BBC Reporter Educated in U.S. Frames the “Brutal” Brexit Exit of Theresa MayBreaking News
tags: UK, European Union, Brexit
Esau Williams is a journalist with the BBC World Service in London, and a graduate of SMU Dallas.
Another Conservative British Prime Minister has resigned over the failure to unite the Tory party over the exasperating and vexing issue of Britain’s relationship with Europe. Theresa May has now joined the ranks of Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and David Cameron as former prime ministers who have seen their power and authority ebb away before their very eyes. They have all been forced to take the walk of shame to the podium and announce their departure date in the full glare of the media. Every grimace and twitch is caught on camera and mercilessly analysed, scrutinized, and mocked. British politics can be a brutal and unforgiving blood sport.
The job of prime minister does not give the holder of the office the civilized and dignified interregnum of the U.S. presidency. In America, after losing office or when a new president is announced after an eight-year term, there is usually a two-month gentlemanly transfer of power from the occupant of the White House to the in-coming resident. Not so in Britain. When John Major lost the election in 1997 to Tony Blair, the results were announced early in the morning, and by noon, he had gone to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to the Queen. In fact, it is said that once an election has been called, the current resident of No. 10 Downing Street (the British Prime Minister’s official residence) has his or her belongings in such a way that were he or she to lose the election, they could be conveniently removed out of the way into the moving van, often parked at the back of No. 10 to spare the sitting prime minister the humiliation. In the UK, politics can be nasty and brutish for losers.
Theresa May, the only child of a vicar, became Britain’s second woman prime minister after Mrs. Thatcher in 2016, following David Cameron’s failed referendum on the status of Britain in the European Union. Ironically, the very issue that propelled her into office became her ultimate undoing. In many ways, she’d been handed a poisoned chalice. No Tory party leader has been able to successfully unite the Conservative Party over Europe. It is fair to say that the Conservative Party is largely a Euro-sceptic entity that has never been truly at home with the European idea. Europe has been the single issue guaranteed to divide Tories who are otherwise quite a disciplined group. Europe can also drive even the most mild-mannered of British politicians like John Major to use expletives in describing treacherous cabinet ministers.
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