Tuesday, 10 January 2017
A tale of two interviews
Two interviews, two women, two different styles.
Theresa Maybe or Maybenot gave an interview last Sunday, during which she showed off the incredible political skill that has characterised her premiership – speaking at length while saying absolutely nothing at all and never, ever, giving a direct answer to a direct question. And you know that when she says she wants to be clear, she’s going to be as clear as mud. I think if she was asked what is the capital of the UK, she’d say something like: “I want to be very clear on this. We’re working towards the very best capital for all the people of the UK. It’s not a binary choice. The capital is the capital. The seat of government is the seat of government. The people of Britain deserve a bespoke capital that’s the seat of government of a country that believes in free trade and supports our friends and allies but which makes it own laws and controls its own borders, and that’s what I’m going to deliver.” Still, you can’t complain that May is inconsistent. She allows herself to be pinned down on nothing, and she delivers exactly that - nothing, simultaneously saying a lot while saying nothing substantial in an effort to distract us from the vacuity of her policy making. Or are we all wrong in thinking this? See later.......
On the same day, in another political interview, there was some straight talking and some definite commitments. And that could only mean that neither Theresa May nor the Labour party were involved. Nicola Sturgeon is a very different kind of politician. She’s got a plan and assured Andrew Marr that she was not bluffing. If the Tories take Scotland into a hard Brexit, there will be another independence referendum. She’s offering compromises, she’s offering negotiation, and if Theresa May’s government do not meet Scotland halfway then there will be another independence vote. Because if May won’t take Scotland’s position into account then all she’s doing is proving that the Union is as fictitious as her reputation for clarity.
There is, of course, another interpretation of May's apparent constant spouting of content-free waffle instead of anything that approaches a route map for getting from A to B or, for that matter, any explanation of what B actually consists of. Maybe, just maybe, there is a grand game of double bluff going on and anyone who believes May is sitting on her bum with no plan is delusionary. Maybe she's got her army of civil servants beavering away on the details of Brexit. And when she triggers Article 50, she'll lay her cards on the table and shout “Gotcha. Full House”, leaving us all thinking “What happened there?” It would be wise for the opposition to be prepared for a sprung trap and maybe get their terms and conditions for Brexit out first. But will they? Nicola is doing it but the rest of them? All is silence.