Quote of The Day:
‘“They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace;
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
A face looked out but it wasn’t the King’s,
He’s much too busy assigning things.”
So, the entertainment – and incompetence – continues. It is becoming more of a dark comedy with the emphasis on dark, rather than an enjoyable Sunday afternoon watch.
Having gone to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen permission to form a Government, it turns out that actually, she really didn’t have the basis on which to go and see the Queen. The DUP were quick to point out that no, they hadn’t come to any agreement. Perhaps Christopher Robin going down with Alice would have been a more legitimate foundation on which to create a government. It would seem that the Queen, whilst possibly pretending not to be in, eventually opened the door to Mrs Maybe and let her inside.
So, reeling from the general incompetence of the election campaign, we are now left to wonder about the wisdom of a PM who can’t even work out who has and who hasn’t already signed up to a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement. Assuming the DUP do come on board, we assume that they are providing the confidence and May’s government is supplying them with, well, what precisely?
DUP is apparently one of the most googled terms over the past few days. Those who have bothered to look it up will now know that they have a tendency to favour creationism over evolution, are anti-abortion under any circumstances and believe that homosexuality is almost as evil as child abuse. Oh, and not to mention the alleged links to terrorism. So, good to see that progressive politics is on the rise.
In one of the more bizarre incidences of the election – in an already bizarre election. Theresa May came back from the Palace and gave a ‘victory’ speech which appeared to be only a slightly modified version of the one she had prepared on the basis of a landslide result. It would seem that dear Theresa is currently going through the first of the five stages of grief having started on the period of denial. Expect anger to come swiftly but directed at her, rather than by her.
And so to the reshuffle. Although to call it a reshuffle seems to be somewhat odd given that most of the Secretaries of State were in post pre-election. This simply points to the weakness of Theresa May, any rocking of the boat would be met with a pretty swift revolt seeing her walking the plank sooner rather than later. With the ditching of her inner circle of Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill she has managed to appoint key ally Damian Green as her de facto number two. Plus, Michael Gove is back, aren’t we lucky! Aside from that it is same same but different. The key change will be in the approach of the new May government. Pre-election her rule was marked by an obsessive micro-management, nothing went out from departments without being approved by the May team first and her will held out against all dissent. No more will this be the case. She has been strongly ‘encouraged’ to take a more collective and collaborative approach to government, which pretty much translates as her Cabinet demanding they be given the freedom to implement their agendas otherwise she will be stabbed in the back, front and side.
So, what does this all mean?
Well, in terms of Brexit, we may be looking at more of a soft Brexit than a hard Brexit, which will please the financial markets and at least 48% of the population. The challenge is whether or not anyone in Europe believes Mrs Maybe can get anything through Parliament and will take advantage of that. With David Davis remaining as Brexit Secretary our negotiating position is hardly any stronger. Theresa May must be dreading the next EU meeting, walking into the room only for it to go silent and giggles be hushed as soon as she opens the door.
Boris Johnson is apparently lining up his leadership campaign. Of course, he says he isn’t and a strategically leaked WhatsApp conversation proves just how loyal he is. However, in the words of Mandy Rice-Davis ‘He would say that, wouldn’t he’. So we could have the hideous prospect of a Trump/Johnson alliance. In which case, I have already Googled emigrating to Canada so just let me know if you need some tips.
And so to Health. No matter how many times the electorate and general population demonstrate their utter disMay at Jeremy Hunt, like an overly efficient boomerang, he just keeps coming back. Either Theresa really really hates the idea of a population who have access to healthcare regardless of their ability to pay, or she is so terrified of her ‘colleagues’ that she just doesn’t have the guts to move him. If the latter, this really bodes well for the future for all of us.
And not forgetting planning and housing. So, farewell Gavin Barwell. Those in the property industry who were rather fond of him will be pleased to know that Theresa May has made him her new Chief of Staff, so his influence will remain – at least for as long as Theresa May remains in post so perhaps he shouldn’t unpack his box and order his business cards just yet…
Sajid Javid remains in post. As Secretaries of State at DCLG go, he has generally shown himself to be inconsistent and lacking in direction. So we can expect more of the same disappointing approach to development. Prior to the election, Theresa May had declared a massive programme of council house building. It transpired that actually it was just going to be a changing of the rules to make it easier for councils to build homes, however, no money or investment came along with the announcement so it was basically written in sand. That said, housing could be one thing that May could possibly get legislation through on without a massive battle if she can put something together which will deliver across all sectors and social strata. The Queens Speech may contain something housing and planning related on this basis.
Junior appointments have yet to be announced but all must be aware that their positions are likely to be short-lived. Theresa might just continue for a few months to allow for a smooth transition, however, if she fails to get any legislation through Parliament she will find her position increasingly hard to maintain and those awkward backbenchers will be baying for blood.
Overall, it is likely that the Tory agenda will be watered down with some of the more right wing and unpopular measures modified or shelved. Even assuming the DUP provide support, getting anything through with an army of hostiles on your own benches will be a difficult task. This must be the first time that Theresa May has ever envied Gordon Brown and his decision to wait it out until the latest date for a General Election. The question now is, should we have yet another election in six months time, will the rise of Corbyn hold fast or will the Tories find themselves back in the driving seat? An awful lot depends on the decisions to be taken over the next few weeks.
Black Knight: Tis but a scratch.
King Arthur: A scratch?! Your arm’s off!
Black Knight: No it isn’t.
King Arthur: Well what’s that then? [Pointing to the knight’s arm lying on the ground.]
Black Knight: I’ve had worse.
King Arthur: You liar!
Monty Python and The Holy Grail