Wednesday 7 September 2022

How it could have been done


Yesterday’s pantomime in two acts as one PM flew off to Scotland to resign and his successor flew separately off to Scotland almost immediately afterwards to be appointed in his stead has been reported more than adequately. It seems that they needed to take two separate flights in case anything happened to one of them on the way there, and the outgoing one wasn't allowed to go in to see the Queen until the incoming one was in the building, just in case. How they would have coped if anything happened to the new one on the way home doesn’t seem to be recorded anywhere.

Not much of the reporting seems to have asked whether it was all really necessary. Whilst it’s true that ‘tradition’ dictates that PMs are appointed in person, and, leaving aside the question of what sort of functional state depends on the health of a 96 year old who has been in post for more than 70 years already, it would certainly be asking a bit much to ask her to travel from Scotland to London for two meetings neither of which needed to be longer than five minutes. But it doesn’t follow that two expensive separate return flights were required. Traditionally, PMs have to kiss the monarch’s hand in a demonstration of fealty in order to be appointed, but that ritual was replaced some years ago by a handshake, and the sky didn’t fall in as a result. It’s equally unlikely that it would fall in if the handshake was replaced by a Zoom-carried cheery wave, or even a simple old-fashioned telephone call. First Ministers of the devolved administrations are also appointed by the monarch, but it doesn’t happen in person – why should the PM of England be an exception?

It could even have been done by a few swift tweets:

@BoJo: Dear @RoyalLiz, I resign #PM #Quit #Butillbeback

@RoyalLiz: Goodbye @Bojo #PM #Quit #Hesfinallygone #Royalrelief #Noyouwont

@RoyalLiz: Will you @CommonerLiz form a government? #PM #Quit #Apparentlyonehasnochoice

@CommonerLiz: Yes #PM #LizforLeader

@RoyalLiz: Then you @CommonerLiz are hereby appointed. #PM #Whatdidwedotodeservethis

@RoyalLiz: PS: Just let me know when you @CommonerLiz are ready to resign. I’ve got enough time for another two PMs at this rate. #PM #Quit #Onecanhope

It could all have been over in about 30 seconds, and saved tens of thousands of pounds. For a new PM elected on pledges to challenge orthodoxy and keep a tight control on government spending, starting off by spending a whole day on this pantomime ‘because that’s how it’s done’ is not an auspicious start.

1 comment:

CapM said...

Far too many people equate pomp, ceremony and tradition with greatest country on earth.
They should ask themselves what that pomposity, pantomime and habit actually equate with.