Mrs May is in danger of wrecking her brilliant personal start as PM.
She – or least her aide Fiona Hill – has fallen straight into the woman trap. It does not befit her office.
Can you imagine Mrs Thatcher rising to the bait of a petty (and ignorant) comment about her clothes? No, of course, not. Not exactly being modern invited plenty of quips about her bouffant hair and pussy bow blouses. Did she dignify them by noticing them? In a word, no. She continued forth with supreme confidence, pearls and handbag to the fore.
It is a pity that after Nicky Morgan’s spiteful jibe about her leather trousers, Mrs May did not so instruct her female aides. Stay above it. Up until Fiona Hill’s text was leaked to the press, it was Mrs Morgan who was left looking petty if not plain stupid. She still does by the way!
She had betrayed her jealousy of Mrs May, her anger and her arrogance – how dare Mrs M sack her!
At the time I thought of asking the rather statuesque Mrs Morgan to reflect on what she spends on food – more, I am sure, than is absolutely necessary.
I thought I would then quote her my favourite King Lear lines – that made as profound an impact on me as anything back in my English Lit ‘O Level’ days.
O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man’s life is cheap as beast’s. Thou art a lady:
If only to go warm were gorgeous,
Why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear’st
Which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need-
Wouldn’t Nicky Morgan just make a resplendent Regan or Goneril.
But far better to ignore her – that is number one lesson for Number Ten.
The second, which I am sure Mrs May knows – is to carry on as she started dress wise. Investing in it and getting it so right (bar the sleeveless red gown for the Lord Mayor’s dinner – never a good look for the mature woman) has revealed her innate good sense and understanding of her office. Of course, it will cost and so it should. It is essential.
Readers of this website know I am not so keen on Mrs May’s political ideology – her belief, as one commentator on my last post put it – “that a tax hungry all-controlling State can solve society’s problems”. It can’t. But that does not stop me admiring her style.
Her sheer presence and stance has proved to be one of the most surprising and unexpected aspects of her time as PM to date. From day one she has looked and acted the part in a way David Cameron never succeeded.
Poor Dave, whether outside Downing Street or walking into whatever EU headquarters in Strasbourg or Brussels, wore a look of hesitancy along with his suit – as though he was on loan?
Not so for self-made Mrs May. From day one, her appearance breathed PM.
And so she needs to continue, if she is to continue to keep our confidence. That means rising above all comment, spending exactly what she needs on her appearance (and I very much doubt the taxpayer is footing the bill), and instructing her aides that her appearance is a non-topic.
We do not need our post-Brexit PM to show any chinks in her armour – so she would be advised to keep her advisers under control too on the business of Boris.If she was confident enough to appoint this refreshingly freethinking intellect (she was), then she doesn’t need to keep showing him who wears the trousers. It does not befit her – or help him carve our new role in the world.
(Image: UK in Italy)