A minority of one person pointed out that the Emperor was not wearing any clothes in Andersen’s classic fairytale. The majority agreed, after some disquiet, that he was indeed fully clothed. Officially, he became clothed. Similarly, the radical ‘Bolshies’ and co. are pointing out that Theresa May’s maiden election campaign as Conservative leader is laying bare her authoritarian credentials because of her unwillingness to engage with the public, but most of the mass media is choosing to hush up the obvious.
The sheer boldness of the May ‘bubble’ has shocked everyone, but should we be surprised? Remember, this is the woman who just last year wanted to use the royal prerogative (defined by celebrated British jurist A.V. Dicey as “discretionary or arbitrary authority … legally left in the hands of the Crown”) to shunt through Brexit without parliament. It’s as if the Emperor has put on this bizarre show before.
As with last year’s lurch towards dictatorship, the spectacle of May touring the country, clearing out any possible dissenters from whatever factory or centre she visits, bussing in a few handfuls of loyalists to get selfies taken, and then answering pre-selected questions from a muzzled media cohort, would seem to any fair-minded person to be autocratic. And while there are grumblings of discontent in the media about such behaviour, it is readily swept under the carpet because ‘at least she’s not Corbyn.’
But hold on a second. Isn’t that what happened in the Emperor’s New Clothes? People realized the Emperor was naked, but refused to listen to the boy because the feelings of the masses wouldn’t tolerate such betrayal? Yes, complaints persist, but it seems as if May will continue to sweep to one of the largest majorities ever in UK election history because of the sychophantic support of large sections of the media and the unwillingness of a fair swathe of the viewing public to break ranks.
The UK has become one rotten borough. The silence is deafening. But only someone with the honesty of a child is able to see through it all.