The defining image of Theresa May’s premiership will be the tears during her resignation speech. An image shared across the world, it will go down in history alongside Neville Chamberlain holding a piece of paper, proclaiming he has signed a deal to ensure “peace in our time.” We all know how that turned out; met with ridicule a few months later when Nazi Germany declared war.
May would not have to wait a few months before the entire nation turned on her, besides a few pockets of empathy, as the ridicule came immediately. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and major news broadcasters, all broadcasting the image of a sunken Prime Minister across the airwaves.
As quickly as the ridicule came, so did those looking to defend human emotion. Human emotions will always be prevalent in an environment where there is an element of winning and losing, and people generally respond to their opponents’ tears of defeat in two ways: they either show compassion or they gloat.
This was a Prime Minister who had no control over her party, no control over her country, and, in her final moments, no control over her emotions. These final moments, these tears, were nowhere to be seen during key moments of her premiership.
Where were her tears for the Grenfell victims? She even had the audacity to state one of her successes was the response to the Grenfell tragedy and the inquiry which followed. An inquiry that took three months to begin and won’t be completed for another few years. May promised the survivors they would be housed; May promised the country another Grenfell style tragedy would not occur. Figures show over 40,000 people still live in accommodation with the same cladding that set Grenfell alight. If we see a similar fire, will the blood of those victims be on May’s hands?
Where were her tears for the Windrush deportations? People that were encouraged to come from the Caribbean to the UK after World War II to help our country. Due to her refusal to change her approach, it could be argued May is directly responsible for destroying the lives of hundreds of migrants across the UK. It could be argued, because of her actions, lives have been lost, that would have otherwise not been lost if she had not implemented her hostile environment policy. It could be argued; the blood is on her hands.
Where were her tears as the number of homeless people increased? Over her premiership, an additional 32,000 people were forced to sleep on the streets.
Where were her tears for those lining up at food banks? Over the last three years, an additional 400,000 people have used Trussell Trust food banks.
When the dust has settled, the Conservative Party has a new leader, and May has retired as an MP, history will not shine brightly on her time as Prime Minister.
When your opponent loses, you should console them first and celebrate second; however, when your opponent is admitting defeat and is oblivious to their own failures, then they deserve no sympathy.
May’s tears were for her own demise; she shed no tears when her country suffered, so why should her country shed tears when she suffers?