Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
When writing about Brexit, the most common, almost comical phrase used is that this is the “most turbulent time in British politics since…”
The UK has had its fair share of unstable political issues in recent history, including World War Two, The Suez Crisis, The Miners’ Strike, The Iraq War, Gordon Brown calling Gillian Duffy a bigot (she was) or any number of events which seemed like the end of time. Putting the tendency of the British press to sensationalise everything to one side, it’s important to recognise that even though life will continue after Brexit, we are still living through a moment that will shape this country for generations.
There is no doubt that leaving the European Union is a complex and painstaking task. However, the narrative whenever negotiations stall is that we should feel sorry for Theresa May, a noble woman persevering in a tough job. This is nauseating. Brexit is a crisis of her own making.
Theresa May’s direction has only served to estrange us from our closest allies. Many still pander to the ridiculous belief that we have a “special” relationship with the United States, or (driven by a case of imperial nostalgia) think that “our” Commonwealth countries are going to bend over backwards as soon as we leave. However, our closest diplomatic and trading relationships are with EU members. Theresa May alienated them from the moment she assumed her premiership and declared herself a ‘bloody difficult woman’ instead of negotiating from a position of respect. The EU has argued that the UK’s deal is constrained by ‘red lines’. These conditions were placed down by May to appease her far right colleagues who want to see the UK leave a customs arrangement with the EU. This, however, only covers the calamity of the negotiation process. Theresa May sewed the seeds of the crisis by activating Article 50 without cabinet consensus on the desired outcome of negotiations. After this botched beginning, her position was weakened further by calling a general election after the process of leaving began.
Finally, I have no sympathy for May because outside of Brexit she has supported discriminatory decrees. She has a history of voting for homophobic legislation, including voting against equalising the age of consent and the right for gay couples to adopt. She voted for British military involvement in Iraq, an unjustified conflict which has resulted in countless civilian deaths. In her roles as Home Secretary and Prime Minister, she has been responsible for morally repulsive policies, such as the ‘hostile environment policy’ and the Windrush scandal, where British citizens were detained, denied medical attention and, in some cases, lost their jobs. Furthermore, May has a horrific record on welfare issues. Over 2,000 people have died after being declared fit for work under her legislation in the Home Office, while her government has been warned by the United Nations for systematically undermining the rights of the disabled people.
With this history of inhumane heartlessness, there is no justification for sympathising with Theresa May. She has made her uncomfortable bed. Now she must face the nightmare consequences.