May speaking before she enters Downing Street as PM
I really can’t be having Theresa May. By one of those quirks of history she has been handed the keys to No.10 Downing Street – by accident almost – and is now the unelected author of our misfortunes.
She makes much of her “Brexit is Brexit” mandate. But she has no such mandate. She may not have been that obvious in the referendum campaign, but she was still on the losing side. A remainer, she lost the vote, she has no mandate from the referendum.
But then there’s the general election win.
In normal circumstances Mrs May could point to the Conservative Party’s victory in the 2015 poll for proof of her legitimacy. In the UK people vote for parties, not prime ministers, and Tories won.
Although elections are becoming increasingly presidential in nature, there’s much to be said for party politics. As the United States’ presidential race has shown, personality politics is an open invitation to egomaniacs.
We have a few head-bangers and egomaniacs on this side of the Atlantic, but nothing on the scale of Donald Trump.
Anyway, back to May and that corrupted mandate. Since replacing David Cameron she has done everything possible to renege on the pledges made on the manifesto he took to the country.
Economic policy has been turned on its head and she has broken with the consensus that selection has no place in children’s education. Across Whitehall May’s ministers are ripping up policies her party ‘sold’ to the country as its agenda for the next five years.
So May has no electoral mandate. Honeymoon apart, and she is enjoying a bit of a honeymoon, history suggests she will not be able to sustain herself in office when things start getting tough.
Alec Douglas Home’s premiership lasted barely a year; Jim Callaghan left office with the stench of unburied bodies and uncollected rubbish in his nostrils; and Gordon Brown was destroyed by his own demons and his association with boom and bust economics.
None of these three had a mandate, and they paid the price.
But, I hear you say, May was at least crowned leader of the ruling party and that gives her the aura of legitimacy. However she wasn’t elected. The way was cleared for her.
Theresa May’s path to power was unimpeded – in the same way a mafia don walks uninterrupted through a crowded square in Sicily, she walked up Downing Street and into her grace and favour apartment.
The warning bells started ringing for me with her grotesque speech on the steps of Downing Street where she spoke of the plight of working men and women who had been let down by society.
She spoke of the “burning injustice” of the poor who die nine years earlier than the rest of society; black people ill-treated by the criminal justice system; white working class boys and pupils in state schools denied a decent education; and women earning less than men.
I don’t know about you, but I am fed up of listening to Conservative politicians and multi-millionaires speaking on behalf of working people.
When the voice of the people is articulated by the likes of former stock-broker Nigel Farage, Eton-educated buffoon Boris Johnson, and property developer Donald Trump, the world is turned on its head.
This past week May has been in Europe, rubbing her partner leaders up the wrong way. Her arrogance will secure for Britain the worst deal imaginable.
British prime ministers treating European leaders a thing or two at Euro-summits is one thing. There’s form there. “No, No, No,” said Maggie Thatcher.
But it is a different thing altogether when they show contempt for the electorate.
Unelected and without legitimacy, Mrs May is set on pushing for the hardest of hard exits from the European Union – without allowing parliament a vote on Britain’s negotiating position.
The truth is that the Brexiteers’ slogan “taking back control” means by-passing a so-called sovereign parliament and giving control of the future destiny of some 60 million people to Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson.
And it means giving an unelected prime minister a free hand to alter the course of people’s lives without any electoral legitimacy.
The phrase “elective dictatorship” describes well the inadequacies of the first past the post system and the power it bestows on majority governments.
In a country said to house the ‘mother of parliaments’, I had thought there was little worse. Yet now, in this second decade of the twenty-first century, we have been cursed with an ‘unelective dictatorship’ of the most pernicious kind.
- This article first appeared in The Irish News