Monday, 2 October 2017

On your way, Mrs May

Shortly after the June general election, former Tory chancellor George Osborne described Theresa May as a ‘…dead woman walking and the only question is how long she remains on death row.’
Of course, this had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that May had sacked Osborne the day after she became the new Tory leader and Prime Minister. And, clearly, Osborne’s expectation that May would have to resign within weeks did not come to fruition.
However, as the Conservative Party Conference opens, all the talk is about who will be the next Tory leader. It is clear that Theresa May will not lead the Tories into the next general election. She was elected Tory leader because of who she was not, rather than who she is or what she represents.
Every day, she increasingly looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Her Brexit strategy – and I am being generous, because it is clear that she never had one – has been torn to pieces, as each and every assertion she and her other Cabinet Ministers have made about the terms of exit and ‘the new promised land’ have proved fatuous. She is not leading, but being blown from pillar to post by reality and by the UK’s deteriorating economic prospects.
It’s little wonder that, not too long ago, the international credit rating agencies cut the UK’s ratings because the likelihood of a hard Brexit and a squeeze on the public finances would damage the UK economy’s long-term health. And, now, the British Chambers of Commerce, representing businesses employing nearly six million people, have called for Mrs May and her Ministers to stop arguing about Brexit and to show "competence and coherence".
Within that context, it’s no surprise that the Conservatives are simply unable to make realistic responses to the key issues on the domestic agenda and are simply unable to set out sensible policies to address the growing crises, for example in housing, adult social care, and higher education (including tuition fees and maintenance allowances).
Quite disgracefully, the government won’t even ‘pause’ the timetable for the roll-out of Universal Credit to prevent thousands of low-income working families becoming embroiled in debt and the prospects of eviction.

On your way, Mrs May.