As I See It
May deserves sympathy not condemnation
That would be a crude evaluation of Theresa May’s decision to go to the country and her response to seeing her gamble backfire.
The account in a new book of her repeatedly breaking down in tears after seeing the Tory majority shredded have lifted a personal lid on the pressures of high office.
Did someone really advise sending an SAS officer to speak to her about “resilience”? That seems a little extreme and even patronising.
The Sunday Times, which is serialising the book, chooses to focus on reports that the Queen’s senior courtiers were exasperated that Mrs May “misled” Her Majesty over the deal with the Democratic Unionist Party which took 17 days to nail down.
The most extraordinary claim is that the hold up in the talks delayed the Queen’s Speech, the state opening of parliament and disrupted her plans for Royal Ascot. The Queen may be keen on her horse racing, and be a stickler for Royal protocol, but having to delay her attendance at a race meeting hardly adds up to a constitutional crisis.
Mrs May has her detractors who believe the job is too big for her. She is not regarded as being “easy company”, and she badly misjudged the Grenfell tragedy by failing to meet those residents made homeless when she visited the burned out tower.
That said, it would have been far more gracious of The Sunday Times to have approached the story with more sympathy for the woman struggling to run the country than for one who whose social calendar was being inconvenienced.
Mrs May was thrust into office because of a misjudgement and a badly run EU referendum campaign by her predecessor. She suddenly found herself handed a major problem – Brexit – that she didn’t want. No one, including the Brexiteers and their chief cheerleaders UKIP, had properly prepared for it (if they did why have they not presented their plan as to what we’re supposed to do next?).
It is therefore not surprising that Mrs May and her Cabinet are floundering and divided. They did not have a plan and they are attempting to find one quickly to fulfil the wish of the people.
The Prime Minister, driven to tears because she felt she had let her party and the country down by calling the general election, is condemned for being weak and discourteous. She ought to be judged on her record, not her emotions.
When Andy Murray cried after his failure to win his first Wimbledon final he won the heart of the nation. We are constantly told that failure should not be frowned upon in business. A politician who tries and fails is never afforded the same courtesy. Perhaps those who point the finger are the ones showing real weakness.