaving the SM, CU and the ECJ’s remit.
Leaders of the Leave campaign argued for a trade deal that gave us unfettered access to the single market. That was the deal they wanted to go for, that was the deal they had every right to expect. Given the massive trade deficit the UK was running with the EU it seemed perfectly possible. That was before Mrs May waded in – crucially ceding the idea to arrange a timetable that handed all control to the EU, then insisting on red lines that seemed openly belligerent to the EU whilst at the same time backing down and appearing entirely supplicant on what we wanted.
Having laid out a perfectly sensible end-goal in her Lancaster House and Florence speeches (after several idiotically fruitless months spent dithering) her government went out of its way to play into the EU’s hands.
It was obvious from the start that these were not negotiations looking to come to an amicable and sensible agreement, indeed M Barnier has been more honest about this than many UK commentators. This is something he has admitted quite openly: “J’aurais réussi ma mission si, à la fin, le deal est tellement dur pour les Britanniques qu’ils préféront rester dans l’Union.” (“I’ll have done my job if, in the end, the deal is so tough on the British that they’d prefer to stay in the EU”)
Europhiles insisted that the EU was negotiating in good faith, refusing to recognise the obvious intransigence from their side (only matched by the incompetence of the May/Robbins axis of perfidy).
The EU was intransigent – of course it was – that is how you start any negotiation, yet they were able to stick to their immovable positions because they saw Mrs May and her shambolic team bow to pressure at every turn.
It was the feeling that we somehow ‘deserved’ to be treated badly by our former ‘partners’ for having had the temerity to decide to leave their scaly embrace that encouraged them to offer us nothing in the hope we would offer them everything – or simply give up and overturn the referendum result.
They played it beautifully, Mrs May gave and gave, surrendering on every point of contention, all the while being sneered at by the ‘Remain’ supporters of our own establishment. Why wouldn’t the EU think they could extract yet more from us, when we hadn’t put up more than a whimper?
Even after May’s departure, the biggest problem was that Brussels acted as though we were merely a recalcitrant rogue province under their dominion that could be bullied and brought to heel. In any other scenario it would rightly have been called extortion.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The bad starting point in nrgotiations was agreeing to rights of EU citizens to stay in uk at the outset.
If you recall they set up this 3.6mln organisation to demand effectively citizens rights.
Now we know 5.9 mln applied for settled status.
Since uk provide employment to so many enemy combatants, we should use it in negotiations.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Excellent comment PT. Spot on

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Paul Curtin

Seconded! Well said!

Chipoko
Chipoko
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Boris vs Theresa? Give me Boris any day!

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No, the problems were created in the space between her ears.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

We also will be eternally “grateful”for May’s commitments to Climate Change legislation, all her successors proudly seem to follow up on this.

Last edited 10 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago

Yes, and this is madness.
Why hasn’t that legislation been repealed? That is what Parliament is for.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Great reference to Rosa Klebb!

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Why have Rasmus Fogh’s responses to this comment (and mine to him) been removed from this thread?
I understand why moderators would delete coments that were unpleasant or insulting but the comments I’m referencing weren’t, at all. I might disagree with Rasmus (I frequently do) but they were arguments that were well-intentioned and well made. By what right would any moderator remove them?
I think Unherd is a very insightful and useful resource – publishing op-ed articles that wouldn’t get an airing in legacy media. That is its value – and the free exchange of ideas in the comments section is just as valuable.
Whilst I think Rasmus is completely wrong on the points he(she?) made in response to the article, I still want to hear those points and have the opportunity to challenge them.
If Unherd just becomes another hive-mind echo-chamber where only those who agree with the article are allowed to have their comments stay up then I no longer want to support this site with my subscription. Please, in good faith, re-instate Rasmus’ comments and allow a free exchange of ideas. That’s surely what this site is all about – isn’t it?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

…. Deleted as duplicated

Last edited 10 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Thanks, I was hoping to be able to continue this.
Maybe some AI has classified me as being a bot?
Anyway, my answer seems to have been accepted already and got through quarantine (below).

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

It looks like my normal computer and browser has been classified as a bot, somehow??? Anyway, while I am still allowed in, this is my view of the EU position. Basically, the EU had no interest whatsoever in forcing the UK to stay in. They just had demands of how the separation went.

– On trade, they were perfectly happy for you to cut all ties and trade on the same terms as Malaysia. If you wanted closer ties than that, they insisted on guarantees that you would follow rules. One Danish minister commented that in terms of trade and economics Brexit would be an obvious loss for the UK. The only way for the UK to profit from it was to get access to EU markets – and then use their freedom from constraints to undercut EU companies – on pollution, workers rights, etc. etc. They wanted reliable guarantees against that.

– Then, yes, they wanted you to pay your share of the accumulated pension bill, and they wanted to negotiate some protection for their citizens living in the UK. Nothing earth-shattering in that.

– Finally Ireland. I think the EU. as such, only cared that there should be solid guarantees against NI becoming a back-door into the EU for EU-unregulated goods, or a smuggling haven. There had to be an enforceable customs border. For Ireland, access to their citizens was a vital issue – and being forced to build barriers and custom posts and defend them against IRA attacks was a big no-no for them, so they could not accept a solid border on land. And the EU of course backed Ireland, a member with vital interests at stake, against the UK. The border could have been between Ireland and France, but that would have meant taking Ireland partially out of the EU against their will to suit the UK. Which left putting the border in the Irish sea, or harmonising UK laws to EU laws. Which is tough on the UK, but the NI mess was there before the referendum.

I cannot see how anyone could have stopped the UK from No Deal, just dropping out and refusing to give concessions on anything. But you could hardly complain if total non-cooperation from the UK was met with total non-cooperation from the EU. If that was not good enough for you, you had to deal.

Last edited 10 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

It is happening all the time.
Either someone reported your post and it goes into “moderation” and never be seen again, or it appears day later and then it is out of context of general flow of comments.
Most of it is algorithmic, so people who try to censor you have upper hand.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Thanks.

I’ll put my answer here (now the moderators has given me time to calm down).

If I get what you are saying, you voted for a Brexit that meant a complete break with all European institutions and European influence on Britain – together with unfettered access to the EU single market. Which does sound nice, yes. You also believed that this was a reasonable and realistic goal. So when you did not get what you voted for, there must clearly be someone to blame: Either the EU was too mean and stupid to understand that this was in their own interest, or the British politicians were too gutless and corrupt to force the EU to do things your way.

What I do not get is why you thought that Britain had the power to force the EU to adopt the policy you wanted. The other members clearly felt it was extremely important to have the ECJ and all these rules (that is why they introduced them). It would have been extremely costly for them, politically, to set the precedent that you could get out from under any rules you did not like but still keep the advantages of membership. As for forcing them – the EU is bigger than you are, and need you less than you need them. If the US could not force unfettered trade access, why do you think you can? Did you plan to threaten to stop buying anything from the EU and to expel 3-5 million of EU citizens? Do you really think the EU would then back down and offer you a good deal for long-term future cooperation? Is it not more likely that the disruption and t*t-for-tat retaliation would hurt you more than it hurt them, while sowing so much anger that peaceful profitable trade would become impossible for years?

One problem with getting your way by threat of force is that what you are looking for is not a one-off concession, but a long-term close and mutually profitable relationship. Nobody is going into a relationship like that with someone with a proven record breaking out of agreed rules and demanding changes with threats.

Remainers saw clearly that full independence combined with full market access was a unicorn – totally impossible. You could only have one or the other, and each came with a price. What made you think you could ever get both?

Last edited 10 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
brian knott
brian knott
10 months ago

May was the most duplicitous PM ever.
Had ministers and civil servants negotiating different things at the same time. Robbins and Davies.

She tried to get an agreement that kept the Remainers happy.
She agreed to agree everything that EU wanted and sign off on it before our demands were ever considered, dooming every negotiation that followed.
This new respect for her is just baffling

j watson
j watson
10 months ago
Reply to  brian knott

I think the contention is mainly that Truss and Bojo made her look good. Bojo ended up nailing a worse deal that we are gradually walking back. Probably eventually to a form of Norway arrangement, but with clever branding.
Truth is she was saddled with the basket case that was always Brexit. The exponents of which never thought it through and just rant now scapegoating all and anyone they think they can pass their accountability to.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I seem to recall it was the remainers in parliament, who made it illegal for Johnson to leave without a deal. Thus you got a bad deal, so blame them not Johnson.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

Why do you think we would be better off with no deal?

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
10 months ago

The last thing the woman who presided over the corrupt Rotten Parliament ever did was to ‘uphold integrity’. And democracy means governing by the will of the people when that will has been clearly expressed; not relabelling it ‘populism’ and dismissing it as worthless.

Last edited 10 months ago by Louise Henson
Matt M
Matt M
10 months ago
Reply to  Louise Henson

I will always refer to it as the hated Remainer Parliament.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago

“Two years ago May was judged to have been Britain’s joint worst postwar leader, but last night she gave off the confident air of a national treasure.”

It’s actually quite comforting to know that her self-awareness is no better than her political acumen.

j watson
j watson
10 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

She of course has Bojo and Truss to thank that any such renaissance poss. She was fortunate in some ways to be followed by two blustering incompetents and thus has much to thank the Tory membership for…unlike the rest of us.

Chipoko
Chipoko
10 months ago

May’s time in No. 10: “it was an utter, catastrophic disaster.”
Well said, indeed! And what about her time as the longest ever serving Home Secretary in the administration of the equally awful David Cameron? 30,000 police officers and support staff cut from the establishment for starters …
This woman is the epitome of arrogance and self-righteousness that is the hallmark of the ruling elites in this country (UK). Just ghastly!

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
10 months ago

When I heard the title of her book I assumed it was an autobiography, focussing on her Brexit negotiations. More fool me. She actually does seem to believe her own publicity.

RM Parker
RM Parker
10 months ago

Theresa May seems to rely upon boring the opposition into submission. I’ve also just seen the Telegraph article in which she claims to be woke, and a feminist (the latter on the grounds that she once wore a t-shirt saying “this is what a feminist looks like”). A political chameleon whose lack of conviction was matched only by her incompetence, she’s really just taking the p155 now…

Andy R
Andy R
10 months ago

She had David Davis supposedly negotiating Brexit whilst her man Ollie was/speaking to the same people, making Davis a joke and betraying both governmental process and the voting public. She is the lowest of the low.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
10 months ago

She is monstrous. Truly. In a vain pitiful attempt to curry favour with eco nuts and burnish her now proud woke credentials, she by encoding Net Zero into Law abused and degraded our democracy as disgracefully and wantonly as the Second Ref charlatan Starmer. To impose – by Soviet/EU style Diktat and without any cost benefit analysis – a revolutionary 30 year programme of degrowth and immiseration makes her a bona fide abuser of democracy and the common good.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
10 months ago

Most political careers end in failure, Theresa May’s failure started two years early. Why does anybody wonder why politicians are held in such low esteem when we see them scrabbling around with their books and roadshows trying to make yet more money out of their failure?

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
10 months ago

The thing I despise her for most (in a fairly long list) was her spineless response to the public inquiry finding that Sacha Litvinienko had been murdered in London by Russian agents using polonium 235. Going to the despatch box (as Home Secretary) just to say (in effect) “we’re really cross” was disgraceful, and led directly to the Salisbury incident a few years later.

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
10 months ago

“……..Grenfell, the fallout from Brexit — is not just someone else’s fault but an active abuse of power…..”.
So that’s what she thought is it? Well clearly it was not actually her own fault in any active sense, but her own performance in the aftermath of the terrible Grenfell event was truly lamentable, showing total lack of leadership. Her government, and she personally, had no idea of what to do when a tragedy on that scale, with national implications, actually happened.
Our system of government suffers from a lack of strategic thinking and it is that which set up the circumstances which led to Grenfell. The possibility of a Grenfell should have been foreseen and the risk mitigated. In any event, May should have known what to do when it happened, rather than nothing! She does not get to abrogate responsibility in the way she seeks to do.
What, if any, lessons have been learned, and meaningful changes yet made as a result? Any?
This is not a party political point; our system is not set up to support strategic thinking and a government led by a Miliband, Corbyn or Starmer would be unlikely to be any better prepared than one led by Cameron, May, Johnson, Truss or Sunak (or add in any other conceivable candidates of your own choice). And that is deeply depressing.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
10 months ago

‘Rebranding as a national treasure’!!! Who on earth thought up that byline? Try running such an interview anywhere north of Watford and with a real interviewer, not limp-wristed Richard Coles. Le’s be frank, the publisher organised this event to push her new book before a carefully selected audience that would probably applaud her recent ‘I am woke and proud’ declaration in her Ruth Davidson interview.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
10 months ago

Old party hack, promoted one level above competency.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago

Is Pierre Bezukhov her favourite character in Crime & Punishment ?

Otherwise I’m not buying it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dumetrius
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Dear Dumetrius, is this an intentional joke which I’m too befuddled to get ?

Pierre Bezukhov is a main character in War and Peace (Война и миръ).

Yours Sincerely

Mike

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Gday Mike,

Yes.
Apparently yesterday, towering something-or-other Rory Stewart named Prince Myshkin as his favourite War and Peace character.

Assuming this is the version of W and P with the Black elves in it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dumetrius
andrew harman
andrew harman
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

In which case, should you not have said that Pierre was your favourite character in The Idiot?

Last edited 10 months ago by andrew harman
Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago
Reply to  andrew harman

No, I’m very widely read.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
10 months ago

She was pushed around too easily by the Eurosceptic Right. Meanwhile, the unpleasant Corbyn-era Labour Party gave her zero support in what should have been the shared project of a soft Brexit and a new UK-European customs union with better access to the EU single market than eventually emerged.

j watson
j watson
10 months ago

Biggest mistake – Lancaster House statement that inevitably started slide to a Hard Brexit from which so much chaos can be explained and will continue for some years to come. She had the moment to steer to a Soft form, much more where majority were too and ground on which less division would ensue. Chose not to of course to shore up her rear. Eventually we’ll find our way back to a ‘soft’ form, already taking gradual steps in that direction, but years lost when we should have been focused on other priorities.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  j watson

So called soft Brexit is pointless.
You are still rule taker from Brussels but have no say in decision making.
You might just as well stay in EU.

j watson
j watson
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

The referendum, as you know, did not determine the form of Brexit. Norway, for example, does not see itself as in the EU.
So your point is a valid opinion to hold, but in no way did the referendum conclude unambiguously a Hard Brexit required.
And hang around long enough as we will inevitably end up back in a Norway type arrangement. Already heading in that direction

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago

Well, she was by all acounts a decent person and tried to actually solve the problems she was presented with. She may not have had much success there, but it still makes her far and away better than Johnson or Truss, and able to compete with Cameron or Sunak. It does not make her a good PM, of course, but then, among the blind the one-eyed is king.

Last edited 10 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

She doesn’t have Lucky Dave’s unnerving ability to destroy everything he touches …

Calls a referendum with the intention of ridding his party of a Euroscepticism problem = his country falls out of the EU

Introduces his Aussie sugar farmer mate to his pals in high finance = Swiss banking sector loses half its value overnight

Last edited 10 months ago by Dumetrius
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Exactly!

brian knott
brian knott
10 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Lucky Dave called a referendum and the people won.
Silly Billy
Clegg and Blair promised them but knew that the people were not to be trusted.

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
10 months ago
Reply to  brian knott

“Clegg and Blair promised them but knew that the people were not to be trusted.”
Nick (‘it’s 2012 and it’s not worth investing in nuclear because a new power station will take 10 years to com onstream’) Clegg didn’t know anything.
Blair probably did, and that is worse.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

A decent person? Really? You’ve clearly forgotten how she sat silently on the front bench while, at her side, her successor as Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, was left to try and deal with May’s Windrush legacy.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I personally couldn’t care less if PM is decent person.
Question is whether he sets out political goals which align with wishes of electorate and election manifesto, can create functioning coalition around these goals and deliver on them.
She was a total failure if judged by these criteria.
Let’s not forget her disastrous decision to call election and loose existing Commons majority.
Then as farewell gift she bound this country to idiocy of net zero.
Quite a list of “achievements”