The figure of Boudica, queen of the Iceni, is surprisingly resilient. Since the Renaissance, she has turned up in public discourse pretty consistently in Britain, from celebrations of the defeat of the Spanish Armada to the imperialist triumphalism of the late Victorian era. Over this long period, Boudica has come in for criticism, as well as for lionisation. The latest example of the latter is Nick Timothy’s recent article in The Sun, encouraging his former boss, Theresa May, to “find her inner Boudicca [sic]”, in negotiations with the EU.
Of course, the facts of Boudica’s bloody and ultimately disastrous first century rebellion against the Roman occupiers of Britain – as the New Statesman rightly pointed out – make a comparison with the UK’s current prime minister problematic at best. Timothy’s way of dealing with these inconvenient facts was to dismiss them in his article as mere “details”. Continue reading “Theresa May has been told to ‘find her inner Boudica’ – here’s why that’s a terrible idea”