Theresa May: The Mummy Dissolves?
by Sean Gabb
7th June 2017
Now it is a generation since his more orthodox followers were pointing nuclear missiles at us, it is safe to admit that Karl Marx was rather a good writer. His journalism, in particular, is always worth a read. Here he is, on the fate of the Chinese Empire as it emerged from the first Opium War:
Complete isolation was the prime condition of the preservation of Old China. That isolation having come to a violent end by the medium of England, dissolution must follow as surely as that of any mummy carefully preserved in a hermetically sealed coffin, whenever it is brought into contact with the open air.
I think of these words as often as I look at the pictures of Theresa May. Because Jeremy Corbyn is hated by virtually the whole of the political and media class, she was cried up, through her first ten months in office, as some kind of political giant. She was urged into calling the present election, because everyone important thought it would be a disaster for Mr Corbyn. She obviously believed what she was told, and spent the first week of the campaign smirking at the prospect of a three-figure majority. Then, even the combined BBC and media oligarchs were unable to prevent us from taking a good look at the woman, and concluding that she was probably unfit to run a jumble sale.
I doubt she will lose. Bad as she is, she is our best chance of leaving the European Union, and that will surely be enough to get the Conservatives another majority. The prospect of a Labour-Scottish Nationalist coalition may also bring out the votes in England. But, unless the opinion polls are more unreliable than usual, she will emerge from this election personally humiliated.
This being said, I will not pass to making predictions. I have none to make. Nor will I presume to ask people to vote other than as they have already decided. I will instead say what I want to happen once tomorrow’s votes have been counted.
I want the Conservatives to go to bed on Friday morning with a majority of twenty – most of these few extra seats gained on balance in Scotland and from the Liberal Democrats. Twenty will be enough to get us out of the European Union. After all, the Labour Party is just as committed to withdrawal, and no one can call a small majority insufficient mandate for taking us out. Keep the woman in Downing Street for the simple purpose of making a deal with the Europeans. Otherwise, keep laughing at her, and waiting for the moment when we can find a better class of politician than her and the ludicrous non-entities she has appointed to her Cabinet.
Her evident lack of political skills aside, what has soured my view of her is her response to the terrorist attacks of the past few weeks. The plain way to prevent a re-enactment of the London Bridge Massacre is to change the law, so that persons over the age of thirty-five, and of good character, and after an appropriate course of training, should be allowed to carry firearms for their own defence and for the defence of the wider public. The Police cannot be expected to be on hand every time someone puts his foot on an accelerator pedal, or pulls out a carving knife. An armed and vigilant public would have stopped the Massacre in as long as it takes to release the safety catch on a hand gun. That would also tend to deter most suicide bombings and shootings. One of the reasons why these attacks are so rare in countries like America and Israel is that the people have guns, and know how to use them. One of the reasons they happen here is that we are as disarmed and generally powerless as chickens in a coop.
The Theresa May approach, however, is to call for the Internet to be censored. The morning after the London Bridge Massacre, she said:
We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide…. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.
I do not believe that any amount of censorship will stop videos from being posted and messages from being exchanged. The world is a big place, and there are too many other governments with more commitment to free speech – or to the relevant objects – for what we are told is the purpose of new censorship laws. I believe the real purpose of the laws will be to harass the nationalist right in this country, and to enable a new attempt to ban pornography. I will not deny that the Prime Minister is troubled when people blow themselves up close by us, or set about us with lesser weapons of destruction. What really keeps her sweating in bed, though, is the thought that millions of people are masturbating in front of their computers. That has been one of the continuing obsessions of her time in politics.
So we are in the unfortunate position of needing a Conservative Government – but we cannot afford a Conservative Government with anything amounting to a blank cheque. I repeat my wish for a majority of twenty.
Another reason for wanting a small majority is that I have been forced to change my mind on Mr Corbyn. For the avoidance of doubt, I have not forgotten his collaboration with Sinn Fein/IRA. But that was then. This is now. We need someone on the opposition benches who will keep demanding judicial oversight of the security services, and some regard for due process of law where normal policing is concerned. We cannot afford some Blairite clone, pledging cross-party support for a bigger police state than we now have.
Another reason for wanting a respectable Labour performance is that it would be a big two-finger salute to the establishment media. We have been told the most awful things about Mr Corbyn – not all of them true, and not all of them relevant. It was funny when his legions of Trotskyites elected and then re-elected him to the Labour leadership. It would be funnier still if millions of ordinary people ignored the flood of denunciation, and gave him reason for staying on as leader of his party. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, I would not wish him to be the Prime Minister. That would not at all be funny. But a respectable performance tomorrow would be useful to tell the political and media class how little it is trusted or obeyed.
I will vote Conservative tomorrow. I am even a member of the Conservative Party, and I have agreed to go knocking up in the evening. But I would not have anyone think I was doing more than to choose the lesser of evils.
If I have persuaded anyone to vote other than as already decided, this was not my intention. My sole intention has been to explain the limited support I am giving to a woman I profoundly despise.