How does Theresa May stay in government?
Resignation of Theresa May : The willing tool
The British, the Brexiteers, and the world have waited almost three years for a real emotion from British Prime Minister Theresa May. It is precisely her last words in the announcement of her resignation that lead the British to believe that there is someone there who has ruled them for the past three years. For a good six minutes on Friday, she takes stock of her term in office. She will always deeply regret that she did not succeed in “delivering” Brexit.
She ends with having served the country she loves, “the country I love”. She quickly slams her portfolio shut before the tears flow, her voice breaks, she turns around and flees behind her door at number 10 as if after an exhausting relationship argument.
One can hold out for a long time, in this "interest of the country"
The craziest, most contradicting things can be done "in the interest of the country". One can accept a choice that one must act against one's beliefs. One can hold out for a very long time, in this mysterious "interest of the country", as Theresa May did with obvious effort. Yesterday, Friday, she succeeded in doing the opposite in precisely the same “interest of the country”, declaring her resignation from the office of Tory party leader for June 7th - and thus paving the way for a new prime minister.
The pastor's daughter spent three years wrapped in extravagant clothes in the Brexit workshop. But she was never the master in this workshop. She was the tool. The tool that agreed to lead the UK out of the EU even though it had previously voted for “Remain”. It was the hammer that anyone could use who hit the red-hot iron regularly. The hammer took it. But the workpiece, Brexit, did not take shape.
Instead, it has been three years of bleeding for Britain: thousands of Britons have applied for other citizenships. Thousands of EU citizens left the country and elected members of their parliament, ministers their government and members of their parties. Companies migrated. They lost money and people and the belief in their country.
Only: Great Britain did not leave the EU. Not on March 29th and not later.
It was three years in which a hostile sentiment against immigrants could spread. In which it was almost never about the EU, but almost always about the problems of the Tories, the English and the political ambitions of the members of parliament.
Three years during which the conservative Tories fell apart, the citizens lost their composure, the age-old party system was called into question. No other country or population today mistrusts its government or considers its own government to be as dysfunctional as the British. Almost 40 members of parliament resigned during this time, Theresa May has worn out two Brexit ministers. In the end, the cabinet was of the opinion: If it doesn't work, we have to go. Scotland agreed.
Until her resignation on Friday, May was considered resistant to advice, but showed taker qualities. The fact that no one wanted to be in her skin from the start, not even for a day, became the most stable source of respect that has been given to her. She received admiration for how she put up with blows and failure. Again and again.
She was admired, but not for the important things
Her exit agreement has been rattled through in parliament three times. When people made fun of her robotic dance moves, which she had shown in Kenya during a visit to a United Nations campus in Nairobi, she joined in and in 2018, dancing ironically, boarded her own party conference.
Theresa May was never admired for the crucial things. But for their leopard shoes, their jewelry, their self-irony. She lacked the ability to find majorities, to mediate and to make compromises.
May turned up in the green-leather lower house, preferably wearing large chains that she had put on herself every morning. Among them were large ones with heavy limbs that could increasingly be interpreted as the yoke under which she walked.
This probably includes the early parliamentary elections that it called in 2017, in which it lost its majority and from then on was dependent on the votes of the Northern Irish Protestant DUP. And she tightened her thumbscrews herself when she triggered Article 50 and started the two-year process of leaving the EU without even having an idea of what it should look like.
What will stay Scenes of the absurd. Her lanky elegance. Her coughing fit before the party conference when a sign fell from the wall behind her. When her voice stayed away. The day when climate activists stuck themselves naked on the windows of the stands in the lower house, and when in April the water came through the ceiling in the dilapidated parliament building, matching the state of the cabinet.
A scepter as thin as chives
Also the kindergarten-like scenes when she finally extorted the approval of her resignation contract from the government members at her country estate Checkers: She took the mobile phones from the guests there so that they could not tweet and, if in doubt, flee by taxi.
Perhaps she lacked the power of persuasion because she acted against her own interests and for the supposed "interest of the country". She constantly waved this “interest of the country” like a scepter, but it only consisted of a wafer-thin majority of the 2016 referendum result. This scepter was as stable as a chive.
Whatever came, she replied: stoic. For this she even praised Boris Johnson yesterday. But the age of stoic, in which one received admiration for being unmoved, for controlling one's emotions, was actually over by 1997, when the Queen was forced by her alienated people to react appropriately emotionally after the death of Princess Diana .
Now is the age of flexibility. A columnist for the "Guardian" gave her the name "May-bot". Everyone saw immediately what he meant. What she said always sounded the same and increasingly tinny. May had gutted herself.
In the end, she seemed to have to rely on everyone else
The lying guys in the referendum, to whom nothing stuck, no matter what they were shown, railed loudly against them. The clowns raged on the back seats of their parliament, flattering each other with Latin quotes and driving the prime minister in front of them. Pretty much anyone could put her on a leash. In the end, she seemed to have to rely on everyone else: on the votes of the DUP, on the hardliners of her party, on the leniency from Brussels when it came to postponing an appointment, and even on the opposition leader, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had declared it to be a failure for three years and in the end was supposed to ensure a bipartisan solution.
The flabbergasted Europe saw the British wrapped in flags and chanting across the streets. Took note of the preparations for a panicked "no deal", the warehouses in the ports full of medicines and cat food. Read of a possible, war-like state of emergency in the event of a hasty no-deal Brexit, for which a billion-dollar secret plan called "Operation Yellowhammer" had been developed. There it was again, the hammer. Billions were spent on holding an unwanted European election.
She will stay to endure the final humiliations
At the end of her term in office, the people are agitated, the much-praised British pragmatics in Parliament can no longer be proven. The way in which the process escalated could only be recognized as British in its eccentricity.
Friday is the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria, the woman in whose reign the diplomatic program of "splendid isolation" was proclaimed: No long-term contracts with other powers! It is the day that Theresa May, who seems to have applied “splendid isolation” to her political style, announces her resignation.
She will stay until June 7th to receive the last humiliations: The responsibility for a presumably disastrous outcome of the European elections on Sunday and the malice of Donald Trump on his state visit. You can be sure that Theresa May will do it with flying colors.
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