Full disclosure up front: I don’t understand British politics. I don’t think many Americans do. Understanding our own is elusive enough. This said, I believe I’ve spotted a problem the Tories have that should be obvious on both sides of the Atlantic. Heck, folks watching BBC News in Papua New Guinea have probably picked up on it.
I subscribe to an email website called Conservative Home, which I believe to be the official site of UK’s Conservative Party. The mast head declares: “The Home of Conservatism.” On the evidence of what I read there, conservatism in Britain is homeless. One could read the pronouncements and polemics on CH for weeks without tripping over anything most Americans would consider conservative. And much of it appears contradictory. So as for understanding policy according to British Tories, I have nothing to declare.
But what is blindingly clear is that the Tories were burdened in last week’s election by a prime minister who is one of the most boring speakers in the political history of the planet. Theresa May is even more boring than our Hillary. (Hillary at least says enough outrageous things to keep us awake.) As long as La May remains PM and appears on television, narcolepsy will be epidemic in Old Blighty.
C’mon, you’ve seen her on TV. You know I’m right about this.
It’s hard to imagine any voter being excited enough by a Theresa May speech to want to rush out and vote Tory. It’s enough of a challenge for said voter to stay awake through the experience. Theresa is Gordon Brown without the charisma. (And when he was PM, Health and Safety required that Brown’s speeches carry the warning: “Do not drive or operate heavy equipment for at least two hours after hearing a Gordon Brown speech.” When he spoke, tens of thousands of unsuspecting motorists who left their car radios on were trapped on British highways, particularly around London, dozing for hours until the effects wore off. Snoring could be heard as far north as Aberdeen.)
The Brits have had two women PMs. Both Tories. But it’s hard to find two people less alike than Theresa May and the late Maggie Thatcher. Agree with her or not, no one went to sleep while Maggie held the floor. She was a conviction politician and there was never a doubt when she spoke what those convictions were. Au the contraire, there’s not enough NoDoz on the Sceptered Isle to keep the UK awake for another election with the seemingly rudderless Therezzzza May at the top of the ticket. Many Tories today are urging Mrs. May to step aside for the good of the party. There are alternatives to her, these folks assert, with both a pulse and a purpose. I can see why these folks are urging this, even though I have no dog in the hunt. (No fox either.)
One can find historical examples of vacuous parties that enjoyed some success thanks to lively and articulate spokesmen who managed to obscure the nothingness. But vacuous parties with vacuous leaders are destined for the oblivion they so richly deserve.
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