It is lovely to be far away from home in a place I love, doing what I want, seeing friends and reading and watching and contemplating deep philosophical and religious material I might not otherwise get to check out, not having to be bothered about programs, agendas and site seeing, and being waited on taboot. Notwithstanding, I have come to a place for a short period where access to the Internet is good and the temptation to view the rapidly unfolding events of the post referendum saga and view from afar, my wide range of friends and others, assortment of reactions as too much to resist.
I refer of course to the latest chapter in our story, which is the handover of the prime ministerial reigns from David Cameron to Theresa May. Starting with yesterdays PMQs (Cameron’s last), I found it to be strangely heart warming and welcome, a peaceful interlude after the many acrimonious conflicts that proceeded and will no doubt follow. Who would have reckoned on David Cameron’s mother and cat, Jeremy Corbyn’s dress sense (good this time) and Monty Python’s Black Knight all getting a mention? Interestingly, yet again, that something that not long ago divided a nation, gay marriage, this time united the two main party leaders, and one wonders if two years down the line whether the same might happen with Brexit? As for Cameron’s comments – Conservatives doing “resignation, nomination, election and coronation” in double quick time while Labour were still arguing about the rules, and now being 2-0 ahead in the woman prime minister stakes, that was all true.
Whether that is right or not is another question and here I sense a number of my Conservative friends feeling somewhat perturbed that it happened too quickly with members not part of the Parliamentary party not having a say in the matter. I must admit non-Brexiter Theresa May is not particularly my cup of tea (I got 2 out of 10 in a quiz comparing how we would vote on a number of assorted issues) not to mention her anti extremist plans, although I like it she takes Christian faith seriously, but I would be hard put to name leading parliamentary Conservatives who are. Unless there was a stitch up I was not aware off, it seems to me the Party went about electing their leader in a perfectly acceptable way, especially in the circumstances. Getting party MPs to put forward their two favourites and then letting other signed up members vote seems a good idea. Few could have predicted one contender would withdraw, leaving the other victor by default. Given the urgency of the situation, i.e. getting on with implementing Brexit without delay, I saw no alternative.
All this leads me to what happened next (after PMQs). David Cameron got applause, and while there were many things I may have disagreed with him in the past I felt that was right as was the dignified way he let go of the reigns of power. As for Theresa May, I felt she took over in a good way and speaking of uniting the country in her first prime ministerial speech set a right note. She clearly exudes an air of competence and confidence. As for her cabinet choices, I am not qualified to comment with great insight. Actually, I like the idea of Brexiters Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary) and David Davis (Brexit Secretary) being given their roles. She has made her mark already by sacking, unsurprisingly, Nicky Morgan, Michael Gove, George Osborne, John Whittingdale and Oliver Letwin, although I would have wanted her to sack Jeremy Hunt too for the appalling way he handled the doctor’s dispute, and interestingly promoting Philip Hammond, Justine Greening, Liz Truss, and Amber Rudd to her cabinet. As for the other leadership candidates, Stephen Crabb resigning in the light of the sexting scandal was not surprising and one notes the promotion of Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom. I agree with my Green friends, Leadsom’s environment credentials are poor and disbanding Climate Change Department does not bode well for the future. But it all remains to be seen how things pans out. There is a job to be done and while I worry about the Conservative approach toward helping the poorest and most vulnerable in society as they creditably seek to reduce expenditure and balance the books, and the sort of Britain that might emerge following the UK coming out of the EU, they should be allowed at least some slack to do what government is meant to do, but at the same time yours truly is serving notice they will be scrutinised!
Two questions I like to see answered in the coming days, with new comings and goings to “Number 10”, are will Amber be able to cadge a lift from Boris after a meeting that goes on, and when will Larry make his appearance (a friend advises he already has – ed)?