Theresa May gave her first proper media interviews of the election campaign on Sunday 30 April. And her interview with Andrew Marr was such a car crash that it showed why she went into hiding.
It’s a complex issue
Throughout the interview, May failed to deliver any clear vision of what another Conservative government would mean for ordinary people.
Marr challenged May’s record in several key areas. In particular he asked about her record on public sector workers who’ve received below inflation pay rises. Marr stated:
We have nurses going to foodbanks at the moment. That must be wrong.
We have… and there are many complex reasons why people go to foodbanks…
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Marr continued to press her:
The problem they have is they haven’t got enough to eat at the moment.
But May still didn’t have an answer:
You’re only going to be able to do this if you have a government that understands the importance of that strength in the economy.
Can you answer a question, Theresa May?
May was unable to give a straight answer on most of the topics put to her. Marr tackled her on changes in welfare for working people. He stated:
Again [let’s talk] about working families. There are lots of benefit cuts in the pipeline. If they were introduced now then 3 million households in this country would be on an average £2500 worse off.
But May responded:
We have made changes to welfare as a Conservative government… but I also want to see a welfare system that is helping to encourage and see people getting into the work place. I think work is the best route out of poverty.
These are working families I’m discussing.
Yet May continued to ignore the fact that working families have suffered under a Conservative government. And she refused to answer the question.
Marr also challenged Theresa May on her education record:
In England, primary schools are facing a £3bn pound cut by 2020 and lots of parents watching this programme are well aware that parents are having to come in and fill in for classes where there aren’t enough teachers… there are raffle sales for books… Is there any prospect of change if people vote for Theresa May as Prime Minister?
Let’s look at actually what is happening in education. We said that will protect the core schools budget and we have done that…
So, let’s look at what’s “actually happening in education”. Even outstanding schools are having to send begging letters to parents because of a lack of funding. And hundreds of schools across the country have written to parents highlighting the impact of cuts. These impacts include less teachers and support services.
But May just repeated platitudes that have no bearing on what teachers, parents, and pupils know is the reality of the situation in classrooms across the country. Meanwhile, reports from the National Association of Head Teachers conference state that schools are considering a four and a half day week to cope with the funding crisis. And head teacher Graham Frost described the government’s statements on education as being like a “recorded message”.
Pensions and taxes
And there were other issues on which May refused to give a clear answer. Once again she refused to rule out abolishing the triple-lock on pensions. And she refused to guarantee that there would be no hike in national insurance or VAT:
But I’m absolutely clear that I don’t want to make specific proposals on taxes unless I’m absolutely sure that I can deliver on those.
Marr asked her directly whether the triple lock on pensions was “still safe”. May refused to answer directly:
Under a Conservative government, the state pension will still go up every year… Exactly how we calculate that increase will be for the manifesto.
That suggests the triple-lock is not safe. It’s an indication that May’s government could go after pensioners with the same ferocity that it’s attacked the rest of the welfare state.
You can watch the full interview here:
Strong and stable?
Question after question showed May to be anything but a “strong and stable” leader. She was challenged on her record in a number of key areas and was unable to give a clear answer. She obfuscated and avoided the questions. And she looked awkward and nervous throughout. It’s clear she can’t justify either her prior record or her future plans.
The Conservative government has let down a vast swathe of the population. From nurses forced to use foodbanks, to schools having to beg to fund teachers, to what’s looking like a potential attack on pensioners. May’s car crash interview shows she has no answers for any of us.
But we have the opportunity to embrace a new style of politics and a new style of government at the election. Let’s take it.
– 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.
– Read more from The Canary on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via screenshot
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?