Question Of The Day

We Asked People in London: How Do You Feel About Theresa May Quitting?

In the wake of May's not-so-shock resignation, I went to Westminster to see how people felt about her departure from Number 10.
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Photos: all from author

You can't say Theresa May's departure from Number 10 came as much of a surprise – it had been teased over and over again like a badly-kept Game of Thrones spoiler. But as the dust settles on her resignation and various Tory politicians prepare to tear their party apart all over again to get within touching distance of prime ministerial office, I decided to start the work of assessing one of the most dismal political legacies in living memory – beginning with going to Westminster in the hours after May's speech and asking people how they felt about her leaving office.

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The verdict wasn't great, but what else do you expect for the woman who presided over the hostile environment, Grenfell, go home vans, and universal credit, all the while manoeuvring the UK into the single worst political catastrophe since George Osborne engineered austerity? Here's what the public had to say on Theresa May's time as PM.

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James, 25

VICE: Hey, have you heard about Theresa May resigning?
James: Yes, of course.

What do you think about her quitting?
It's good that she has gone but obviously, she is going to be replaced by somebody potentially worse… I want the Labour Party to take this moment to say we have a real alternative. Stand up for something, go out and convince people that its the real answer to the problems that made some of them vote for Brexit.

What did you make of her time as Prime Minister?
I think a lot of us became too distracted by thinking she was incompetent and robotic, and all of that is by the by. She could have been more human but her policies still would have been the same. She has driven us to a point where a hard, racist Brexit seems more realistic now than it did when she came in, and she bears responsibility for that.

Can you sum up her leadership in one word?
Oh man, I could do three. I mean, fundamentally, it’s “racist anti-migrant bullshit”, right?

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Alice, 24

VICE: Hey, have you heard about Theresa May resigning?
Alice: I watched it live on Facebook this morning. It was a bit of a [gasps dramatically] who’s next?

What did you make of it?
I mean she should have done it a long time ago, but it’s bittersweet, isn't it? That’s what we want, but then it’s like, who next? [The Tories] will elect the next leader, not us – [so] who’s it gonna be?

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What did you make of her as PM?
I’m Scottish, so naturally, I do not like the Tories. But being completely honest, I think she was put in at a really shitty position, and she's – umm, I feel like I'm stabbing myself for saying this – but she really did try to do the best out of a bad situation. But in regards to what she has done for people with disabilities, refugees, for the poor, I just can't believe that she's actually human. I think that she's a very poor leader, very robotic.

If you could sum up her leadership in one word what would it be?
[in a heavy Scottish accent] DISGUSTEN.

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Mark, 38

VICE: Hey, did you hear Theresa May resigned?
Mark: Yes.

What do you think about her quitting?
I think she is incompetent. It's for the best. But I’m here to show that we need to act with urgency on climate change and hopefully her replacement is more serious about [it].

What’s your assessment of her time as PM?
It was shambolic. She seems to be completely out of touch with her own party, let alone with what is happening in the country. By her own standards, she was devastating even when she was a cabinet minister. She's hurt so many aspects of our community.

Could you sum up her leadership in a word?
I think she is less effective than David Cameron and that is saying something.

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Julian, 42

VICE: Hi Julian. Have you heard that Theresa May’s quit?
Julian: Indeed.

What do you think about her resignation?
Not surprising – it was just a matter of time. I think she's lost the faith of the people and the government.

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How do you feel about her stint as PM?
She took on a poisoned chalice; it was doomed from the start. She was trying to do something that half of the country don't want. The writing was on the wall from the minute she took the job.

If you could sum up her time in one word, what would it be?
Disaster.

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Matt, 23

VICE: Hey, have you heard about Teresa May resigning?
Matt: I heard about her resignation yesterday.

What did you think?
Good, but at the same time worried for what will come after her. She’s quite moderate compared to the other people that might take her place. I’m glad she’s not going to be around, but at the same time, I don't think a change is going to be any better.

What did you make of her time as PM?
Dreadful. But at the same time, I don't think anybody could have done a good job. She was back against a wall, I don't think she did well but I don't think anybody could have done any better really.

If you could sum up her leadership in one word what would it be?
Shocking.

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Emily, 20

VICE: Hi Emily. Did you hear about Theresa May resigning?
Emily: I literally found out like two hours ago.

What do you think about her quitting?
On a personal human level, [I feel] really sad for her as a person. On a countrywide and political level, obviously it adds more uncertainty – and who knows who’s going to take over now? If it’s Boris Johnson, Michael Gove any of these people I'm going to be quite concerned.

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How do you view her as a prime minister?
Have you heard of the glass cliff? It’s a theory that whenever the political system is about to go into absolute turmoil, then a female leader is elected. That's at a political level [and] it also happens in big companies, too. Part of me is just like this is indicative of the glass cliff – just putting a woman in power when everything is about to fall apart anyway.

Sum up her leadership in one word.
Shambles.

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Mary, 65

VICE: Hi Mary. Did you hear about Theresa May resigning?
Mary: Yes, just this morning I heard on Facebook from my daughter.

What do you think?
I think it’s inevitable. I have no opinion. We need to revoke Article 50 before we literally flush the country down the pan.

What did you make of her time as prime minister?
Disastrous, and all she did was basically reinforce the bigotry, the xenophobia, the racism, the hostile environment, [and] the lack of opportunity for people in this country. Let's face it, nobody born this century voted to leave the EU – well they couldn’t – but young people are our future.

If you could sum up her leadership in one word what would it be?
Disastrous – no, actually tragic. Yes, tragic and misled.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.