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Feel no pity for Theresa May. She has been the worst prime minister in recent history

7 400 0
24.05.2019

Spare me the inevitable pity for Theresa May after her tearful farewell address this morning. “Oh, wasn’t she given such a terrible hand!”, people might cry, or “is it her fault that her backbenchers are such a bunch of Neanderthal extremists?”, and “it’s not her fault Brexit is such an undeliverable mess, is it?”. We must see through this. May is the worst prime minister since Lord North’s reign in the late 18th century, when the US colonies declared their independence.

May did indeed inherit a terrible hand. She then proceeded to douse it liberally with petrol and set it alight.

Let’s start with Brexit. The official leave campaigns, and their vitriol about migrants and refugees, merely built on the foundations laid by a home secretary who sent “go home” vans around mixed communities, who spread pernicious myths of being unable to deport illegal migrants because they owned a pet cat, and under whose watch gay refugees felt obliged to film themselves having sex to avoid deportation. There is only one discernible consistency in May’s ideology – and that is bashing migrants.

When she became prime minister, May and her coterie of advisers – defined by a swagger and bravado that would swiftly become hubris – hungrily set their eyes on devouring Ukip’s voting tally in the 2015 election in order to hand the Tories the landslide victory they’d been denied for three decades. “No deal is better than a bad deal,” became her defining mantra, raising expectations to impossible levels and conferring respectability, desirability even, on a disastrous Brexit outcome: the chutzpah, then, of quoting Nicholas Winton when he said, “compromise is not a dirty word”, in her farewell speech.

Her allies in the media set about monstering her opponents,........

© The Guardian