Another day, another example of how not to communicate in modern politics. Another day, another cringe-making, excruciating Theresa May performance. Gordon Brown was cruelly but fairly described as an “analogue prime minister in a digital age” but he looks like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg when compared to the current occupier of No 10.
Today, another classic. Mrs May – using a playbook from the last century – does a traditional doorstop. She arrives for an event and making a well-planned “impromptu” statement. As someone once said about Winston Churchill; “he spent his while life planning his imports speeches”. It shamelessly used the charity event as cover for her comments – please don’t be mean to me, I’m at a charity event. Good grief. Mrs May – in an attempt to acknowledge her difficulties says that she’s had a cold this week (we had noticed) but that was nothing compared to the hardships faced by those she was meeting today. Please!
Mrs May then delivers her prepared line which she hopes will take the media agenda; the country need “calm leadership……..and that’s what I’m providing that with the full support of the cabinet”. Firstly, who says they need ‘calm leadership’? Secondly, hahahahahahahaha. Everyone – even the dogs in street – know that Mrs May does not have the support of her cabinet. It is yet anther example of how to misread her audience and sound – frankly – from another age or planet. If the ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’, Donald Trump and Brexit experiences have taught us anything it is to speak plainly, clearly, simply and honesty to the public. Stop taking people for fools; stop the usual Westminster double talk. Mrs May either hasn’t been paying attention or is just not capable of responding to the shifting political sands. Either way, it proves the point, made by Grant Shapps (yes, he) and others that Mrs May is simply not up to the job and should gracefully move aside.
I believe that Mrs May is a decent, honest person so why not adopt those principles to her communications? Why not offer us some straight talk and some honesty? Yes, there are people who think I should leave. It has been a very difficult few months. I have not done well enough. I want to do better but I acknowledge that my position is weaker than it was and I have to improve my performance to keep my job. That’s why I am trying to do. If I can’t do that and win over my colleagues, I will be looking for other work.
This sort of authenticity – something that all successful leaders in business, sport, politics or anywhere else exude, appears out of the reach of Mrs May. Instead we get cliches, platitudes, stock phrases, patronising tones and frankly barely human speeches and statements. In many ways we are watching a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions play out. The Home Secretary who worked 20 hours a day to master her brief; who knew every of her department and every question she could be answered has tried to apply this approach to the vastly different role of prime minister. Instead of freeing her up to succeed it has tied her in knots. It has been – and continues to be – a political disaster movie. Sadly, the ending is clear. We have seen this movie before.
I just wish it would end quickly before the drip, drip, drip of failure drowns the whole party and the country.
Photo taken from BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41519601