Theresa May’s recent attack on the Human Rights Act was either an example of political cynicism or political stupidity. She may even have managed to find the exact space where the two converge.
This space is a dangerous but necessary one for a politician to occupy. Communicative acts between politician and public are fragile and easily knocked off target. In this case, without Maya the cat she may have got away with the habitual patronising of the angry/aspiring classes and their vast reserves of resentment. But she went too far and exposed the prejudices of both sides to ridicule. The public don’t like being reminded of their easy way with dubious beliefs. They especially don’t appreciate being humiliated over them. In her attempt to go for the emotional jugular, May was guilty of betraying an uneasy alliance.
Her career, one that depends greatly on the capacity to walk the line between political manipulation and knowing ignorance, surely hangs in the balance.