Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. Theresa May is still terrible at every aspect of her job

The Prime Minister answered Andrew Marr’s questions with the calm assurance of a Congolese IT technician unsure why his job interview is taking place on live TV

Tom Peck
Political Sketch Writer
Sunday 01 October 2017 15:52 BST
Theresa May did not appear to enjoy her birthday on the Andrew Marr Show
Theresa May did not appear to enjoy her birthday on the Andrew Marr Show (Reuters)

Theresa May doesn’t like interviews. She doesn’t like Prime Minister’s Questions. She doesn’t like debates with opposition candidates. She certainly doesn’t like elections and it’s fair to say she can’t like chairing the cabinet.

She does, however, like “getting on with the job”, despite there being no discernible part of the job she actually likes getting on with, and on the morning of her 61st birthday, she carried on getting on with the job on the Andrew Marr sofa as only she can.

She sat with the relaxed air of a small child hiding from monsters under the bed. She answered the questions put to her with the calm assurance of a Congolese IT technician unclear about why his job interview is taking place on live TV.

It did not help that the “big policy announcement” that had been put overnight may come to be seen as peak Theresa May, in that it was a) a massive u-turn that b) nevertheless changed nothing.

When students are enraged about their £9,250 a year tuition fees it takes not so much as a tin ear as a solid titanium one to imagine that the way to get them back on side is with a tuition fee cap of, yes £9,250 a year. Especially when, having previously indicated that large figure could rise yet further, the political press still get to call it a u-turn.

Still, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. At one point, the Prime Minister even insisted nothing had really changed while being forced to watch a video of herself saying the words nothing has changed.

Certainly, nothing has changed since June. Back then, Theresa May was relentlessly ridiculed for standing in front of the TV cameras and parroting out the words “strong and stable leadership” whatever the question she had been asked.

Three months later, and ten seconds into her interview, here she was being asked whether she owed her party an apology for the general election result and answering with “a promise to build a country that works for everyone” – the slogan that is up on the walls all round Manchester, just as it was in Birmingham last year because, of course, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed since this day last year, when Theresa May, Boris Johnson and David Davis all came marching out one by glorious one to raptures of delight from the party faithful, to sing the imagined praises of Brexit now shown to be utterly false.

Now, the Foreign Secretary can set out his own, personal “red lines” on Brexit, entirely distinct from the Government’s, and Theresa May can still look Andrew Marr almost in the eye and claim that the “cabinet is united”.

With his final question, he asked her if calling the election had been a mistake. Not since Little Britain went off air can the BBC have broadcast more consecutive “yeah but no but yeah but no buts” in a single answer.

“Erm, well, erm, is it ever a mistake to give people an opportunity to vote? I don’t think so,” she said, in words that, given events of the last eighteen months, might not be too badly placed on the Conservative Party gravestone.

Towards the end Mr Marr, who mercifully has not done as many terms at the swaggering, sneering school of political interviewing as most of his colleagues, gently asked: “Can I put it to you that I’m asking you very straightforward questions and you’re not answering them.”

Somewhere, in a parallel, and altogether fairer universe, the ground did the decent thing and swallowed the Prime Minister up. But even there, from the fiery depths there rose an echo: “Noaaoooothing has chaaaaaaaaaaaaa….”

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