Saturday, 17 June 2017

Prime Mover

I do not believe that Theresa May is heartless or what have you. But she is no good at being Prime Minister.

As the extremely bitter chapter on the Poll Tax in Margaret Thatcher's autobiography makes clear, she herself never believed for one second that she had been brought down by or over "Europe", as if that had been what had placed her anything up to 20 points behind Neil Kinnock in the polls.

She regarded her own removal from office as Britain's greatest ever concession to "the Far Left", and she was right.

The All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation made no bones about being the Militant Tendency (no friend of either Kinnock or European federalism, of course), which has justly crowed ever since that it brought her down.

Not only was and is that the view of, for example, Dave Nellist. But it was also the view of Thatcher herself, in a print bestseller, in the associated television series, and to her dying day.

"Europe", however, was the convenient excuse. As it will be again when May is removed. "She was got rid of to stop Hard Brexit," we shall all be told, and not at all because, however unwittingly, she had been on the brink of plunging urban England into riots, if they had not already happened by then, and Ireland into a many-sided civil war.

May herself will never have any of this, complaining to the end that she had been forced out to placate the Momentum shirt-wearers and the SWP placard-bearers who had organised the storming of Kensington Town Hall, and to prevent distress to the Sacred and Royal Person of Gerry Adams, who was Europe's nearest approximation to an Asian god-king, including the Pope.

All of that will be true. But the millions who have bought Thatcher's memoirs over the decades have almost always remained unaffected by the mere facts of her defenestration. How many people are even going to buy May's memoirs, still less read them, still less have their minds changed by them?

As for the prevention of Hard Brexit, for which there was never a parliamentary majority in the first place, consider that the Prime Minister who is going to be installed in order to deliver that prevention will almost certainly be Boris Johnson.

He, of course, wrote two Telegraph columns on the referendum, one for Leave and one for Remain, before making a calculation in terms of his own advancement as to which he was going to file. His beautiful assistant, and clearly intended successor, is to be Michael Gove, whose decision to back Leave has left everyone else entirely bewildered from the moment that he made it.

Still, they will deliver a few of the essentially Corbynite goods on Grenfell Tower and on the wider issues of housing and the fire service, despite Johnson's very weak record when he was Mayor of London, and they will not go into any kind of coalition with the DUP.

Just as the Major Government got rid of the Poll Tax, implementing a watered down version of the Labour policy instead (it remains in place to this day), while changing nothing of the substance, rather than the rhetoric, of Thatcher's European policy, completing her Single European Act by signing what everything in her record made obvious would have been her Maastricht Treaty.

Think on.

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