Like anxiety, distrust is often not based on concrete and clear information, but rather on a hunch or gut feeling. Most people have learned to interpret certain signals as possible evidence that something may be wrong about a situation (leading to anxiety) or about a person (leading to distrust). And it is fair to say that the nation now wholly distrusts Theresa May.
Whether you’re a Remainer or a Brexiteer, SNP or Labour, Tory or DUP, black or white, old or young – the behaviour of our current Prime Minister has either been so demeaning, duplicitous or just plain disappointing that Mrs May has finally united the nation. We can all agree that at some time or another over the last three years this “leader” of Great Britain has caused us personal stress or pain. Too often May has been a manager when we needed a leader. Too often May has been a beggar when we needed a negotiator. Too often May has been a liar when we needed a truth-teller.
May’s detractors are delighted. Philip Hammond – May’s Halifax – has a permanent smirk these days. Sniping from the safety of London’s Evening Standard, Hammond’s predecessor, George Osborne, has a view on Brexit which couldn’t be more erroneous but, each day she occupies Number 10, May makes more plausible. Here he takes glee in repeating it in response to a letter from a reader:
That Hammond and Osborne can gloat at this stage of Brexit negotiations says everything about Theresa May’s progress with Brexit. It’s not going so well for her now is it? Has she achieved anything in three years except to upset everyone she comes across?
As Labour’s talks with Theresa May’s government predictably collapsed yesterday afternoon in Downing Street, there was no celebrating from either Remainers or Leavers. More a shrug of the shoulders and a gentle shaking of the head. There are more important things in life than May’s failures. It is as if we all know now that anything Mrs May encounters is doomed – she has become the British Medusa and the slightest glance from her reduces one to stone. She has united the country in expecting the worst – there has even been a pleasant thawing of Remainer-Brexiteer animosities these last days as we have all understood the pain of what Mrs May is capable of giving us from Brexit mishandling. Is she being weak, conniving, or is she out of her depth? Who cares anymore? The view – even from such charitable corners as Country Squire Magazine – is that Mrs May is a loser. Where the hell is our Perseus?
There is little worse than having a “leader” who is a loser. You come to the realisation that there is really nothing you can do to make the person’s life worse than it already is. They have nothing to take, there is no way to retaliate if you have been their victim. It’s maddening. Mrs May could not leave a worse legacy than the one she owns. One feels pity for her and her husband as they reach the twilight of their lives – people will shuffle away from them in the aisles of Waitrose, and pretend to be admiring wild flowers instead of engaging with them when they encounter them on a countryside walk. She will find her Tory friends have adopted her policy of tin-ear – and that is tragic as the Conservative Party has been her life and family. Perhaps the Blairs can give her some advice on coping as pariahs?
To be fair Mrs May has been given a tricky pass. But when you’re given a tricky pass – let’s use the example of rugby – you must at least first try to catch the impossible ball and then hope for back up from your team as the opposition tries to prize it from you.
Mrs May actually caught the ball – to the cheers of many Brexiteers – and then stopped dead in the middle of the field. She’s ignored the cries of support from her team. She then gave the ball up to the opposition. And now she’s lying on the turf with her head buried in a puddle, dreaming of the referee’s whistle. She’s embarrassing. We pity her.
Now bring on a sub.