Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
Like a broken record, Theresa May has been repeating that Britain under her leadership would be ‘strong and stable’ in comparison to the ‘coalition of chaos’ that would ensue under a Labour government. The rest of her party and the right-wing media have also been bleating this message – ‘two legs good, four legs bad’, anyone?
Here are five ways in which Theresa May is herding us towards a weak, unstable Britain.
Since the Tory government came to power, Britain has suffered instability and uncertainty. Former prime minister David Cameron plunged Britain into chaos with his decision to call an EU referendum, which was not done in the interests of stability, but in order to resolve internal conflicts within the Tory party.
Our divorce from Europe means a sluggish economy, a falling pound and a loss of potentially 100,000 jobs, not to mention the precarious position of EU citizens in Britain and British citizens abroad. To describe this as ‘strong and stable’ leadership is disingenuous and ignores the uncertainty faced by many.
Despite that strength of Herculean proportions, May has been hiding from voters; at one point she spoke at a campaign event that was publicly listed as a children’s birthday party, and which local residents were unable to attend. Time after time she chooses to speak only to Conservative supporters, denying entrance to anyone not already invited, and she refuses to participate in head-to-head television debates.
As one Guardian commenter notes, ‘May looks as if she would rather be anywhere but around real people.’ Her scurrying from the cameras is at odds with her position as a ‘strong and stable’ leader and preaching to the converted is not a strong approach to winning over the public.
Under a Tory government the vulnerable have suffered the most under austerity. Disability benefits have been cut and many have had their adapted vehicles taken away from them. Is it ‘strong and stable’ to impoverish the vulnerable and take away their independence?
Bereaved families are not exempt from the Tories’ ‘strong and stable’ approach to politics, with families already being left poorer after cuts to the Widowed Bereavement Allowance, on top of the now-infamous ‘dementia tax’ proposals in the Tory manifesto.
Austerity targets the most vulnerable in society, a type of scapegoating that shifts the blame onto those who are unable to defend themselves. Is this the behaviour of a strong and stable government, one that is, as Jeremy Corbyn notes, weak against the strong and strong against the weak?
Alas, a strong and stable Tory government has been unable to keep the Kingdom united and since Brexit there has only been chaos. Theresa May is disintegrating the United Kingdom; there is appetite for another Scottish referendum, adios Gibraltar as Spain is keen to gain the territory, and there is talk of Irish reunification. Even the Falklands are at peril. Whatever your views on which of these might be a good idea, it hardly represents stability.
May’s support of nuclear weapons is lauded as a ‘strong and stable’ approach to the world’s problems, yet a peaceful approach that seeks to resolve conflict through negotiation and not nuclear weapons, would secure more stability for this country. Aggression does not equal strength – there is nothing strong or stable about pandering to President Donald Trump and attacking innocent civilians, embroiling the UK in yet another conflict. Have we learnt nothing from the ‘strong and stable’ leadership of Tony Blair?
Meanwhile, the NHS, one of the most stable pillars of British society, is slowly being dismantled under a Tory government. A Conservative government is strong and stable for the rich, with generous tax cuts and the slashing of corporation tax, but disastrous for the NHS and welfare.
We have to see through the empty rhetoric of the Conservative party and the right-wing media that colludes with them. May and the Conservatives are presenting themselves as the only sensible choice in June, attempting to sway the vote in their favour, on the strength of alliterative soundbites, not on sound policies.
Connor Devine writes that whilst Brexit might be a car crash, we can't just side with an institution responsible for enforcing austerity.
Michael Coates reviews a new film revealing the shocking state of housing inequality in the UK.
The vicious media campaign against trans people is part bigotry, part strategy, writes Roz Kaveney
Jon Trickett MP reports on 'Dickensian' levels of poverty and hardship felt across the UK.
Natasha King busts some myths around the No Borders debate
He was once a radical icon, but now he's a mouthpiece for racism and nationalism. Time to get off stage, writes Michael Calderbank
Consensus seems to have shifted, but austerity is far from over. The chancellor has committed us to yet more years of misery while the rich get richer, writes Richard Seymour.
Frustrated at the idea of another royal wedding? You're not alone. Joana Ramiro argues we should stop idealising a fundamentally undemocratic institution.
Liberal elites are using Russian interference to minimise their own political failures, writes Matt Turner
Nick Dearden from Global Justice Now argues that after years of colonial domination and dodgy trade deals, the UK must make amends and support Zimbabwe in this uncertain time.
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny