Shocking news was recently announced that Prime Minister Theresa May will be giving up crisps for Lent (and unsurprisingly, it turns out her favourite flavour is salt and vinegar). We are well aware that Theresa May is a big fan of giving things up; EU membership, access to the single market, the Customs Union just to name a few, but it is questionable whether her decision to abstain from munching on this particular savour potato snack is newsworthy information.

Nonetheless, reaction to the story has shown that people do seem to care, mainly because it represents another splendid example of her hypocrisy. Observing Lent by giving up an indulgence is part of Christian tradition and is associated with purging and purification, showing abstinence and sacrifice. But being a Good Samaritan is also a Christian teaching and God did, after all, command ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’  Conversely, Theresa May’s immigration policies and attitude to refugees seems far from this Christian ideal. Our society would probably benefit more if she opened a packet of those forbidden crisps and shared them with our migrant workers and refugee friends.

Food for thought

However, Theresa May’s hypocrisy doesn’t stop with her snacking habits, at the Scottish Tory Conference she lambasted the Scottish Independence movement by stating that “We cannot allow our United Kingdom to drift apart”. Yet she seems incapable of seeing that it is she who is driving an even deeper divide into our Union by pursuing her hard-Brexit strategy, simultaneously silencing the 48% and side-lining the nations who voted by majority to remain in the European Union. She went on to say that ‘the Union which we all care about is not simply a constitutional artefact. It is a union of people, affections and loyalties.’ It is utterly astonishing that she can profess such value in the United Kingdom yet believe that none of the same principles hold within the European Union. Theresa May then continued to emphasise the benefits of strengthening the United Kingdom, citing the ‘social, scientific and economic developments which powered our collective achievement.’

Selective call for union

Yet somehow, she sees no value in the academic research funding, ERASMUS+ opportunities and the facilitating role that the European Union plays in furthering research and knowledge on an even larger scale. She also claimed that ‘bringing people and communities closer together allowed new connections to be made’, which in itself is a perfectly valid and strong argument for unity, but in the context of her hard-Brexit strategy, underlines her utter hypocrisy. The fact that she believes so strongly in uniting the four nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, yet so vehemently opposes unification of European nations, actually demonstrates the fundamental xenophobia of her policies and the Brexit agenda, for which she has no mandate.

Theresa May can’t have her crisps and eat them. By denying that the value and benefits of the United Kingdom also hold true in the European Union, she is effectively taking a sledgehammer to both and causing equal damage to all notions of unity.

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