Brace yourselves. Today heralds the ushering in of a so-called new era in British politics. Wednesday 13th July is a day which will henceforth be seen as the harbinger of 'monumental change', a 'seismic shift' in the balance of poitical power between the genders. In the best traditions of that bloated and iconic anachronism that is the Palace of Westminster, two and a half decades of morally myopic rule and cabinet dominance by the doe eyed sons of the establishment elite will be swept away by the morally myopic aspirations of the doe eyed daughters of the establishment elite as they take charge of the UK Government.
It is inevitable that Theresa May will be subject to endless comparisons with Margaret Thatcher: They both hail from the same neoliberal hawkish ideology, they are both arch tories, and they both advocate socially cancerous poicies aimed solely at achieving the goal of dividing further the poorest and most vulnerable in society in order to serve the best interests of the top 1%. Sadly, the new Prime Minister will also suffer endless attacks based entirely on her gender. Not only is that wrong, it is a disgusting vehicle by which she will be allowed to escape the scrutiny she deserves as the pedaller of an unabashedly toxic agenda. This Conservative government has, since it clambered into bed with it's yellow sacrifical virgins back in 2010, set about dismantling the NHS, Education, the Welfare State, the Land Registry, the list goes on and on.
The cosy summer afternoon chats in the Downing Street gardens between Septic Clegg and Cameron are still billiously fresh in my mind, repeated claims that this ideological vandalism was perpetrated in the 'national interest' still ring loudly in my ears. The British public allowed themselves to be duped into believing that this was all done for the common good. The cancerous smears of the Murdoch press, and the acidic bleatings of the Daily Mail et al convinced many that austerity was something to be applauded, even as their own prospects and those of their children didn't so much shuffle back in time, they actually moonwalked to a samba beat all the way back to the era of Dickens and Bronte!
Only a few weeks ago, the British public again allowed themseves to be hoodwinked, as just under 52% of the electorate were convinced of the need to shed themselves of EU membership. In a repeat of the previous theme, ordinary working people voted starkly against their own best interests, with many of the poorest areas, where EU grants are most keenly needed to aid regeneration and job creation, returning the strongest vote in favour of leaving. The usual suspects in the British press carry responsibility for pushing the slanted agenda that convinced so many that Boris Johnson would ride to our rescue and save us from straight bananas, and swimming holidays in EU milk lakes for evermore. On refection, it is safe to say that the leave campaign was not Boris' finest hour.
So, on two occasions of massive national importance, the electorate have been influenced unduly by the fractious agendas of billionaire press barons. I can only hope that we avoid a dangerous hat trick when it comes to the new PM. A cursory glance at May's voting record illustrates her motivation and belief. An opponent of gay marriage, the right of EU nationals who already reside here to remain post-Brexit, an enthusiastic supporter of ever more swingeing welfare cuts and draconian curbs placed on the working poor and the disabled, an avid cheerleader of every effort to strip democratic trade unions of legitimate rights and power, and the purveyor of some of the most repressive and invasive legislation in history during her time as Home Secretary. Believe it when it is claimed that May has the potential to be every bit as divisive, monstrous, and hawkish as Cameron, Thatcher, Regan, Bush, and every other leading right wing exponent of misery and inequality.
I think it is a very good thing to see a woman as Prime Minister. It is a welcome development to see the cabinet populated by more female ministers, as is reported will happen during May's re-shuffle. But let us not be distracted by the gender debate in this specific instance, as valid as that debate is on a wider footing. The fact that Theresa May is a woman is irrelevant. She should not be judged on that basis, she should be judged on her shameful and reprehensible stance on most issues. It is surely an insult to every single able, articulate and ambitious woman to allow ourselves to be blinded to Theresa May's failings on policy and political outlook, simply on the grounds that she is female.
She is every bit as canny, strong, and cunning as her predeccessor, and the other beige politicos who have gone before her into and out of Downing Street, probably more so in fact. She is every bit as embroiled in the Westminster game as the men, and we cannot forget that as she takes charge of the country. Her supporters, shady donors, and cheerleaders in the gutter press will fire the glitter cannons of cultural revolution in a bid to make voters rejoice, despite the foundations upon they build their lives being washed from under them by a caustic sea of media assisted conservative dominance of the airwaves. The truth is that despite the change, everything will remain depressingly constant. The poor will continue to suffer, the press will continue to castigate them, and the elite will continue to dominate politics. Their job is to maintain the status quo. Ours is to ensure that we don't score a devastating hat trick by taking our eye off the real story.