After the ersatz moralizing tone on Mrs. May’s religious upbringing, as presented/argued by the Economist’s writers: comparing her to Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown because of her and their religious upbringing. And the utterly laughable comparison of her political style to that of ‘her cricketing hero, Geoffrey Boycott’ ! What to call this idiocy?
A social reformism rooted in her Anglican upbringing and practice (“part of who I am and therefore how I approach things”, she has said) has been a constant of her career. When the voters of Maidenhead first sent her to Westminster in 1997 she was, in this respect, to the left of her party. In 2002 she warned her colleagues and their supporters that they had become known as “the nasty party”. The following year, as shadow transport minister, she argued for more state intervention in the economy, a more nuanced relationship with trade unions and limits on fat-cat excesses.
All of this lives on in her premiership. When, having lost the Brexit referendum, Mr Cameron resigned, Mrs May enumerated the inequities of modern Britain as she launched her campaign to succeed him: boys born poor die nine years earlier than others; children educated in state schools are less likely to reach the top professions than those educated privately; many women earn less than men.
When she became prime minister she repeated some of these “burning injustices” on the steps of Downing Street. She has talked up a new generation of state-run grammar schools (schools, like the one she attended, that are allowed to select their pupils through competitive exams) to give clever children from poor backgrounds a leg up. She has hinted at worker representation on company boards; she has lamented the effect of the Bank of England’s low interest rates on savers.
Mrs. May is hobbled by her Christian ethical/political scruples, from being like Mrs. Thatcher, a committed and ruthless Hayekian, and her epigones like Tony Blair and David Cameron. She is a weak and suffering from various maladies as described here, but she suffers from the contempt ‘by public-school boys given to cavalier confidence and clever-clever plans:’ The mention of this acts as cover for the contempt of the Economist writers, whose essay is awash in contempt for Mrs. May’s weaknesses, psychological and physical.
Mrs May patently stands apart from many of her colleagues in ways that go beyond this reformism; there is a social distance, too. Some say it has to do with the isolating shock of losing both of her parents when she was relatively young. Others cite her experience of diabetes—the prime minister must inject herself with insulin several times a day. But the best explanation is her career as a woman educated at a provincial grammar-school (the granddaughter of domestic servants, no less) in a party dominated by public-school boys given to cavalier confidence and clever-clever plans. When her allies praise Mrs May’s methodical style and her disdain for chummy, informal “sofa government”, they are channelling her long-held exasperation with the know-it-all posh boys—particularly Mr Cameron and George Osborne, his chancellor.
This is an insidious and very cleverly written attack on Mrs. May from The Economist, the very bastion of Neo-Liberal advocacy, apologetics.The pronouncement: she is not one of us!
This is an example of the analytical rigor of the Theologians at the Economist. It is serio-comic:
There may be lessons as to Mrs May’s possible longevity and success from her fellow children of the cloth, Mr Brown and Mrs Merkel.
The Economist comes to bury Mrs. May not to praise her! Not since the halcyon days of the rise of Jeremy Corby, has the polemical power of the Economist’s writers been used to such stunning effect! Those writers have produced a minor classic of reactionary polemics, attacking their own Tories, and its leader Mrs. May.
One wonders at the insularity of British Conservative political class, and it’s House Organ The Economist. In America, Reagan’s adroit use of the ‘Eleventh Commandment’, never speak ill of another Republican, served to maintain Republican power for 12 years. Or at least until the New Democrats, ersatz Republicans in New Deal drag, the Clintons, came to power completing, enacting the Reagan Agenda, with a manic relish. The Economist’s search for Apostates in the ranks of ‘the children of the cloth’ is a futile attempt to rescue Neo-Liberalism in its state of total collapse!
So much more to be said on this commentary!
My reply to guest-wooomeo
Thank you for your reply. Yet the Republican Party membership you refer to are the respectable bourgeois wing of the Party, who are in utter denial that what they collectively represented since 1947: the Mundt/McCarty/McCarren/Nixon Party,the Barry Goldwater of ‘extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice’ the Southern Strategy of Nixon, The Reagan of the Noshoba County Fair speech: ‘I believe in States Rights’, the Willie Horton race baiting of Bush The Elder, or the utterly bellicose Bush The Younger, and his capos Cheney and Rumsfeld. Those respectable Republican stalwarts you look to as leaders of the Party are appalled by their creature Trump. He is the populist version of the Nixon and Reagan Republicans, groomed by experts in the canny use of the dye pot, and the paint and powder favored by both Nixon and Reagan.
The collapse of the Neo-Liberal Dogmas, and the Economic Depression that we are still mired in, 8 years after that fact. The technocrats who advocated this ‘Revolution’, and were its enactors, still can’t bring that elusive thing called Prosperity back from what looks like extinction. Even after the Bailout, the utterly failed Austerity and Quantitative Easing- the jobs being created are low paying service jobs. Given all this, why is the rise of Trump so inexplicable? or any one of the many populists of both Left and Right. His being Ringmaster on The Apprentice, for so many seasons, established his Leadership credentials, with a receptive audience exhausted by a failed Political Establishment, both respectable mainline Republicans and the utterly corrupt New Democrats!
Pop psychology, or better yet psychological cliche, and the careful use of innuendo, fuel what we in America call a ‘hatchet job’. But one of best examples of the genre, because it takes as its first obligation, to tell a good story, to construct a compelling political melodrama, to portray Mrs. May, even as it relies on cliche, it has the ring of verisimilitude, or of honest reportage. Whoever wrote this is a gifted propagandist, except that the reader is always aware of the ideological root that is this essay’s reason d’etre.