Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The madness of Queen Theresa - or a darker plot?

Despite myself, I watched a little of a televised "debate" between the nominal Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.  May is frightened, cornered and clearly unfit for office - unable to confront or defend herself, and unprepared to acknowledge that anyone can hold a view that differs from her own without sinking into the mire of treachery, subversion and sabotage.  This is not the leader of even a partially-democratic nation.  This is an out-of-control lunatic.

May's puppeteers attempt to position her as a successor to Thatcher.  In one sense she is, but only at the stage, after 1987, where the swivel-eyed paranoia and arrogance that had always been there took over and when she arrogated delusions of absolute monarchy and suburban dictatorship.  For those who remember, the irrationality and divisiveness that May regards as virtues were the collateral damage experienced by the Tories that resulted in the apparent train-wreck of the Major years and then the slow rehabilitation that culminated in Cameron's 2010 and 2015 con-tricks.

You have to look further back and further afield to find better parallels for May.  The obvious British comparison is Charles I, another weak leader who attempted to bypass Parliament and whose comeuppance was bloody, with the country as collateral damage.  She shares his contempt for those who do not meet her expectations of prejudice, compliance and suppression of dissent.  She cannot abide any legitimate challenge - opposing her is a personal attack that results in her dribbling incontinent, incoherent platitudes laced with ad hominem assaults on those who dare to suggest that she is not chosen by a vengeful God as an instrument of nemesis.

Louis XVII of France is another potential precursor.  Incapable of adaptation and flexibility, he unleashed a reaction that culminated in Terror, near-anarchy and lengthy destabilisation.  More recently, May's self-delusion and irrational behaviour resembles any one of many Latin American dictators, while her contempt for due process is aligned with Putin's and Mugabe's fig-leafs of constitutional legitimacy.  Nowhere in May's persona is there anything that resembles the civic Conservatism and the sense of public duty of which Lord Heseltine and Ken Clarke are the most prominent public custodians.

If May's alleged hotline to a divine being has any manifestation, the prospect of a satirical deity becomes much more realistic.  Instead her glassy-eyed, hectoring incoherence demonstrates someone in need of urgent psychiatric help, not a candidate to lead a fractured Union of states with the capability to use an expensive and dangerous nuclear arsenal in collaboration with a rogue US President.  Throughout her campaign she has been kept away from opponents and unselected "voters" alike, parroting inane lies and performing so many U-turns she must be grateful to have at least two faces so that one is at the front at all times.

Her performance in the public arena is pitiful to the point that an observer might wonder whether she is either too sick to hold office or whether she is deliberately self-sabotaging.  The latter may not be so far-fetched, when she is pursuing a criminally treacherous policy on Britain's future relationship with its European allies, and attempting to restrict democracy in England and roll back devolution across the other three nations.  A prisoner of Murdoch, Dacre and a cabal of bankers, manipulated by Lynton Crosby's sinister scumminess, and with no realistic prospects of delivering anything other than a self-inflicted economic and social crash, if she has the famed intellect that her dim-witted cheerleaders parade she might be wondering whether bequeathing the mess to the "coalition of chaos" might be a preferable option.

When the election was called, it was unnecessary and based around lies.  The Tory Party saw an opportunity to consolidate power.  Their assessment was that by repeating inane and manifestly inaccurate soundbites, interleaved with personal assaults on Jeremy Corbyn, they would sail to a landslide on a historic scale and a gerrymandered system.  Corbyn has played out better than I would have anticipated - hence the current near-panic and the ratcheting of hyperbole against him.  Why Labour aren't pointing out that views change over thirty years, and highlighting current leading Tories who were coalescing around the proto-UKIP of the Federation of Conservative Students and calling for Nelson Mandela's hanging shows either ineptitude or restraint - hopefully the latter.  Pictures of Thatcher with Pincohet are mirrored in May's photo-opportuities with Trump - excluded from the European leadership she now has to take solace wherever she can.

The Tory arrogance knows no bounds.  An uncosted manifesto, yet they still sneer at the Labour and Liberal parties for spelling out that the requirement for a decent society is an appropriate level of taxation to pay for it.  They brush aside the existential threat of Brexit, repeating the ultimate lie that "no deal is better than a bad deal", and make out that their leadership - incapable of consistency, stringing a sentence together or even answering the question posed to them - is somehow the match for a professional, unpressured European Union with no real requirement, political or economic, to accommodate a bunch of cowboy xenophobes with nothing to sell or bargain with that they cannot replicate within their borders.

The probability is that May will still win, despite the monstrous fascism of her campaign and the continued incompetence.  Britain's anti-democratic system is biased towards them.  However, governmental legitimacy is only supported by the will of the people - a lesson that the Tories tend to ignore.  The consequences of May's capture by UKIP and the far right are not likely to be pretty, and the challenge would then be to determine whether or not the state apparatus could survive the fractures and challenges that emerge without a final recognition that her aim is not popular legitimacy but absolutism and authoritarianism.

Someone I know was horrified earlier in the campaign when I stated that I would prefer Corbyn to May as Prime Minister.  The argument put forward was "strong and stable" and the need for leadership irrespective of policies.  Neither now holds water.  In this campaign a mad and dangerous streak has emerged, and whatever my policy differences or distaste for Corbyn's jumping on the Brexit kamikaze mission, he now looks both grounded and reasonable in comparison.  My final historical parallel is with George III.  There are numerous venal scum within the Tory party willing to act as a despotic regent - Gove, Johnson, Fox, Davis, Leadsom and others are all part of the cavalcade of twats - while Theresa talks to trees and disembowels foxes.  What a lovely prospect.

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