Tuesday, 12 July 2016
The circus moves, nay gallops, on.
It's only just over a week ago that a letter in the Guardian reminded us that whereas Harold Wilson had claimed that " A week is a long time in politics," but nowadays "24 hours is quite enough."
So my previous post, less than 24 hours ago, claiming that the Tories are good at burying a disaster and moving on, has been proved true far more quickly than anyone expected. Andrea Leadsom has withdrawn from the leadership race and Theresa May is to inherit the premiership. In due course we shall learn whether Mrs Leadsom made the decision of her own volition, or whether , as is more likely, she was visited by the traditional Tory hatchet "men in grey suits" and told to get out of the kitchen
Now the pantomime will move on to David Cameron's last Prime Minister's questions, his visit to the palace to resign, (hand in the seals of office - will he wear his Bullingdon Club frock coat?) and Mrs May's kissing of hands (do they really do that?)
Then the circus will focus on the formation of the new cabinet. My hope is that Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom will be sidelined to the European Brexit Negotiating Committee so that they can do less domestic harm and bear the responsibility for failing to gain the concessions that that they declared would be a cinch in the referendum campaign. And with any luck George Osborne will be consigned to "Groom of the Backstairs"or something similarly inconsequential. (A friend of mine in the coalition had the fancy title of "Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard.")
Mrs May has already mouthed the platitudes of following a policy of benefiting us all, and not just the rich. We shall see, though the Tories have a good track record of saying one thing and doing another. Her own record is not a promising one for Liberals She is, after all, the Home Secretary who sent out advertising lorries telling immigrant to " 'fess up or go home," and until the last minute of her (no longer necessary) campaign wanted to withdraw for the European Convention on Human Rights.
Sadly, whilst attention is now focussed on the Conservative future the Labour Party remains mired in trying to solve the problems of the past. M/s Eagle should take a lesson from Mrs Leadsom, withdraw, and let the left unite around the only leader with any claim to charisma. Sadly the Labour Party doesn't seem to have any "men in grey suits" to wield the hatchet.