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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

First topic message reminder :

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 Phil Hornby on Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:21 am

I know it is difficult to contemplate...... but could this woman be even worse than Thatcher in the final reckoning...?

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:49 pm

My money is on the EU at odds of 27 to 1.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:28 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:-
could this woman be even worse than Thatcher?
I ask myself that frequently, and my first inclination is to say ‘yes’. However, it was Thatcher who laid the groundwork for the hideous policies which first Cameron and then May have pursued. It was Thatcher who destroyed the post-war consensus that some things were not negotiable – the mixed economy, a state-run NHS, council housing, trade unions to fight for workers’ rights, and a welfare state that cared for you from the cradle to the grave. Thatcher told people that greed is good, that there’s no such thing as society, only individuals, and that we were being “swamped by people of an alien culture”.

Like the right-wing Tory that she was, Thatcher pandered to the worst in people, and so it’s now just a walk in the park for the likes of May to build on her horrible values. It’s hardly surprising that a teenage refugee has been beaten unconscious in Croydon, when the harridan who passes for our PM was sending lorries around London with the words ‘Go Home’ painted on their side not so very long ago.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:40 am

Thatcher, for all her innumerable faults, was at least competent and acted on her own ideas - May has been shown to lack basic competence and is not, I believe, setting her own agenda.
It's noticeable to me that her well-connected and powerful husband is no longer very visible and I suspect she is being 'run' by a consortium of businessmen - so, yes, I think she is much worse than Thatcher who was at least acting in accordance with her own ideas of how the country should be run - May is just a glove puppet.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:11 pm

Relationships from Hell No. 294...

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" How about you and me , Jeremy - no strings attached..."
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:41 pm

David Cameron was sometimes described as "the acceptable face of the Tory Party" but perhaps another soubriquet now needs to be coined.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:59 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:36 pm

The legs! Show us the LEGS. (Sadly Mail)
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:50 pm

Ok, ok...

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Some folk are easily satisfied...
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:29 pm

What Theresa May could have said to the nation when she became PM

Theresa May campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU. After Cameron resigned, she became PM thanks to the votes of just 199 Tory MPs. This is what she could have said after taking office last July:-

My predecessor as prime minister called a referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The bill which MPs passed to enable that to happen specified that the referendum was only advisory. That is why no supermajority or thresholds were required for a change to the status quo.

Unlike the only two previous nationwide referendums in the United Kingdom - in 1975 on our membership of what was then the European Economic Community, and in 2011 on our electoral system – the result was very close, with just 51.89% of those who voted, only 37.46% of the electorate, choosing to leave the European Union. In two of the four countries within the United Kingdom, and in the British territory of Gibraltar, a majority voted to remain. And we cannot escape the fact that the campaign to leave was founded on untruths and promises which would prove impossible to keep.

The United Kingdom is a representative democracy where you, the voters, elect MPs to take decisions on your behalf in a parliament which is sovereign. I therefore intend that MPs will be given a free vote on how to respond to the result of the 23 June referendum. I am aware that before that vote around 480 of the 650 MPs, including myself, campaigned to stay in the European Union. On the other hand, I expect that some may feel it is their duty to reflect the votes of their constituents. However, section 111.6 of the MP code requires us all ‘to act in the interests of the nation as a whole’, and if MPs believe that that means remaining in the European Union, then that is how I trust they will respond
.”

If only…..  No

If only that wretched woman had shown some backbone and had stood up for what she believes in, without fear or favour. But no, her only concern is that she wants to be prime minister, even though she is utterly hopeless at the job. She is a prisoner of the rabid right of her party, and by pursuing Brexit she is behaving in a way which she knows is harmful to the country. In my book, that makes her a traitor.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:34 am

you're not wrong
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:05 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:35 am


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:10 pm



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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:17 pm

Thank you for sharing - the subtitles are right on the money
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:45 am

June 8th. then? Common sense IMHO, not Machiavellian. A Tory shoo-in is practically guaranteed.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:26 am

Courtesy of David Schneider:-

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:25 am

This repulsive woman is currently seeking to suggest to the public that an election is vital since all opposition parties ( and the House of Lords) are trying to prevent Brexit.

It is - as with so many of her utterings - untrue, of course, even if opposition would be warranted. What she really intends is that she should not have any genuine scrutiny of her 'negotiations' with the EU , and most certainly no real debate about the 'final deal' ( or absence of one).

Are the British public so gullible as to buy into this ruse? I fear they are...
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:38 am

It's long been obvious to cleverer people than me that Theresa May would keep on hitting obstacles for so long as she remained uncrowned. The Cameron (remember him?) election manifesto remains in place, contains several things which would not now be so desirable, and omits a couple of things that Mrs May needs to have there in order to complete her plans for Brexit.

What we shan't know until after June 8th. is the degree to which this "General Election" might become a re-run of last June's referendum. If the Great British public decide to base their vote on a simple choice between "Leave the EU" and "No change, thank you", party boundaries will make little difference.

Would anything have been resolved by the process?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:44 pm

"...cleverer people than me ..."

Name both of them...! Smile
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:55 pm

Flattery will get you everywhere - but Sky News' Adam Boulton and also Andrew Rawnsley each predicted a General election to coincide with next month's Council elections, which is close enough. For the record, Rawnsley now says that the Tory party will find it convenient during the hustings to pretend that Jeremy Corbyn poses a threat of winning.

They might not have to pretend.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:30 am

OPINION polls giving the Conservatives a huge lead could cost Theresa May the General Election, party officials fear.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:31 pm

Downing Street in chaos as Theresa May's top spin doctors walk out before the election

More senior staffers decide they don't want to work with the PM. Lizzie Louden was Mrs May's most senior political spinner left in Downing Street following the sudden resignation of communications director Katie Perrior earlier this week.

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Is anyone surprised that (a) people don’t want to work the extremely unpleasant and creepy Theresa May, and (b) to the best of my knowledge, the BBC has failed to report this chaos? If the public, who she is supposed to serve, aren’t allowed even to ask her questions in an election campaign, what must it be like to have to take orders from her?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:15 am

Paddy Ashdown's thoughts about Theresa May:-

"An election was needed for the country, she claimed. Why? We have a perfectly good parliament with two years to run, doing its job scrutinising legislation which will affect our lives for years to come. We all know that May didn’t want Parliament to get involved at all, until the Supreme Court told her she had to. Now she wants an election which will give her a parliament whose Tory majority is so big she can simply ignore it.

An election was needed to unite the nation, she said. Some cheek! Coming from a PM who inherited a divided country and, with every act and word since, has widened the divisions further. It was she who, in her first speeches as PM, laid into the supposed 'liberal elite' who voted Remain; she who said that those who thought themselves citizens of the world were citizens of nowhere; she who chose the most extreme and brutal form of Brexit which puts our country on the edge of the cliff and as far away from Europe as possible; she who, instead of trying to reach out to the 48% who lost, then encouraged a campaign of insult to anyone who dared to raise their heads above the parapet and argue for a more moderate approach; she who has presided over a frightening rise in hate crime in Britain: she who, by moving her party lock, stock and barrel on to policy positions indistinguishable from UKIP (like grammar schools), has widened the divisions in British politics and left those of the moderate centre more voiceless and scattered than ever before in my political lifetime.
"

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:24 am

Tory leaders' policy-making:

June 2016 Referendum on EU membership because Cameron couldn't control his Party.

June 2017 Unnecessary General Election called because May can't control her Party.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:36 am

Things have come to a pretty pass when Ashdown actually sounds sensible...
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:26 pm

HORSESHIT:

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:09 pm

lol!
Inclined to think the lovely and fragrant Theresa is a bit of a waste of skin
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May the snowflake (Melts away from any heat of debate)

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:50 pm

In The Guardian today, Marina Hyde says the 2017 Tory effort will be an exercise in not saying anything.
May has not so much called an election as shut it down.
Ms Hyde calls into comparison the José Mourinho doctrine, "The Game is won by the team who commit fewer errors. Football favours whoever provokes more errors by the opposition."
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:58 pm

Of course Theresa May offers stability – just look at her unchanging positions on Brexit and general elections

From an article by Mark Steel:-

The Conservative slogan for the election is “strong and stable”. Because that’s the main thing we want from a government, strength and stability, like you get with Vladimir Putin. Only idiots get obsessed with the details of what their leaders are strong and stable about, because the important thing is they’re strong while they’re doing it, and they keep doing it even if it’s insane.

Every year since they took over in 2010, there has been a rise in the numbers dependent on food banks, going up every year, nice and stable, not haphazardly up one year and down the next so you don’t know where you stand. George Osborne was so stable he missed every target he set, not just a few or 80%, but every single one because business needs predictability, and when Osborne announced a target, our wealth creators could guarantee he’d come nowhere near it. The current chancellor is nearly as impressive. After the Tories promised that under no circumstances would they raise National Insurance, Philip Hammond then raised National Insurance and cancelled raising it a few days later as it was so unpopular.

Then there was the PM’s line on not having an election, from which she hasn’t wavered one bit, and her insistence that we had to remain in the EU, which she’s adjusted a tiny bit to insisting we can only thrive outside the EU. I expect they’ll also refer every day to their universal credit scheme, which is five years behind schedule and cost £16bn. You have to be strong to lose that amount and not care. Most military experts agree it doesn’t really matter which side you’re on in a war, as long as you don’t compromise your strength or stability by not being in the war at all.


For the whole article:-
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:13 am

Very funny
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The gross over-confidence of politicians like Trump and Cameron might help explain inequality

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:54 am

Does this sound likely to you too?

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:48 pm

there's a lot in that - some of the comments quite reasonable too, unlike the Indy's usual commentariat
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:49 pm

Perhaps the difference between "Domestic" and "Imported" - like wine.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon May 01, 2017 11:44 pm

Kim Jong-May is on a march to the right - and it's turning into a procession

From an article by Kevin Maguire:-

"Kim Jong-May’s plot to turn Britain into a Conservative one-party state unravels a little every time a grim truth slips from her pursed lips. We witnessed yesterday, as she squirmed in TV interviews, why the schemer behind a grubby snap election coup is desperate to evade public accountability. Behind the mask of calculated moderation lies a right-wing zealot who would lower living standards and state pensions for working families, while putting up taxes and destroying services.

Kim Jong-May is largely hidden from view as Tory ministers instead seek to brainwash the populace with robotically recited slogans shouted with the iron discipline of North Korean cadres terrified that they will be machine-gunned by the Supreme Leader. Justifiably, she frets that the election gamble will backfire if the nation realises naked opportunism has created strongly unstable politics and that the Tory coalition of crisis is a slowing of economic growth, Brexit mayhem and impending criminal charges against Tories accused of fiddling expenses to buy the last election.

The 'real' people in photographs and on television that the head Tory is seen lecturing are actually hand-picked faithful, selected for their demeaning willingness to wear gormless fixed smiles, while holding placards for the full 10 minutes of her more-detailed speeches. Kim Jong-May’s scam to stamp Britain blue comes unstuck if voters see behind the Tory propaganda and feel she’s taking them for granted
."

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Kim Jong-May awkward and incredulous as journalist asks question

From an article by John Crace:-

Kim Jong-May clutched her left arm tightly. She was out of her comfort zone. Surely the whole point of being the Supreme Leader was not having to go on television to answer rude questions. Still, too late to back out now. She smiled awkwardly. It was always good to try to appear friendly towards one’s subjects.

“Don’t the voters deserve better than to be spoken to in soundbites?” asked Andrew Marr. “I believe it is in the national interest to have a strong and stable leadership because only a strong and stable leadership can deliver a strong and stable economy.” With the Maybot fully activated, the Supreme Leader went on to insist that she wanted nothing more than a country which worked for everyone and not just the privileged few. She’d said that hundreds of times before so it must be true.

Strong and stable leadership. Strong economy. Strength through being strong. Security through being secure. No, she didn’t feel it would be a failure if inequality rose under her Supreme Leadership. And yes, she did want to reduce taxes, but the best way of ensuring she could do that would be to give herself the leeway to increase some of them. The power of dialectics. Stability through fragility. Integrity through deceit.

A few minutes later, the Supreme Leader found herself in the ITV studios being asked much the same questions by Robert Peston. On the way back to Number 10, the Supreme Leader asked the Even More Supreme Leader if he thought the morning had gone well. Lynton Crosby nodded approvingly. She had been more mediocre than even he had dared hope.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue May 02, 2017 4:43 pm

We had better get used to this awful woman because she is going to be thrust upon us for quite a while yet... Crying or Very sad
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue May 02, 2017 5:35 pm

Not sure that I really like the mental image conjured thereby, Phil.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue May 02, 2017 7:24 pm

To the pure, all things are pure... Shocked
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue May 02, 2017 7:37 pm

I think a positive mental attitude is very attractive
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue May 02, 2017 7:42 pm

Yeah. Errm, Sound (as yet-undefined) policies, and hasn't so far suggested paying Neighbourhood PolicePersons £8,000 a year, but looks alright alongside Laurak@BBC.

But still ... Mother Superior?
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oftenwrong
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue May 02, 2017 7:52 pm

'Mother Theresa' will look a suitably attractive proposition all the time Diane Abbott is making even Nuttall appear credible.

Can it get any worse...?
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Phil Hornby
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

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