Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
4 October 2017

Please enjoy these Tories’ heroically insincere praise for Theresa May’s speech

“It went well, we're all very pleased,” muttered a Conservative source, trying to hold back tears.

By media mole

Theresa May just bludgeoned her way through a conference nightmare. First, a heckler interrupted her, giving her a P45. Then she started to cough, and eventually it got so bad that the hall gave her a sympathetic ovation while Philip Hammond handed her a cough sweet. Finally, bits of the sign behind her started to fall off. Whatever you think of May, this was extremely bad luck – and understandably has crowded out discussion of the (small scale) policy announcements she made on housing and energy.

Now, as a loyal Conservative minister, there are two ways to respond to this. First is what you might call the “silver lining” approach, exemplified by Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson:

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Good-humoured, sensible, acknowledging the horrorshow but trying to find the positive. But there is another way. A way that makes you sound so totally disconnected from reality that it’s hard to tell if you’re being crushingly sincere or, in fact, taking the piss:

No, come on, Michael. Really. Lay it on sliiiiightly less thick and you’d get away with it.

Borderline, but ultimately acceptable. 

Sajid Javid, I had expected better of you.

A. New. Challenger. Enters! Thank you, Mims, MP for Eastleigh.

Wow, that is a Low Bar to clear.

Still, good to know someone is asking the right questions.