Theresa May’s biggest failure isn’t Brexit. Grenfell is.

Deceit, dishonesty, and a doomed political system led to Theresa May’s resignation.

Photo by: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Standing outside 10 Downing Street on May 24, 2019, Theresa May announced she’d be resigning as leader of the Conservative Party and as Britain’s Prime Minister.

After three failed attempts at securing a Brexit deal, Theresa May’s gruelling term as prime Minister has crumbled to a volatile end.

“I did my best… It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret for me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.” — Theresa May

A legacy of failure.

When Theresa May stepped in to lead Britain out of the European Union, many viewed her has an inspired leader. Let’s not forget that it was David Cameron’s government who called for the referendum on EU membership. Cameron’s ill-fated decision ignited a country divide so deep that it’s hard to imagine a recovery.

Whoever took over from David Cameron had the odds stacked against them. It just so happens that person was Theresa May. Voting to stay in the referendum, there was a sense of hope that Theresa May would either take control and open a case to decipher the illegalities of the referendum vote, or, at least, take a strong stance on how to make Britain’s exit a smooth, and legal, one.

As protest marches began, Theresa May’s naivety quickly changed her from ‘inspired leader’ to ‘complete tragedy’. What once could have been a great legacy, has turned to one of failures, public humiliations, and catastrophic political miscalculations.

Of course, like with any leader, some of May’s failures were out of her hands. Poor advice, unprecedented political crises, and deadlocked politics were contributing factors. However, many of May’s decisions negatively impacted her ability to lead. Her repeated ways to erode her own authority led to a lack of confidence from members of parliament, including those in her own Cabinet.

To put bluntly, a leader is there to lead. And lead she did not. The harsh reality is that Theresa May’s government forgot that they are hired by the people. They work for us, so-to-speak — that’s basic democracy. They weren’t working for us, hence this predictable climax of a country divided; at war with their ‘leaders’ — and with each other.

A coalition with the DUP, the Windrush scandal, failure with Brexit, and Grenfell are just a handful of failures and injustices enabled by Theresa May.

Yo, Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?

Photo by: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In 2018, Stormzy took to the stage of The Brit Awards. Within his rap he added a verse directly aimed at Theresa May:

“Yo, Theresa May, where’s that money for Grenfell?
What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell?”
You’re criminals and you got the cheek to call us savages
You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages
We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this…” - Stormzy

I remember watching it at the time, thinking: “This will go down in T.V. history”. It was evocative; making hairs on my arms stand up. Finally someone spoke up. Did Theresa respond? No.

Let me take you back to June 14, 2017. A fire began to roar at Grenfell Tower — a 24-storey residential tower block in North Kensington in London, England. It continued to roar for a further 72 hours.

72 innocent people died. More than 70 people were injured. And 223 people escaped.

The heartbreaking story of Grenfell is one that will haunt us forever. Not only is it a story of heart-wrenching loss, but it’s also one of government failure, followed by shameless ministers trying to deflect blame. The government and local councils failed the people of Grenfell. That’s just fact.

A Conservative attack.

Photo by Thomas Charters on Unsplash

Put bluntly, the Conservative’s attack on social housing is the kindling that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The days that followed the Grenfell fire were the beginning of Theresa May’s downfall. Her lack of sympathy, presence, and support to those who lost their homes and loved ones cast a new meaning to ‘stone cold and heartless’.

The government tried to dehumanise this tragic event by focussing on cladding and fire safety. There was a bigger injustice, and the government knew it. At its core, this devastation is the result of a Conservative attack on social housing. To turn this tragedy into a debate about cladding and fire safety shows just how heartlessly disconnected those in power are. It’s unfathomable. It’s a downright disgrace. It’s an escape of justice.

The extent of Theresa May’s naivety during this time, is truly frightening. The dysfunctional, and somewhat pathetic, response of Theresa May and the Conservatives is one of the biggest government failures in modern times.

This was a clear sign that there was zero chance that this government was capable of securing any Brexit deal. For the good of the country — the people the government are supposed to work for — they should have resigned. However, as any political track-record will tell you, governments twist and turn to hang onto power, despite their disgraceful incompetence. And this is where democracy has failed in Britain.

Exposing the gap between the rich and poor.

Photo by Chris Slupski on Unsplash

You only need to look at Grenfell Tower to know it wasn’t made for the wealthy. Concrete blocks and ugly cladding considered ‘good enough’ for those who lived there. Grenfell Tower — and buildings like it — could have been built with hope in mind. But all we see is the disparity of extreme wealth and poverty.

The government has a duty to think of the emotional and physical well-being of the public. The Grenfell tragedy will forever be a symbol of degradation, decay, and sinister free-market capitalism.

Any leeway for Theresa May?

Photo by: Dan Charity

It’s difficult to pen anything in support of Theresa May. What I will say is that she did face contempt from her peers, purely for being a woman. She didn’t vote for removal from the EU, and did stand firm against a party that turned against her.

British politics is currently a scrambled mess. The Tory party will make sure all the blame is put on Theresa May — making her a human sponge for the failure. But let’s not ever forget — they’re all in this together. Not just the Tories, but the ‘oppositions’ too.

All of them contributed to the cuts that ripped apart social infrastructure, all of them created a country divide, and all of them failed the most vulnerable of people.

They prioritised markets before society, positions before people, and wealth before human needs.

Until Britain rids itself of this political climate, social order will continue to decay.

The forgotten ones.

Photo by Mihály Köles on Unsplash

At the core of democracy, those who lead have a fundamental obligation to think of the people — putting the public before party ‘wars’. It’s cringing, infuriating, and disgraceful when we tune into live feeds from parliamentary debates. Do they forget where they are? Do they forget we’re watching? We no longer care for petty squabbles between Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, and co. What are you going to do? What changes are you going to make?

This ongoing political deadlock has changed the way we view politics. The wave of ‘new generation’ seek reform. And, sadly, Theresa May was too naive, too caught up in the puerile debates, and too blind to the world outside the comforts of her tax-payer-paid-for lifestyle.

Let’s not fool ourselves into believing we live in a true democracy. The current political climate has failed us and will continue to do so. Governments care little for their electorate and much for their positions. This was made so clear in Theresa May’s resignation speech. Where were her tears during the tragedies her government so plainly failed?

Change is gonna come.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Change needs to come. It’s required to prevent another disaster like Grenfell, to reverse the impending doom of climate change, and to restructure a failing political system.

People know change is needed. We’ve been left for too long with self-absorbed leaders. What we need to ensure is that the change is directed correctly. Things like Brexit and Donald Trump as President of the USA, are signs of little screams of change. We’re tired of the same old, same old. Brexit didn’t ‘just happen’. It happened due to years of political breakdown, which led to this inevitable (as we now know) cataclysm. And, in Brexit’s case, a whole lot of lies told by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and company.

Theresa May is merely a cog in a toxic machine. To put all blame on her, allows those members of parliament ‘behind-the-scenes’ to win. And I assure, they’re not the ‘better option’.

As leader, Theresa May failed. But don’t disregard the government as a whole. Heck, don’t disregard the whole political system. It’s all broken.

Political articles are never easy. There’s bound to be debate.

Find more at: laurenmacneish.com

Photographer and writer. Based in Scotland. Using Medium for opinion pieces, marketing advice, and motivational articles. https://www.laurenmacneish.com/

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