The Tempest

Strange Bedfellows

Anyone who knows me knows that my daughters are central to my thinking in just about every way (except music, I don’t know what it is they are listening to but it ain’t music) and politics is a major factor in all of our lives so the overlap is enormous. I make most of my judgements on what is politically right based on how it impacts, or might impact, them.

I don’t want anyone else to be making choices regarding their bodies when they grow up, for example and  I am pro-indy because I think they should be able to rise as far as their talents will let them; The London-centric old boys network that is UK politics does not seem conducive to that.

Bear with me on this. I was delighted lately to be able to take them to see Wonder Woman. A strong and powerful woman with a moral centre and her own agenda. What’s not to like? Truth told it was a bit much for my youngest but they both still loved it. A reaction echoed around the world by girls young and old.

And now, finally, it seems that the country is in the hands of women.

And how I had hoped for more. Are men better than women? Absolutely-fucking-not. I have never thought so and never will. But a small part of me had hoped that women would be better than men. It turns out they aren’t.

The moves made lately are typical of political operatives be they male or female and a cynical call to the polls has resulted in the three above coming together in an unholy alliance.

misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Does Arlene Foster have any affection for Theresa May? We may never know but I doubt it. What we do know is that her beliefs are anathema to Ruth Davidson. Do we think for one moment that Theresa May was looking forward to dealing with Arlene? Of course not, this government has tried its hardest to ignore the issues in Northern Ireland.

Who among us had really been following the breakdown of powersharing at Stormont? Go on, be honest. I know I have spent more time watching the Trump Train Wreck than I have watching events in Ulster – and I used to bloody live there!

The DUP leader holds the whip hand with her 10 MPs but then the exact same thing can be said can be said about Ruth and her 13 staunch combatants. Somehow, we have no idea how, Theresa May has to keep them both happy. The DUP are going to be looking for extra cash and if Ruth doesn’t get the same then neither Kezia nor Nicola are going to be shy about shouting the odds in Holyrood.

If Mrs May had just that to deal with then maybe she would look forward with some small glimmer of hope. She still could, if she would stop reacting to individual issues as they arise…


Shame about the Brexit thing. She has to negotiate a complex trade relationship with a party standing behind her that is nowhere near unified. If Ruth asks for a soft Brexit and the 1922 committee ask for hard then who does she serve?

Theresa May might be forgiven for thinking she has been somewhat unlucky.  Sure, even someone like the PM has to admit that she has made a few errors of judgement.  The Dementia Tax can’t really be placed at anyone else’s door; the attack at Borough Market though?

That just happened to highlight the police cuts as we went into the final days of the campaign and I am sure Theresa will be telling herself that had it not occurred then she might not be having meetings with Arlene.

Equally, Brexit was not her doing. She’s been dealt a bad hand as a new Prime Minister. Take the election campaign  – that strategy could also be placed at other doors besides No 10.

Lynton Crosby might take a little blame  and the disgraced advisors might take a little more…

And now there is the Grenfell tower – I am not English, nor do I live in London but you would have to be inhuman (or a vicar’s daughter) to be unmoved by the stories coming out of this horrible, horrible event – an event that does not play well for her either.

Can you blame the Grenfell tower directly on Theresa May? I doubt it. Can you hound other Tories for their housing policies and their votes on building regulations? More likely, much more likely.

So Theresa might understandably be sitting in No 10 moaning like a teenager convinced that it does, actually, all happen to her. It is Boris in the meeting telling someone to get stuffed. It is Cameron on video promising to gut the Health & Safety community. Not Theresa’s fault at all.

Problem after problem, blow after blow.

But it doesn’t have to be.

What we are seeing is the logical result of flawed thinking – for decades (yes, I include the other parties in this) we have seen an adherence to political and economic policies that increase inequality. Am I saying that Theresa May decided Manchester could suffer an attack and it would be all right? No, I am not. Neither am I saying anything similar about the  attack in London. But the police cuts were made in the name of an economic policy that benefits corporations and the wealthy. Would the events have happened if we had not made these cuts? We will never know. But the Police think they would have had a better chance.

And the fire services are also cut to the bone.

As is the NHS.

One cannot draw a line between decisions and consequences in these cases. It’s just not that simple – but what we are seeing, in my opinion, is more than just a streak of bad luck.

Inevitable unless they find their humanity

This is a tempest conjured out of politics. By ignoring the population and simply assuming that we will get by whatever privation is visited upon us the people at the top (who happen to be women at the moment) guarantee further problems. Like continental plates pressing against one another something has to give sooner or later. A build up of pressure can only be released by an earthquake, preceded by tremors. Theresa, you are now feeling the tremors.

This isn’t going to stop because life doesn’t do that. There will be a train wreck, or a bridge collapse or… it doesn’t matter what the actual event is. The upshot will be yet another graphic example of how the political class have weakened the fabric of our society. They have set it up to serve the few and it can be no surprise then when it fails to meet our needs. You can’t expect it to carry all our weight when the politicians have been removing the supports year after year.

No, there will be more events, more tremors and what needs to be done is to evacuate the political area you currently inhabit. The lower orders have been treated like kine for long enough and are you surprised that they are turning to Jeremy Corbyn?  A man who sees them as people (or at least, gives that impression) is about to upend your precious order if you are not careful.

Strangely, he is doing it using tools that would once have been labelled as women’s specialities. Compassion, caring, empathy and a focus on things other than money and war. Theresa May, Ruth Davidson and Arlene Foster are playing the game of the past and ignoring the warning shocks of the future – which is a shame.

We always hoped that female leaders would bring these aspects to the world of politics and now it seems they will… in the form of a middle-aged bloke.


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