It’s undeniable that Theresa May was using the now resigned Home Secretary Amber Rudd as a human shield in a vain attempt to protect herself – a disastrously weak Prime Minister leading a minority government – from a justifiable barrage of criticism over her government’s numerous failings and sordid scandals.
And now, following the departure of Rudd over the weekend – coupled with the exit of her only other truly trusted ally, yoghurt-thrower extraordinaire Damien Green, several months ago – Theresa May has now become perilously exposed to the anger and fury at the many horrendous consequences of her truly dreadful leadership.
History tells us that a Prime Minister can only ever sustain a certain amount of criticism and a finite number of scandals and failures before their reputation becomes completely shattered and their imminent departure becomes inevitable.
Theresa May’s unprecedented failure at the 2017 General Election – in which she called a snap election with the sole intention of increasing the Tories’ parliamentary majority, but literally ended up achieving the exact opposite – really should have been the end for the hapless Prime Minister. Her political reputation was shattered, not only with the public, but also with a large section of her own party.
But history is what it is, and somehow Theresa May was able to cling on to power by the very smallest of margins – scraping through her Queen’s speech by agreeing the most sordid and divisive of agreements with a party of essential religious extremists, the DUP.
The deal cost the taxpayer a cool £1Bn – with one mathematically-expedient MP declaring that each DUP vote was now more expensive than the 5-time World Footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo.
Following this, May’s minority government has suffered a catalogue of failures, scandals, and political disasters. But, with trusted allies in place to take the flak of her failures, Theresa May has escaped largely unscathed.
However, one by one the Tory scandals and failures have seen May’s human shields topple.
May’s first choice Defence Secretary, her close ally Michael Fallon, was forced to resign in November following a string of revelations and allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour.
Just one week later, another of May’s top Ministers, Priti Patel, was forced to resign after revelations exposed that she had held meetings with top Israeli politicians, including the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without declaring them to Parliament.
Then came possibly the biggest blow to May’s increasingly fragile government, with her closest ally and long-term personal friend Damien Green being forced to resign as Deputy PM after hand-starting the one-eyed yoghurt thrower at work and lying about it – actions which enabled, possibly for the first time ever, legally-watertight headlines describing how a politician was sacked for being a ‘lying wanker’.
BREAKING: Damian Green is a lying wanker.
— Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) December 20, 2017
The departures of Fallon, Patel and Green left the Prime Minister incredibly exposed to criticism and her leadership open to challenge. But, as we have learned over recent weeks, the Prime Minister still held her trump card – an ever reliable bullet-proof vest named Amber Rudd.
May had astonishing faith in Rudd’s ability to protect her from the public’s glare – a faith which became no more obvious than during the snap General Election when the Prime Minister chickened out of a live TV debate, and sent Rudd in her place.
But now, with Rudd having become the last of May’s trusted Ministerial allies to fall on their sword after screwing up, the Prime Minister has absolutely nowhere to run, and no more trusted allies to hide behind.
With May no longer able to use Fallon, Patel, Green, and now Amber Rudd as her human shields, she truly is closer to being toppled than ever before – a situation that has been masterfully depicted over time by the incredible political cartoonist Dave Brown.
The first cartoon from depicts how Theresa May began using Amber Rudd as a pretty effective political human shield following the emergence of the Windrush scandal:
— Dave Brown (@DaveBrownToons) April 19, 2018
Then, with Amber Rudd’s reputation in tatters following the unrelenting barrage of justifiable criticism to the government’s multitude of mistakes, Theresa May’s human shield gradually became ineffective – sending the weak and wobbly Prime Minister on the run:
— Dave Brown (@DaveBrownToons) April 26, 2018
And now, with Amber Rudd having been metaphorically eviscerated from a multiplicity of political slings and arrows, Theresa May has been left completely exposed to righteous criticism of her dreadful leadership – leaving only the hastily appointed new Home Secretary Sajid Javid to provide what will surely amount to the very meekest of protection to Theresa May’s last remaining dregs of dignity.
[Warning – NSFW – the following cartoon may become etched on your retinas for all eternity]
— Dave Brown (@DaveBrownToons) May 1, 2018
Theresa May’s position is now far more precarious than it ever has been – far more so even than after her disastrous snap General Election.
May has completely run out of trusted allies in top positions, and she has absolutely nowhere to run.
And now, with incredibly fraught and hugely divisive Brexit negotiations over the Irish border looming large, coupled with numerous ongoing political scandals, it seems May’s minority government really could be on the very brink of becoming history sooner than everybody might think.