COMMENT: Theresa May's jig was the least worst moment of a deluded performance 1 year ago

COMMENT: Theresa May's jig was the least worst moment of a deluded performance

Theresa May came shuffling on stage like a drunk aunt at a wedding.

Yes it was toe-curlingly cringeworthy. Yes it was mortifyingly awkward. But at the very least it showed a level of self-deprecation that should be commended. The laboured nod to the mass meme mockery of May's visit to South Africa was a canny if uncoordinated move.

Unfortunately it was the only semblance of self-awareness in her entire speech. Addressing the Tory party unfaithful, May spoke with all the blind delusion of a lollypop lady walking into traffic on her day off. In fact it was a masterclass in wilful ignorance.

There was the painfully obvious elephant in the room, or Boris in Brum, which undermined any hollow pretence of strength and stability. No amount of faux Thatcher intonations or low-octave Maggie-isms could possibly imbue her with the authority she lost at the last election.

Each covert conspirator in the crowd must have allowed themselves a stifled guffaw whenever they were thanked for their unwavering support, and urged to come together as one under their (current) leader. It was as if the last six months (or 24 hours for that matter) had never happened.

Unity was a recurring theme. May sought to drive home the point that we can only possibly succeed if we all work together as a whole and unite behind common goals. She could easily have been referring to a union of some sort - one it would be extreme folly be apart from.


Then came the frankly ludicrous spectacle of May reiterating the battered virtues of Chequers, defending the bad compromise of Chequers, and imploring everyone to support the key tenets of Chequers, without actually mentioning 'Chequers', for fear of loud boos.

If that wasn't bad enough, there was the PM's sham claim that Britain would happily settle for a no deal Brexit...before essentially admitting that she doesn't really think that but has to say it for negotiating purposes. One assumes May's poker face includes an exaggerated wink.

The whole performance lived in a vortex uncomplicated by actual reality.

Diane Abbott was praised in spite of the way she had previously degraded and abused by many in the room; antisemitism was yet again weaponised to attack Labour regardless of the rampant Islamophobia amongst Tories; as for May referencing Windrush, it was less tone deaf and more loudly obscene.

The only positive spin that could be spun was that she had survived - neither losing her job nor coughing her guts out. That's where the bar is these days. One suspects that May's ultimate legacy will be the catastrophe of a no deal Brexit, inevitable resignation, and requests to 'do the dance'.