The search for answers as to why Theresa May performed so spectacularly badly goes on and will, no doubt, continue to be debated and analysed. In my opinion there were three pivotal moments in the 7 week campaign and these occurred quite close together which led to the Prime Minister’s rapid decline in the polls which translated into a crash on election day.
1. On 15 May Cathy, a woman with learning disabilities, confronted Theresa May and told her that she wanted her Disability Living Allowance back and that she wanted someone to help her because she didn’t have a carer. Mrs May’s response about how much the government was doing for ‘mental health’ issues clearly demonstrated that she had not grasped the basics of what constituted mental health and what learning disabilities were. Coming across as a Prime Minister who was clearly out of touch, to quote a cliché, she further never gave assurances that welfare benefits would not further be cut.
2. On 2 June, during a BBC leaders’ Q&A, the Prime Minister was asked by a nurse in the audience whether she (the PM) was able to sleep well while NHS staff had to use Foodbanks because of the cap on public sector pay. Theresa May answered that ‘there were many complex reasons” and that hard choices” had to be made across the public sector. She further told the nurse that there was no ‘magic tree’ for pay rises. Twitter was soon seeing angry tweets about how £435 billion was produced through Quantitative Easing (QE) to save the banks. Others took umbrage at public sector workers being asked to make sacrifices while large corporations escaped having to pay their full liability of taxes.
3. A young woman who had waited 18 months for an NHS appointment over mental health issues told the Prime Minister about the harsh treatment that she had received during a fitness to work assessment. The young woman alleged that she was insulted and that no compassion was shown towards a previous attempt that she had made to commit suicide.
Things don’t seem to be getting better post election. Following the fire at Grenfell Tower Mrs May made two visits – one to speak to the emergency services and the other to patients being treated in hospital for fire effects. Both times she did NOT excel and was booed for not interacting with the crowds gathered who consisted of people who had to flee their flats in Grenfell Tower.
What is going on with her? My firm belief is that the Tory government are absolute slaves to the ideology of Neoliberalism and will not deviate from it even if it strips them of their humanity in the most wretched of circumstances.