Only time will tell if it was a misjudgment of biblical proportions to allow Michael Fallon to resign. There may be further allegations against him of a similar nature. There may not be. Most of us haven’t got a clue. But for allegations that go well short of sexual abuse, misuse of power, bullying or degrading women, ministers should remain in office. And he was a damn good minister
Sometimes Madame just doesn’t think things through. I would imagine in most matters sexual outside marriage she is a bit of an innocent. When she first heard about Fallon and Green she is meant to have remarked, ‘why don’t they just get on with the job?’ I suspect that in the Prime Minister’s study there is a big red button under a smashable glass lid emblazoned with the legend ‘only press when something needs to be done’. So when a crisis happens the glass is broken, the button is pressed. But magic solution there is none. Just klaxons, sirens, flashing red lights and a robotic voice warning, ‘crisis! Crisis! Something must be done!’ In rush the advisors. ‘Well Gavins how do we handle this?’
‘Easy Prime Minister’, they shout in unison. ‘Something must be done’. And so the Tories do what they are so good at. They panic.
It is a dangerous and contagious disease in politics to chase headlines. They all say they’ll never do it, but by and large they can’t help themselves. They should have read the runes. The Tory press are not too exercised about low level pass making. In the Mail Jane Moir had a crack at Kate Maltby. And even the saintly Michael White poured cold water over it all. But Michael old chum, best you don’t do interviews after lunch. Saying that female political journalists are predictors is a terrible travesty of the truth and has just lost you a hell of a lot of street cred. Such as it was. Which was not a lot.
I suppose the great irony of this whole sorry tale is that old goat Boris, who appears to have a nineteenth century squirearchy attitude to women, walks unscathed through this sewer of suspicion. You’d picture him pimp rolling his was across the chequered flagstones of his bijou baronial hall in full riding gear with whip in hand shouting to his butler, ‘Grayling, get me our finest bottle of breakfast claret and some cold grouse. Just horse whipped the game keeper, shagged his wife and the tweeny maid. Now need to build up strength to bugger the stable boy’.
The appointment of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary is actually a stroke of genius. It means that Green is dispensable. It means that any ministerial departures will be finessed by him. And there will be few scandalous surprises. He knows all their little ways. It will restore stability. And she knows she can trust him as an ally and a formidable operator. He has been appointed Secretary of State for the Defence of the Government. That is his prime directive. To keep the ship of state afloat and ensure a frictionless transition to a new leader when the time arises. And it could well be him. She has effectively named her successor.
Without blowing my own trumpet too much……well sod it. I was the first commentator to say that he could be the future. And I may be right.
Much about politics is about luck as well as ability. Gavin has been a lucky guy. Chief whip at a time of turmoil. Brokering the DUP deal. And realising that the only way to stop government defeat is a mass abstention. Not a stroke of genius, but just a way for them all to survive for a little longer. So he will have appointed Julian Smith as Chief whip. Another May Trusty. He helped Williamson run her leadership campaign. And then Esther McVey as his deputy is a clever move. A permanent visual reminder to that horrible old Trot McDonnell, who still hasn’t apologised for calling her a bastard who should be lynched.
So Williamson is a close confidante not just of Madame but Gavin Barwell, a popular and slick operator. All that he needs to do now is appoint a charismatic party chairman who can modernise and enthuse the party. It won’t be long.
This is straight from the ‘skip a generation’ play book.
So Williamson has now to prove himself at defence at a difficult time with budget cuts and an insane proposal to cut the £29 per diem active service pay. This is a gift for him if played right. He can wrap himself in Kkaki. Do a deal with the Chancellor and be lauded by the Tory press as a fighter for our brave boys and girls. A good showcase for the next move.
Interesting that his pet Tarantula is called Cronus. The Greek myth might be instructive. There was a prophecy that Cronus was going to be overthrown by his sons, so he sired sons with the Gods. To prevent the prophecy from coming true he devoured them all at birth.
There will be some more blood sacrifices. But we can rest assured that normal service has been restored. This is good news for the party and the end of the road for Boris. Expect a resignation in a fit of pique sooner rather than later.
For the first time in a long while I am beginning to feel a glimmer of optimism.