Yes, it’s inevitable, but it’s also irresistible; and I’m going to say it. To lose one member of the Cabinet may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two seems like carelessness. Okay, I’ve said it, but Theresa May has lost it. Granted, she never really had it; her premiership has been a slow suicide from the off. But to have an already shaky administration disrupted twice in seven days raises yet more questions of leadership – or lack of. Boris putting his foot in it again is par for the course, but it didn’t matter as much when he was a chat-show backbencher or even Mayor of London; when you hold one of the four great offices of state, however, getting by on buffoonish charm isn’t enough – especially when the liberty of a British subject imprisoned in Iran could be threatened further by the Foreign Secretary’s clumsily cavalier attitude towards his job.

Boris is safe for the moment, though; in a Cabinet infected by subversive Remainers eager to throw a spanner in the Brexit works, a cheerleading Brexiteer like Boris is vital to uphold Theresa May’s pre-Election promise of a Hard Brexit. There’s also the old Lincoln maxim about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, of course. It’s no coincidence the PM brought Michael Gove back into the fold; the prospect of Boris also exiled to the backbenches, given free rein to make mischief and plot her downfall from afar, is the kind of additional anxiety she could do without. Better to have those with an eye on her job in the same room, where she can see them – a bit like when teachers move the most troublesome pupils to the desks at the front of the classroom.

Gideon quitting as an MP to become full-time editor of the Evening Osborne undoubtedly helped the Prime Minister in the Commons, though his anti-May agenda being broadcast to Londoners on a daily basis must irk her. The forced resignation of her International Development Secretary, however, is a more pressing headache she could have done without. Patel’s error in meeting senior Israeli politicians in an unofficial capacity, and without Foreign Office clearance, may seem a minor infringement of diplomatic protocol, but whether or not her error was mere naivety or simple stupidity, the resulting furore left her position untenable.

The PM’s problem is losing a Bright Young Thing who contradicts the electorate’s image of privileged, privately-educated conveyor-belt Conservatives; and the last thing a Government bereft of a majority needs is to keep shedding members that make it look as if it couldn’t run the proverbial brewery piss-up.

Priti Patel was one of the Prime Minister’s predecessor’s pet projects to upgrade the public perception of the Conservative Party – young, photogenic and Asian. When David Cameron made a point of announcing he once met ‘a black man’ during the TV leaders’ debates during the 2010 General Election, it complemented his promotion of the unelected Baroness Warsi to his inner circle as Minister for Tokenism…sorry, Minister for Faith and Communities; the emergence of a figure such as Priti Patel, actually voted for by the electorate of Witham (in Essex), was a further feather in the Tory diversity cap. But a week on from the loss of Sex God Michael Fallon for the gross moral turpitude of touching the knee of an Express scribe fifteen years ago, the loss of a fairly inconsequential Parliamentarian is nevertheless another body blow to a PM who is widely regarded as being about as effective as a weak supply teacher incapable of controlling an unruly class.

Brexiteers without Portfolio such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have hinted that Priti Patel’s forced resignation was engineered by Cabinet Remainers, whereas Labour’s porky deputy Tom Watson has suggested the Foreign Office was aware of Patel’s presence in Israel whilst publicly claiming it had no idea what the International Development Secretary was up to on her ‘holiday’. Whatever the truth of Patel’s odd activities, the fact remains she’s lost her job in the May administration and the PM now has to undergo one more reshuffle that has been thrust upon her; but it seems resignations – voluntary or otherwise – are the only way Theresa May can be prompted into rearranging her Cabinet furniture.

Patel’s exit comes just hours before Brexit negotiations reach their sixth round; to use an FA Cup analogy, that means we’re only two games away from Wembley – or it did before football’s governing body decided the national stadium could be devalued further by hosting the competition’s semi-final matches as well. The Times today reported that the EU is preparing for ‘the fall of Theresa May before the New Year’ as a result of the past seven days, which will trigger ‘a change of leadership or elections leading to a Labour victory’. This was rebuffed by IDS on ‘Today’ this morning, though his belief that the PM is ‘the one person who can actually still unite the Cabinet, the country and the party’ says all you need to know about a man who blames the decline and fall of Western Civilisation on unmarried men.

For the moment, Theresa May will cling on – and on, and on; but it’s hard to come away from the latest car-crash without concluding this is a Government treading water, feeling more like the Major administration of the mid-90s or the Brown one of the late noughties than a party that technically won a General Election just five months ago. As has been pointed out before, however, the most accurate comparison one can make is with Jim Callaghan’s Government of 1976-79, particularly during the testing time following the collapse of the 1977/78 Lib-Lab Pact. What happens next is anyone’s guess; but I can guarantee it won’t be Priti.

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3 thoughts on “PRITI VACANT

  1. I started off with good will towards may; i hopes she would be a safe, sensible pair of hands with a whiff on nanny Whip about her. But i was wrong. She is more concerned with virtue signalling than running an efficient executive. Her general election campaign was second only to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for its utter incompetence. How should the campaign have been run? With utter, vicious ruthless negative campaigning. Every Tory leaflet should have featured a picture of Corbyn with Jerry Adams and dead horses on Horse Guards Parade; every Tory election broadcast should have featured loops of John Mcdonnell declaring he is a Marxist (which he denied on QT, the lying bastard) and cutting to pictures of a starving elephant in a Venezuelan zoo, and so forth. It should have been brutall, nasty – and truthful.
    May is increasingly exposed as weak. When we need Francis Urquhart, we get a Tory version of Citizen Smith. Like the One Ring, power should not be put into the hands of the well meaning but weak; it simply backfires.
    i despise Cameron; some 5 or 6 years ago now wrote a blog declaring my extreme concern that his active policy of over throwing Gaddaffi would have unintended but unknown consequences; I was wrong. I suspect Cameron wanted those consequences.
    Priti Patel is (or was) appointed for “politically correct” reasons. Ditto Warsi.
    As for Brexit negotiations, I have had some long experience of hostile negotiations. The EU cannot afford the UK to have a good deal; it would be a deathblow. There is not going to be an amicable divorce. There is only one way to handle those negotiations; you close your books, pack your briefcase and walk out without a word. Go to WTO terms. Trust me, i have done it. It works. It’s called balls. Something Mrs May would not know about.

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  2. Spot on, Gildas – you only ever get a decent deal if you’re prepared to play hard-ball.
    Faced with the EU’s one-sided sequence demand, the UK should walk away, stop any payments now and in the future, burn all EU flags in public, immediately start putting in place trade deals with nations around the world and declare 31st March 2019 as ‘Independence Day’, for which a planned programme of public celebrations should already be widely advertised.
    If the EU then wants to come knocking on our door to sell us any more German cars, French wine or Italian electrical goods, that’s their choice – believe me, they’ll be there on bended knee, they’ve seen the numbers, they know what’s at stake.
    The problem, as rightly observed, is that May’s lily-livered bunch of quasi-Remoaners don’t understand the strength of their hand or the weakness of the EU opposition’s but, even if they did, they simply don’t have to balls to act on it because they’re almost all Remainers at heart.

    As regards Priti Patel, that’s what happens when you promote on the grounds of positive discrimination rather than talent – young, female and dusky, a hat-trick of minority Brownie-points.
    Her already over-inflated ego was thus boosted to the point where the ever-cunning Israeli Lobby only had to flatter her, tease her, reel her in and start to use her for their own ends – the fact that she proposed subsidising the occupying Israeli Army with UK taxes shows just how monumentally naïve she is.
    Whoever blew the whistle deserves credit – however incompetent May’s Cabinet may seem, it will have been significantly improved by returning Priti Pathetic whence she came.

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  3. That’s pretty much spot on; that’s how you do it. Merkel is a vicious bitch, and the only way to treat her is with extreme prejudice. My understanding is that WTO terms would actually work well for us; and severely damage industries such as the German car industry. Merkel knows this, but for her the political project of the EU is all important. The German car industry – at the moment – remains subservient. But it will bot always do so. In any seriously nasty negotiation you have to do two things, as Trump know. 1, ask for twice what you are really after, 2, be prepared to walk away. Just walk. Trust the Monk.


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