Farewell, David Cameron, It's Theresa May's Turn to Mess Things Up Now

Britain bid farewell to David Cameron on Wednesday as the reign of Prime Minister Theresa May began. 

Over the six years he was installed at 10 Downing Street, Cameron—who resigned in the wake of the Brexit referendum—drew criticism over his support for austerity policies, disregard for the environment, callous approach toward refugees, and hawkishness on the bombing of Syria.

The Independent offered a round-up of “10 moments David Cameron will want us to forget,” while others took to social media to critique Cameron’s legacy.

“David Cameron is perhaps the greatest practitioner of what has come to be understood as ‘post-truth’ politics,” British novelist Irvine Welsh wrote on Wednesday.

He continued:

But Cameron’s unelected successor may not provide much respite.

“Cameron’s long-time Home Secretary is known for her tough views on immigration and asylum,” wrote Maria Margaronis from The Nation‘s London bureau on Wednesday.

“Three years ago, she piloted a billboard campaign warning illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest,’ and she pushed hard for Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights on the grounds that it makes it harder to deport terrorism suspects—a position she rowed back from when she announced her candidacy for the Tory leadership,” Margaronis added.

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In 2015, May was dubbed “Islamophobe of the Year” by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, leading commentator Shaheen Sattar to write on Wednesday: “I fear that Theresa May’s track record as Home Secretary will result in the extended isolation and denigration of the British Muslim community.”

Indeed, wrote Sattar:

Meanwhile, as Common Dreams has reported, May introduced last year the so-called “Snooper’s Charter,” a sweeping expansion of surveillance powers in the UK.

“Theresa May has been a draconian Home Secretary, introducing the wrong policies at the wrong times for the wrong reasons,” said Harmit Kambo, campaigns director at Privacy International, on Tuesday. “Instead of responding to public alarm about the Edward Snowden disclosures by rolling back state surveillance powers, she has instead ratcheted it up with the Investigatory Powers Bill, the most intrusive surveillance legislation of any democratic country.”

And when it comes to environmental issues, May’s record is mixed at best. Joe Sandler Clarke writes for Greenpeace’s EnergyDesk:

Citing a report issued this week by Britain’s Committee on Climate Change—one which warned of deadly heatwaves, food shortages, and widespread flooding as a result of climate change—UK Green Party leader Natalie Bennett wrote that “there is still room for [May] to show the leadership that the country—and the planet—needs. The environmental crisis we face is one which crosses party lines and requires tough decisions and urgent action.”

“What May needs to grasp,” Bennett wrote, “is that the environmental, social and economic crises are not separate issues, but inter-related parts of the same issue—our failed model for Britain that over decades had led to the divides behind the Brexit vote.”

She concluded: “Our political crisis is both a cause and a sign of decades of failure. The one thing that cannot continue in Britain is more of the same—the status quo is not an option.”

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