THE BLOG

Dithering, Delaying And Ducking The Big Issues - Theresa May's First 100 Days Have Set The Tone For The Rest Of Her Term

21/10/2016 10:08
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

On the 13 July Theresa May strode though the door of Number 10 Downing Street at the start of one of the most tumultuous summers in politics we have ever seen. She spoke of combating burning injustice, helping those who were just managing, struggling to get by. They were strong words and an assured performance from someone who claimed a reputation of delivery following years in the Home Office.

However the actions that have followed have been anything but assured. Theresa May's first 100 days have been characterised by U-turns, dithering, delaying and ducking the big issues when they have confronted the Government. When faced with the biggest issues facing the country - from Brexit, to infrastructure, our economy and the future of our young people, Theresa May has shown she has no answers to the big issues - and it is already defining her time in office.

Not content with the instability caused by the Brexit vote, Theresa May added fuel to the fire by appointing three separate people with responsibility for redefining our relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. No sooner had David Davis and disgraced Minister, Liam Fox, been appointed they were being admonished by Number 10 for offering answers on Brexit that they didn't like. However it's hard to know what to believe when Theresa May has been so unclear on how we will leave the European Union.

We still don't know if we will remain a member of the single market or whether our companies will retain tariff free access to our largest export market. The confusion has sent sterling into a nosedive and it's the British people who will lose out for this indecision as price rises begin to bite.

When it comes to some of the biggest infrastructure decisions for the country - namely our airport expansion - Theresa May would rather give into backbench pressure and delay instead of showing real leadership and move forward with an issue that has hung over the country for years. Is it any wonder that the Chief Executive of Amsterdam Schiphol airport sends Heathrow executives a cake every time the decision gets delayed - they've profited for years from Government indecision and it doesn't look like it will change anytime soon. Whatever the view on airport capacity, we need a decision soon. Uncertainty helps no one.

When it comes to the future of our education system and the life chances of our young people, the Prime Minister would rather divert our attention with a backward looking policy in grammar schools than face up to the reality that our schools are struggling to recruit and retain enough teachers for the future.

And as our NHS faces an unprecedented financial crisis; with our A&E departments under huge pressure and millions of people stuck on NHS waiting lists, her priority has been to tell foreign doctors and nurses that they will no longer be welcome in a future NHS. When asked to offer guarantees that we will not face another winter crisis this year she could offer no reassurance to the British people or NHS bosses.

As Theresa May completes her first 100 days as Prime Minister, she has set the tone for the rest of her term. Unable to take the big decisions or offer reassurance on the big issues she has left the country in a state of confusion over Brexit with our currency plummeting in value and our NHS in crisis. She would rather return to failed education system from a bygone day than address our teacher recruitment crisis. And instead of signalling that Britain is open for business by resolving our airport capacity issues in the South once and for all she's caved into pressure from her own party. Rather than show leadership she threatens to be defined by her weakness - she offers no answers to the issues we face as a country and it is the British people who stand to lose out.

Andrew Gwynne is the shadow minister without portfolio and Labour MP for Denton and Reddish

Comments

CONVERSATIONS