I’ve long considered Theresa May a poor Prime Minister and a weak leader. This is mainly due to her terrible performances at PMQ’s, her feeble impressions of Margaret Thatcher and more recently due to her directionless and at times bizarre election campaign. I assumed her reluctance to engage with the population of the country, or debate Jeremy Corbyn during the election were down to her weakness as a person and her fear of confrontation. Today she has proved me wrong.
My heart is breaking for the UK, for London and for Manchester. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would deal with this situation if I were Prime Minister. All I want to do is hold my baby daughter in my arms, draw the curtains around us and tell her what a wonderful place the world is. I want to tell her stories of all the countries I’ve visited and the people I’ve met. I want to tell her what an incredible life she has to look forward to. I want to excite her with the amazing opportunities she will have. I want to hold her and tell her everything will be all right. Because that is all I can do.
If I were the Prime Minister of the UK I couldn’t face the global media, knowing that people all over the country and around world were watching and hanging on my every word. I just couldn’t, I’m not strong enough, I would be a blubbering wreck, I would be a weak leader.
But today, in the wake of the terrible events in London last night, Theresa May showed extreme strength and resilience to stand in front of number 10, for the third time in as many months, to denounce terrorism.
It takes some balls (to use one of her own phrases) and strength of character to be able to speak under such devastating circumstances with such power and defiance, and yet show not a glimmer of empathy, remorse or humanity.
A weaker leader might have buckled under that immense pressure. A weaker leader might have shown some compassion, some emotion. A weaker leader might have admitted reluctantly that they were partly to blame for the current climate that has facilitated these terrible attacks.
A weaker leader might have attempted to shoulder some of that responsibility.
A weaker leader might have mentioned the mistakes that they and their government had made in reducing the budget allocations for security and policing. A weaker leader might have suggested some of these problems were created during their 6-years as Home Secretary.
A weaker leader might have eluded to the devastating effect the recent wars in the Middle East and north Africa have had on global security, and the role of those wars in destabilising the region, creating an environment where poverty, land rights issues, environmental disaster and terrorism can flourish. A weaker leader might have mentioned that all the people that marched in protest and spoke out against those wars probably had a point.
A weaker leader might have apologised for enabling the country to become one of the biggest arms dealers in the world, and talked about the terror funding enquiry that highlights Saudi Arabia as supporters of Islamist jihadis. A weaker leader might perhaps have shown some degree of guilt at selling billions of pounds worth of arms to them.
A weaker leader would possibly have held their hands up and said they could have done more to crack down on racial intolerance and hate crime within the UK, and could probably have done a bit more to encourage social cohesion, and address inequality.
A weaker leader might have owned up to fact that the war on terror has failed, and that extremism and radicalisation is not being dealt with adequately.
A weaker leader might have admitted that showing alliegance to America at the minute is not wise and that being considered an ally of Trump paints us in a similar xenophobic and racist light as him. A weaker leader might have admitted that this friendship will damage our multi-cultural and multi-faith society, and our relationship with the rest of the world.
A weaker leader might have said sorry. It’s what I would have done.
But not Theresa. She demonstrated a hardness and strength of character not seen before in this election period, and for the first time spoke words that the entire population of the UK could unite around and agree upon:
“We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are.
Things need to change…”
That’s the mark of a strong Prime Minister, a strong leader. Someone who is not afraid to speak out and admit that change is necessary. In the middle of an election with so many complex issues to be considered such as health, education, inequality and poverty, security and policing, the economy, Brexit and terrorism. I find myself agreeing with her for the first time in my life. Things do need to change. If Parliament was in session now, she would be facing a motion of no confidence, an election would have to be called. A new government would be sought out. Thankfully we are ahead of the game.
A weaker leader wouldn’t have dared to introduce a new soundbite into the nations’ consciousness at this late stage in the election. A weaker leader wouldn’t have given every newspaper three words with which to write their headlines. A weaker leader wouldn’t have dared do this just 5 days before the country goes to the polls. A weaker leader would never have said.
“Enough is Enough”
It takes some balls to admit that.
I agree with her, it is time to say enough is enough. It is time to kick this self-serving and incompetent government into touch. It is time to bring in a party that believes in equality, believes in peace, and believes in ending discrimination and hate. It is time to stop pretending that we are not collectively all partly responsible for this, and it is time for us to be big enough to admit our mistakes, learn from them and rectify the situation. It is time to stop selling arms to terrorists, and it is time to speak out against the xenophobia and dog-whistle racism that our media scandalously promotes. It is time to properly fund and support our police and security services, and it is time to reward them fairly for their work.
It is time to create an environment of hope and of community and of social cohesion and equality that will not tolerate terrorism. It is time to unite as a country, and it is time to unite as citizens of the world to create a global solution to stop terrorism and inequality. It is time to chose love not hate, and it is time to hold our children in our arms and tell them everything will be OK.
It is time to change.
It is time to vote for change.
On Thursday, make sure you vote – make sure you let Theresa know in no uncertain terms that you agree with her.
Enough is indeed Enough.