Theresa May is an old-fashioned archetype. Daughter of a country vicar, her family culture will have inherited and passed onto young Theresa the conditioned deference of the rectory towards the noble Lord of the Manor whose merest whim dictated their continued “living”. What wouldn’t the vicar do, to ingratiate himself to his Lords and Masters? What price an invitation to the great hall and with it boasting rights for the rest of the “season”?
Anyone familiar with Jane Austen or later Victorian novels will know the character type well: the ingratiating, simpering vicar toadying to his betters every way his parochial imagination allows while at the same time relishing any chance to play tyrant to anyone lower on the social scale. To the Lord, the rector is an obsequious, needy prostitute. To the rest, he (or she) is the servant of hereditary privilege, a loyal magistrate ministering the self-intetested justice of the noble estate to its inconvenient tenants.
The legacy of this ancient dynamic of ordained aristocracy and rigid social positions is so profoundly, if bafflingly, imprinted on Theresa May and the Tories it defines their outlook and actions to this day.
Such is the true character of Theresa May, beneath the veneer. It’s why she seems unerringly to be doing the bidding of the ERG, of the likes of Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, despite the humiliating and ludicrous positions she’s forced to take up. She’ll face any public examination and stay firm in stubborn immobility. She’ll never engage any opponent — nor even fellow Conservatives (if they’re outside the cabal of her aristocratic organ grinders). The behaviour is indelibly written deep into the DNA of her personality.
All this is a dangerous and ultimately destructive state of affairs for the UK. It’s a confluence of the worst possible sequences of cause and effect, for the country to be “led” by someone entirely compromised by an innate compulsion to serve the will of a narrow class of rapacious right-wingers. Brexit is the perfect denouement of years unnecessary austerity imposed by the May government, forced onto a nation whose citizens had made the mistake of forgotting their place in the English social order. The dog-collared magistrate has come of age and now ministers to an entire nation.
It’s worth noting that her ingrained class servility is also the reason Theresa May seemed to begin Brexit as a committed Remainer. It has nothing to do with her having changed her mind but rather her master; back in 2016 it was David Cameron. His retirement after the referendum, in a grossly entitled fit of irresponsible pique, left the leash dangling; and it was quickly taken up by Boris, Rees-Mogg and others in the ERG.
As reality and, as Brexit gets closer, unavoidable public scrutiny forces Theresa May further into a political corner, she’s found the role strangely compatible with her informal status as a servant to the will of others. Like the sex worker defending the atrocities and violence of her pimp, Theresa May is commanded by similar dynamics. No matter the excesses of the pimp (or, in this case, the Tory grandees) the degraded prostitute finds strength in her submission to defy the world. Somewhere in her psyche is the blind belief the pimp will love her best out of all his “bitches”. Somewhere in Theresa May’s make-up is the hope she’ll one day be given her version of the same reward; perhaps deferred so it may come in this life or the next. After all, the Great British class hierarchy is ordained by God, is it not?
Theresa May has been in thrall to this pimp class dynamic for years, possibly all her life. Sadly, it is now running concurrent with a defining moment in British history. The crimes of her Tory pimps may not stay covered up for long and Mrs May will certainly see out her born destiny by taking the fall. It’ll be the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — and its citizens home and abroad who’ll be paying the price, very soon and for the rest of their lives.