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Debate: Theresa May Doesn't Respect Or Trust the Voters

01/06/2017 12:47
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

What good message can we take from Theresa May about her absence from last night's leaders debate?

First option - she isn't very good at debating in a format like that - one where you have to think on your feet and respond in a convincing way. She knows she is not very good at that and didn't want to be seen not doing well. She didn't want to be seen making a go of it.

The problem with the first option is that she is hiding a weakness - not a great advert for her overall abilities as a national leader and someone who says she is the one to lead the Brexit talks.

Second option - she is good or adequate in debates like this but didn't want to be seen arguing with other party leaders in front of an audience not of her own choosing.

Problem with that would be that she considers herself above everyone else, aloof and superior - not evidence of someone who shows respect for others - for the voters.

Third option - she was simply scared.

In any case - whatever the reason - she and her advisors assume that the audience at home are not trustworthy enough to see Theresa May taking part in a democratic debate - not trustworthy to make a judgment about her like grown ups.

If she had attended she would have been picked on - as happened to Amber Rudd - and why not?

They are in Government and in the lead (just) in the polls. The should have respected the viewers enough to make a judgement about her in spite of the adverse circumstances.

Conservative voters would have seen their leader up against adversity, showing a bit of trust in democracy.

Amber Rudd was sent out for her boss and she left the debate with dignity in tact and people at home would have seen that - because they are not stupid.

Amber Rudd may be aloof and patronising and the Conservatives very bad news for poor people and the most vulnerable - but the audience would have seen some courage in her turning up.

If Amber Rudd can do it - why couldn't Theresa May?

Don't send someone else out to do what you wouldn't do yourself is a good maxim for a boss - but this was more than that - this was the very time to show leadership.

In the real world - outside the media and spin doctor bubbles real people respect courage and a leader surely needs that.

Grown ups can look at something like the debate last night a recognise that it was fiery at times - untidy and disorganised at times - but that is democracy and debate. It is far, far more honest and open than the repetition of phrases like "strong and stable" said over and over again.

What is at the heart of this is that Theresa May and 'her team' do not respect or trust ordinary voters enough to make a judgement - and that can't be good for this country. She and they don't even trust core Tory voters enough to have Mrs May show a bit of courage under adversity and earn their respect.

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