Theresa May Just Declared She's 'Woke And Proud’. History Might Suggest Otherwise

The former prime minister also claimed she has "always" thought immigration was good for the country.
Theresa May agreed that she was "woke and proud" in an interview with Times Radio
Theresa May agreed that she was "woke and proud" in an interview with Times Radio
via Associated Press

Theresa May has just made a series of surprising claims about her political stance which don’t quite match up with her history.

The former prime minister – who is still a Tory backbencher – has been speaking to interviewers to promote her new book, The Abuse of Power, and has been revisiting her time in No.10 in the process.

In a discussion with the former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson for Times Radio, May was asked if she was, in fact, “woke and proud”.

She said: “I am, yeah!”

She laughed, adding: “It’s a bit like being asked in the old days, was I a feminist? Well, I wore a t-shirt which said ‘This is what a feminist looks like...’”

The ex-prime minister did recognise how the word has been politicised, though, saying she was woke “in the terms of that definition of somebody who recognises that discrimination takes place.”

She added: “Sadly, that term has come to be used... as part of this absolutism and polarisation of politics.”

Woke has become a dogwhistle phrase to criticise progressive, and usually left-wing, politics.

Ruth Davidson speaking to former Prime Minister Theresa May for Times Radio
Ruth Davidson speaking to former Prime Minister Theresa May for Times Radio
Joshua BrattTimes Media Ltd

For instance, current home secretary Suella Braverman recently slammed some police officer for supposedly being too “woke” and taking the knee during the Black Lives Matter protests.

And last October, she blamed the “Guardian-reading, tofu-eating, wokerati” for the disruptive environmental protests.

May does have some progressive credentials. After all, she set up the first ever Race Disparity Audit in 2017, and has repeatedly criticised Braverman’s illegal migration bill.

But, one of her first acts as home secretary was to ensure public bodies no longer had to try and actively reduce inequality.

In 2011, she told the Sunday Telegraph she “personally” thought the Human Rights Act had caused problems in the UK.

In 2016, she suggested the UK should leave the European Convention of Human Rights altogether.

And, during her Times Radio interview, May launched into immigration policies, claiming those who “feel most” about the issue see the “least migration in their communities”.

The Tory MP for Maidenhead noted: “I mean, you look at somewhere like London, which is hugely diverse and it’s not the issue in London that it might be in some other parts of the country.”

Seemingly forgetting that she imposed the “hostile environment” policy during her days as home secretary, May claimed: “I’ve always said that immigration has been good for the country.”

She continued: “But we actually need to ensure that fewer people feel the need to migrate to Western countries like the UK.

“And that’s about international development money.

“It’s about how we help countries develop their own economies. It’s about how we deal with climate change, which will exacerbate migration.”

May’s tightening of immigration restrictions was one of the most prominent policies she implemented while in the home office.

She rejected the EU’s proposed compulsory quota of refugees as home secretary – claiming it was key to help people in war-torn countries, but not the not the ones “who are strong and rich enough to come to Europe”.

In 2015, she said it was “impossible to build a cohesive society” where there is a high rate of immigration.

In 2016, she made the minimum salary for immigrations who have lived in the UK for five years to £35,000 if they wanted to stay here.

And, as PM, she vowed to bring the net migration levels down to less than 100,000.

Still, she seems to be changing her tune recently.

May also told LBC this week that her hostile environment policy was a mistake, saying it was intended for those who came here illegally – not for those who had a right to stay in the UK, apparently alluding to the Windrush Scandal.


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