The Daily Telegraph

HM looked surprised but delighted to find another new PM on her doorstep

- By Tim Stanley

Britain has gone from Boris to Truss, from sunlit uplands to a gathering storm – all in one long, sweaty day. For me, it started at 6am, when I waited in Downing Street to watch a man most people now hate move house. “But you wouldn’t want to miss the changing of the PM,” said my editor. “It’s a piece of history.” Indeed, it only happens every three years.

Well, this was a good ’un: barmy, booster Boris at his best. Surrounded by friends, he strode out to the podium (no regrets, no tears goodbye), and delivered a thumping résumé of his beliefs and achievemen­ts.

At least, I think that’s what he did. Despite having got up in the middle of the night to watch this thing in person, I had to watch it all back on telly afterwards because Boris was drowned out by the simultaneo­us translatio­ns of foreign TV (imagine turning “I am a rocket crashing down to the ocean” into German) and idiot protesters with loud hailers.

“Like Cincinnatu­s, I am returning to my plough...”

“Tory fascist scum!!”

And what I also witnessed on television that I couldn’t see in the chaotic flesh was a farewell so perfect it could’ve been choreograp­hed by Disney. He took Carrie’s hand, almost dragging the poor woman into a lamp post, got into the car as the first leaf of autumn fell into shot – then drove off into the sunshine, to the sweet consolatio­n that he’s finally free of that wretched wallpaper. How do you follow that?!

One can imagine poor Liz Truss riddled with nerves at Balmoral, where she met the Queen, Her Majesty looking surprised but delighted to find another new prime minister on her doorstep. As The New York Times likes to remind us, our constituti­on is arcane and irrational (the American system is much better: both candidates declare victory, then spend four years trying to put each other in prison).

“Other local traditions include warm beer and bad weather...” and while waiting for Liz to return from Scotland, Tory MPS instinctiv­ely took to the pub and watched the skies. Boris, they whispered, must have done a rain dance. From the look of the clouds, London was set to bucket.

By late afternoon, Downing Street was fully swamped by the world’s media, and the best spot I could get was wedged between a camera crane and the presenter of Cairo Tonight.

I could just about see Liz’s new podium. It did not bode well. A hideous modernist interpreta­tion of a podium, deconstruc­ted and twisted, it looked as if it had been fashioned by an evil goblin. The furniture was also starting to drip.

At 4.30pm, the heavens opened. The MPS ran for cover. The speech, we

feared, might be cancelled. As for what happened next, the conspiracy theorists will say Liz simply told her driver to keep going around Trafalgar Square in nauseous circles till it stopped, but I favour providence – for the downpour happened to ease the moment her car was spotted crossing Westminste­r Bridge.

Taking advantage of the rush to lower umbrellas, I pushed and scratched my way forward till I could see clearly through a gap between two unrelated thighs, and watched the PM take her place at Sauron’s podium. Finally, I was going to get my tax cut.

Or maybe not. It seems that if any reader was expecting jam today, you might have to wait until tomorrow – or two years after that. We face a “storm” Truss declared ominously, referring to Ukraine and the energy crisis, and it will be strong. But we will come through it because Britain is “stronger”. It was a clever metaphor, for it made a virtue out of the puddles and wet ministers, and the image of our country caught in a great tempest set expectatio­ns helpfully low.

It meant: I am not going to fix things overnight. In fact, stuff is about to get very much worse.

Yet I believe that Britain has the ingenuity to prevail, if you put your backs into it.

Yes, the party times of Boris are truly over. Get your mop out, folks, and start cleaning.

The Prime Minister waved. She disappeare­d into her new home to get down to the happy business of sacking her rivals.

And Westminste­r, thus chastened, made a dash for the bar.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom