May stirs xenophobia
By Ian King
They streamed out of their small towns and rural idylls - elderly, mostly conservative Brexit voters - and applauded their new saint Theresa May at the Tory congress in Birmingham.
Once an adherent of REMAIN she now spoke nicely of the decision of the June 23rd referendum as a "quiet revolution". Rafael Behr, columnist of the left-wing The Guardian, called this a "return to true faith".
It helped that the representatives of the old doctrine - David Cameron and his finance minister George Osborne - shone bright by their absence. One of the few Remainers who dared to enter the conference hall was May's ex-Secretary of State, Nick Herbert, who taunted the Brexit standard bearers David Davis [the "Brexit minister"], Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Trade Commissioner Liam Fox calling them "three-blind mice". Next to him stood the courageous Anna Soubry, exposing Mr. Fox's "freer free trade" incantations as nonsense.
Apart from that the Brexites seemed to be among themselves. For May had decided right from the start of the congress to grab the Brexit bull by the horns- very much in contrast with her appearance in the voting campaign. There she was lying so low that Cameron's communications director Craig Oliver described her as a submerged submarine. After the mutual slaughter for the Cameron succession, she remained the only survivor on the stage and seized the bloody crown. May was considered a safe choice that could bring the party together. 44 per cent of voters appreciate her previous work. For Labour, Jeremy Corbyn brings it to only 17 per cent.
As Minister of the Interior May was responsible for the PR coup to have vehicles drive around with slogans against illegal immigrants. The xenophobic agitation after the Brexit vote, which led to the murder of Arkadiusz Jowzik, a Pole, did not come as a bolt from the blue.
From this point of view, it was only logical that May was immediately ready for a "hard brexit", as desired by the EU enemies. Their first priority was to curb migration from EU (and other) countries. If this has to be paid for with exclusion from the EU internal market, this is an acceptable price for May.
Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn have come under threat with a barely covert investment stop for the plant in north-east Sunderland - an area with high unemployment, but even new EU tariffs do not frighten May. Although the pound has been in a steep descent since her Sunday speech - it's at its weakest against the dollar since 1985 - she stays hard. In doubt, against the economy, against jobs, against the country - for the prejudice of Tory voters, who should not migrate to the party further to the right, UKIP.
In its headless persecution of migrants, the party forgot who had been the minister of the interior during the increase in immigration numbers - Theresa May - and it overlooked somehow that immigration was a proof of the country's success. No one will want to come to a country that is broke, as one may soon see in Brexit Britain.
Finance Minister Philip Hammond expects growth losses by the EU exit at 4-8 per cent. Other disadvantages also threaten. Fewer foreign students, as demanded by the new Minister of the Interior Amber Rudd, would lead to mental muddling and a financial squeeze at British universities, since they are dependent on new ideas and high study fees. Rabble-rousing against migrants also disregard the fate of the more than a million British who live and work in other EU countries.
On this background, the positive ideas in Mays's concluding speech almost faded away. The state was not to wither, but to take distressed workers under the arms, because they had borne the main burden of the banking crisis. House construction and transport improvements should be a priority, and austerity was old hat. This was exactly the policy of Ed Miliband, which the Tories raised hell against in the 2015 election campaign.
Will May's feelings for the small people also turn into actions, such as an end to the long-term pay stoppage in the public service or redirection of the EU contribution, which is no longer payable to the suffering National Health Service? In the face of decreasing investments, will Philip Hammond dare to deal with tax evaders like Amazon? You are free to guess.