Is Teresa May a Dominatrix ?
There has always been a streak of masochism in the mindset of many Conservative males – often the consequence of having been regularly spanked in childhood by their nannies and mothers. In the Thatcher years numbers of them waxed eloquently about the thrill they experienced from the “smack of firm government by a female leader“.
The phenomenon is now repeating itself with Teresa May in control of her party. It is chilling to see how the MPs on the Conservative benches are passively accepting the “hard Brexit” policies of Teresa May. As set out on our Conservative Difficulty page: as of 24th March 2016 no fewer than 163 Tory MP’s supported continued UK membership of the European Union and only 130 Tory MP’s supported leaving the European Union. Yet the Remain majority of the Conservative Parliamentary Party appears to have had something of a Damascene conversion since the Referendum. Could this be in part a subconscious response to the “smack of firm government” from Nanny May?
The expression “a great power” began to be used at the Congress of Vienna 1814-15 when the term was used to differentiate the then major European powers (Austria, France, Great Britain, Russia and (sometimes) Prussia, from the many other minor European entities of lesser importance. It is certain that a long time ago Britain was indeed a “Great Power”.
It lasted while the British Empire spanned the globe but, with the secession of some minor colonies in North America during the reign of George III, and the transformation of the remainder of the Empire into the Commonwealth post WW2, it can fairly safely be said that the last genuine recognition of the United Kingdom as a “Great Power” was when it was awarded a permanent seat and veto in the Security Council of the United Nations along with China, France, Russia and the USA.
The Special Relationship
It would be right to say that there is nearly always affinity between peoples who use the same language, share similar values and who trade with one another. In a speech in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946, the late Sir Winston Churchill, spoke of their being a “special relationship” between the English speaking peoples of the USA and the English speaking peoples of the British Commonwealth which was to be considered important. Since then, the expression “special relationship” has been used to mean the exceptionally close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the United Kingdom and and the United States of America which can be used to to enable both countries to project their common values and interests around the globe.
Nowadays the UK is now no longer a military “superpower” and that means that this relationship is generally more important to the UK than it is to the USA.
There are those in the UK who think that the time has come to abandon the “special relationship” with the USA. See this article from last year in the Spectator: “Why Britain should end the special relationship with the US – Gratitude for past US military assistance should not stop Britain from pursuing its own interests today“. The author’s conclusion at the end of the article is significant:-
“So far, the sceptics’ case for leaving Europe has been based entirely on nostalgia. Co-operation with America forms part of that delusion. Sovereignty is being wrongly exploited to undermine British interests and security. Instead, a judicious and flexible “special relationship” with Europe should be sought. After all, the United States has expressed a wish for Britain to remain a part of the Union. In this instance, it might be wise to heed the Americans’ advice.”
That was, of course, written before the outcome of the most recent US Presidential Election was known. It was President Obama who wisely expressed a wish for the UK to stay in the European Union.
By contrast Donald Trump, encouraged by that dreadful charlatan, Nigel Farrage, has has been treating the breakup of the European Union as being something beneficial to the Trump vision of future US relations with the continent of Europe.
Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump is the US President for at least the next four years. Unless, of course, the Congress comes to its senses. As a Mr Polman writes in the Athens Banner-Herald on line: “Polman: Time to consider 25th Amendment for Trump“:-
“Even the craven enabling Republicans would do well to read that provision, because the day may come when they’re finally compelled to acknowledge – in the national interest – that Trump is dangerously off his rocker“.
Teresa May Addressing US Republicans in Philadelphia
Mrs May (aka the Wicked Witch of Westminster) flew to the United States of America (1) to address a Republican Party Congressional Conference in Philadelphia and (2) to meet Donald Trump (aka Mr Toad) in the While House.
Wisely, Mrs May’s Philadelphia speech to the Republican “Congress of Tomorrow” came before her meeting with President Trump: the Leader of the UK’s Conservatives addressing the conference of the US Republicans who also think of themselves as Conservatives.
The full text of Mrs May’s speech is to be found here on the Financial Times website: “Theresa May: Speech to ‘Congress of Tomorrow’ conference, Philadelphia – Full transcript of UK prime minister’s speech to Republican gathering“. The Financial Times also has this: “Theresa May strikes balance between courtship and candour – UK leader hails special relationship but warns US not to ‘step back’ from global role“.
CNN reported the event here: “Theresa May praises Trump but pledges end to ‘failed’ foreign wars“. USA Today has this: “How Donald Trump, Theresa May are the 2017 version of ’80s power couple Reagan-Thatcher”
A prominent website for Republicans – Real Clear Politics – has this post: “British PM Theresa May At GOP Retreat: We Have Obligation To Renew Special Relationship In This New Age“. The post is brief but it has embedded a video of Mrs May’s address. Most Republican activists follow this site so it should get good coverage in Republican circles.
Sadly, the post ends with reference to a tweet from the obnoxious Nigel Farage: “I can hardly believe Mrs May’s words about our place in the world and with America. I’ve wanted all of these things for years” but that is a minor irritation.
The checks and balances established by the US Constitution give Congress, and in particular the Senate, significant influence over the President’s conduct of foreign affairs. So, the fact that Mrs May was able to speak to those who exercise oversight over the Donald Trump executive branch before meeting the President was good and much of what she said, in particular about the the “special relationship”, the UN, NATO, Europe and Putin, was very much worth saying.
Writing in the Telegraph, Janet Daley opined: “Donald Trump makes headlines, but it is the Republican Party that Theresa May must charm“. While one does not always endorse what Ms Daley has to say, this article and Ms Daley’s overall assessment may well be spot on:-
“It was all done in diplomatically elegant terms but she [Mrs May] could scarcely have been more explicit. What she was saying to the sensible Republicans who control Congress and understand America’s responsibilities was unmistakeable: get your reckless president under control. Did they get the message? It certainly sounded like it.“.
So the message has been delivered. But there is no guarantee that the recipients will act on it.
Mrs May in Washington
Mrs May then went from Philadelphia to meet the President at the White House.
After a visit to Arlington National Cemetery to lay wreaths, Teresa May went on to the Wite House. There were private talks and then a joint press conference which was televised.
The BBC White House correspondent posted this: “Special relationship gets a new lease on life“. The Independent has a video of the Press Conference embedded in this article: “Donald Trump & Teresa May Press Conference“. The New York Times also has an embedded video – with comments: “President Trump and Theresa May Joint News Conference: Video and Analysis”
Many in the UK will be pleased that things went relatively smoothly. However, others may be less pleased with some of the actions taken by Trump this weekend – still less by the fact that Mrs May is going from Washington to meet with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. That’s for tomorrow