From Hampstead Lane to Downing Street


When I was young anything at school that was unpleasant was sold to pupil and patent as character building. A different world from now, a world where the phrases “I don’t like or I can’t “didn’t exist. Don’t like the food? Tough; eat it or go hungry. Don’t like cold showers? Tough, stay muddy. What all this discipline did apart from prepare you for life did was teach you to find solutions. Solutions to problems. One of these problems was my vehement dislike of cross country running – I loved all other sport but for some reason running for running’s sake on a cold day held little appeal. To avoid this I used to sprint off at breakneck speed, get ahead of the pack and hide out in a friend’s house till I could see the bedraggled troop returning at which point would liberally smear myself with mud and nip out into the tail. True story, actually one of the readers of this column can verify as he was at school with me. True or false Richard? Richard was a great runner and layer became a compliance officer whilst I became a broker, I wonder if there is a link there?

I thought of this whilst I watched Theresa May’s trials and tribulations recently. She was so weakened, partly by her own party and partly by the meddling of Euro Politicians it looked like she could not recover. Yet recover she did. From such a weak position she garnered strength and put together what seems to be a clever deal with Europe. By agreeing to move on to stage two of the negotiations with a capped payment of about €50m she has suddenly got to hold a decent hand of cards.

The pro remain press may not agree but by agreeing the top of the price the UK is going to pay its very hard , if not impossible, for Europe to up this price and with the UK a net importer from the UK all of a sudden the negotiations look more balanced in the UK’s favour. The defeat of the government last week again heralded as a major setback by the reamainers is no such thing. What is not reported is that if the final deal goes to a vote and it’s rejected by Parliament the UK will walk away with no deal and no payment to Europe. Europe has already stated it won’t renegotiate so there we have it. Every reason for Europe to negotiate a good deal as they are desperate for the €50m cash, indeed some reports suggest that they will go bankrupt without the cash . Remember they can’t borrow.

Why this scenario is not reported by the mainstream press and media remains a puzzle but trust me her position is stronger than it has been for months, certainly since the election. The backstabbers in her party have had their day in the sun by defeating her in Parliament but will now back away as they fear an election , the Labour party changes its position on Europe every day and has no, let alone consistent, policy. When questioned a leading Labour spokesperson (I am being deliberately politically correct here) Angela Rayner said “more employment and economic growth “. As shadow education secretary you would think she would know the difference between an ambition and a policy.

Many a bad day will come again for Theresa May that’s for certain but her very weakness has been turned to strength. I wonder if she was made to go cross country running as a youngster and found a way round it and remembered this in the dark hours that she faced last week. If overcoming adversity is character building one thing for certain is that being Prime Minister’s character must be enormous.

We live in extraordinary times with strange days. Strange days indeed where weakness is strength. A parliament where Remainers strike a victory for a soft Brexit by revolting against their own party which in turns gives hard Brexiteers the opportunity to ensure a no deal exit…if they in turn vote against the government. Heroes to villains and back again. Pass the looking glass, Alice I think I need it.

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