Awkward series of mishaps is metaphor for May’s premiership

Morning View

In an apparent breach of security, a comedian known as Lee Nelson interrupted the prime minister’s keynote speech at the Conservative conference yesterday.

Mr Nelson had accreditation, which raises questions about why a comic would be given such access.

Plainly this foolish man is not to be trusted to respect basic courtesies in solemn situations and any serious event would be well advised to look out for him and bar him.

His gimmick was one of a number of interruptions that threw Theresa May during her 65-minute address, including a coughing fit and problems with the signage behind her, that served as an unfortunate metaphor for her premiership.

It is surprising that the PM’s tenure in Downing Street has lasted so long after her disastrous decision to call a snap election after Easter. But it is a good thing that it has so lasted, and reflects on a common sense conclusion by Tory MPs – that there is no-one on the horizon who seems a better leader.

Mrs May’s leadership in any event has been unfairly maligned. The election campaign did highlight problems in her presentation skills and indeed other shortcomings.

In the end many more voters than expected concluded that Jeremy Corbyn was a more authentic leader and he came within 2% of the Conservative overall vote. But she did lead her party to one of its biggest vote shares of the last 50 years.

For all Mrs May’s pledges yesterday, such as an energy price cap and a new generation of council homes, this was a speech aimed at ensuring her own survival – and not from her own selfish perspective, but because those around her in the Conservative high command see no alternative.

They want to ensure Brexit is delivered and that a Corbyn premiership is kept at Bay. He would push the UK to bankruptcy and from Northern Ireland perspective would be an alarming prospect at the helm of any talks here.

Such defensive governance is hardly visionary or uplifting but it will provide some stability. The alternative, however, is far greater uncertainty even than that which prevails now.

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