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:
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:
Still can't get over the fact that Theresa May, who was literally responsible for the hostile environment and the "go home vans" was talking about politics being more civil and compassionate. That is a mind-blowing level of hypocrisy.
— Shehab Khan (@ShehabKhan) October 3, 2018
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'”.
I wonder how Chuka Umuna feels tonight – knowing that Theresa May name checked him and his appalling accusation in her speech #CPC18 .
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) October 3, 2018
Remarkable for the Prime Minister to dedicate so much of her speech to Labour, our leader, even our campaign slogan (and tellingly, so little to her own policies). Theresa May and the Conservatives are out of ideas, unable to defend the failed status quo they represent.
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) October 3, 2018
The following tweet is self-explanatory:
May sings the praises of Sajid Javid: the son of a Pakistani immigrant can become Home Secretary.
under May's new immigration policy, would his dad have even been allowed in the UK? not sure the hostile environment policy would have made them feel very welcome…
— michael segalov (@MikeSegalov) October 3, 2018
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.
Austerity was an unmitigated disaster with no basis in economics – as many of use argued at the time it was implemented & subsequently what was needed was inverse austerity tax cuts and big increases in public investment – seems clear austerity’s only purpose was to hurt the poor https://t.co/7VKUDoa2t6
— Danny Blanchflower (@D_Blanchflower) October 3, 2018
Myself and my constituents won't start partying just yet Mrs May! Perhaps the #endofausterity means hundreds of desperate people in #Kent getting urgent mental health help, #Canterbury #foodbanks closing, no more #homelessness, decent paid jobs, affordable homes, an A&E even?!
— Rosie Duffield MP (@RosieDuffield1) October 3, 2018
— Bill Esterson (@Bill_Esterson) October 3, 2018
Only Jeremy Corbyn is serious about ending Austerity – the Tories are just trying to hatch another scam to hang onto power – its all they're good for – con artists, spivs and anally-retentive sociopaths – that's the Conservative Party for you – pure sleaze wall-to-wall😏
— The CommunicipaIist (@communicipalist) October 3, 2018
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.
Theresa May spoke about “the difference it makes to have a little bit of money left to put away at the end of each month”. Can someone let her know that right now, today, 17 Million People, the majority in work, have less then £100 in savings
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) October 3, 2018
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.”
Theresa May: “Our best days are ahead”.
1 in 14 have used a Food bank
4m kids in poverty
1.8m pensioners in poverty
100 ESA claimants die daily
1,000 Sure Starts axed
Council budgets cut 50%
Rough sleeping up 134%
1m disability benefit sanctions#ToryCutsKill
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) October 3, 2018
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:
Off to Wetherspoons for a pint of ale or ten with Dominic Greive. I can’t cope with another day of this. I will probably hear more sense out of the drunks at the bar than most of the idiots I’ve had to mingle with over the past few days. Pint of Abbots please Dom! #cpc18
— Ken Clarke (@MrKennethClarke) October 3, 2018
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.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: