In a debacle that would seem too unlikely for even political satire The Thick of It, on Tuesday Theresa May launched the Tories’ ‘patriotism’ campaign on the same day it was announced that the contract for the production of steel for the controversial Trident missile and submarine renewal programme was awarded.
To the French.
At a time when the UK’s steel industry is on its knees, with thousands of jobs lost while the Tories twiddled their thumbs and many more still under severe threat. She might as well have aimed one of those missiles at the heart of one of the UK’s most strategic industries.
The ultimate phallic symbol of right-wingers of every rosette colour, Trident represents a colossal waste of money to most of us. But those who support its renewal grate on about security – as if the many countries with no nuclear ‘deterrent’ are in constant daner of annihilation and as if the risk of the UK’s annihilation is not increased by possessing a WMD (weapon of mass destruction) that can wipe out millions in an instant.
Those who resist its renewal, on the other hand, are castigated as unpatriotic. Yet Ms May showed on Tuesday that the Tories’ ‘patriotism’ is a veneer as thin as tissue paper – and as easily discarded.
The Prime Minister, since her unelected accession to the role, has tried to pose as a centrist, as someone who seeks to redress the UK’s raging inequality. But clearly, she’s just as happy to see UK manufacturing wither and die as was the predecessor on whom she models herself, Margaret Thatcher – and just as eager to proclaim herself ‘patriotic’ while she does it.
It’s now self-evident – as if it were ever in doubt – that Ms May’s words are as substantial, reliable and disposable as her Kleenex-like ‘patriotism’.