Theresa May has done enough, for now, to put Brexit into its box. The Prime Minister hasn’t offered up much, but the piecemeal announcements she has made at the Tory party conference – including setting out a rough Article 50 timetable – have helped stave off uncertainty. Crucially, they’ve also kept the Brexit band happy: with the traditional Tory troublemakers using their conference platforms to sing the PM’s praises for once rather than stick the knife in.
Yet it’s clear that Theresa May wants her time in office to be about more than just the referendum. When she was asked about the Brexit vote, the PM had this to say on the Today show:
‘The vote on 23rd June was not just about leaving the European Union. I think there are a lot of people in the UK who feel benefits of economic growth has gone elsewhere and globalisation has passed them by.’
It’s obvious the PM wants to make Brexit about more than just Brexit. For Theresa May, the vote was an indication of unhappiness amongst the electorate. This explains her attempt to reach out to the ‘just managing’ crowd (who she referred on Today as the ones ‘juggling all the balls’).
Yet beneath the soundbite and the flashes of passion which Theresa May demonstrated on the subject this morning, it’s still less clear what she actually wants to do to address the heart of these issues. The detail then is still missing and May is doing her best to give little away. When Nick Robinson tried to flesh out some of the meat on the bones of the policies, she chose instead to pick him up on minutiae (saying, for instance, that she hadn’t said anything on what sort of salary she thought those in the ‘just managing’ bracket were earning).
She was clear about one thing though – what makes her angry?
‘Injustice. What makes me angry? Child sexual abuse, modern slavery. When we see the powerful abusing their position.’
Yet while May’s passion on this is admirable, there remains a lingering doubt about how she will even tackle the key issues which really animate her. The £100m inquiry into child sex abuse is in trouble, following a series of high profile resignations. Theresa May is still sticking to her guns on this. But although the passion is clearly there, the policies seem to be taking a while to catch up.