Former prime minister Harold Wilson will always be remembered for the aphorism “A week is a long time in politics”, although he could never remember actually saying it.
Well, this last week has certainly shown Wilson’s words to be as true as ever. Broadcasters at Westminster have been left breathless trying to keep up with all of the political shenanigans as we moved from the expectation of a nine-week-long Tory tussle for the leadership to it becoming a coronation by Monday morning and a new PM by Wednesday.
With Boris Johnson gone, I quite fancied the fresh face of Andrea Leadsom to shake things up, but after some injudicious remarks that were open to twisting by opponents she pulled out. I’ve read the transcript of what she said and her comments about her family giving her a stake in the country’s future were expressly made in the context of her saying, more than once, she was not referring to her opponent Theresa May being childless.
I don’t know Leadsom, have never met her or spoken to her, but the degree to which she was upset by the media storm that engulfed her suggests she was simply revealing the strength she took from her family. Her enemies in her own party accused her of being either nasty or naïve. She couldn’t be both, but either way her comments put her on the back foot.
The venom displayed against her by so many of her “colleagues” told her that if she did win – and there was every possibility in this year of the underdog that she could – that she would be plagued by backbench rebellious and ministerial resignations akin to what Jeremy Corbyn is experiencing in the Labour Party now.
In such a maelstrom of divisiveness and bitterness the chances of delivering Brexit would be slim, the Remainiacs would have a chance of halting the change the public voted for. In that light, she did the right thing to withdraw and support Theresa May.
This clearly upset David Cameron’s plans to have an easy time of it until an orderly September handover. Tough. Following the referendum result, the country needed a new prime minister and the sooner the better.
By appointing Leave campaigners Boris Johnson, David Davis, Liam Fox – and Andrea Leadsom – to her Cabinet, Theresa May has shown the skills of a bold politician who might ring the changes at Westminster and ensure Brexit means Brexit after all.
Andrea Leadsom may get her wish after all.
Petty SNP stance showed total lack of respect
The SNP MPs showed themselves up in the House of Commons on Wednesday when David Cameron gave his last Prime Minister’s Questions.
Following a light-hearted session, their refusal to recognise his public service with anything so much as a smile never mind applause made them look petty, narrow-minded and anti-democratic.
You don’t have to agree with someone to respect them or appreciate their commitment to democracy, which David Cameron has shown over the years. I have often applauded my opponents at their elections and retirals. Good manners display a spirit of tolerance and openness, and are the antithesis of bullying and intimidation.
The SNP would be a better ambassador for our country if it displayed the grace and dignity everyone else manages to discover on such occasions.