Sunday 30th July
There are those who say that Britain has become too Presidential, that the Prime Minister has too much power. But power is always limited – unless you are Kim-il-Jong I suppose, but even there he may be restrained by some of those around him. I remember reading a book about Henry the Eighth, popularly imagined as all powerful, and it described how limited his power was, how he had to take his Cardinals and Barons with him at every stage.
But now in the Twenty-First Century we have a Prime Minister who, everyone from Tory M.P.s to newspaper editors, all admit will not last very long. The best predictions are until the end of the Brexit negotiations and many are shorter than that. They could all be wrong of course, and Mrs. May’s misfortunes might be reversed, she could even contest and win the next election. But let us examine the field, let us see the fillies and stallions parade around the ring, let us indeed see who might be the next Prime Minister.
Now, many think it might be Jeremy Corbyn; a crisis in the Tory party and a vote of no confidence, a resignation and Labour taking over. I think that is most unlikely, before that there would almost certainly be either a leadership election or indeed a coronation and a new P.M. given a chance to steady the ship.
So, who is up first. Well I suppose it must be Boris. But in a way we are all tired of Boris, he was Mayor of London for eight years, he has been on our telly screens for years and his Buffoonish style and outlandish comments, though good for a laugh almost rule him out as Prime Minister. What we have to remember is that before the final two contenders are put before the members of the Tory Party the M.P.s whittle them down, and I suspect there will be more enemies of Boris than supporters. The same is probably true of Michael Gove, whose reputation for treachery makes him an unsafe pair of hands. Andrea Leadsom? Forget her, she blew it last time. Jacob Rees Mogg – well, he will certainly get the youth vote…hahaha. No, I am sorry he is a joke and a caricature. So who does that leave. David Davis, too old and the architect of Brexit, he will be blamed by all sides. Amber Rudd, of course. And compared to Theresa May, she is the warmest of refrigerators. She certainly oozes competence….but, she has a tiny majority which could easily fall to Labour next time, and would they really go for another woman after the Maybot?
So that leaves Hammond. Steady and boring….but then, so was John Major and he went on to win against the odds in 1992. At least he looks like a Prime Minister, even if one from the Century before last. And he was and remains a remainer. The mood of the country is gradually turning again, as the obvious disadvantages of Brexit become more apparent. What happens then is anyone’s guess. He could steady the ship, or crash it. He, or whoever takes over, may hang on until 2022, but hangers-on, like Major and Brown are rarely rewarded at the ballot box. An election in 2020, a year after Brexit may be the best bet. With a transitional arrangement in place maybe most people won’t feel that different. And…..the shine may just have come off Jeremy. Or…he might make it next time. We will just have to wait and see.