“Selling England by the Pound” is an album by the mythical British progressive rock group Genesis, where the first song starts with the line: “Can you tell me where my country lies?”
At the latest Brexit-dedicated summit, on June 22-23 in Brussels, Theresa May has been told by Jean-Claude Juncker, the powerful EU Commission boss, that her offer to let EU citizens stay after Brexit was ‘insufficient’.
“‘It’s a first step, but that step is not sufficient,” EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at the key Brussels summit.
The EU Commission President said May’s “fair and serious”offer to let millions of EU citizens already living in Britain stay permanently does not go far enough.
Theresa May has so far refused to confirm that EU migrants who arrived after Britain triggered Article 50 in March will be given permanent residency rights after Brexit, and has flatly rejected Brussels‘s proposal to give EU courts the power to prtect their rights into the future.
Who is she? Who is this Theresa May who is now “selling England by the pound”?
A “bloody difficult woman”, said about her a party colleague, the media-savvy Kenneth Clarke.Until the Brexit disaster, she kept being compared with Margaret Thatcher.
A eurosceptic, she discreetly helped Cameron and let Boris Johnson lead the Brexit campaign. When Boris utterly failed and fled, she made him foreign secretary. She was denied any sense of humour by those who know her intimately, but the nomination of Johnson as Foreign Secretary proved everybody to be wrong. An astonished Paddy Ashdown (ex-Leader of the Lib Dems, amongst other things, and ex-High Representative in Bosnia) even tweeted: “Boris as Foreign Secretary is the silliest appointment since Caligula made his horse a Consul.”
Described as “utterly intractable” by a Cameron ally, May proves on the contrary to be extremely careful. Thus, she didn’t take out from the list of new nobles inherited from Cameron the former prime minister’s hairdresser. Theresa May let him on the list, and the hairstylist will be anointed as a Member of the British Empire by the Queen at a ceremony inside Buckingham Palace.
When she was in the opposition, she received systematically the less gratifying shadow ministries: family, environment and others such. Her rival inside the Tory party, Andrea Leadsom, even tried to block her candidature by underlining the fact that May can’t be a good head head of government because she has no children. As soon as she became prime minister, after a short homage to her predecessor Cameron (and keeping the hairdresser on the list of future nobles), she startled with a discourse in which she presented her vision of the society.
A Conservative of the purest breed, she surprised as prime minister with a leftist discourse. The poor, she said, suffer from ill-treated ailments and are excluded from the health system; Blacks receive a harsher treatment in the judicial system; women earn less than men, the education system is underperforming and the young are today unable to buy a home. This can’t go on, she said, asking for a greater control over the salaries of the bankers and the privileged. The “fortunate few”, she menacingly said, will have to pay.
Here are excerpts from what she said:
“If you‘re black you are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you‘re white.
“If you‘re at a state school you‘re less likely to reach the top professions than if you‘re educated privately.
“If you‘re young you will find it harder than ever before to own your own home. We will build a better Britain, not just for the privileged few’.
The former chancellor of the exchequer Osborne dreamed of turning Britain into a fiscal paradise… Theresa May speaks of regulating capitalism. She wants multinationals to pay more taxes. This let many party pundits flabbergasted. Charity is good, indeed, we had it in our program, they thought, but social justice? What the heck! Is she sliding to the left of Jeremy Corbyn? Is she emulating Bernie Sanders? Actually, none of these. She is simply a “bloody difficult woman”.