Not only has Theresa May ruled out participating in public debates. She also seems very reluctant to meet real people. But footage from Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) shows exactly why. And her failure to answer key questions will be of fundamental importance to some of the Conservatives’ most loyal fans – pensioners.
It’s a simple question
SNP MP Angus Robertson asked May a short and straightforward question:
Will the Prime Minister give a clear and unambiguous commitment to maintaining the triple lock on the state pension?
But May could not. She hesitated and stumbled over her words. And she seemed to think that, if she added the word “clear” into her answer a couple of times, it would do the job. It didn’t:
I’ve been very clear that under this Conservative government we see… we have seen… er… pensioners benefit.. er… as a result of what we’ve done to the basic state pension… to the tune of £1,250 a year.
And I am clear that, under a Conservative government, pension incomes would continue to increase.
Robertson challenged her again:
I asked the Prime Minister a pretty simple question. It’s a yes or a no. And the Prime Minister failed to answer.
He continued to call her out:
And the only reason that they won’t guarantee it, is because they want to cut pensions. Is not the message to pensioners you cannot trust this Prime Minister; you cannot trust the Tories on your pension?
May fumbled again. Until she found a ground she was comfortable on – mindless SNP bashing:
But one thing that pensioners in Scotland will know, as other voters in Scotland will know, is that if they believe in the union there’s only one way to vote. And that’s to vote Conservative.
Run Theresa, run
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t be clearer. He answered in one sentence, saying:
Labour will guarantee the triple lock.
This is a problem for May. The Labour leader and his party are giving clear, coherent answers on a raft of policies. And he is showing an alternative. May, meanwhile, is left fumbling over her words, unable to justify what will clearly be an unpopular policy. And ultimately relying on shouting slogans to get her message across. It’s not a good look.
Even Sunday Times columnist and Sky News presenter Adam Boulton was forced to agree:
I think TM's performance underlines why she wants to dodge TV debates – not her strong suit
— Adam Boulton (@adamboultonSKY) April 26, 2017
And this is why May is dodging the TV debates and the public in general. She doesn’t perform well in debates, and she knows it. On top of this, she is having to defend an abhorrent record; one she apparently wants to make even worse.
Although there are many pensioners living in poverty, the Conservatives have been unwilling to attack their meagre benefits with the savagery they have with the rest of the welfare system. But the gloves are off. And now it looks like they’re also coming after elderly people.
Is this really the government we want to see back in power in June?
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via screengrab
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