Five months since the Tories lost their majority, and Theresa May looks like a teacher who is having to look after one of the worst classes on the planet.
On her left, she’s got David Davis who’s failure in the Brexit deal is making the idea of a cliff-edge seem ever nearer. On her right, she’s got Boris Johnson, a foreign secretary who in the past has described black people as “pickaninnies with watermelon smiles.” On top of saying that Libya will be a nice place to visit once they have “cleaned up all the dead bodies.”
Then on top of all of that, just this week she has had two key ministers having to resign. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned after sexual harrasment allegations and International Development Secretary Priti Patel resigned over allegations of secret meetings with Israeli officials.
Michael Fallon. (Flickr / U.S. Embassy London)
Michael Fallon resigned over many allegations of harassment. With one being that he put his hand on the knee of the female journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer and another that he told Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom that if her hands were cold he ‘knew somewhere she could warm them up.’ He tried to justify this disgusting misogyny by saying that “10 or 15 years ago, this may have been acceptable.” So, apparently in 2007, it was OK to harass women sexually. Adam Hill, presenter of the current affairs comedy show The Last Leg, rightly said: “It was not acceptable 10 years ago, it was just that you could get away with it.” Although this is not just a problem in the Tory party, it shows the vulgure and misogynistic nature of Westminister. Radical change is needed at Westminister.
Priti Patel. (Flickr / Policy Exchange)
Then, in came Priti Patel. She defied government conduct and conducted secret meetings with Israeli officials, without telling the Foreign Office. Even though she said that “Boris (Johnson) knew about it,” the foreign secretary himself denied this. Once again highlighting the chaotic approach of this fragile and feeble government. Theresa May thus released a statement saying Patel was “right to resign,” before she later released hers: “While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated. I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened.”
“It was not acceptable 10 years ago; it was just that you could get away with it.”
— Comedian Adam Hill on allegations of sexual misconduct within Westminster.
And with the state the Brexit negotiations are in, things seem to go from bad to worse within the Conservative Party. With pressures from the EU commission, Parliament and the party to move on with the negotiations, Theresa May is stuck. What we need now is strong leadership, but what we have is a cabinet full of headless chickens who clumsily make a blunder at every turn. David Davis now needs to sit down and start some serious negotiations to avoid the dangerous cliff edge scenario that many fear.
“While my actions were meant with the best of intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated. I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened.”
— Priti Patel on her resignation, Wednesday 8 November 2017
Whether there is an election in the near future or not, pressure now more than ever must be forced onto this feeble government. Theresa May's authority has been shattered, and her cabinet is a joke. What we need now is Labour to step up. They need to show they are a government in waiting. They need to unite around one aim: to get the Tories out and stop with the blunders that dogged their election campaign.
The Tories have plunged this country into a political and economic crisis. They called a referendum that their leader lost, then called an election to strengthen their majority and their mandate for Brexit, which got rejected. On top of all of this is the fact that under their premiership people have gone under seven years of inhumane austerity, when bankers received bonuses of £40 billion a year and the wealthy have received tax cuts worth millions. This country has seen the longest squeeze in living wages since Napoleon was Emperor of France and the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest has continued to grow. Millions of sick and disable people are still denied help by a ‘consciously cruel’ system.
The Neo-Liberal order is over, and people want change. Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists must offer a vision of hope to counteract the hate and fear mongering parties in Europe. Change is required, the Tories are a mess, and we have to make sure that that change is right.🔷