I remember Theresa May’s first speech as Prime Minister. It was impressive.
She stood on the steps of Downing Street and vowed to stamp out burning injustices, the gap in life expectancy between richest and poorest, racism, lack of home ownership. That stuff.
Later I had a drink with some Labour people. “This is not good,” said one, “She’s moving on to our ground. If she can get something done – making things fairer – I think we’re in trouble.”
Turns out they needn’t have worried. It wasn’t the Labour Party that did for Mrs May, though. It was Brexit.
Got another one. Sucking all the oxygen out of politics. What could she do? A bad hand, they call it.
All those promises – with the notable exception of trying to reduce the gender pay gap – vanished.
Life expectancy for example. Apologies for putting you off your breakfast, but it’s not good news.
In fact, you know what? I won’t tell you. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.
Just keep enjoying your cornflakes, although if you live in certain areas of the North of England you might want to think twice about buying a big box.
Anyway. Theresa May leaves us this week with very little to talk about in terms of legacy, despite a last minute cash splurge. For a woman who was desperate for a legacy, that’s not great.
“Theresa May” and “failure” in Google gives you 33,800,000 results – 0.34 seconds. “Theresa May” and “disaster” 14,400,000 results – 0.55 seconds. So what will we remember her for? There was a glimpse at PMQs this week that there might have been another side to her.
She launched herself at Corbyn over anti-Semitism, praised England’s cricket teams and even got laughs. Maybe we all got her wrong. Nah.
I remember some loyalist of hers trying to convince me after her “dancing” at party conference: “That’s what she’s really like! She’s got a really dry sense of humour. In private she’s funny and sharp,” but he was sweating and had a wild look in his eyes and the desperate manner of someone who corners you at a party to tell you the Lion King remake was great if you would only give it a chance.
The only legacy she’s left us is busy combing his hair in preparation for his coronation next week.
If she’d managed to keep Boris out of Downing Street Mrs May might have been forgiven. Instead we are in for fresh hard times.
One of her biographers wrote: “Who knows, maybe Boris Johnson will achieve a miracle and inspire a whole country, as he does have that capacity – that charisma, that razzle-dazzle.”
So as Theresa disappears with three clicks of her kitten heels and leaves us to it, “Don’t worry about it.” they say, “he's going to be great.
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