What does Theresa May’s ‘more con­trol’ mean?

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

Bri­tain is in cri­sis. The fleet­ing eu­pho­ria that ac­com­pa­nies sweep­ing gov­ern­ment changes and the con­so­la­tions of col­or­ful rit­u­als can­not hide the dan­gers. In her first speech as prime min­is­ter, Theresa May showed that she is aware of them and that her pri­or­ity is to se­cure the coun­try’s so­cial co­he­sion and ter­ri­to­rial unity as her gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­ates the di­vorce from the Euro­pean Union. Speak­ing di­rectly to cit­i­zens, May promised: “The gov­ern­ment I lead will be driven not by the in­ter­ests of the priv­i­leged few but by yours. We will do ev­ery­thing we can to give you more con­trol over your lives.” But what does “more con­trol” mean for the 52 per­cent who voted in fa­vor of Brexit and for the 48 per­cent who wanted to re­main in the EU? Many Brexit sup­port­ers ap­pear to be among those who be­lieve that they are vic­tims, that things are chang­ing in ways they don’t like and that they don’t have a say. The im­mi­gra­tion is­sue dom­i­nated the de­bate be­fore the ref­er­en­dum. Fur­ther­more, the Brexit ma­jor­ity was large in re­gions that have with­ered in the age of glob­al­iza­tion. With the eco­nomic un­cer­tainty now plagu­ing Bri­tain, it seems highly un­likely that the gov­ern­ment will be able to se­cure more funds for com­mu­ni­ties that feel hard done by. So what is the greater con­trol that they will be given? The ma­jor­ity has al­ready de­ter­mined the coun­try’s fate, driv­ing it out of the EU. Will ref­er­en­dums be held con­tin­u­ously, on ev­ery is­sue that arises? Will im­mi­grants dis­ap­pear? Will lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties be given the right to de­ter­mine who will be al­lowed en­try? Will the gov­ern­ment serve the in­ter­ests of one group against an­other or will it work for the col­lec­tive good? May di­rected her re­sponse to those “born poor,” to blacks, to “white work­ing-class” boys, to state school pupils, to women, to peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems, to the young. “When we take the big calls we will think not of the pow­er­ful, but you. When we pass new laws we will lis­ten not to the mighty but to you,” she said. These prom­ises, es­pe­cially by the suc­ces­sor to a clique of priv­i­leged rich men, are right and wor­thy – the irony is that they are no dif­fer­ent from what the EU tries to achieve in each of its mem­ber-states. Did Bri­tain re­ally have to leap into the un­known so that a new PM could prom­ise better gov­er­nance? The surge for Brexit gained strength over time, unit­ing dif­fer­ent cur­rents. What is com­mon to Bri­tain and other states, though, is that gov­ern­ments have failed to ad­dress a sense of ne­glect, grow­ing among poorer groups but also among those who might not be as deprived as they might think but swayed by dem­a­gogues. Many en­cour­aged eth­no­cen­trism at the ex­pense of Europe, stay­ing silent on the ben­e­fits of mem­ber­ship, with­out ex­plain­ing that to­day only col­lec­tive pro­cesses can help na­tional and per­sonal pros­per­ity. Bri­tain wanted “more con­trol” and with Brexit it got it. Now we will all see where this leads.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.