This is a country that succeeds in the face of chaos
The universe has a strange knack of granting our wishes in a way which leaves us wondering if we really did want what we asked for.
Remember when our leaders were masters of spin? When sleek and savvy “communication directors” would carefully stagemanage media appearances, when Cabinet spats were glossed over, when nine out of 10 crises were swiftly dealt with, and when politicians – granted, all looking very similar and from very similar backgrounds – provided at least a veneer of everything going according to plan? When our leaders actually had a plan?
But we weren’t having any of that. We felt that we needed our politicians to be real people, and we wanted to see their human side, warts and all, instead of the manicured Stepford personas presented to us by their minders.
Well, we’ve had our wish granted. Absolutely nothing appears to be stagemanaged or even managed these days, and those leading us are certainly a disparate bunch. But we seem to have ended up in more of a Monkey’s Pawstyle horror story than an Aladdin-esque fairytale.
Of course the Government doesn’t need spin to succeed and the public were right to reject it. What it does need is a vision for the future that is communicated in a way which inspires people. That is what lends an administration authority
– so lacking at the moment – and one earned rather than fabricated through smoke-and-mirrors politics.
The strange thing is that if one looks behind the chaos in Westminster, many key fundamentals show a country that is succeeding, going about its daily business with a drive and vision of its own. Industrial production is enjoying its longest growth streak in 23 years, and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research says overall GDP growth in the three months to October will be faster than in any other quarter this year. With the highest levels of employment in 42 years, our unemployment rate is just under half the Eurozone average. Even the most ardent pessimist must take heart from these statistics at a time when every day seems to usher in a new scandal or crisis, making an already shaky Government a little bit more unsteady.
The trouble is, even while the country puts in an encouraging performance against a backdrop of political uncertainty, Theresa May’s apparent lack of authority makes it impossible for her to react to events in a way she or the Government might want.
Whether in accepting the EU’s absurd sequencing demand in Brexit negotiations over the summer or in the handling of the media circus that engulfed the departure of Priti Patel from the Cabinet, given her technocratic nature Mrs May seems to fail to grasp that the process in which she is so prone to seek comfort is the very thing preventing her from taking control of events, by outlining her vision and leading the nation towards it. She has become a prisoner of that process.
It is a testament to the inherent stability of our country that, despite the political chaos, there is much to be encouraged about if one looks beyond the headlines. If the Prime Minister cannot inspire the nation, perhaps the nation can inspire her to find her vision. FOLLOW DiaChakravarty on Twitter @DiaChakravarty;