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How times change: No security, no stability in 2018 – and the only opportunity for Theresa May’s political group is to die.

Things have come to a pretty pass when the most useful part of Theresa May’s speech was the silly attempt at a dance at the start.

Still, I suppose we should consider what she said and what it meant.

Don’t get your hopes up.


After the usual flannel you get at the start of speeches, Mrs May gave us a lot more flannel about the centenary of World War One and the patriotic sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for their fellows.

It was a bit much, coming from her.

Because Theresa May knows very little about patriotism – as Arthur Snell laid out in a series of tweets:

Compassionate politics

She said: “No party has a monopoly on good ideas. That getting things done requires working together – within parties and beyond them.

“When our politics becomes polarised, and compromise becomes a dirty word, that becomes harder.

“We have in our hands the power to set a standard of decency that will be an example for others to follow.

“Let’s say it loud and clear: Conservatives will always stand up for a politics that unites us rather than divides us.”

That was a bit much, too:

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn:

She went to town on Her Majesty’s Loyal Party of Opposition and its leader, with claims that every Labour Government left unemployment higher than they found it, ran out of other people’s money to spend, left the economy in a mess. False claims – for example, Labour has spent far less of other people’s money than the Conservatives, and Labour has paid back more of it than the Conservatives ever did.

She lied that the heirs of the old Labour Party were sitting on the back benches while something called the “Jeremy Corbyn Party” was in charge. Mr Corbyn’s politics is classic Labour; the charlatans are the so-called “moderates” who Mrs May would far prefer to face because their beliefs are far too similar to hers.

And she repeated a few of the lies that have been circulating recently, such as that in which “a leading Labour MP says his party is ‘institutionally racist'”.

Sajid Javid:

The following tweet is self-explanatory:

The National Health Service

Apparently Conservatives have looked after the NHS for most of its life. That is probably why it is currently being run into the ground and privatised by stealth.


Mrs May said: “A decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off.”

This is a lie. Her own Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced he was sticking with austerity in his own speech to the same Conservative Party Conference at which Mrs May spoke those words.


Mrs May tried to tell us that her government will help ordinary people with the cost of living. This at a time when there is more in-work poverty than anybody living can remember, when child poverty is at a record high, when wage increases have been artificially depressed to make more money for the rich and when savings are at an all-time low.

She chose this moment to say: “The difference it makes to have a little bit of money left to put away at the end of each month isn’t measured in pounds and pence,” and to claim the Tory Party exists for these people, and instituted measures like the National Living Wage (a misnomer as it doesn’t cover the cost of living, and not a Tory innovation as it is based on Labour’s minimum wage), the extension of free childcare (which is failing) and the freezing of fuel duty to help them. It is more accurate to say she believes these people exist for the benefit of the Tory Party.

Our best days are ahead of us

Finally, Mrs May pleaded with her audience to join with her in another whopper: “I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise.”

Last word

What are we to make of all this, other than that Mrs May did not come out with any solid policies at all in more than an hour of oratory. She mentioned a plan to improve cancer diagnosis that had been trailed already, and that she was lifting the cap on local government borrowing in order to allow councils to build more houses – but local authorities are already going into debt and it seems more likely that they will need the money for other purposes.

I thought the whole speech was just one lie after another, embedded in a series of meaningless platitudes.

And I notice that another person who was deeply unimpressed appeared to be former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke*, who didn’t even bother to hang around and listen:

He had the right idea. Theresa May’s speech showed the Tory government is leaderless and in crisis. But this time, with an aging membership and voter base, it has nothing left to do but die.

*Alas, it seems likely this was a parody account.

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