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The Prime Minister, the Woman - Theresa May's Conference Speech 2017

Media outlets will have been waiting for Theresa May to slip up during her speech at the Conservative Conference yesterday (Wednesday) – front pages primed and ready to go. And what they were delivered was newspaper headline gold. The comedian brandishing the P45, the cough which threatened to erase her voice, the letters falling from the backdrop behind her.

The puns came aplenty and quite right too. As an editor you would be a fool not to brandish your front page with 'Theresa May offers the British dream but speech turns into a nightmare' – as the Guardian did or 'Carry on Conference' like the Independent.

But for me yesterday's speech cannot be simplified into a headline if we really want to get to the heart of what was going on.

Some newspapers have hinted at bad luck on Theresa's part but I would argue that's not true. The trilogy of disasters were not Theresa's fault - but they were the fault of those around her. The fact the prankster got into the conference at all shows a severe lapse of security on someone's part. The letters fell off the backdrop because someone didn't make sure they were attached securely enough, while I ask you, have you ever known of a world leader having to deliver a pivotal speech with a cold? I would say no, because they have a crack team of medical professionals around them to ensure they keep in good health.

I argue this shows Theresa's team have started to abandon her - that attention to detail given to any other world leader just wasn't there for her.

What's frustrating is Theresa could have been brilliant yesterday. The speech itself was very good. Her new communications manager needs a big thumbs up for that. It walked the right line between the personal and the political and spoke exactly to the current mood of this country.

The policy which was good was obviously rehashed Labour – we had plans for council housing, a cap on energy prices and a promise to look at university tuition fees. But this is because the Tories realise they have no choice but to introduce some of these measures if they are going to appease much of the British population.

Theresa's referral to her grandmother, a lady's maid, who went on to have three professors and a Prime Minister as grandchildren was inspirational, the apology for calling the election was humbling and her ability to laugh at being called an ice-maiden showed that rather than cold she is actually just reserved.

She talked of the British dream and she certainly encapsulated the stoic British spirit as she battled on despite on a number of occasions nearly losing her voice. This speech could have put her well and truly back in the game but that was never going to happen with her colleagues so half-heartedly behind her.

This will spell the end for Theresa May as Prime Minister and I can't say I have any qualms about that - she has failed to demonstrate she has what it takes, but Theresa May the woman is another matter.


Theresa May the woman gets all my respect. She was brave and determined up there. She revealed her vulnerability and shyness but also the grit and driving ambition which got her up there in the first place. I liked her.

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