Theresa May, life comes at you fast

Theresa May, life comes at you fast
Image credit: Vimeo

One of my favourite memes on social media at the moment is ‘life comes at you fast’, a caption often accompanying tweets or pictures which show that circumstances can change all too quickly. The meme is perhaps ideal in describing the fiasco in which the Prime Minister, whose political life is coming at her like lightning, has found herself these past few weeks. With cabinet members bowing out disgracefully, the media frenzy reaching fever pitch and the plotters within her party closing in, Theresa May must make a move - and fast.

In just seven days, two of her ministers resigned, one after having apparently only just realised his behaviour towards colleagues in the past fell “below the high standards” expected in the armed forces he represented and the other after having failed to disclose private meetings with Israeli officials. Fortunately for Michael Fallon and Priti Patel, though, Theresa May has very little authority left after the disastrous election campaign earlier this year, so they were granted the dignity of resigning rather than being sacked outright. As they sit comfortably a little further back in the chamber, May will undoubtedly be sitting rather less comfortably in Number 10, perhaps leafing nervously through the removal van section of the yellow pages.

It isn't just the PM's future that looks uncertain either, as her Foreign Secretary's career is now being eyed up by the buzzards. Calls for Boris Johnson's resignation have been splashed all over the media, both conventional and social, with MPs from both sides of the house throwing criticism his way as he dangles, as if suspended ungainly on a rusty zip-wire, helpless above the throng. This was his own doing, of course. His ill-advised remarks about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a woman enjoying a holiday in Iran, where some of her family resides, cast doubt about her motives and ultimately led to further uncertainty about how long she'd be imprisoned by the Iranian courts. This, according to Nazanin's husband, has left her feeling on the brink of a nervous breakdown; though in the same statement he threw Johnson a lifeline, stating clearly that his wife was not interested in seeing people resign over this matter. It seems to be the case, however, that unless Boris can secure Zaghari-Ratcliffe's freedom, he will have to get on his bike.

And that's not all. Damian Green, First Secretary of State, is another of the Prime Minister's 99 problems. Green, her deputy, is currently under investigation following a claim from an ex-police chief that he stored "extreme" pornography on his parliamentary computer. This came after an allegation against the minister of sexual abuse from academic and writer Kate Maltby.

Theresa May, then, is standing atop a cabinet with all the structural integrity of candy floss as we hurtle towards the date she set in stone for exiting the European Union (to which, by the way, we're over halfway). At the moment she appears powerless, defensive and less charismatic than the newly unveiled Theresa May waxwork at Madame Tussaud's. To my mind, there's only one thing for it. May must do what she did at the very beginning of her premiership - take the initiative, have a reshuffle and get any distracting troublesome ministers out of the way; except you and I know why she can't do this. The plotters in her party would be emboldened and potentially legitimised, May would be ousted and, before long, some poor Ted Baker employee somewhere in Surrey would be helping Michael Gove pick out a new suit.

It is possible that the Prime Minister has noble reasons for holding on. Her commitment to 'stability' seems to be unwavering, though she may have categorically failed in her endeavours up to now. ‘Stable’ the cabinet ain’t. It is more like a crumbly sandcastle around which May's hands clasp tightly. And as chunks fall off, she'd be well advised not to look forward - the tide is coming in. Life, you could say, is coming at her fast. 

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