Sunday, 8 October 2017

What the papers say about Theresa May and that speech (spoiler: it's not good)

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Is it just four days since that speech? It seems like a fortnight.

Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph is very unforgiving.

"Every broadcaster (like every actor) knows that if you are suffering from a cough prior to a performance, a doctor can produce an anaesthetising throat spray which will ensure you are untroubled for a number of hours.
"If Mrs May’s team does not know this – or if she refused to accept their advice – then they are all unfit for their offices. This isn’t even a matter of political judgment: it’s a question of professionalism and simple competence."
Andrew Rawnsley in 'The Observer' points out in an article with the headline, 'Outrageous good fortune smiles once again on Theresa May' that she became Prime Minister by good luck and that her coughing, the unfunny comedian and the letters dropping off the slogan behind her were 'rather lucky' for her in that they eclipsed the speech itself, which was vacuous. 

I think this is right. Her speech began by being, by her low standards, well written and delivered, but had no ideas. She praised the free market and then cribbed Labour policies. It was a speech to the left of Gordon Brown's.

Most Prime Ministers do get the job by luck, including Wilson (the death of Gaitskell), Blair
(the death of Smith), Macmillan (Suez), Churchill (Norway, which was his fault), Margaret Thatcher. Those who become Prime Minister after being heir apparent for years (Balfour, Chamberlain, Eden, Brown are the four examples since 1900) have been great failures (in Chamberlain's case not through his own fault). Some other Prime Ministers emerge because of their sheer stature, but it hasn't happened since Asquith and Lloyd George except for Heath. He, I suppose, is an example but had the Tories won the 1964 election, as they almost did, he might not have reached No. 10.

Theresa May is not clever enough to be Prime Minister. When one compares her to Messrs. Cameron and Osborne one sees why they looked down on her and tossed and gored her in cabinet. 

Andrew Rawnsley said 
a former cabinet minister told him

“It is in the interests of the party and the country that she does go, but the dangers of forcing her out are very serious. Pictures of her leaving Number 10 in tears would be absolutely toxic for us.” 
I agree with Andrew Rawnsley that David Davis is the best replacement for Theresa May.

Adam Boulton in The Sunday Times says:

"Just one thing stops the Tories ousting May: fear of anointing someone worse."

Whoever is the next leader should make it his first priority to change the system of electing leaders so that MPs do it. better yet go back to the way leaders used to emerge and then be sent for by H.M. the Queen.


I have read Janet Daley for thirty years without any great enthusiasm, but my opinion of her has risen recently. I liked this which she said just before the conference.

"My impression of Boris Johnson hasn’t changed much over the 20 or so years that I have known him. He has always seemed to me to be a serious person pretending to be unserious – which is the precise opposite of his one-time nemesis George Osborne."

Although  George Osborne does have convictions - he is an internationalist, globalist, feminist and social liberal by conviction.  So is Boris Johnson, so is Amber Rudd and so, in her authoritarian way, is Theresa May. They are all 'modernisers', which means Blairites.


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