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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 20 Jul 2016 - 23:53

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 boatlady on Sun 11 Jun 2017 - 10:15

I believe and hope that Mr Corbyn may have a plan

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun 11 Jun 2017 - 17:44


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun 11 Jun 2017 - 18:00

Thi-i-i-ings can only get better ...........
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun 11 Jun 2017 - 23:00


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon 12 Jun 2017 - 14:04


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon 12 Jun 2017 - 17:21

Can't say?? We wish !

"Nothing has changed", she'll parrot forever.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by sickchip on Mon 12 Jun 2017 - 23:55

I'd really like the Tory party to explain their ethics behind their willingness to do a deal with the DUP. If , that is, the Tory party have any ethics.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Wed 14 Jun 2017 - 11:26

Theresa May’s failed gamble

Her political career has been defined by caution. So it is cruel for Theresa May, and delicious for her enemies, that it may have been ended by one big, disastrous gamble. Eight weeks ago she called a snap election, risking her government for the chance to bank a bigger majority against an apparently shambolic Labour opposition. With the Conservatives 20 points ahead in the opinion polls, it looked like a one-way bet to a landslide and a renewed five-year term for her party. But there followed one of the most dramatic collapses in British political history.

Meanwhile the economy is heading for the rocks in a way that few have yet registered. Whereas in 2016 the economy defied the Brexit referendum to grow at the fastest pace in the G7, in the first quarter of this year it was the slowest. Unemployment is at its lowest in decades, but with inflation at a three-year high and rising, real wages are falling. Tax revenues and growth will suffer as inward investment falls and net migration of skilled Europeans tails off. Voters are blissfully unaware of the coming crunch. Just when they have signalled at the ballot box that they have had enough of austerity, they are about to face even harder times.

Brexit involves dismantling an economic and political arrangement that has been put together over half a century, linking Britain to the bloc to which it sends half its goods exports, from which come half its migrants, and which has helped to keep the peace in Europe and beyond. Brexit’s complexity is on a scale that Britain’s political class has wilfully ignored. Quite apart from failing to spell out how to negotiate history’s trickiest-ever divorce, no politician has seriously answered the question of how the economic pain of Brexit will be shared. Less trade, lower growth and fewer migrants will mean higher taxes and lower public spending. Voters seem resigned to the fact that they were duped by promises of a Brexit dividend of more cash for the NHS. No one has prepared them for the scale of the hardship they will endure in its name.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed 14 Jun 2017 - 14:26

Can't say that I disagree with that. Seems only fitting that May, BoJo, Davies and Fox be still there to receive their just deserts when reality intrudes on the public consciousness.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu 15 Jun 2017 - 19:29

"Theresa May faces angry backlash for not meeting victims of Grenfell Tower tragedy."

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Avoiding "the common touch". But there will be .....

Full Official Enquiry.
(To be conducted by Chilcot?)
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon 26 Jun 2017 - 17:45

£1bn Tory/DUP deal condemned as 'outrageous bung to keep weak PM'

Interesting departure is this straightforward BUYING of votes. Especially as the DUP would normally have been a natural ally of the Tories anyway. Scottish and Welsh governments probably quite interested in the new arrangement.

DUP may care to reflect upon the fate which befell the last political party to get into bed with a Tory administration.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue 27 Jun 2017 - 8:15

I'm amazed this is even legal - especially in view of the public outcry when the alliance was first mooted
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue 27 Jun 2017 - 11:50

Legality is evidently a flexible commodity as far as the Prime Minister is concerned. Her first decision after the Brexit mandate was that neither Parliament nor People needed to be informed or consulted about detail of negotiations to leave the EU. Only a private citizen's challenge through the Court of Appeal forced the Maybot to "allow" a vote on the matter in Parliament.

Britain narrowly escaped becoming a Dictatorship.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue 27 Jun 2017 - 17:52

the courts should be humming with legal challenges - electoral fraud, unconstitutional behaviour, destroying the Good Friday agreement, criminal negligence if not culpable homicide against the previous Housing minister - the list goes on ---
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat 1 Jul 2017 - 23:24


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Tue 11 Jul 2017 - 23:33


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Tue 11 Jul 2017 - 23:51


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Wed 12 Jul 2017 - 12:00

Anyone with any self-respect would have resigned by now - wonder what she's afraid of?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat 15 Jul 2017 - 23:58

The making of the Maybot: a year of mindless slogans, U-turns and denials

From an article by John Crace:-

For several months after she became PM, May had managed to get along by repeating “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal” whenever she was questioned about when Britain would be leaving the EU, and on what terms. If anyone tried to press her for more details, she would say that she had a plan but that she couldn’t reveal it in case the other 27 EU members found out what it was. Some, eager to believe that May, ably supported by her two minders, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, was entirely in command of the situation, took “Brexit means Brexit” to mean something profound. Others began to suspect that her brain had been hacked and she had been reduced to repeating mindless slogans.

Thereafter, the Maybot stuck. It seemed to encapsulate her awkward, disengaged manner and her inner mediocrity. Far from being a strong leader, she appeared weak and confused. While the right-wing press in the UK were building her up as a tough negotiator, I could only imagine the other EU countries rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of doing business with her. Brexit only ever seemed to spur her into more and more soundbites. When pushed, Brexit sometimes meant a Red, White and Blue Brexit.

The Maybot had at least been clear on one thing. Seven times she had been asked if she was going to call a general election, and seven times she had said no. And then, over Easter, she changed her mind. She said it had been as a result of a conversation with her husband, Philip, but no one believed that for a second. Everyone knew that the Maybot was controlled by Fiona and Nick, but they had reckoned without the vote-losing properties of the Maybot.

After the election, the Tory Party was quick to remind her of the new realities. Fiona and Nick were kicked out of No 10 and the Maybot was forced to do the grubbiest of grubby deals with the DUP. The Maybot would be allowed to continue on sufferance, primarily because there weren’t any obviously more capable candidates. Besides which, no one in their right mind would take over the party when there was a strong possibility that Brexit would be a nightmare. The Maybot’s punishment would be to remain as PM. In just a year, the Maybot had imploded entirely. A year in which her true mediocrity had been exposed.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Sun 16 Jul 2017 - 19:50

I do think the story of Theresa May is a tale of hubris
Any idiot, having fallen into the premiership without an election, because no-one else wanted the job, should have been able to figure out that they hadn't got the job because of talent or ability and acted accordingly - either with an immediate General Election (in order to GET a mandate) or by a lot of consultation with people who actually knew what they were talking about
Her actions were actually almost precisely opposite - she swans around, flaunting her expensive designer clothes, making threats against our European partners, appointing idiots to high office - then - when her stupidity seems to be working in some quarters - calls a snap General Election, exposing her fragile position to attack from Labour. Instead of actually FIGHTING the election, she opts to avoid campaigning as far as possible - and then (for the first time in a career which has seen her interventions and policy decisions ruin countless lives) sheds a tear because she has lost her majority.

The woman is clearly delusional and not fit for any position of responsibility - if she had any insight she would have resigned in June - as it is, she will have to wait until her (figurative) execution on the altar of public opinion
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun 16 Jul 2017 - 23:24

Theresa May's first year report card

From an article by Ian Dunt:-

On Thursday, we reached the first anniversary of Theresa May's time in Downing Street. During this period she has pursued a hopelessly mangled Brexit strategy, rebranded the Conservative Party with hard right-wing nativism, trashed Britain's global reputation and thrown away her own majority in a fit of imperial arrogance. We are unlikely to have to mark her second.

A year ago she appeared to represent order in the chaos. Gove was trying to stab Johnson, who himself would have stabbed anyone if it put him in power, while Leadsom was jabbering on about how she was morally superior because she had managed to use her reproductive organs. May’s politics were dreadful, of course, but at least she did not appear to be motivated exclusively by self-interest, unlike those around her. And yet the clues were all there. At the Home Office she had enforced a 'hostile environment' intended to reject all applications for visas unless there really was no way around it. She initiated the infamous ‘Go Home’ vans. She made up unspeakable nonsense about cats and human rights law. She left that department in as great a mess as she found it.

In retrospect, all the qualities of her time as PM were there from the start: the ineffectual decision-making, the small-mindedness, the emphasis on looking tough over actually dealing with the issues. She ignored the devolved governments. She pulled out of Euratom seemingly without understanding the consequences. She put disgraced former minister Liam Fox in charge of trade, who then proceeded to spend thousands on foreign trips with no achievements to show for them. She sabotaged Britain's standing abroad by installing Boris Johnson in the Foreign Office.

May accused EU leaders of trying to subvert British democracy. She threw in her lot with Trump by offering him a state visit, only to then look a fool when she realised British citizens were affected by a Muslim travel ban he hadn't bothered to tell her about. She tried to create a cult of personality around herself, only to look startled when her introverted nature meant it fell apart. After the election she sabotaged efforts to solve the impasse at Stormont by stitching up a tawdry backroom deal with the DUP, raising questions about Westminster's ability to act as a neutral arbiter in Ireland. The list of her failures goes on and on. She is a full-spectrum political disaster.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Mon 17 Jul 2017 - 8:51

Ian Dunt has it right
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon 17 Jul 2017 - 10:03

It would indeed seem that Mrs.May is a busted flush, though it's not easy to suggest an alternative for the Tory "leadership" as there hasn't really been one since Thatcher was deposed, just a series of caretakers. Though mysteriously, the electorate seems to have been content with that.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Mon 17 Jul 2017 - 20:34

Frustrating, isn't it?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Tue 18 Jul 2017 - 13:20

2017 in Northern Ireland, where signs such as this one are displayed on the order of those bigots who Theresa May has bribed in order to prolong her tenuous hold on the job of PM:-

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by snowyflake on Tue 18 Jul 2017 - 20:18

Makes me throw up every time May or Trump open their mouths. May is the biggest hypocrite and should be ashamed of herself. Power is more important than the country. Was not surprised.

Jeremy Corbyn might not be the best thing to happen to the country but he's a darn sight better than May who has shown herself to miscalculate nearly every step she's taken as PM, from jumping into bed with the Odious Orange One to slutting herself out to the DUP. Disgusting.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Tue 18 Jul 2017 - 20:28

You're not wrong
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DUP plan to vote against the government over NHS pay and tuition fees

Post by oftenwrong on Wed 13 Sep 2017 - 22:29

The definition in America of an "honest politician" is one who stays bought.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat 23 Sep 2017 - 13:51

May’s breakup speech made Brexit sound magical … if you’re drinking Bacardi

Extracts from an article by Marina Hyde:-

"For the past few months, May’s messaging strategy has been predicated on the fact that the EU doesn’t have the internet. Thus you can spend a year being as rude and dismissive about them as you like for the benefit of the media back home, then fly to Europe and smilingly urge them to 'be creative', and everyone will take kindly to it.

This was a breakup speech that again reminded Europe it was not us; it was them. But the fact remains that if you had killer information that you had to protect at all costs, the text of a Theresa May speech would be the place to conceal it. So instantly forgettable is anything she says that it is highly possible she has been fitted with a perception filter.
"

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat 23 Sep 2017 - 19:11

I think that my feeling about the speech was that it was dismal.

A mean-spirited message in parts and poorly delivered. This wretched woman has no idea about how to sound sincere and was unconvincing as she read 'the script' like some talentless amateur thespian.

Embarrassing and pathetic. But hardly surprising...
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

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