What do Ted Heath, Theresa May and Donald Trump have in common? Their reluctance to give up the levers of power and influence with a good grace must be just about the only thing.
Along with most of the world, I breathed a sigh of collective relief as we saw the end of the mad, bad, vulgar, self-obsessed Trump, and the arrival of the mild and apparently wound-healing Joe Biden, and the glamorous and highly competent Kamala Harris. They are taking on a tough job, but we all – of whatever our personal political inclination - wish them well in it. And well done to Vice President Pence for behaving in a more gentlemanly manner than his ex-boss and turning up at the important and symbolic Inauguration Ceremony.
Why Theresa May should have thought that a good moment to launch an (entirely unjustified) attack on Boris Johnson’s apparent lack of “moral government” is reminiscent of her equally foolish and ill-timed description of her own party as “The Nasty Party”. Does she not remember Ted Heath’s years of grumbling at his much-disliked successor, Margaret Thatcher? Is she not grateful that David Cameron has said not a squeak about her own disastrous premiership? Has she no loyalty to her own Party, or does self-disappointment over-ride it?
On the other side of the World, you may not have noticed an event in Mongolia – an independent Republic surrounded by those great dictatorships, China and Russia, whose Parliamentary system is based on Westminster’s since we were the first nation in the world to recognise them after Soviet times. The Mongolian Prime Minister and entire cabinet resigned this morning because their only Covid patient so far died being transferred between two hospitals in the Minus 25 degrees Celsius weather wearing only plastic hospital slippers. She died, apparently, not of Covid but of pneumonia. (There may be more to this story than meets the eye!) What a brave and honourable move.
Incidentally I hear very good things indeed about the roll-out of the vaccine in both Calne and Malmesbury, and the charm and efficiency with which is being achieved. So my thanks and congratulations to all of the professionals responsible.
I too stuck my neck out this week - rebelling against a three-line whip to vote in favour of Lord Alton’s amendment to the Trade Bill which aimed to stipulate that we should not trade with countries guilty of genocide. The 33 Tory rebels had China in particular in mind, and the fate of the Uighur people, who do indeed seem to be victims of genocide. Lord Alton may have erred by giving the decision to the courts, and it may well be reworded to make it a Parliamentary decision instead; but the principle remains the same, and I have no shame over my little rebellion. (Bang goes my knighthood- again!)
Politics should be about doing whatever you think is right, no matter what the consequences. Donald Trump and Theresa May could both take some lesson from the honourable PM of brave little Mongolia.