7 Things we Learned About Theresa May this Week
Theresa May gave a series of interviews on Tuesday morning (4 Oct.). Let’s see what she said about herself and the UK.
1. Britain will not be a “supplicant” in its talks with the EU, but a strong participant:
She said that: “I want that relationship to be the right deal for the UK and the best possible deal in terms of trade with the EU. I want British businesses to be able to trade with the EU, and operate within the EU, and EU businesses to be able to operate here in the UK. I think that makes sense for both sides of the argument.”
She added: “I did, indeed, campaign to remain inside the European Union. I also said in my speech at the beginning of that campaign that I didn’t think the sky would fall in if we were to leave the European Union – it was a balanced judgment.”
While her position on Brexit is not clear, she appears hopeful and optimistic on striking a good deal with the EU.
But Polly Toynbee is warning:
“May and her party had better relish every moment. Today Brexit can mean whatever anyone wants it to, and the EU will knuckle under because we are Great Britain and they need us more than we need them. But this time next year the government will be knee-deep and sinking fast in the quicksands of real negotiations, forced to confront what their party has brought upon us.”
2. UK Businesses:
She said: “They know it’s not going to be plain sailing, there will be bumps in the road, and they want certainty as soon as possible about what the future holds. But the attitude I’m hearing is, yes, the people have decided, the UK will be leaving the EU – actually, let’s now come together and make sure we grasp the opportunities that will be available.”
However, as a Bloomberg report shows, three senior figures in May’s administration, who prefer to remain anonymous, said that after Brexit the government’s priority won’t be the security of the financial services sector. The report also said that May’s attitude is different than that of Cameron when it comes to the City of London’s financial district. There is a tension between financial firms and the government, and the fact that companies are threatening to move to Paris, Frankfurt or Dublin is not doing them any good but damages their business and relationship to the government.
She said: “It’s not changed, in the sense we think net migration should be at sustainable levels. We think those levels are the tens of thousands. Of course, once we leave the EU, there will be the opportunity to control movements coming from the European Union. I think, crucially, what people voted for on 23 June was for their government to be able to make those decisions.”
Evidence shows, however, that migrants are a benefit to the economy. The target of tens of thousands is impossible to meet. The Institute of Directors criticised this position, especially when the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, presented it in detail at the conference earlier on Tuesday.
4. What makes her angry?:
She answered: “Injustice. What makes me angry? Child sexual abuse, modern slavery, when we see the powerful abusing their position. That’s what makes me angry.”
5. What kind of woman is she?:
Nick Ferrari asked if she was okay with Tory former cabinet minister Kenneth Clarke’s description of her as a “bloody woman.”
She replied: “Actually what he said, and I don’t normally swear, was I was a “bloody difficult woman”. Well, you know, Ken and I had our interesting debates in the past, and I stand by, doing what I believe to be the right thing. And if standing up for what you believe to be right is being “bloody difficult”, then so be it.
6. What she didn’t say:
We also learned things from what she didn’t say. Obviously, she didn’t mention the fall of the pound. She avoided answering questions about cutting inheritance tax or when the target of cutting migration below 100,000 a year will be achieved. The answer to the above would probably be “never” or simply “I don’t know.” She also didn’t say whether she prefers Trump or Clinton to win the US presidential election or whether she is for or against Brexit. The single answer to both would probably be “I don’t really mind.” As she said, the sky wouldn’t fall in if we were to leave the EU.
When asked by Piers Morgan if she had any regrets, she replied: “Piers, do you think I’m going to tell you those on Good Morning Britain. Nice try Piers I think is the answer to that one.”
7. Soft or Hard butter when making scones?
May’s scones’ recipe appeared on the Sunday Times. On Good Morning Britain she also gave a few tips how to use butter when making scones: “Well, you have to rub it in with the flour, and it is often easier actually if it is hard, you can get a good rub in. If it is too soft, then it starts to become a bit claggy.” Like with soft or hard Brexit, here May favours hard butter because “you can get a good rub in.” Maybe when the time comes and the EU will be getting a good rub in, as UK’s “great” ambitions and protectionism start to melt like butter, might not be such a good thing in the end.
But, maybe, the best way to make a scone, like the best way to run a country, is, perhaps, by getting tips from others—especially by those who have also been practicing politics and … making scones since the early 1500s.
But there is still hope for May. If the Great British Take off negotiations fail, May can always replace Mary Berry on the Great British Bake off.