IF you possessed a measure of empathy for fellow humans in distress you might have encountered difficulty stemming a tear for the woman in red who stood naked before the world yesterday morning. Theresa May had finally been stripped clean of what remained of her political authority following the most wretched and prolonged period of torture ever endured by a Prime Minister. At the end you could not doubt her proclaimed love for the version of Britain that exists in her heart nor her sincerity in claiming to have served it. Maybe she was entitled to her tears and perhaps, at a human level, some of ours too.

Much more deserving of our tears are those scattered peoples throughout Britain whose lives and futures had become disfigured by the callousness of the social policies Theresa May fostered and endorsed. She became Prime Minister almost three years ago pledging to fight “the burning injustice that, if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white.” In a speech that could have been written for Jeremy Corbyn she warmed to the theme. “If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately.” By the end of Mrs May’s premiership those workers and their families weren’t sleeping; they’d been placed on life support.

READ MORE: Broken by Brexit as tearful Theresa May finally resigns

A fitting epitaph for the reign of this Prime Minister had been provided earlier this week in a report by Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty. Professor Alston had travelled across the UK last year soliciting hundreds of submissions. In his report he said: “The bottom line is that much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos.” Britain had experienced the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the population”.

He said that the UK Department of Work and Pensions seemed to have been tasked with “designing a digital and sanitised version of the 19th Century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens”. A fifth of Britain’s population now lives in poverty, according to reports cited by Professor Alston. The submissions he had received included reports of people choosing between heating their homes and feeding their children.

Mrs May’s government issued the usual denials with customary fury but the professor’s conclusions will have resonated with agencies such as the charity With Kids who work in places like Glasgow’s East End. The most chilling aspect of Professor Alston’s work is that these people are not merely the habitual collateral damage of traditional Tory policies that encourage the survival of the richest. Under Mrs May’s watch, both as Prime Minister and Home Secretary, the Tories haven’t merely presided over Victorian levels of inequality they have actively connived at it as a matter of doctrine. Previous Tory regimes, with some justification, could say that they never set out to cause poverty and multi-deprivation. Not so, the regime of this Prime Minister.

Tom Gordon: Nicola Sturgeon should end her insulting referendum sham

Weep, too, for the Windrush Generation who re-built Britain’s war-torn infrastructure. At a time in their lives when they were entitled to expect a degree of respect, gratitude and comfort in return for their efforts they were instead alienated by the hostile environment of Mrs May’s making. In her own words of 2012 when she was Home Secretary she outlined her philosophy with chilling brevity and certainty: “The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants.” It meant that thousands of people who worked here for decades but who were unable to prove their documented right to remain were hounded and intimidated by Mrs May’s government. Few who have studied the causes of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the lives of those who were placed there would argue that they too were subject to a hostile environment, their safety concerns ignored and their right to adequate compensation questioned and scrutinised by the right-wing press that provides oxygen for the Tories’ iniquitous social policies.

And when your tears for Mrs May’s distress yesterday have dried consider the foolishness and arrogance that led her to that lonely podium. How else do you explain her decision to hold a General Election in 2017, confident that the English media’s smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn had rendered him politically obsolete? Her disastrous campaign impelled her to turn to Ulster’s Democratic Unionist Party, an organisation whose social attitudes would have been considered primitive in Game of Thrones. For two years the UK was held to ransom by an unholy alliance of the DUP and Britain’s very own Night King, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a man who, like his political predecessor Robert Peel, possesses a smile like the silver nameplate on a coffin lid.

Thus the Brexit process presided over by Mrs May became not merely a chaotic one but one that exposed the swamp of English politics and left us with the triumph of Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson. It is an England in which, as one Liverpool food-bank manager said, people now don’t donate food parcels without first asking: “Is this food for British people?” Mrs May allowed her Brexit red lines to be set by these people and when she sought consensus across the House of Commons she found to her cost that she was two years too late.

READ MORE: Scottish Government calls for urgent inquiry into European election after EU citizens denied vote

Now it looks like she has given us Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Read those words again: Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This is the man whose departure from the foreign office was greeted with unrestrained joy by civil servants who, having carefully built mutually beneficial overseas relationships, watched their master glibly insult these nations during his brief and wretched tenure. His arrogance and incompetence jeopardised the safety and release from an Iranian jail of the British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and he effectively led a pro-Brexit campaign knowing it to be founded on lies and kept afloat by dark money and electoral corruption.

By paving the way for Mr Johnson, though, Britain’s worst Prime Minister will come to be remembered as the woman who also gave Scotland its greatest gift: its independence.