IT MAYBE A YEAR TO FOR­GET FOR THERESA MAY

The Gulf Today - - 11 - BY LOUIS STA­PLES

It is likely that 2017 is a year that Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May would rather for­get. As her pre­mier­ship slowly dis­in­te­grates like a choc ice left out in the sun on a hot sum­mer’s day, all that talk of “sta­bil­ity” and “crush­ing the sabo­teurs” feels like a dis­tant mem­ory.

Per­son­ally I am shocked by May’s im­pend­ing doom, be­cause she has al­ways shown such in­tegrity. You mean to tell me that a Home Sec­re­tary who sent LGBT+ asy­lum seek­ers back to vi­o­lently ho­mo­pho­bic coun­tries and ad­vised them to “act straight” isn’t the kind of leader that “global Bri­tain” needs? Who could have pre­dicted that brib­ing the DUP with £1bn, af­ter telling pub­lic sec­tor work­ers who haven’t had a pay rise in eight years that there’s “no magic money tree”, wouldn’t go down well?

May has al­ways stood up in the face of in­jus­tice. When she con­demned the Na­tional Trust for ax­ing an Easter egg hunt, but stayed si­lent when Don­ald Trump took two days to dis­tance him­self from white su­prem­a­cists, it was clear she had her pri­or­i­ties straight. When she didn’t an­nounce any poli­cies for the irst two weeks of her gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign,thenan­nounced­her­sup­port­for lift­ing the ban on fox hunt­ing, it showed she re­ally un­der­stood the elec­torate.

But some­where in be­tween hold­ing hands with the or­ange over­lord him­self and fail­ing to meet sur­vivors of the Gren­fell Tower ire on her irst visit to the site, May’s ap­proval rat­ing be­gan to plum­met.

But let’s not for­get the brief mo­ments of tri­umph. For in­stance, with a new cab­i­net min­is­ter be­ing ap­pointed every week, May is work­ing won­ders for em­ploy­ment sta­tis­tics. In fact, in a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new scheme, she is even let­ting peo­ple ap­point them­selves to prom­i­nent po­si­tions with­out any rel­e­vant quali­ica­tions, like her new De­fence Sec­re­tary Gavin Wil­liamson. Last week over 20,000 peo­ple watched a live feed of Priti Pa­tel’s plane jour­ney home to resign as In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tary, so May might have in­ally con­vinced some­one that air­port ex­pan­sion is a good idea.

As her gov­ern­ment be­comes a nev­erend­ing episode of The Ap­pren­tice, it is good to see that Michael Gove and Boris John­son are step­ping up to the plate. They have al­ways had the in­ter­ests of Bri­tain at heart. Gove’s at­tempt to slide the knife out of Boris’s back by fur­ther en­dan­ger­ing Nazanin Zaghari-rat­cliffe’s lib­erty is just the kind of think­ing we need.

To­day for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ter Nicky Mor­gan has called May “tone-deaf and tin-eared”, while 40 of her own MPS are re­port­edly pre­par­ing to call for her res­ig­na­tion. With this many Tories lin­ing up to crit­i­cise their leader, they look more like the op­po­si­tion than a cred­i­ble gov­ern­ment.

Yet de­spite the vul­tures cir­cling and the hail­storm of neg­a­tive news, May­bot clings on to short-cir­cuit an­other day. When she irst stood on the steps of Down­ing Street as Prime Min­is­ter, few could have pre­dicted that May would be “just about man­ag­ing” to hold her gov­ern­ment to­gether so early on. As the Tories wait for a vi­able suc­ces­sor to emerge, May re­mains one scan­dal away from obliv­ion. Trapped in ofice but no longer in power.

But it could be worse. At least we didn’t let Ed Miliband and his ba­con sand­wich any­where near Down­ing Street. Now that would have been chaos.

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