Dear Prime Minister,
I can’t imagine the pressure you face everyday. You live your life in a home that isn’t yours, your every move noted and second guessed by your staff, colleagues, opponents, media, those you govern and much of the international community. Add to that the pressure, that from the outside, I perceive any woman in politics faces; your clothes, hair, make up and look are combed through with a fine toothed comb. I can’t imagine the pressure you face.
I can’t imagine what it feels like to get the chance at the big job in such turbulent times. It can’t be easy to lead a party led to the brink of schism by your predecessor; to be the one with responsibility for the string and sticky tape to hold it all together. What must it be like to lead a party that displays deep divisions across the single biggest issue we face? I can’t imagine the pressure you’re under.
That biggest issue is perhaps the biggest we’ve faced in decades, leaving the European Union. Brexit came with the job and whilst I know you made a choice to stand as leader, I have sympathy for you as you tackle that alongside running the country.
I am sure you didn’t want to walk hand in hand with President Trump and the jibes of the media and those across the house about your holding his hand must sting. He took your hand, you didn’t offer it. You walked a fine line in Washington, in the knowledge that the trade deal we need, post the Brexit you didn’t vote for, rests in those hands that took yours. You couldn’t be too friendly but you couldn’t be to distant. I can’t imagine the pressure you’re under. All this while UKIP are braying at the door, ready to poach straying MPs and voters should you fail to perfectly enact the ‘will of the people.
I understand you’re under a great deal of pressure but I have no comprehension of what it must be like. I do want you to lead us well and I want your government, as I would if it was a government from the other side, to be successful.
I understand you are under pressure but I don’t understand your decision, announced today, to cancel the Dubs scheme on unaccompanied refugee children. I don’t understand. I don’t understand how at a moment when councils and charities are planning how to support the most vulnerable refugees, that you make a choice to cancel their welcome. These are children, despite the tabloid reports of the aged faces of a few, and they young and defenceless. They are at risk of being exploited and trafficked. They are in real danger.
You stood on the steps of Downing Street, on the acceptance of your Prime Ministership, and spoke of a Britain of the world and fighting injustices. Your speech was full of compassion and I was hopeful that the things you spoke of would come to pass. I am still hopeful.
You spoke of fighting injustice, but what greater injustice is there than children left orphaned, isolated, traumatised and homeless by a war in which they had not fought, other than fighting for their own survival? I was delighted when you opened a hand of kindness on behalf of this great country towards 3000 of these children. You took your place in a line of compassionate British leaders who invited the needy to this wealthy and welcoming nation.
Yet you pulled your hand back after fewer than 15% of an already low planned number had been welcomed. The open door was quietly slammed shut behind the headlines of the Article 50 debate. It was done quietly but we heard, in hiding but we saw. The wells of welcome and compassion ran dry it seems, we had not even 15% of the capacity we promised to have.
Please reconsider this decision. Please revisit the moments of compassion that you have spoken of, and find more for these children. Please look beyond polling, in the constituencies where UKIP are catching up, that says refugees aren’t welcome. Please listen to the charities and campaigners who have recruited thousands of citizens willing to help. Please, amongst the very real pressure you face, find a moment to consider the pressure faced by an orphaned child traumatised by war and ask yourself if this is really all we can do to help.
So please, Prime Minister, in spite of the way it makes you look for a news cycle, and that climb downs are embarrassing, please reverse the cancellation of The Dubs scheme. There are lives that we can save from even more suffering and many hands willing to help.
I know you’re under pressure and I don’t envy you but children’s lives are at risk and we are strong enough to help.
I pray for you to lead us well and I will keep praying,