The speech we should have heard in May




What struck me , listening to Theresa May’s speech to the diplomats last night, was how we could have done with this clarity before the vote. Six months is a decent period for “post-event rationalisation” and John Godfrey and his team did a great job of making sense of a decision many of us – in June – thought made no sense.

There was of course another version of the speech which could have argued with equal clarity the advantages of remaining, we didn’t hear that either. Instead we got a lot of prejudice and not a lot of pride. The only person speaking with much pride was Nigel Farage, who continues to be demonised , though there could be little in Theresa May’s speech which he could object to.

In short, the people are getting what we voted for. Although the markets were down yesterday, they look healthy relative to June. We are producing more, we are exporting more and we have massive inward flows in terms of investment , tourism and -yes – respect. We may not like being liked by Trump, but I’d rather have him as an ally than an enemy.

Yes to clarity

We didn’t get this clarity from May before the election because she did not speak for Britain. The men who did  went to Eton and are now sat at home , or minting it on the conference circuit or acting as a correspondent for Rupert Murdoch.

Theresa May kept her powder dry before the vote and after the vote. When you walk into the waiting room in 10 Downing Street, the only thing on the wall is her speech about supporting those “just getting by”. My understanding is that this dictum does indeed shape policy and that her personal influence on our Brexit position is substantial.

Much of the confidence that we have as a country stems from if not a liking for May, a respect for her.

No to “exclusivity”

But on one aspect of her speech I was not happy. I am not happy that we are telling those people working in Britain as EU rather than British citizens, we cannot provide them with the security with which they came to us.

They arrived , whether with a job secured or not, intent on working here. There are very few scroungers living in Britain who are refugees and few economic migrants who are not working hard for themselves or for their families back home.

But as Dylan sang in “pity the poor immigrant” immigrants who lazily blame their hosts for being excluded, become part of a new blame culture. Whether white collar bankers or desperate refugees, the process of integrating those immigrants who want to integrate is  two-way .

The constructive way to manage the existing migrant population in the UK is to encourage individuals to make the most of what they have to give to both their and society’s advantage. This is the message I would like to hear from Theresa May – for many immigrants are “just getting by”.

I know it is easy for me to say this, being relatively rich , but I swear that when I was in the Wesleyan Chapel on Sunday, I looked at 400 people with only a minority of us with grandparents living in the UK and felt the better for immigration. There were few white collar people in the room.

Where I cannot stand with Farage is that he cannot write or say these words.

One nation under a groove

Theresa May’s speech yesterday, setting out the 12 point plan for our Brexit, was a defining plan that spoke for her. We did not vote for her but we got her. I am happier to be led by her than by the other lot. I do not agree with everything that she said (see section above), but I consider the speech the groove and we need one nation under that groove.

Many of my friends are socialists, Con, Colin , Gregg – I love and respect your compassion and your fierce pride in the solidarity that exists in British society created by the Labour Party. But we are now in a different groove that sees our values under existential threat from a kind of selfishness not seen in our country or the US for generations.


John Lewis was attacked by Donald Trump by twitter last week. Not the department store- but the congressman.

My minister stood in the pulpit and was angry, he had walked the Selma bridge hand in hand with John Lewis 23 years after Lewis had had his skull cracked open by a state trooper (when protesting peacefully on the Selma bridge).

Lord Lewis was angry with the lazy intolerance that Trump (the poor immigrant) displayed.

I watched the rapper TI Harris take on Trump (you can watch the instagram video here  ). He sounded like Lesley Griffiths.

Maybe it’s our predominantly black Govt. Or our thriving community of self sufficient Black athletes, rappers, producers, actors, DJ’s, directors, celebrities, executives, real estate developers & entrepreneurs who’ve worked their way to Multi-Millionaire-Legendary status in spite of the narrow-minded oppressive thoughts of our neighbours only 45mins-1hr away in any given direction.

Maybe it’s because we’ve created our own platforms & vehicles that empowered US & allowed US to bypass their approvals & validations.

Or maybe he was confronted with an uncomfortable truth that put his back against the wall & he just blurted out (or tweeted out) the first piece of BS his thumbs could muster. Either way…

Congressman John Lewis, I stand with you…. as YOU ALL should!!! #ThatWay #ThisOurCity

For Atlanta Georgia read any one of our great multi-racial cities, London, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow.

My message to my friends is that though I currently wear blue, there is more that unites us that divides us. The real cause is to make Britain a just and fair society which is not going to happen till we understand inclusivity.

We must control immigration and respect our immigrants

May is right to listen to the people and act on what they say (that was where the last lot went wrong). But she must also show leadership, like Griffiths and TI Harris. There are worrying reactionary forces in the US, in Europe and in Britain. While there are rocks against which we can ground by not listening to the general voice, there are rocks on the other , listening to the voices of prejudice.

We did not listen to Moseley, we rejected Powell, now let’s turn our  back the winds of hate that are sweeping the world and embrace the positive and vibrant message that characterised the majority of what our Prime Minister said.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to The speech we should have heard in May

  1. Gerry Flynn says:

    So why are we turning our back on Europe?

  2. henry tapper says:

    Eh? Because we had a popular vote which leave won – though I did not hear the words “turning our back” applied to Brexit

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