Honeymoon periods are an awful time for political punditry: the public wishes to give the new government a fair wind and suspends critical faculty. Journalists, sensitive to the nation’s mood and perhaps wishing to ingratiate themselves with the new regime, write a lot of sycophantic drivel. Meanwhile, idealogues project their own prejudices onto its supposed direction of travel on the flimsiest of grounds.
However, to all the sound and fury concerning what “Mayism” looks like – if anything – there was a definite “dog in the night time” quality. There was no mention at all – at all – of the profound technological changes occurring in our society concurrently with Brexit: whatever cocktail of free trade and immigration arises out of the negotiations will affect them only tangentially. Even more ominously, there wasn’t any recognition of them within the context of “Mayism” generally.
In one sense, this criticism is unfair: politicians have to deal with the world as it is, not how some trendy futurologist predicts it will be. We are, as Michael Gove said, all sick of experts. That said, the challenges of the new machine age are already under way, and the danger is that Brexit acts as a huge distraction, blinding us to them, whereas Mayism proves a complete irrelevance, soon to be overtaken by events.
Margaret Thatcher always said it was far more significant that she was the first Prime Minister educated as a scientist than she was a woman. Our second female Prime Minister may come to rue the prescience of that remark.
(Image: Bruno Cordioli)