Theresa May's conference speech is a political earthquake

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    The two big points to take away from May's speech yesterday;

    (1) The Conservative Party's quasi-libertarian economic approach since 1979 is over. The government will not accept rampant inequality and blatant anti-social behaviour by the rich

    (2) Immigration is too high, and is only justifiable to the extent it benefits ordinary workers, not big business.

    May's advisers have briefed the media that they are inclined not to lean on quantitative easing for economic support but instead use fiscal policy; investing in the economy and taking a Keynesian approach. And they have made other proposals, that big business should publish what proportion of their workforce are non-British.

    The CBI and Jeremy Corbyn have already gone on the attack against her; the hard left and the business class. She will be called racist and moneyed interests will attack her for undermining their "right" to low-wage workers. But as a policy it's entirely consistent with an approach that says immigration is only justifiable to the degree it benefits ordinary people, not big business.

    If this rhetoric is matched by action, the Labour Party will probably be out of power for 20 years, and Theresa May will be to the Conservatives of the 2020s and 2030s what Thatcher was to the 1980s; she has found a way to bring together the heretofore disparate post-2008 populist threads that object to both immigration and to economic injustice. In that scenario, and with the UK already on its way out of the EU, parties like UKIP and Corbyn Labour will have no purchase whatsoever.

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    i started of disliking her and she has said some things that rubbed me the wrong way but as time has gone on I have started to like her more and more. Generally I think i agree with her politics overall.
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    (Original post by Luke7456)
    i started of disliking her and she has said some things that rubbed me the wrong way but as time has gone on I have started to like her more and more. Generally I think i agree with her politics overall.
    I strongly disagreed with her policy on the Human Rights Act (to repeal it), but otherwise have had quite a bit of respect for her on the basis of what two friends who have worked in the foreign office have told me; that she's a very hard worker, that she's serious and competent, that she's nice (and loyal) to her staff.

    Also, back in 2002 she made the "Nasty Party" speech that pointed out how out-of-touch the Conservatives had become; she has always been ahead of her time. I think she has very good political instincts and a good brain for analysing general political trends.

    If she continues along this path, then there's every possibility that I (as a socialist and former Labour member) might have to "lend" my vote to the Conservatives; I sure as hell can't justify voting for Jezbollah
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    -snip-
    She will be called racist and moneyed interests will attack her for undermining their "right" to low-wage workers. But as a policy it's entirely consistent with an approach that says immigration is only justifiable to the degree it benefits ordinary people, not big business.
    -snip-
    I'm a bit annoyed that she seems to be sticking with the crude cameroon 'net migration' targets and lumping what are (IMO) beneficial types of immigration such as legit foreign students and highly skilled workers with the bottom end wage depressors.

    I think she'll end up throttling back the beneficial migrants because it's easier and cheaper to do so in order to trumpet she's hitting a target without dealing with the actual problem that's annoying people.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I strongly disagreed with her policy on the Human Rights Act (to repeal it), but otherwise have had quite a bit of respect for her on the basis of what two friends who have worked in the foreign office have told me; that she's a very hard worker, that she's serious and competent, that she's nice (and loyal) to her staff.

    Also, back in 2002 she made the "Nasty Party" speech that pointed out how out-of-touch the Conservatives had become; she has always been ahead of her time. I think she has very good political instincts and a good brain for analysing general political trends.

    If she continues along this path, then there's every possibility that I (as a socialist and former Labour member) might have to "lend" my vote to the Conservatives; I sure as hell can't justify voting for Jezbollah

    At the moment it is all talk.
    How many times did Osborne go on about curbing tax avoidance?

    There were next to no genuine policies delivered by May yesterday, just general waffle about making society incredible for everyone.

    Let's wait until the Autumn budget to see if any of her policies even come close to matching the rhetoric.

    As ever, you should judge someone on their actions, not their words.*
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    I very much like her approach so far, but it's still early days. We're yet to see what she will actually do to implement these changes, however if she can follow through with what she's been saying then I think the Conservatives are going to be in government for a longgggg time. Once we officially leave the EU, UKIP will have no reason to exist anymore and will probably just morph into a right-wing fringe party, or will cease to be altogether. Labour with Corbyn at the helm have no hope of being elected and rightly so. I can't really see the Lib Dems making a come-back, especially as they maintain that they will overturn the referendum result (that's instantly alienating half of the population, although it'll probably be popular among their core supporters). Even if they did make some sort of resurgence, it will be insignificant compared to the number of MPs the Conservatives will get. The SNP will probably continue to dominate Scotland, and in this instance their committment to the EU will probably help them. So yeah, the Consrevatives have an easy ride so long as these conditions remain the same. I'm almost surprised that she doesn't call another general election, simply to increase her parliamentary majority. It probably wouldn't be the best idea at the present time though, as it could cause some unneeded instability.
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    I know my cynacism about politicians as a whole plays a part in this but to see a modern politician, especially a Tory, come out gunning for big business and saying they are going to be standing up for a fair society for all just doesnt ring true at all. The whole speach all I could see was a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    If she can introduce policies that match even half the rhertoric on show I will be suprised and if she cant meet her incredibly ambitious rhetoric id suggest it is a big risk to the very advantageous positions the Torys find themselves in.
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    The Tories are funded by big business, going to war against your backers is seldom a recipe for success.
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    (Original post by mojojojo101)
    I know my cynacism about politicians as a whole plays a part in this but to see a modern politician, especially a Tory, come out gunning for big business and saying they are going to be standing up for a fair society for all just doesnt ring true at all. The whole speach all I could see was a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    If she can introduce policies that match even half the rhertoric on show I will be suprised and if she cant meet her incredibly ambitious rhetoric id suggest it is a big risk to the very advantageous positions the Torys find themselves in.

    This.

    I don't buy it. I think Labour voters who are impressed, like the OP, are going to end up with egg on their face.

    If Theresa May was really against neoliberalism and quasi-libertarian economics, then why did she not resign from David Cameron's government? Instead she voted through everything. Either she's fibbing now or was unprincipled then.

    As you say there were virtually no policies to back up the rhetoric yesterday. 'A country that works for everyone', 'Standing up to the strong' 'Going after tax dodgers'. All lovely sounding, all aimed at the left, but was there a single detailed policy in there?
    Even David Cameron talked about a 'big society' and how 'we're all in this together'. Even George Osborne talked about how 'tax dodgers have nowhere to hide'. Yet what came of that?

    The most telling moment was when Nick Robinson asked her if she was going to reinstate inheritance tax, which is one of the most redistributive taxes and she dismissed it. So much for not having a 'privileged few'

    All May is doing is taking advantage of the current anti-elite sentiment, even though she is very much part of the elite.
    I don't expect her to stand up to big business. She'll be David Cameron but with a more hard line right wing social policy programme.

    Maybe i'm being unfair but as ever with politicians making great promises, i'll believe it when I see it.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    The Tories are funded by big business, going to war against your backers is seldom a recipe for success.
    She's already made noises about reforming electoral funding (i.e. public funding; that would mean both big business and union money gets out of politics). She could get rid of the need to have business donors at all
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    She's already made noises about reforming electoral funding (i.e. public funding; that would mean both big business and union money gets out of politics). She could get rid of the need to have business donors at all
    I'll believe it when I see it.
    Somehow I doubt it. The Tories have a huge advantage over Labour in terms of financial backing. No chance they'll give that up.
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    Yes, indeed, R.I.P. liberal Tories. Time for a new party perhaps.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    This.

    I don't buy it. I think Labour voters who are impressed, like the OP, are going to end up with egg on their face.
    I said if she follows up her rhetoric with action, I will be impressed. I think pretty much everyone is of that view.

    If Theresa May was really against neoliberalism and quasi-libertarian economics, then why did she not resign from David Cameron's government? Instead she voted through everything. Either she's fibbing now or was unprincipled then.
    That's a rather simplistic and superficial view of politics. I mean, I know you don't like Corbyn but it';s basically the Corbyn mindset; if you don't agree lock-stock and barrel with the party policy don't be a minister and sit on the back benches moaning. If that happened, we'd have no-one who has a contrary idea to the dominant clique in any party who had minsterial experience.

    Like most people who have been in politics, they believe in being a team player. When you are at the top, you get to call the shots. When you're not, you exert the influence you can but otherwise hold to collective cabinet responsibility. Now that she is at the top, she's calling the shots; I don't think there's anything particularly conspiratorial about that, it seems pretty straightforward to me. In fact, anyone who is truly committed to their ideas and wants to put them into practice will o exactly that, because that's what you have to do to ever get into a position to put them into practice. If one's motivation is simply the vanity of marvelling at how principled one is, how much of a martyr and a saint one is, like Corbyn does, and otherwise be completely ineffectual and useless and irrelevant, then yes she could have done what you suggested.

    The fact that she is even making Keynesian noises is a good thing, if she had no intention of doing this at all then she simply wouldn't make a speech challenging Tory norms on such a fundamental scale because she'd simply be saying things that would very easily be repeated back to her later on.

    Cameron and Osborne never said things like this because they were very comfortable neoliberals. And I'm sorry but the things you cited Cameron and Osborne saying don't even come close to the kind of fundamental shift in ideology that May has signaled; did you even watch the speech? Nobody leader of the Tory Party since 1979 has called for this kind of move away from the ideal of individualism, of free markets being the best way to organise society and distribute wealth, the opposition to "picking winners". Her speech has jettisoned that, and she has allowed her advisors to explicitly use the word Keynesian. If you don't understand how earth-shattering that is for a Tory leader then I have to question your knowledge of British politics and British political history.

    May has always been outside that sort of comfortable metropolitan liberal public-school boys club; that's how she had the cojones to make the "Nasty Party" speech in 2002. She is now using Millibandite language. I have two friends who worked in the Home Office when she was there and they've always told me not only is she very hard-working, very nice to her staff and very loyal to them, but also she has really different ideas for how to run the country and great policy ambitions. I think anyone who has paid attention to her career gets just how much she has kept her cards close to her chest, but that she does have genuine ambition for the country, an expansive view. The people dismissing her as just another Tory are going to be shocked, and then they're going to ask, "How come we didn't know she would do that?". Well, people will have told you.

    All lovely sounding, all aimed at the left, but was there a single detailed policy in there?
    They haven't even had a budget yet, May has been in office for a couple of months. It's slightly ridiculous to expect immediate policies, unless you want her to be like Corbyn and just make them up as you go along.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I said if she follows up her rhetoric with action, I will be impressed. I think pretty much everyone is of that view.



    That's a rather simplistic and superficial view of politics. I mean, I know you don't like Corbyn but it';s basically the Corbyn mindset; if you don't agree lock-stock and barrel with the party policy don't be a minister and sit on the back benches moaning. If that happened, we'd have no-one who has a contrary idea to the dominant clique in any party who had minsterial experience.

    Like most people who have been in politics, they believe in being a team player. When you are at the top, you get to call the shots. When you're not, you exert the influence you can but otherwise hold to collective cabinet responsibility. Now that she is at the top, she's calling the shots; I don't think there's anything particularly conspiratorial about that, it seems pretty straightforward to me.

    The fact that she is even making Keynesian noises is a good thing, if she had no intention of doing this at all then she simply wouldn't act on it because she'd simply be saying things they'd hold against her. Cameron and Osborne never said things like this because they were very comfortable neoliberals. May has always been outside that sort of comfortable metropolitan liberal public-school boys club; that's how she had the cojones to make the "Nasty Party" speech in 2002.
    All lovely sounding, all aimed at the left, but was there a single detailed policy in there?[.quote]

    They haven't even had a budget yet, May has been in office for a couple of months. It's slightly ridiculous to expect immediate policies, unless you want her to be like Corbyn and just make them up as you go along.

    Perhaps I'm being cynical but I don't think it's wise to get too excited until she acts on those promises.

    I'm very glad that she is talking about an end to neoliberalism but let's see if she introduces the policies to match. And I mean a real shift in economic policy, not just the odd nice policy, like Osborne's national living wage.
    Osborne did actually continuously say things like 'we're all in this together' and 'tax dodgers have nowhere to hide'.

    I did think however that it was quite telling that she refused to commit to reversing the inheritance tax cut of her predecessor. If Theresa May is serious about creating a society that works for everyone then reversing the inheritance cut, which is one of the most progressive and re-distributive taxes, should be a given.

    I wasn't expecting a detailed policy programme, just an idea of what sort of policies she would introduce with maybe a couple of examples. You may dislike Corbyn and McDonnell, as I do but at least their conference speeches were packed with policies.

    I certainly liked a lot of what she said yesterday, but as you say it's all just rhetoric at the moment.
    If she comes good, and makes some serious public investments, job security and anti-tax avoidance/evasion measures in the Autumn Statement I will of course congratulate her. (Although her hard line traditionalist views are very unappealing to me)
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    Perhaps I'm being cynical but I don't think it's wise to get too excited until she acts on those promises.
    Of course, and that's what I said; I will be very impressed if she acts on them. But from what I know of her, and I have been following her career with interest, there's no question she wants to implement this policy platform. May has a small coterie of advisors who have basically been with her since the beginning, she is extremely loyal to them and vice-versa. They are known around Whitehall to have very different ideas to traditional Tory mindset, and that this group is not interested in the normal trappings of power, the white tie dinners and the days out at Ascot, the obsequious civil servants saying "Yes Secretary of State" and having your butt kissed by lobbyists. She has some very intelligent people around her, and this group is now saying "This is our time". I really hope she is able to make a difference; I think the fact that noises have been made about reforming party funding might mean she feels that she can obtain maximum independence by getting rid of the Tories need to raise money from the rich.

    I'm very glad that she is talking about an end to neoliberalism but let's see if she introduces the policies to match. And I mean a real shift in economic policy, not just the odd nice one, like Osborne's national living wage
    Of course. As I said, based on rhetoric she has gone far further than Osborne ever has; she's gone further in rhetoric than the last Labour government did in calling for a real industrial strategy, in talking about government intervention, in repudiating the cult of individualism. These are things she really believes, and I think she has always had the big picture in mind, the trends (again, that's why all the way back in 2002 she already saw how obsolete the Tories had become in the New Labour age and made the "Nasty Party" speech, much to the disgust of many in her party). I think now the big picture she has in mind is how post-2008 has changed the landscape, the rise of populist demagogues, the increase in inequality.. I think her great ambition is to stem the tide of populist demagogues and provide real economic change.

    I did think however that it was quite telling that she refused to commit to reversing the inheritance tax cut of her predecessor. If Theresa May is serious about creating a society that works for everyone then reversing the inheritance cut, which is one of the most progressive and re-distributive taxes, should be a given.
    I disagree. The inheritance tax threshold is not particularly high, at all. £500,000 is not even half the value of a decent house in London, I think that's not at all bad threshold to have it at. It's not particularly regressive, it's not like we have it at $3.5 million like in America. Also, remember this government ended dividend imputation; that is pretty much the most fundamental taxation-based privilege of the capitalist class.

    And you can see how different she is from ordinary Tories in saying she wants to repeal the prohibition on councils borrowing to build council housing. That is absolutely massive; council housing essentially pays for itself which means that councils can leverage themselves pretty high, which means they can afford to build a lot of council housing once this prohibition is repealed. That really is massive.

    If she comes good, and makes some serious public investments, job security and anti-tax avoidance/evasion measures in the Autumn Statement I will of course congratulate her. (Although her hard line traditionalist views are very unappealing to me)
    Of course, this 100% depends on whether this actually happens. I really want her to succeed, her biggest obstacle is her own side. But I don't think the problem is that she is being phoney and doesn't actually want this, everything I've heard (I'm quite involved in Lab politics, I live about a mile from the Palace of Westminster, have lots of friends on both sides who work in the palace as staffers for MPs or as aides to ministers) she and her tight coterie of advisors do have great ambitions. What I think has to be feared is the Tory counter-revolution; a rear-guard action by the metro neoliberals and the turnip Taliban who view the May agenda as basically being communism.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    She's already made noises about reforming electoral funding (i.e. public funding; that would mean both big business and union money gets out of politics). She could get rid of the need to have business donors at all
    I will be interested in how long she lasts as PM, she may get to fight the next election but I don't think so. She is riding a wave of Brexit but Brexit bought out a lot of voters who never voted before and unlikely to vote in the future so her support base has already gone.

    She is also starting fights with businesses and farmers, the Tories natural supporters and trying to appeal to the left but I doubt that would be successful.
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    (Original post by Maker)
    I will be interested in how long she lasts as PM, she may get to fight the next election but I don't think so. She is riding a wave of Brexit but Brexit bought out a lot of voters who never voted before and unlikely to vote in the future so her support base has already gone.
    It didn't bring out a lot of voters, the turnout for the referendum was 72%, the turnout for the 2015 election was 66%. Why would she specifically be relying on Brexit voters, rather than on Conservative voters? Why would she not rely on the 40% or so of people who currently intend to vote Conservative (most of which are reliable elderly or upper-middle class voters who always turn out for the Tories on polling day)?

    All in all, I don't think your analysis makes a lot of sense.

    She is also starting fights with businesses and farmers, the Tories natural supporters and trying to appeal to the left but I doubt that would be successful.
    I think she's trying to appeal to the centre; she realises the centre has shifted since 2008. The centre now isn't where the centre was in 2002; the mood of the electorate is much less favourable to laissez-faire economics. She knows she'll never appeal to the left, for the most part; what she is hoping to do is draw in voters both from the immigration-sceptic right and from the centre or ever-so-faintly-centre-left who are sick of inequality and economic disparities. In that sense, it is an ambitious strategy but given how utterly useless Corbyn is and how UKIP now basically have no reason to exist, it's an eminently justifiable one and one which will deliver a decade in power if she can pull it off
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    Interesting. I don't like her but-

    She is I think successfully attenpting to hoover up both Labour and ukip voters. She's handling Brexit as I would ( as a passionate but pragmatic remainer) and rightly concluded along with Rudd (who is becoming one of my favourites) that brexit means we need to massively reduce immigration and that we should negotiate for the best deal possible.
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    (Original post by Davij038)
    Interesting. I don't like her but-

    She is I think successfully attenpting to hoover up both Labour and ukip voters. She's handling Brexit as I would ( as a passionate but pragmatic remainer) and rightly concluded along with Rudd (who is becoming one of my favourites) that brexit means we need to massively reduce immigration and that we should negotiate for the best deal possible.
    When Ed Miliband made a very similar speech (except immigration) he was regarded as anti-business and anti-aspiration.

    Yet the Daily Mail today headlined about how wonderful it is that May is going after tax dodgers.

    Suddenly being 'liberal' and not hating immigration makes you the enemy of the state.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I said if she follows up her rhetoric with action, I will be impressed. I think pretty much everyone is of that view.



    That's a rather simplistic and superficial view of politics. I mean, I know you don't like Corbyn but it';s basically the Corbyn mindset; if you don't agree lock-stock and barrel with the party policy don't be a minister and sit on the back benches moaning. If that happened, we'd have no-one who has a contrary idea to the dominant clique in any party who had minsterial experience.

    Like most people who have been in politics, they believe in being a team player. When you are at the top, you get to call the shots. When you're not, you exert the influence you can but otherwise hold to collective cabinet responsibility. Now that she is at the top, she's calling the shots; I don't think there's anything particularly conspiratorial about that, it seems pretty straightforward to me. In fact, anyone who is truly committed to their ideas and wants to put them into practice will o exactly that, because that's what you have to do to ever get into a position to put them into practice. If one's motivation is simply the vanity of marvelling at how principled one is, how much of a martyr and a saint one is, like Corbyn does, and otherwise be completely ineffectual and useless and irrelevant, then yes she could have done what you suggested.

    The fact that she is even making Keynesian noises is a good thing, if she had no intention of doing this at all then she simply wouldn't make a speech challenging Tory norms on such a fundamental scale because she'd simply be saying things that would very easily be repeated back to her later on.

    Cameron and Osborne never said things like this because they were very comfortable neoliberals. And I'm sorry but the things you cited Cameron and Osborne saying don't even come close to the kind of fundamental shift in ideology that May has signaled; did you even watch the speech? Nobody leader of the Tory Party since 1979 has called for this kind of move away from the ideal of individualism, of free markets being the best way to organise society and distribute wealth, the opposition to "picking winners". Her speech has jettisoned that, and she has allowed her advisors to explicitly use the word Keynesian. If you don't understand how earth-shattering that is for a Tory leader then I have to question your knowledge of British politics and British political history.

    May has always been outside that sort of comfortable metropolitan liberal public-school boys club; that's how she had the cojones to make the "Nasty Party" speech in 2002. She is now using Millibandite language. I have two friends who worked in the Home Office when she was there and they've always told me not only is she very hard-working, very nice to her staff and very loyal to them, but also she has really different ideas for how to run the country and great policy ambitions. I think anyone who has paid attention to her career gets just how much she has kept her cards close to her chest, but that she does have genuine ambition for the country, an expansive view. The people dismissing her as just another Tory are going to be shocked, and then they're going to ask, "How come we didn't know she would do that?". Well, people will have told you.



    They haven't even had a budget yet, May has been in office for a couple of months. It's slightly ridiculous to expect immediate policies, unless you want her to be like Corbyn and just make them up as you go along.
    mind-blown.....how did u get the time to write all of this?!
 
 
 
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