How to be a successful Prime Minister
MRS MAY will have to work hard not to become Misery May. She’s been dealt one of the toughest hands of any peacetime Prime Minister and she’ll have to play that hand in an increasingly dangerous world. Good news is likely to be in very short supply. Yet optimism is what she has to engender. She’ll have to make her own luck and create successes on her own account, otherwise, she’ll be dragged under by the squabbling and blame-shifting that Brexit makes inevitable.
Low interest rates, full employment and no credible alternative party give her a fighting chance. Her Chancellor, the increasingly impressive Philip Hammond, has already signalled a willingness to change course and invest in infrastructure and housing. However, that’ll have little popular effect if it’s merely a matter of pounds spent and units built. It has to be a real sense of national transformation.
We must feel that Britain and its communities are on the march. The underlying theme has to be that Britain can do it, however hard we’ve made it for ourselves. There must be determination to celebrate every success and build that celebration into every project.
Crossrail is a good place to start—london, too, needs reassurance—but not with only one huge opening, although that is important. Instead, there need to be a thousand stories over a prolonged period, telling of the opportunities for the new businesses, affordable housing and local enterprise that it will unlock. Consciously build into the project the housing that renewed national investment will make possible.
Then, build up a pattern of improvement, instead of a series of unconnected and unremarked deve-lopments. Make Crossrail a symbol of success for all Londoners, but don’t let it be only for London. Celebrate it as another proof of the value of our national capital to us all: the one-world city.
Mrs May must be a Prime Minister for the whole country and seizing the opportunities of infrastructure investment throughout Britain will be crucial to achieving that. This year, Sheffield was chosen as the pilot for a programme to use new flood defences as a vehicle for regeneration. Her government must show a conscious determination to turn this emergency spending into proof that we are a nation determined to modernise everywhere, but particularly in our great cities.
It’s not statistics, but the experience of new opportunities that will create the can-do spirit of optimism Mrs May needs. An infrastructure programme for energy efficiency must reach into the lives of as many people as possible. It should be about partnership with local councils to transform local estates, using local builders and working with residents to reinforce and revitalise the local community, not a national tender for X million conversions done by Barratt Developments and managed by Capita.
Making a thousand enterprises possible and profitable is far more likely to create a can-do nation than a few mammoth prestige projects. Modern technology means the countryside is full of businesses that would blossom, if only the Government would tackle the barriers to their growth.
For instance, climate change, chalky soil and south-facing slopes have created an English sparkling-wine industry ready to take off big time, if only we’d learn from the French how to encourage it further. The Scandinavians have shown how to make Green business good business and the Germans how family enterprises can flourish in every corner of the nation.
Mrs May must use these examples to drive success in local communities nationwide and make sure that every one is celebrated.
‘Theresa May will have to make her own luck and create successes on her own account
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