Against alternatives, May seems a decent old brick

Posted By: October 09, 2017

Tom Kelly. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, October 9, 2017

POOR old Theresa May. She limps from one calamity to another. She doesn’t give a very good impression of someone who is “strong and stable.”

As a matter of fact, her performances are akin to a cub pleading not to be clubbed. Whatever is the opposite of the Midas touch – she has it. She is the Gordon Brittas of politics.

It was hard not to feel sorry for her at the Tory party conference when she coughed and spluttered her way through her keynote speech.

There is nothing worse than a coughing fit when doing a presentation and one becomes more conscious of it as time goes on.

The prime minister reminds one of those doughty lady headmistress types from St Trinian’s – the show must go on.

She is part of that stiff upper lip brigade who grimace in the face of adversity and still pour the tea.

The reality is much more simple – she is in office and without authority.

She gambled and lost by calling a general election and is now reliant on the Democratic Unionist Party – an organization that most British voters either don’t know or would run a mile from.

The problem for the Tories is that there is no obvious successor.

Both Cameron and Osborne proved they hadn’t the stomach for politics. Being rich can dampen ones ardor for a fight. They cut and run. They were often accused of being Tory toffs but in fairness, they had affable personalities and carried their affluence well.

The two most mentioned successors to Theresa May are the bumbling buffoon of a Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and the Bertie Wooster doppelgänger,

Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The Tory party already suffers from serious disengagement from young people and ethnic minorities and now that party is flirting with two options – the first who can quote liberally from Horace and the other an Edwardian leftover who can manage a Twitter account.

If they thought Cameron and Osborne were toffs these guys are in the champions league of toughness.

The Tories – like the rest of us – are struggling to understand the phenomenon that is Jeremy Corbyn.

His Teflon status is remarkable. It’s as if the Labour party is a play and everyone has suspended their belief to get in on the act.

There is still a huge gap between him and convincing voters to give him the keys to Number 10 but at the moment he’s the hottest political ticket in town.

Should the Tories gift him Rees-Mogg or Johnson as their leader, then Corbyn could probably afford to let his decorators have a look at the Downing Street interiors.

The Tory party membership is like a pack of baying hyenas.

They love dining on the carcasses of their own leaders. Some of Mrs. May’s harshest critics are, in fact, Conservative women.

As usual with the Tories, the EU is something that they can’t deal with sensibly and part of the reason for this is that their political thinking is caught somewhere between 1910 and 1970.

Whilst Northern Ireland voters have a propensity to vote along tribal lines – sometimes sectarian – they at least show some considerable common sense in ignoring the Tories locally.

There hasn’t been a credible winning Northern Ireland Tory in decades and now that their party is kept alive in government courtesy of the DUP they have even less relevance to local voters.

But a bit like Mrs. May, those band of few are a plucky lot and will carry on regardless of electoral success.

Yet, remarkably, so out of touch are some Tories that they would welcome a Johnson or Rees-Mogg as prime minister.

They seem to fail to understand the difference between an electorate between being entertained and enthused.

We don’t laugh with Johnson and Rees-Mogg on Have I Got News For You – we laugh at them.

Being polite and articulate doesn’t make the views of Rees-Mogg more tolerant or acceptable; being disheveled and unkempt doesn’t make Johnson one of the lads.

They both are of a class and outlook that mock us. Rees-Mogg actually raffled tea with his nanny as a fundraiser.

The proposition that Boris Johnson – twice mayor of London – is the Tories’ most successful electoral figure is laughable.

The multi-faced Johnson didn’t declare his pro-Brexit views as mayor in the UK’s most pro-EU city. If he ran again, he would lose big.

Against the backdrop of these alternatives, Mrs. May seems a decent old brick, even if she is crumbling from within.