She failed to be the transformative prime minister she aspired to be
It all started with the breezy gambling of David Cameron to grab the majority seats in the parliament in the 2015 national election at the cost of the Brexit referendum. The aftermath of Cameron’s landslide win in the election itself speaks of how he actually became the victim of his own victory.
Before holding the EU referendum, David Cameron was criticized for his stupid decision. On several occasions, he was called “selfish and reckless.” Shortly after winning the election in 2015, to fulfil a manifesto pledge, he introduced a referendum on the UK’s continuing membership of the EU and declared that he would be campaigning for Britain to remain. Having called the Brexit referendum in the first place, Cameron was attempting to proselytize the austerity in Britain.
In an interview, Donald Tusk sarcastically revealed his feelings of negotiating the Brexit deal with a “Remainer” like David Cameron. Not surprisingly, Cameron’s resignation became inevitable as the situation reached beyond control. Soon after Theresa May assumed the office of prime minister, and losing the majority in the parliament in the 2017 general election, she quite successfully established herself as a zombie prime minister.
The British politics has experienced a new wave of pessimism where “no deal is better than a bad deal” became a mantra -- making Brexit even more disastrous. May’s negotiation strategy was full of aggressive dialogue and threats to the EU.
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, made threats to the EU saying Britain would undercut the EU in a race to the bottom of tax cuts and deregulations which even paved the way to predictable outcomes of a bad deal.
With all her botched negotiation tactics, Theresa May sowed her own fate.
With no productive plan, May’s leadership proved to be an absolute farrago and full of demagoguery and parochialism.
May ended her speech with crocodile tears, describing “the enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love” but throughout the journey, she was committed to her party rather than her country -- something that she inherited from her predecessor, David Cameron.
The homogenization of her personal interest with national interests created further chaos. During her term as prime minister, child poverty was the highest it had been for three decades, and increasing housing crisis across the country adding to the social disorder. The Windrush scandal continued to remind the immigrants of her cruel attitude -- closely linked with “hostile environment policy” during her term as home secretary.
She was silent on this issue until Amber Rudd, who succeeded her as home secretary, resigned to take the burden of blame.
May made history with the rejection of her Brexit agreement by an unprecedented margin of 230 votes. May’s foreign policies were massively criticized for backing Saudi dictatorships -- by selling weapons and causing a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
In the mould of Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May aspired to be a transformative prime minister, and vowed to rectify “burning injustice.”
Instead, with the legacy she left, marked with racism and deportations, May fuelled injustice to a new level.
Shedding tears only for herself rather than other affected people exposed her self-absorbed leadership.
For the epic failure of Theresa May, the United Kingdom will have to rue for many more years.
Pranta Barua is a Barrister-at-Law.