Theresa May didn’t have a good day on 2 May. She started it off by making national headlines for locking local journalists in a room and not allowing them to film her. Then she visited a Cornish seaside town and even managed an Ed Miliband moment while eating chips.
And she topped it all off by visiting Bristol to speak to the party faithful. But while journalists were allowed to attend, May only allowed three questions, which were picked in advance.
Yes. The Prime Minister of this country is too afraid to take unfiltered questions from the press. She is controlling her message so tightly that she is only taking pre-agreed questions. Her answers can, therefore, be tightly scripted. And she knows there are no nasty questions lurking about nurses using foodbanks or school funding being decimated.
So what were the questions?
So out of all the major issues facing the UK and May’s government, what were the three questions that the Prime Minister picked to answer?
The first, from Heart FM, asked about Diane Abbott’s pledge for Labour to put more police officers on the streets. May’s response predictably involved the phrases “strong and stable” and “coalition of chaos”.
The second question wasn’t much harder. BuzzFeed asked about George Osborne’s new job as editor of The Evening Standard, referencing his comments that Brexit was a historic mistake and May had nothing but “slogans”. The Prime Minister wished Osborne luck in his new job. And she then parroted “strong and stable” and “coalition of chaos” again.
Lastly, The Daily Mail asked:
Does Mrs May fear there could be interference by Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the general election – and if there was a cyber act, would she consider it an act of war?
What would you ask Theresa May?
The Bristol Post took aim at May for ignoring local issues. It said:
there were obvious questions to be asked about Bristol East – and if the Tories have the confidence to retake the seat from Labour’s Kerry McCarthy, who has been MP since 2005. She could also have been fielded questions about funding cuts to Bristol’s schools – among the worst in the UK. Or maybe even questions about foodbanks, and the increased use by children in Bristol… How about the housing crisis… homelessness… cuts to councils’ budgets? Or the universal credit, or poverty? All major issues in Bristol.
And there’s a real pattern of May avoiding the questions we’d all like to ask. Liz Williams, one resident in Cornwall who would have liked to have seen May on 2 May, told The Canary she would have asked the following questions:
Why won’t you guarantee that Cornwall will receive the same amount of money that has previously been given by the EU?What are you doing to alleviate the pressure on food banks?Why won’t you have a face to face debate on television in the election run up?
Also, what bearing did the investigation your MPs are currently undergoing have on your decision to call a general election?
But given that May doesn’t want to speak to ordinary people, or even independent journalists, it’s very unlikely that we’ll get any answers.
A shambolic event
In short, this was yet another shambolic and patronising event. And according to Twitter users, local people were once again kept away:
Theresa May speaks to Tory supporters at Bristol social club – its secretary says the people who usually socialise there not invited pic.twitter.com/nb115ieoh6
— Rowena Mason (@rowenamason) May 2, 2017
And her speech was full of her usual soundbites:
Theresa May speech in Bristol 1 policy brexit. Strong and stable and coalition of chaos mentioned 11 times in 14 minutes – awful
— Adrian Blount (@AdrianBlount1) May 2, 2017
Even The Bristol Post couldn’t contain its sarcasm regarding May’s catchphrases. By the end of the second question, its live blog stated:
You’ll be able to remember them in your sleep by now…
From bad to worse…
And if Theresa May’s day hadn’t been bad enough already, the careful planning all went wrong, with ordinary local people booing her away:
In short, 2 May was a disastrous day for the Prime Minister. She might have a very carefully scripted and stage-managed programme. But by ignoring local journalists and locking them in rooms, she’s scoring a massive own goal. Because they’re turning against her. And what could have been puff pieces are turning into sarcastic criticism.
May apparently hopes that, if she says the same three phrases over and over again, that the British public will eventually submit and agree. It’s down to all of us to show her that we’re not that gullible.
– 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 Flickr
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?