Fri, Oct 06, 2017 - Page 6 News List

May’s rallying speech becomes a farce

SHORT FALL:An additional US$2.6bn for public housing has been welcomed, but charities said that 1.2 million households are already on waiting lists in the UK

The Guardian

“I’m not the kind of person who wears their heart on their sleeve. And I don’t mind being called things like ‘the ice maiden’ — though perhaps [former British First Secretary of State] George Osborne took the analogy a little far,” she said in reference to comments he made about her being “chopped up in bags” in his freezer.

Talking about the Hillsborough inquiry, tackling injustices of racial inequality, cracking down on stop and search, getting to the truth of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and announcing a review of the Mental Health Act, May repeatedly told delegates, “That’s what I’m in this for.”

She also apologized for losing the Conservative majority in an election campaign that she said was “too scripted, too presidential.”

“I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign. And I am sorry,” May said.

The prime minister unveiled two eye-catching policies that aimed to wrest back momentum from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, including a promise to publish draft legislation next week for an energy price cap for families on “rip-off” rates, and a £2 billion (US$2.6 billion) plan to build more council homes.

The energy price cap aims to limit the amount charged to 17 million families on standard variable tariffs. Industry regulator OFGEM had come forward with a watered-down version covering only 2.6 million additional households, but the prime minister indicated that she would introduce legislation if it did not do what she wanted imminently.

The additional money for housing was welcomed by charities such as Shelter, but they said the 25,000 extra properties that would be built over five years fell short when 1.2 million households were already on waiting lists in the UK.

In her speech, May spoke of her grandmother, who was a domestic servant.

“And that servant — that lady’s maid — among her grandchildren boasts three professors and a prime minister,” she said, saying that was why the British dream inspired her.

She also spoke of the National Health Service (NHS) supporting her when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and about her and her husband’s “great sadness” at being unable to have children.

“But I believe in the dream that life should be better for the next generation as much as any mother, any father, any grandparent,” she added.

May also made a defense of capitalism to contrast her politics with Corbyn’s socialism, which she criticized, echoing Cabinet colleagues, by drawing a comparison with the socialism of Venezuela.

She criticized the newly elected Labour Member of Parliament Laura Pidcock for suggesting that she would not be friends with Conservatives, claiming it was a sign of a problem with politics, and accused Labour of being “riven with the stain of antisemitism,” suggesting it was wrong that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg needed a bodyguard.

May concluded her speech by demanding an end to party infighting after a week dominated by stories of division and questions of a leadership challenge following interventions on Brexit by Johnson.

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