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Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

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Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:53 pm

It was enjoyable to see the humiliation of Osborne and Gove, when they were summarily dismissed from the government, but what followed seemed bizarre. Theresa May’s first cabinet appointments saw the thoroughly undiplomatic Boris Johnson (who doesn’t seem to know the difference between Egypt and Turkey) become foreign secretary, and fellow Leave supporter David Davis, who thinks the border between the north and south of Ireland is ‘internal’, become the secretary of state for Brexit. ‘The three Brexiteers’ were completed with the recall of the disgraced Liam Fox to the post of trade secretary. So has Theresa May lost the plot already, or was she being Machiavellian?

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was an Italian politician and diplomat who is best known for writing ‘The Prince’. He has occasionally been called the founder of modern political science, but he is infamous for describing immoral behaviour as being normal and effective in politics. As a result, the term ‘Machiavellian’ is often associated with political deceit and deviousness. Some have argued that it’s because of Machiavelli that ‘Old Nick’ became an English expression for the devil.

Machiavelli’s idea was that a prince needs to please both sides, the rich and the poor, even if that means telling them what they want to hear and lying. Theresa May’s speech when she first arrived in Downing Street contained promises to fight injustice and to help those who are “just managing”, comments which most us will take with a pinch of salt when uttered by a Tory. We know from bitter experience that Tories always feed the rich first and foremost and that everyone else ends up with little more than the crumbs.

In the EU referendum campaign, May came out for Remain, although she was invisible most of the time. Several of us remarked on Twitter that she was keeping a low profile so as not to offend anyone on either side, and thereby put herself in a strong position should a vacancy for Tory leader and PM occur. I’m sure Machiavelli would have approved of that tactic. Now, after a campaign of lies, xenophobia and promises that are impossible to square (such as ending free movement of people while still having full access to the single market), the country has narrowly voted for Brexit, Cameron has run away and May is expected to implement the decision.

So those three stooges have been handed the poisoned chalice of unravelling 43 years of British membership of the EU. David Davis is so thick that he told Dermot Murnaghan that Britain will get “a very, very large trade area, much bigger than the European Union, probably ten times the size”. A trade area that large would be twice the size of the global economy! Davis is so out of his depth that he thinks Britain can negotiate trade deals with EU countries separately, when they only negotiate as the EU. So has May set these clowns up to fail? After all, what makes ‘a good prince’ in the eyes of Machiavelli is one who figures out how to not take much blame when things go wrong……

Some of her other appointments can be seen in a similar light. Her opponent and Brexit supporter Andrea Leadsom, who tried to make capital out of May’s inability to have children, has been given the job of environment secretary, despite being a climate change denier, an opponent of wind farms and a supporter of foxhunting. It will be her job to explain to farmers what will happen when they stop receiving EU subsidies. And then we have the Brexit supporter Priti Patel, who in 2013 called for the abolition of the international development department, saying: “It is possible to bring more prosperity to the developing world and enable greater wealth transfers to be made from the UK by fostering greater trade and private sector investment opportunities”. Guess what? May has put her in charge of the very department she wanted to abolish!

Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ is a manual on acquiring and keeping political power. Is May seeing off any potential rivals (some of whom demanded that a Brexit supporter should be PM because of the referendum result) by giving them impossible roles, or ones with which they have no empathy? Only time will tell.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:16 am

Some good points there, Ivan - and certainly May has started out looking a lot more competent than her earlier performance as Home Secretary might have suggested.
She seems intent on repackaging herself to be a bit more user friendly- a challenge in itself - and I have no doubt some of her ministerial appointments have been made with intent to punish.
I guess as you say, time will tell - either Johnson et al will prove to have hidden depths or indeed their current appointments will destroy them.

I wonder if she has any plans for the odious Gove?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:18 am

"Michael Corleone" in The Godfather Part II (1974),  "My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer."

So far, our new PM is playing a blinder, having neutralised her potential opposition from within the Tory party by giving them the job of clearing up the mess they themselves created.

Part Machiavelli and part Genghis Khan, but entirely British Tory.

As for the egregious Gove, think "Icarus".
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:05 pm

So you think he's already crashed and burned?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Penderyn on Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:16 pm

boatlady wrote:Some good points there, Ivan - and certainly May has started out looking a lot more competent than her earlier performance as Home Secretary might have suggested.
She seems intent on repackaging herself to be a bit more user friendly- a challenge in itself - and I have no doubt some of her ministerial appointments have been made with intent to punish.
I guess as you say, time will tell - either Johnson et al will prove to have hidden depths or indeed their current appointments will destroy them.

I wonder if she has any plans for the odious Gove?

It is interesting to see how all the tories, inside the tory party and out, are repositioning themselves to seem 'left', and it shows how, despite the media bullshit, we could be wiping them out if we could get the traitors to resign fast.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by witchfinder on Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:50 pm

This is what I suspect might happen over the coming few months

Terresa May is waiting, and hoping that Jeremy wins the leadership contest, and when he does she will then call a general election.

The Labour Party will be absolutelly demolished, the Tories will win a huge majority, and the Corbynites will blame everyone except Jeremy Corbyn and the nutty direction that Labour went; It will be the fault of "the traitors" "Blairites" "the establishment" and "the media", but never the fault of JC, or the policies he pursues.

If this is what Theresa is planning, then not only is it very cunning, but it will also work, but what happens after that is anyones guess, but hopefully Corbyn will resign and no left winger will get onto a ballot paper next time.

From that point the party just might elect a leader who could be popular with a wide cross section of the electorate, because JC most certainly is not.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:21 pm

Some extracts from an article by Frankie Boyle, which ‘The Guardian’ pulled at the last minute because its editors objected to the word "bummed" on the grounds of taste:-

Much as this new cabinet looks like the Monster Mash, it must be a nice change for the Tories to have a few frontbenchers whose mum and dad didn’t get out of the back of the car when they arrived at parents’ evening. Normally, the PM is obliged for occult reasons to find a place in cabinet for someone representing each of the archetypes in the classic tarot of Tories: The Jester; The Toad; The Shapeshifter; The Well Groomed Man; The Pederast; Lord Business; Shagger Without Portfolio; The Other Pederast; The Unknown Woman; and The Bummed Man.

One thing this cabinet will help with is reclaiming the side of the Tory vote that had crumbled to UKIP. Farage has already disappeared, as if he was only ever called into existence by the collective telepathic will of 'Daily Express' readers. If the election isn’t called for two years and Brexit gets under way, or at least seems to, will UKIP still exist in a meaningful way? Do we even care about, say, its education policy? It’s like wanting to know ISIS’s position on speed cameras.

May is our second PM with the outer carapace of a human female, but what do we know about what she really thinks? We have nothing more to go on than her six years as the most right-wing home secretary in living memory and her declared opposition to human rights. Who knows yet what her philosophy will be? The smart money is on free will for the rich and determinism for the poor.  


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Claudine on Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:54 am

Frankie Boyle might be the crudest gentleman I've ever encountered but he does seem to be accurate & effective, more often than not.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:26 am

It was so mean of Cameron's government to force Theresa May to destroy the lives of the working people she loves

Extracts from an article by Mark Steel:-

Everyone loves Theresa May. Because she’s new and fresh and untainted by the attitudes of the previous government, as she had nothing to do with it except for the minor role of home secretary which only involved popping in on a Tuesday to feed the cat, so it’s all different now. Everything she does is charming and tough and assured and confident and 'The Daily Telegraph' will soon insist Sam Allardyce starts with her in a holding midfield role for his first game as England manager.  

Theresa May has stolen the centre ground. She said “we will think not of the powerful but of you”, promising to reduce inequality and help the working class. It makes you realise how cruel the last government was, forcing the poor woman against her will to participate in a government that cut the top tax rate, and trebled tuition fees, and introduced the bedroom tax.

She’s also adamant that she’ll do all she can to ensure everyone is welcome here, “no matter where they’re from”. This is the same inclusive one-nation attitude she expressed when she presided over the policy to send out fleets of vans to drive round towns, with 'In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest' painted on the side.

Like all good liberals, she’s made a number of speeches about human rights. In this she stands in the tradition of other historic figures such as Gandhi and Rosa Parks. While it’s true her speeches have almost all concerned scrapping the Human Rights Act, it would be churlish to quibble about that detail. She demonstrated her commitment to this cause when she told an entirely made-up story in 2011 about how a criminal couldn’t be deported because he had a cat.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jul 25, 2016 2:36 pm

That photograph of Theresa May smiling is truly disturbing - you can't un-see something like that
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:11 pm

May to abandon Osborne’s plan for regional mayors

Theresa May is said to be nervous that the policy would give a platform to Labour moderates such as Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, who is hoping to be elected mayor of Manchester next year.

While the Manchester and Liverpool mayoral elections are likely to go ahead, Mrs May is expected to let the next phase of devolution proceed without directly elected mayors, partly to avoid Labour using them as a platform for a revival in its heartlands.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:48 pm

Incidentally Andy Burnham might well be a "moderate", but Times journalists invariably use that same word to describe rebel MPs seeking to depose the elected Leader of the Labour Party.

Thatcher's first victory against Town Hall opposition was disbanding the London County Council, and the Tories like the Medici before them, "forget nothing and forgive nothing."
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:43 pm

Theresa bemoans her Rail Trip...

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" ...and not only were all the seats reserved in the Pullman Diner , but they had taken lobster off the menu..."
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:26 pm

"I don't understand what all the fuss is about"

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:40 pm

"Mrs May’s clash with the Labour leader was received with huge cheers from her fellow MPs.
Landing another blow against her opposition, Mrs May added: “Mr Speaker, what we do know is whoever wins the Labour leadership, we are not going to let them anywhere near power again.”



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Was this the customary "Punch and Judy" repartee of PMQs, or is Ms. May articulating actual Tory Policy? Will the right-wing dirty tricks simply get worse and worse until all opposition has been eliminated?



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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:35 am

Theresa May, who is claiming to move her odious party "nearer to the centre" (despite her intention to expand the number of grammar schools), has this record of 'moderation' to date:-

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:21 pm

Did anyone complain when the Tory Party appropriated the Union Flag to itself?

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:37 pm

I don't think there was very much on Theresa May's speech to Conference that I would wish to challenge. The lady certainly talks the talk and a lot of the Lower Orders may feel that things can only get better. But she was addressing the same old, same bold Tory Party of yore, within which there is little thirst for social change, as the majority quite like the way things are.

Any euphoria was quickly despatched by Education Secretary, Justine Greening on the BBC lunchtime news programme stating that David Cameron "saved the country from bankruptcy in 2008".

Shame they waited until May 2010 to select him as PM , wasn't it?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by sickchip on Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:52 pm

I see May is still peddling the lie that Tories are on the side of workers.

How can she claim the centre ground? Her party are not only stirring up divisive anti-immigration and racism, but appear intent on enforcing their prejudices via law.

How can she claim to seek greater equality whilst advocating grammar schools?

How can she claim to support the NHS when the Tories have been surreptitiously privatising large swathes of it since coming to government? This is only a part of their systematic dismantling of this countries infrastructures and social safety nets.

The speech was blatant LIES LIES LIES from a woman heading a fascistic party intent on oppressing and dividing the working classes, and supporting those who are already wealthy.

If you're dumb enough to fall for her bullshit ask yourself: How come since the Tories came to power we are now a nation that primarily rents rather than buys property? How come the majority of jobs are low income? How come your wage hasn't kept pace with inflation? Why can't you save enough to get on the property ladder? Why did the Tories seek to take away Tax Credits last year knowing it would cause the most hardship to working class families?

The answer is the Tories are as ever the party that is for the rich that only acts for the benefit of the rich. They might try to fool the majority with slogans and catchphrases, but don't fall for their LIES; and don't fall for their veneer of competence as managers of the economy - the £ devalued, businesses and jobs facing uncertainty, etc.....and all because they bowed to bigotry and led us into a foolish EU referendum.

And as far as the Tories brand of patriotism goes - please Mrs May don't pretend your parties bigotry and racism is the same thing as patriotism.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by sickchip on Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:40 pm

Left......................................................................Centre...Right

Where May and her Tory party think the centre is.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:12 pm

A DAY is a long time in Tory Politics:

Wednesday:  Theresa May  "The Conservatives will use the power of government to "restore fairness" in Britain."

24 hours later ....

Thursday: Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today approved proposals (rejected locally) for using the controversial mining technique fracking at a site in Lancashire known as Preston New Road.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:48 pm

Thank God Theresa May is continuing the historic Tory tradition of fighting the elite

From an article by Mark Steel:-

What a welcome message from Theresa May, that she’s sick of the elite. The cabinet all applauded, as you’d expect; although 27 of them are millionaires, that doesn’t make them elite – they all got their money by winning it on scratch cards. The PM was only abiding by a change to international law that states everyone who makes a public speech now has to insist they can’t stand the “elite”. Donald Trump – a man whose background is so modest that, in one of his castles, he has to go outside to use the moat – hates the elite. Boris Johnson stands up against the elite, because his background was so humble that one of the kids at his primary school had an imaginary friend who didn’t have his own valet.

May singled out the “liberal metropolitan elite” for ruining our lives. You can understand why, because these are the very people who have spoilt everything with their liberal ways. One way we must stop them, she insisted, is to prevent human rights lawyers from haranguing the army. She’s right there: they should concern themselves with real human rights culprits, such as florists.

These abuses have come about because, for 35 years, British life has been relentlessly liberal. Thatcher shut down the mines so they could be replaced by documentaries on BBC4 about Tibetan dance. And she brought in the poll tax, but only because she was convinced this would lead to wider ownership of African wood carvings bought from antique shops in Notting Hill. Now, at last, we’re all sick of being ruled by these elite liberals.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue Oct 11, 2016 8:30 am

That Mark Steel - bit of a national treasure - while there's this kind of humour, surely there's still hope for us all
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by sickchip on Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:21 am

Theresa May has gave her word and assured all turkeys that Xmas will be just fine.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:57 am

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" Yeah, bring it on -we don't want any of those dreadful geese adorning people's festive tables..."
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:34 am

Ivan wrote:Thank God Theresa May is continuing the historic Tory tradition of fighting the elite

From an article by Mark Steel:-

..."wider ownership of African wood carvings bought from antique shops in Notting Hill. Now, at last, we’re all sick of being ruled by these elite liberals."

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:20 pm

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Why ME?
Why ME, hee heee heeee ME?
Why not bloody Corbyn, or Boris, or a grumbling Greener?
It's just not FAIR!
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:22 pm

I really wish she would stop smiling - it's not right
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:44 pm

Smile preferable to that bony sternum?

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:47 am

Sack over the entire upper body would do me - but then, I'm a bit of a purist
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:55 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:39 pm

The unbearable creep Steve Norris was on Radio 5Live this morning saying what a terrible decision the choice of Heathrow was for the additional runway, but simultaneously praising Theresa May for making the decision.

He appeared to me to be blaming the body that recommended that option, ready for when May has to take the flak as the person whose fault it really is.

There is no sleight of mouth which these Tory vermin are too embarrassed to utilise...
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:45 pm

BoJo favoured for key support role in Heathrow runway extension over M25

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Either Theresa May faked it for the bankers, or she’s faking now

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:30 pm

("I'll have what she's having"  Movie, When Harry met Sally)

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Gaby Hinsliffe in The Guardian
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:27 pm

Written by David Schneider for @HuffPostUKCom:-

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:05 pm

In the last four months May has shown that she is no Machiavelli. In fact, she is starting to make John Major look good. Jeremy Corbyn summed up her shambles of a government at PMQs yesterday: “We have an international development secretary who is opposed to overseas aid, a health secretary running down the National Health Service, a chancellor with no fiscal strategy, a lord chancellor who won’t defend the judiciary, a Brexit team with no plan for Brexit and a prime minister who is not prepared to answer questions on Brexit strategy.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Penderyn on Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:57 pm

Mrs May took over the government, God knows why, when it ought to have been left to the crooks and liars who got us into this mess. Ambition, I suppose, masked as concern for 'the Nation'. It is a great shame - she comes of people as decent as tories get nowadays, and used to talk in a way that suggested that we were going back to 'respectable' thickoes instead of all the con-men who've been strutting it for so long. Ah well, I suppose the rot had gone far too far. I'm not surprised, but I am sad. As a Machiavelli she'd be outdone by any councillor in Abercwmscwt, very, very easilly!
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by sickchip on Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:27 pm


This whole position the de facto Ukipper May, and her band of loony right-wing de fact Ukipper Tories, are taking is rather stupid.

Saying 'we don't want to show our hand' etc signals we view the EU as an enemy to be outwitted, and that Brexit is a battle/game in which we are trying to out manoeuvre them. This isn't very grown-up, or conducive to maintaining a good relationship. In facts it reeks of paranoia and deluded self worth. The more we treat it as such, the more the EU will treat it as such, the less friendly negotiations will be, and the less we'll get from the eventual deal.

Would it really harm Brexit if the Farage stooge Theresa May let it be known what we broadly want from Brexit, or even go into details? Behaving as though this is a game and the EU is an opponent who we must outwit is ridiculous.

Far from being a sensible strategy, PM May's strategy is antagonistic, unfriendly, paranoid, and childish.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:24 pm

Theresa May has been long enough in Tory government to have lost any claim to "benefit of the doubt". She became PM by default, but had been prepared to fight for the position so let's not shed any crocodile tears. Her policies will not be in conflict with anything post-Thatcher.

Which is surely good news for any supporter of a Socialist Labour Party.

Or am I missing the point as usual?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:24 am

Far from being a sensible strategy, PM May's strategy is antagonistic, unfriendly, paranoid, and childish.

Certainly is


Which is surely good news for any supporter of a Socialist Labour Party.

We shall see - it seems to me they're trying to throw all the socialists out of the Labour party
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

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