There is also the question of honesty and integrity? What is obvious is, that despite the tendency for comparisons, TM is not MT. Theresa’s confidence shines through the post-Brexit gloom. She has made a good start as Prime Minister, and with two well received speeches at annual conference her popularity rating is very high compared with previous PMs. However it may be due to relief that the grown-ups are back in charge, and we have had truly awful PMs going all the way back to and including John Major. The overall position is that it is too early to judge her and only time will tell.
Why should we suspect that she might be a closet Christian Democrat? Well she has emphasised her desire to work for the common good. She has also had friendly meetings with Angela Merkel, with the media coverage showing a genuine empathy and rapport. It would be interesting to know to what extent she influenced the slogan for annual conference – A Country that works for everyone. That was the message for voters, and inside the conference hall there was a similar message for party members – A Party that works for everyone. She and her Cabinet colleagues also collectively and subliminally littered their speeches and interviews with – an economy that works for everyone. Right, we get the message. Now for the criticism.
Does this sound familiar? Well it should because in the CDP Constitution, in our core aims and values at clause C1 e) we say, ‘We will promote an organic Christian society and economy which is to everyone’s benefit.’ We could be miffed that she is encroaching on our territory. But in the same way that we dismissed David Cameron’s Big Society as not matching up to Christian Society, and his initiative fell short of the mark, we can also be dismissive of any proposals from Government that do not match up to an organic economy. An organic economy is sustainable in the long-term and benefits our children and grandchildren. It is not forced growth, with special projects and temporary stimulus measures, that result in boom and bust. It is steady natural growth arising from the growth in population, and is founded on the growth and wellbeing of the traditional family. Such organic growth defies the vagaries of the markets.
We are also committed to ‘Promoting and Serving the Common Good’ and on the international stage are pledged to make the UK a ‘force for good’. In respect to the latter the UK is in the sorry state of pushing a population control agenda at the UN and imposing an ultra GAY agenda on countries that do not share the UKs liberal democratic western values, as a condition of receiving development aid. So when Theresa talks about the State being “a power for good” and Government using its “powers for the public good” we have to be sceptical. We could be wrong and she may be sincere, but the proof of the pudding lies in the eating, that is the end result and it will require a major change in foreign policy. Already, Boris Johnson has sanctioned the resumption of flying the GAY flag over British embassies, which Philip Hammond had put a stop to.
Which brings us to the matter of ‘honesty and integrity’. TM may be dismantling and distancing herself from Dave and his policies, but she was part of Dave’s Cabinet for six years. She also supported the Remain campaign, albeit she was lukewarm. Now her total support for the Brexit Project is doubted, even though she claims to be a true Democrat responding to the wishes of the people. It is also charged that she was opportunistic with the resignation of Dave as PM and was ruthless in the election to succeed him. These may be desirable qualities in a national leader and a requisite for an Iron Lady, but she often appears without a handbag causing some to question her ability to live up to the persona that is being created for her. We should also remember that TM was an enthusiastic supporter for the Same Sex Marriage legislation. By contrast Philip Hammond opposed SSM believing that it was a policy that would cause immeasurable damage to the Conservative Party. So the less said about that the better and hope that their Party supporters have short memories, but it could come back to bite her.
It should be remembered that a Prime Minister is only as good as their Chancellor of the Exchequer allows them. The success or not of TMs occupation of No. 10 relies on the ability of her neighbour at No. 11 to deliver on her promises. Philip did not have such a good conference, with his keynote speech being described as boring. Personally, boring is a trait that I find desirable in someone handling the public purse. He gives me the impression of being an old-fashioned strict bank manager, but to live up to that image he needs to cut up the Treasury credit-card. He has said that he is going to borrow to fund essential public-works and has suspended the aim of eliminating the budget deficit. This does not bode well. This is definitely not the Christian Democratic way to prosperity.
If TM endorses her Chancellor’s approach, it is at odds with her disapproval of Mark Carney at the Bank of England. She blames the BofE for much of the suffering being endured by ‘everyone’, via low interest rates and devaluation of the currency as a result of Quantitative Easing. Her steer that Mark must change resulted in a swift defence of BofE independence, and No. 10 clarifying that there was no intention to challenge that independence. That was a defeat for TM, that is not being trumpeted. Mark and Philip are a team, or perhaps partners, who need to manage the household budget. It is rather like the spendthrift wife outspending her husbands income [our vice versa] and a fact that QE cannot be controlled by incurring more debt. It is also a fact that no country has ever devalued their way to prosperity. So in that respect TM is right and they do need to get their act together.
The satirist comedians have set the perception of TM as a Head-Teacher at a girl’s high-school, handing out gold stars to her prized pupils and praising them at school assembly with a “well done Amber and Justine”. Such Head-Teachers were often, if not mostly, inspirational. It is an approach that might well work in her Cabinet. The only drawback is that the Cabinet is coeducational and she may have to send Boris to stand in the corner, and then to stay after in detention.
In the 2015 general election Ed Milliband was forever referring to the ‘common good’ and the Green Party titled their manifesto as ‘For the Common Good’. At the time I accused them all of being cynical and insincere because to be genuine they must acknowledge that the concept of the ‘Common Good’ derived from Catholic Social Teaching. It is fundamental of that teaching that the dignity of each person from conception to natural death must be upheld, and none of them believed in that fundamental and God given human right. I would therefore in the same way question TMs commitment to the public good and an economy that works for everyone, if she supports abortion and euthanasia to any degree.
I will not be miffed if she moves on to our territory, so long as she delivers our core aims and values. After all those core aims and values are not original to us as they are Catholic Social Teaching.