Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

A Bake Off style icon and a feline emblem of women's emancipation

The world of British politics has been dominated by the wave of sexual allegations pouring out of Westminster this week. So much so, there has been hardly any talk of Brexit. Perhaps we have left. Has anyone noticed a lack of hummus on the shelves of Tesco? But I, rather unfeelingly, digress.
MPs across all political parties have received accusations of a sexual nature against them, ranging from inappropriate comments and misplaced hands to sexual assault and rape. Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to unite with all other party leaders next week to discuss what must be done to clamp down on this behaviour and deal with the current allegations appropriately.
Of course there have been numerous critics - those who believe we are in some way being unfair to male MPs by bringing these sexual transgressions to the fore. That a man will never be able to chat a woman up in a bar again if we persist in allowing yet another male-dominated area of society to be exposed as misogynistic and …

Older women are missing the point when they say millennials need to 'toughen up' in the face of sexual abuse

It takes a certain type of woman to come out during what can only be seen as a revolutionary time for women's rights and complain. But that is exactly what a number of older, prominent female figures have done since the sex scandal broke at Westminster and it leaves me puzzling, in the most colloquial of terms, 'whose side are they actually on'?
The pervasive idea amongst the women I refer to is that what is going on in the House of Commons as we speak is nothing but a moral panic led by the millennials. They claim that it all comes down to the younger women, who make up much of the MP's staff, not being tough enough to fend off the comments and misplaced hands of their bosses.
They further claim this is some kind of 'millennial revenge' by younger women who carry around with them a sense of disgust towards anyone over 40. Furthermore, they say, women of their generation had a far more robust attitude to men behaving badly, compared to the 'fragile' …

MP's vote on Brexit is a 'con', Johnson's apology a sop, but Theresa May's condemnation of Russia was a triumph

It has been called a 'staggering climbdown' by some but the truth of the matter is, the Government's 11th hour decision to allow Parliament a vote on the Brexit deal is just another example of Tory trickery.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, announced yesterday (Monday) that the final Brexit Withdrawal Bill would be presented to the House of Commons as an Act of Parliament which could be voted on in good time before we leave the European Union.
This was initially seen as a major victory on the part of Labour MPs and Tory rebels who have been calling for several months for Parliament to have their say on the Brexit deal. Davis had previously said there would not be an opportunity for MPs to vote as they anticipated work on the deal would be going on until the last minute before exiting.
But alas the devil is always in the detail and it quickly emerged that whilst MPs will be able to vote on the deal, they will not be able to have any say in the case of a no deal Brexit – …