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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 oftenwrong on Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:06 am

I am reminded of the remark of a historian, that Thatcher's best and only friend had been her husband.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:58 pm

Theresa May is to be on the cover of a top US magazine...... Shocked

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:37 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:42 pm

Possession is nine points of the Law.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:43 pm

Theresa May’s ‘Global Britain’ Is Baloney

From an article by Roger Cohen:-

So Theresa May, the British PM who was not elected to her post, wants to create something called ‘Global Britain’. She wants to achieve this by taking Britain out of the EU, out of a single market of a half-billion people and into a new “embrace” of the world – excluding of course Spaniards, the French, Germans, Italians, Swedes and their ilk.

I wonder if May has ever taken a stroll round London, that inward-looking city where you never hear a foreign tongue? After 43 years in what is now called the EU, the British capital has become insufferably insular. Its cuisine lacks variety. Its financial institutions have no international heft. Its skyline speaks of stunted ambition. Its culture is provincial, its theatre hidebound and its worldview small-minded. No wonder May felt she had to take London global.

And Britain as a whole! For 43 years the country has been a member of an introverted, stifling little entity that has just concluded a free trade deal with Canada, has dozens of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, boasts the USA as its top trading partner, takes 44% of British exports, and accounts for 22% of world economic output.

How could Britain possibly be global within this straitjacket? The June 23 referendum, May insisted, was “the moment we chose to build a truly global Britain”. The vote for Brexit was in fact the moment Britain turned its back on the world, succumbing to pettiness, anti-immigrant bigotry, lying politicians, self-delusion and vapid promises of restored glory. ‘Global Britain’ is a specious branding effort designed to mask an expensive mistake, opposed by 48% of voters.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:36 am

I see today the awful Theresa is touted as the first world leader to meet Trump formally - could this be, do you think, because none of the others want to?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:14 pm

Following upon today's refusal to tell Andrew Marr whether she was aware of the failed Trident launch last year, can there be any purpose in Theresa May going all the way to Washington on Friday if she won't remember it afterwards?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:23 pm

I think we all know what the answer was.

For a brief moment ( at the third time of being asked ) on Marr she appeared to be thinking about lying - but thought better of it...
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:45 pm

Thank God we have a prime minister prepared to face down anyone over Brexit – even those she once agreed with

From an article by Mark Steel:-

Theresa May insists Britain will be richer and more free and glorious once we’ve left the EU – but she supported staying in the EU until the referendum result. The most important thing is we have a leader prepared to face down anyone who supports the sort of nonsense she insisted on a few months ago. This is the conviction we demand from politicians.

She also made several thoughtful points about the opportunities open to us, that we’re now free to find new countries under the sea and no longer restricted from trading with otters and we can ask America to give us their lakes and put them in Kent. At last kettles can be eight miles wide because we’re no longer shackled to the EU’s monstrous stifling filthy rules that she once insisted we had to remain within as they made us more prosperous.

At least May has made one thing clear: “No deal is better than a bad deal”. That will show Europe, once we have no deal with them, not on anything. As she once pointed out, we only depend on the EU for 44% of our exports, whereas the EU sends us a whole 8% of theirs. So if they don’t give us a good deal they’re stuffed.

In any case, now we’re in a much stronger position to demand what we like from the EU as we’re leaving it. Everyone knows you get a much better service from any club once you’ve left it. It’s the same with a snooker club, if you’re a member you’re bound by all these rules and have to make payments, and in return they let you play on the tables. But once you’ve left, you can go in without paying and blow up the chalk and do whatever you like and no one minds.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:17 pm

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L'Etat - C'est moi !

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I am The Government, the government is ME.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by sickchip on Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:20 pm

After cavorting with the odious Trump, and doing arms deals with the Turkish tyrant Erdogan, what's next for Theresa - a trip to North Korea to flutter her lashes, and hold hands with Kim Jong-un?

We may have to redefine what Brexit means.

Brexit means Desperate.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:29 am

History will remember her for supporting a fascist. But the people of Britain need to wake up now.

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Penderyn on Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:53 pm

sickchip wrote:After cavorting with the odious Trump, and doing arms deals with the Turkish tyrant Erdogan, what's next for Theresa - a trip to North Korea to flutter her lashes, and hold hands with Kim Jong-un?

We may have to redefine what Brexit means.

Brexit means Desperate.

We control our own destiny, Oh Gawd!
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:57 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Penderyn on Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:15 pm

boatlady wrote: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

That is not a new endeavour: what the 'powers that be' want is for socialists to act as recruiting sergeants to built up numbers - there'd be none otherwise - and then fade away and die. I once quadrupled the membership of a ward party in the Midlands, but Blair saw the likes of me off as soon as he possibly could, thinking, like the Liberals before him, that working people had no-one else to vote for, but needing canvassers. It often takes years for them to recall the obvious - that nobody actually wants them.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:57 pm

The advent of World War 2 made a government of national unity mandatory in Britain. Which, in the context of the discussion on this page, raises the question of how far off might we now be from a WW3?
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:54 pm

My Christian faith helps me make difficult decisions.” (Theresa May)

David Schneider has prepared some of her favourite Bible quotes.......

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:57 am

Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

No - she's a very naughty girl
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:02 pm

.... very naughty girl, well-versed in the black art of prevarication:

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Evades interviewer's question FOUR TIMES.

(Summary: It's all Labour's fault.) No attempt to be original. Doesn't care.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:37 pm

looks a bit rabbit in headlights, though - she doesn't at all like being questioned
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:31 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:20 pm

Not even as a joke -----
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:14 pm

What a difference a few months can make......  No

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:46 am

She has no opinions of her own, it seems to me - just says what she's told to say
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:44 pm

Today's news headline is that the Prime Minister has re-created her former Home Office in Number Ten, with her familiar team of civil servants now acting as the Cabinet's advisors.

Digging-in for the long haul towards Brexit.

WW2 American GI's invented an acronym for it: SNAFU

(Situation normal, all ...... ..!)
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:35 pm

never knew that was what it meant Laughing
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:38 pm


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Theresa May is not "new" in any sense of the word.

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:29 pm

Thirteen years ago:
Holidaying in Filey, Yorkshire, you could go to Corrigan's amusement arcade. They had a laughing clown. You put a penny in the slot, and his limp figure clicked into action. His shoulders heaved like Ted Heath in a storm, and his body shook violently like a rat being toyed with by a vicious cat.
The sound accompanying this display was weird: harsh, metallic and shrieking, supposedly indicative of hilarity but in the end rather sinister. After a minute it would stop, on the instant, and the clown would be an inert, lifeless doll again.

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Fast forward to 08-03-2017

Theresa May's 'pantomime' laugh turns heads at PMQs

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:03 pm

Theresa May makes me ashamed to be female
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:58 pm

Bad blood begins to flow between the neighbours of Downing Street

From an article by Andrew Rawnsley:-

Mrs May arrived at Number 10 with a deep suspicion of the Treasury. That distrust was encouraged by her chief ideological guru, Nick Timothy, a man who has long believed that Mr Hammond’s department is over-mighty. The hostility has been sharpened by the chancellor’s determination to shoot down Number 10’s attempts to make good on the PM’s promises to fashion a 'different kind of Conservatism' that reforms capitalism, spreads its fruits more widely and tempers corporate behaviour. The chancellor has resisted the PM on curbing excessive executive pay and giving workers representation on boards. This naysaying is the more resented because the Treasury has a way of representing its role as vetoing 'silly ideas' from Number 10. PMs and their senior advisers really don’t like to be called silly. Timothy has been strengthened in his conviction that the chancellor’s empire needs taking down a peg or five.

From the Treasury comes the complaint that Number 10 is blasé about the grave hazards to the economy posed by Brexit. Treasury officials scoff that Mrs May is a ‘home office’ PM, surrounded by people fixated on immigration and who wouldn’t know their GDP from their CPI. Those tensions have been dramatically ratcheted up by a budget that has exploded in the faces of both the principals. I groaned when Tim Farron dubbed it the “omNICshambles”, but his mocking label has been widely adopted. The proposed increase to the national insurance contributions paid by some of the self-employed has brought together a potent combination of opposition from the press and the Tory backbenches.


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:47 pm

Nick Timothy also receives a mention by Andrew Gilligan in today's Sunday Times for a different reason. One-time Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps (we'll never forget wotsisname) is implicating Mr Timothy in the confusion over an election campaign in South Thanet in which Nigel somebody was defeated by the Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay.

The article says that "Police are investigating".

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May needs a mandate

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:28 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:19 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:25 pm

Some critics say that Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" as a job-application.
Perhaps Theresa May sees it that way too.
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:54 pm

Courtesy of David Schneider....

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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:42 pm


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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:31 am

Brexit meets Blackadder...
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'...Hope you're not too miffed - byeeee...!
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Re: Is Theresa May the new Machiavelli?

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:41 pm

May’s EU security threats won’t work. But they are still destructive

From an article by Hussein Kesvani:-

"May’s attempts to present herself as a straight-down-the-line PM have already been undermined, as she is forced to become all things to all people: someone who can deliver a workable Brexit for leavers and remainers, while simultaneously indulging the nationalist fervour from right-wing factions that got us into this mess to begin with. This is the tension that will largely define Brexit over the next couple of years, and it was demonstrated on Wednesday. Almost as soon as Article 50 was delivered to Donald Tusk, Downing Street’s carefully choreographed moment descended into shambles. European nations were rattled by a thinly veiled implication that we could be willing to uproot the entire European security infrastructure if we weren’t offered a trade deal. The prospect of a threat has been roundly criticised, in particular by the European press.

It’s no secret that there’s a gulf between British and European diplomats, not least over Britain’s use of its EU veto – something that many in the union see as having impeded the EU’s progress. The perceived arrogance may have been accepted through gritted teeth while the UK was inside, but all sides must realise that the country is now in a far weaker position. Like it or not, Britain will have to compromise, and realistically, must accept its position on the back foot when negotiations begin.

As far as opening gambits go, May’s poorly worded letter might be the equivalent of moving your queen straight to the front of the board, without knowing how to play chess in the first place. Her attempts to sound aggressive, especially when so much is at stake, look foolish in the cold light of day one
."

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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?

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