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4 months ago

The Iconoclast FEB 2018

Every morning, I pop on

Every morning, I pop on BBC Breakfast whilst eating my cereal, trying to make sure I am aware of what is going on in the world- ready for my politics lesson later that day. I check my Facebook, scanning The Guardian headlines as I sit on the bus. Sometimes I’ll even read a newspaper in one of my study periods! And one lady is always centre stage of everything going on in our political sphere- Theresa May. Every time I see a video of her walking across a stage; every Instagram she posts of her with the local dog she met in her constituency; every tweet I see slating her, my heart hurts a little. better at being a ‘people’s’ leader, and is certainly seen as more relatable. But is it a problem for a Prime Minister to be socially awkward? May has always been a more private politician than others, and just because she shows less emotion doesn’t discredit her leadership abilities. However, incidents like the Grenfell Tower, and her detached response as she talked to those affected, just further negates her public image. Her public interaction has improved since then (for instance, talking to the Muslims of the Finsbury Park mosque) but this could be too late- the jury are already out. Because I feel sorry for Theresa. I feel sorry for the media image that has been created, and the characteristics that she cannot shake off constantly hanging over her. I can stay quiet no longer. Perhaps the most noticeable thing about Theresa is her social awkwardness. She seems to struggle with social interaction, and often misses the mark when trying to relate to others- particularly the younger generation. She doesn’t have that natural charm that most leaders have; that ability to command and encapsulate the room. Instead, her talking is stilted, and her smile uneasy. People comment on her stooped walk, becoming more and more defined as her leadership goes on. This is particularly highlighted when her opposition is Jeremy Corbyn- undoubtedly The second female prime minister of the UK Conservative MP for Maidenhead Previous Home Secretary, before bidding to be Party leader Mainly state educated (bar a short stint at an independent convent school) Studied Geography at University of Oxford Her hobby is cooking Was a remain supporter during the Brexit campaign On top of this, Theresa May has the looming shadow behind her in the form of Margaret Thatcher. Regardless of their differences in policy and personality, May will always be compared to her female predecessor. This is problematic as they are completely different types of leaders- and this comparison just highlights May’s weaknesses. For instance, the recent cabinet reshuffle, which led to newspapers dubbing May as spineless after allowing other ministers to stay in their positions, is miles away from Thatcher’s ‘Iron Lady’ approach to running government. Both tactics have positives, and we cannot know what happened inside Number 10 during the reshuffle- yet the media focuses on the slander of May’s authority. Last October, Theresa May took

Last October, Theresa May took to the stage of the Conservative Party Conference to put forward her plan for the ‘British dream’. She made some good points that anyone from any party would probably agree with. Yet I doubt you would know what they were- due to the catastrophes of her speech. I’m sure you saw the front pagessome shown on the right. The letter from the sign behind her fell off half way through; a prankster handed her a P45 ‘from Boris’; and she suffered a tenacious cough throughout. None of these events were May’s fault, yet they were all that dominated the headlines. Instead of her move to create an opt-out organ donation system, all Facebook focused on was the funny videos of her drinking some water. Once again, Theresa is treated unfairly by the media by things that she cannot help; further ridiculing and undermining her position. Similarly, and arguably more brought on by herself is the wheat field incident; prompting a wealth of memes. This really sparked the trend to mock May- creating a culture of attacking her personality instead of policies. This is not how politics should work- if people have an issue with a politician it should be for their ideology and skills, not for innocent traits. After all, is it really a problem that our prime minister was a sensible child? But perhaps the most problematic thing with Theresa May’s term, is the looming presence of Brexit. Regardless of what else she manages to achieve, our exit will always be the first event on her Wikipedia page. Possibly the biggest event to happen in a generation of British politics is left for May to steer the helm. The very nature of Brexit means that the majority of Parliament time is spent on it- meaning there is little time to bring in great change in other areas of society, and even if May was able to make great changes, they will always be ones shadowed by the greater beast. Also, the polarising disposition of the withdrawal means it will always be seen as unfavourable. Regardless of the deal we end up with, someone, somewhere, will disagree, thus causing May to forever be seen in a negative spotlight. In addition, May will be scrutunised even more, as she is more frequently on the world stage, taking part in important negotiations almost every week- just shining a light on her social skills, when in comparison to smooth talkers like Macron. I accept people dislike leaders based on their policies and ideology- and I encourage discussion over what is the best way to a prosperous Britain. But we need to give Theresa May a chance to be criticised PURELY on these traits, and stop the Lad Bible politics culture. So, T- mizzle, regardless of party politics, I hope you do well.