Matters for dis-MAY?

Matters for dis-MAY?

Two actions taken by the new British Prime Minister worry me. Of course, it is customary, even today, to give a newly placed politician a chance to prove herself and we all hope, earnestly, even desperately, that she will. But start as you mean to go on is as relevant to politicians as to you and I. And Mrs May has started with two enigmatic moves.

Her peremptory removal of George Osborne as Finance Minister (Chancellor of the Exchequer) was strange. George can be spikey but he is forthright and he has behaved extremely well over Brexit. He expressed a view then bowed to the opposite view of the electorate – like Mrs May herself. He immediately prepared to make Brexit a success. So why did she drop him? He has a good record as Finance Minister, no other minister better. The one area you want very stable while you do a Brexit is finance. Is firing a successful and quite well trusted Chancellor the best way to do that? I don’t think so.

Obviously the second of my worries is Bravado Boris. Make no mistake, I think Boris is Great Fun, just as I used to think Captain Kanagroo was, all those years ago on New York television. Trouble is, Foreign Affairs is not generally fun these days. At a time when the British Electorate have given their European neighbours a kick in a soft place it would seem sensible to try to keep the rest of the world on side. And that won’t be done by a side-show.

I am told that Mrs May has been tremendously clever over Boris – moved him right out of sight and away from any temptation to eye the front door of No 10 Downing Street. True, he will be travelling a lot so won’t get in her hair but as a representative of sensible Britain I think she could have done better. Besides, Boris really didn’t behave very well over Brexit, did he? First he couldn’t decide for or against. Then he appeared to make up his mind on the basis of pure personal opportunism. And having won, he quit. Not a good example to us all.

One of Mrs May’s earliest remarks stuck in my mind. Remember she said “Brexit means Brexit”? I heard some unspoken words after that; I wonder if you did. There was just enough aggression about the statement to make me think she was mentally adding “..and stick that in your ear”. I wondered at the time if that was the right approach to such a major move.

Mrs May has a while to go before another election. She has most of the Conservative Party behind her – a few with knives, but that’s normal. She has a honeymoon period in which everything she does will be regarded as right by the Tory press. Her purpose is to convince her electorate – and the rest of the world – that she is a steady hand on the tiller. ‘Firm’ doesn’t need aggression of words or actions. Keep the steely stare but do smile, too.

And, Mrs May, no more rabbits, no more hats, please.