When Nick Timothy was given a column in the Telegraph, many groaned but I was quite looking forward to it. I figured here was a guy who had made some perfectly understandable assumptions that had turned out to be really, really wrong, the result of which probably changed the course of British history. I thought what we’d get was a man humbled but with some very interesting insights to share. This, it is fair to say, is not what his Telegraph column has ended up looking like. The humility that I took for granted is strangely absent to say the least.
In his column in yesterday’s paper, Timothy says that Theresa May was against the “Immigrants Go Home” vans the whole time, and actually went as far as to block the proposal, only to then see them approved while she was on holiday in Switzerland. She then killed off the scheme “later that year” (why not straight off?) as she was so aghast at the whole thing. It subtly seems to suggest that the whole idea for the vans had been cooked up and then ruthlessly pushed by immigration minister Mark Harper and/or the Lib Dem in the Home Office at the time, Jeremy Browne. To say this doesn’t really make intuitive sense is to put it extremely mildly.
Theresa May has built her whole political image, both during her time as Home Secretary and since as PM, on being a heavy hitter on immigration. While Cameron and Osborne were always suspect on the topic, Mrs May was the “true conservative” in this regard. At least, that’s how she seems to have tried to project herself to the public. To suddenly turn around and say, “no, no, May was never behind all that stuff. It was Harper and the Lib Dems! Seriously!” just goes way beyond anything that bears any sort of credibility.
In politics, if you are successful in any way, you build up an image with the public. So, Timothy trying to say that May hated the immigrant vans and it was a Cameroon and a liberal who really did it is a bit like Corbyn saying that he was never really in favour of nuclear disarmament – it was those nasty Blairites who were the real CND cheerleaders – and in fact, Corbyn is now and has always been very, very pro-nukes. He’d like to nuke the North Koreans if he could! It is openly laughable.
Nick Timothy is welcome to write what he likes in his column. But he might want to check in with Theresa May and find out whether she thinks the whole thing is perhaps, not all that helpful to her in the bigger picture. Although, me personally, I am looking forward to finding out next week that the Lib Dems in government had actually had a whole plan to get net migration into ten of thousands that was only mildly nasty, but May the secret open borders advocate, had blocked it the whole time.