Theresa May told the Conservative Party conference today that “austerity is over” and that if her form of Brexit was not implemented there might be no Brexit at all.
Is this wishful thinking or reality? Is it even truthful? Is the wish the father of the thought? Why should we believe mere assertions? Can one simply wish away austerity?
Where and when did ‘no Brexit’ arrive on the agenda? For months, even years, she told the British public that Brexit will happen and that the choice was her Brexit or a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Now, when the going gets tough, the goalposts are moved or, rather, new goalposts appear on the field. She and her advisers must have calculated that the Tories need another dose of ‘Project Fear’ to rally the troops.
If a choreographed performance is enough to ‘change the mood of the Tories’, it shows the superficial nature of modern politics. Is the mainline media any better? concentrating their front-page images on her dancing on to the stage, showing how banal is modern commentary. The 16th-century European Reformation delivered us from the abuse and manipulation of images and replaced them with the accuracy and power of words.
Mrs May’s wishful thinking reminds me of her solemn pledge to an earlier Conservative Party Conference to watch her lips, that the immigration numbers would be brought down to the tens of thousands by the next Parliament – more wishful thinking asserted as fact. Even her jokes pay no regard to the truth: “I’ve been up all night super-gluing the backdrop”, she told an applauding conference. How easy it would be to tweak the joke to speak the truth. It is a Freudian slip, showing how little regard is paid to the truth in modern politics.
When Brexit occurs, the UK will be in a better position to move ahead because the country will at last be united because there is ‘no going back’, and those who are disuniting the country by trying to keep the UK in the EU will be forced to unite and make the most of liberated Britain, in the same way as the Tories opposed to a Scottish Parliament were forced to make the most of it, especially as the Scottish Tories were the first and greatest electoral beneficiaries of the proportional representation at Holyrood.