Theresa May had provoked widespread criticism and anger on Thursday after failing to visit the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire when she came to the Westway road – staying for 15 minutes and swerving any contact with locals.
On Friday afternoon, word spread she was due to come back, this time to visit St Clement’s Church, where volunteers had been boxing up donations. Before long a crowd had gathered, filling the street outside the church.
As they waited, the people became increasingly hostile, shouting at her to come out and face them. One man began chanting: “Get her out! Get her out!”, while another screamed at police barring the door to the church: “Why have you brought her here? If she cared she would have come yesterday.”
Forty minutes passed, and still nothing. Then one of the waiting riot vans started up and began to move forward, parting the crowd. The Prime Minister’s Range Rover rounded the bend.
“She’s come out the back,” a woman shouted. As the car began to speed away the crowd rushed towards it. Around 70 people were running after her as police attempted to barricade the vehicle, creating a human barrier between the mob and the Prime Minister’s car, shoving people off as they tried to bang on the windows.
People screamed “shame on you” and “coward” as the car sped away.
The fear you or love you bit works for dictatorships but not for democracies.
Of course, these dimwits are being emotionally incontinent, the people who show up to share the pain, show the nation cares, are the Royals, that’s what they’re for. The PM’s the executive, not the figurehead.
But still, if that’s the way that people are reacting then May’s got a big, big, problem, not one I would expect her to survive for long.