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Theresa's choice of friends

Posted by Simon Parke, 12 June 2017, 5.46am

Never mind about May’s ill-fated choice of manifesto in the election.

There’s the broader question: how well has Theresa May chosen her friends?

With the dust of battle still settling after a troubled campaign for May, her two closest advisors, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, have been fed to the furious wolves.

Even more than a policy change at the top, Tories have demanded a change of people.


Hill and Timothy go back seven years with May, working together with her in the Home Office.

Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, they protected her… they were ‘her Praetorian Guard,’ as one colleague put it.

They ran May’s operation with unrelenting hostility towards everyone - staff, journalists, cabinet ministers, the lot.

The working atmosphere, by all accounts, was unpleasant: if you weren’t at the table, you were probably on the menu.

As one former advisor put it, ‘They lacked flexibility, charm and a listening mode. Hill in particular never understood you don’t have to shout, you have to communicate.’

May herself struggles to communicate, she’s not an easy listen as her robotic election mantras hilariously/bleakly revealed.

The over-used ‘Strong and stable’ and ‘coalition of chaos’ rightly became comedy fodder.

(And rather haunt her presently.)

There is a separatist and closed aspect to May’s personality that struggles with relationship and spontaneity.

And unfortunately, in Hill and Timothy, she chose friends who accentuated this social isolation.

This ‘drawbridge’ mentality is OK if things are going well; but now, as blue vultures circle above and within the gothic buildings of Westminster and she needs friends, she finds herself lacking.

They say you don’t choose your family but you do choose your friends.

This is true…but it doesn’t mean we choose well.

I was talking to someone recently who has just had a purge of ‘friends’ gathered down the years; and she feels much better for it.

‘I just realised that quite a few of them, who I’ve known for years, weren’t good for me. I spent more time being hurt than happy. It’s a relief to be free.’

Whether May feels the same this morning, I don’t know.

Friends are there to unlock us in some way, to free us from the prison of ourselves.

But in Hill and Timothy, May chose warders rather than friends.

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