… brings shame on us, too
Theresa the Appeaser, she was called in parliament. Strong words, with powerful historic resonances – but about right, too. “Events, dear boy, events” said PM Harold Macmillan, when questioned about his likely greatest challenges as Prime Minister.
Well, events she got last week, in quick succession:
Event 1: She undertakes an ill-advised dash across the Atlantic to meet Donald Trump, just seven days after his inauguration and a week of highly controversial and divisive executive orders.
Event 2: She makes an over-hasty offer to Trump of a state visit to the UK this year, an offer never previously made to a US President in his first year of office.
Event 3: journalists capture a photograph of May and Trump holding hands in the White House. Whatever the explanation (and there have been several), it just looks creepy.
Event 4: just hours after May leaves, Trump announces his most reviled executive order banning refugees and travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries. The order is widely condemned by other world leaders, political opponents, civil rights campaigners – and anyone with any concept of basic, civilized values.
(Non-) Event 5: May fails to condemn Trump’s banning order four times on the Andrew Marr show and has failed to offer anything but the weakest of comments since.
The above half-finished post has been delayed for reasons outside my direct control. Since then, May’s government has tried to bury bad news, by sneaking out one announcement under the cover of the Commons Article 50 vote. That was the abandonment of the so-called “Dubs amendment” of giving safe haven to unaccompanied refugee children after only 200 children have been helped, with a final 150 in process. Campaigners had expected around 3000 children a year. “Mean-spirited” is wholly inadequate to describe the decision.
These appalling catalogue of misjudgements presents a picture of a narrow-minded, mean-spirited, introspective government and, by inference, the same for our country. Britain once boasted of “punching above its weight” in international affairs. But that depended in no small part, on the moral standing we held in the world. Well, goodbye to all that.
Let’s face it: May is turning out to be a first-class disaster as Prime Minister. The real tragedy is that there is no realistic scenario in prospect where she could be replaced by anyone who isn’t even worse. With a mentally unstable, narcissistic sociopath – and one who wants to bring down the existing order of international law – as our only friend, Britain now inhabits a very lonely and dangerous place. And one full of shame.
Shame on you, May, for bringing us to this pass. And we all share in our collective shame as a once-proud country. Be very afraid.