You’re Fired: Comedian Gives May her P45
Theresa May gave her speech today to the Conservative Conference in Manchester, as the comedian and serial prankster Simon Brodkin, also known as Lee Nelson, evaded security and interrupted her speech to hand her over a fake P45. As he was escorted by security outside the room, Brodkin said that “Boris told me to do it.”
Brodkin waved the P45 at May for a few seconds, before he stood next to Boris for half a minute. He later tweeted: “Hi Boris Johnson, I gave Theresa her P45 just like you asked.”
Brodkin might have interrupted May’s speech, but she was already under a lot of stress. She was unable to speak due to a cough, despite chancellor Hammond giving her a lozenge, while, behind her, letters were falling off from the slogan on the wall: “Building a country that works for everyone.”
In her speech, May apologised for the election campaign and promised more houses, but failed to offer more clarity about Brexit. It was a speech that was meant to strengthen her position and confirm that she is fit for the job. Despite her cough.
She said that her campaign was “too scripted,” and apologised to activists, an apology that was welcomed from her audience. She also gave the reasons why she continues being committed to her job: “people ask me why I put myself through it – the long hours, the pressure, the criticism and insults that inevitably go with the job – I tell them this: I do it to root out injustice and to give everyone in our country a voice.”
She offered a hopeful message to generations to come as she promised: “It has always been a great sadness for me and Philip that we were never blessed with children. It seems some things in life are just never meant to be. But I believe in the dream that life should be better for the next generation as much as any mother, any father, any grandparent. The only difference is that I have the privileged position of being able to do more than most to bring that dream to life, so I will dedicate my premiership to fixing this problem, to restoring hope.”
She pledged that an additional £2bn would be invested in affordable housing in England. Comparatively, things are much more worse now than a decade before where 59% of those between 25-34 years old owned their own home. The figure is now a mere 38%.
May appealed to the working class by using her personal experience and referring to her grandmother working as a domestic servant. She said: “And that servant – that lady’s maid – among her grandchildren boasts three professors and a Prime Minister.” This was her example of meritocracy and an attempt to sell her own brand of the “British dream.” “To renew that dream is my purpose in politics,” she added.
She warned that the future of mainstream Conservatism was at stake. She urged her party to “come together to fight for this mainstream Conservative agenda, to win the battle of ideas in a new generation all over again, for those ideas are being tested and at stake are the very things we value.”
In terms of Brexit, she explained that the government was prepared for “every eventuality,” but didn’t offer any further details.
While her speech sought to draw an image of the British dream, it was sabotaged by a prankster and ended like a nightmare. This was May’s “fainting Hillary Clinton” moment, according to Gaby Hinsliff, or a great speech that was horribly interrupted by a crippling cough and a comedian.