Thursday, 9 March 2017

New Statesman letter on May`s Disraelian tendency

Jason Cowley sensibly asked Theresa May whether she was "a Thatcherite or a One nation Tory", getting the typically vague,"I`m a conservative", in reply (May`s method, 10th February, 2017). On current evidence, our prime minister is an archetypal Disraelian, with her government already having many parallels with the 1874-80 administration of the infamous "political opportunist", and founder of "One nation" Toryism.
 The rhetoric is similar; like Disraeli`s promise to "improve the condition of the people", May speaks about "the need to create a society that works for everyone, not just the few". Sadly, the similarities can be seen in the results, too. The grammar schools which May favours, can only ever benefit a tiny fraction, to the detriment of the majority, whilst her actions overall resemble the "window-dressing" reforms of the 1870s; the climb-down over workers` representatives on boards is akin to the permissive nature of so many of Disraeli`s reforms. like the Artisans` Dwellings Act.
    Even May`s trip to the White House, which she mysteriously describes as a "resounding success", can be likened to Disraeli`s Berlin visit, where he claimed "peace with honour", despite "backing the wrong horse". Although his government passed a Public Health Act, Disraeli showed little concern for workers` health, worryingly close to May`s refusal to say more, in the Q&A section, than it was "an interesting period", when referring to Attlee and the NHS.
      In fact, it was both surprising and disappointing not to see more of the interview devoted to her plans for the NHS. With clearly a crisis exiting in our hospitals, with shortage of beds available, and operations cancelled as a result, a question asking why May`s government chose to blame GPs might have proved enlightening!

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