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Yesterday’s post covered Day 1 of Donald Trump’s and Emmanuel Macron’s first G20.

I also wrote about the riots and looting which occurred in host city Hamburg during the conference.

Day 2 — Saturday, July 8, 2017 — was equally eventful for world leaders, especially President Trump.

While Big Media were banging on about Russia or Trump’s mental health, some outlets actually reported on the G20 and two major victories for the American president (emphases mine below):

Hamburg (AFP) – US President Donald Trump won key concessions on climate and trade Saturday from world leaders at the most fractious G20 summit to date, in exchange for preserving the unity of the club of major industrialised and emerging economies.

In a final statement agreed by all 20 economies, 19 members including Russia, China and the European Union acknowledged Trump’s decision to go his own way on taking the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

But they also accommodated Washington’s wish to “work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently”.

While renewing a key anti-protectionist pledge, the communique for the first time underlined the right of countries to protect their markets with “legitimate trade defence instruments”.

Such wording gives room for Trump to push on with his “America First” policy

Everyone in the media predicted that America First would not play overseas. Everyone in the media was wrong.

The Conservative Treehouse has an excellent analysis of what Trump’s wins mean not only for America but also allies who think similarly:

Team Trump focuses exclusively on bilateral trade deals with specific policy only looking out for the national interests of the United States and those who are allied with a similar perspective.

Under President Trump’s Trade positions exfiltration of U.S. national wealth is essentially stopped. This puts the multinational corporations, globalists who previously took a stake-hold in the U.S. economy with intention to export the wealth, in a position of holding interest of an asset they cannot exploit

There are trillions of dollars in economic activity now being restructured by President Trump. The downstream consequences are seismic shifts in geopolitical and strategic alliances. Through the use of economics America will engage in a process of protecting allies and simultaneously advancing freedom and democracy.

Simply put this approach destroys the cancer of elitist controlled leftist economic construct; which are entirely intended to benefit a small number of global elites who control the multinational banking and multinational corporate institutional systems …

Trump impressed Russian president Vladimir Putin during their meeting the previous day:

He was also taken with First Lady Melania Trump that evening:

On Day 2, Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss trade post-Brexit:

Theresa May has hailed the “powerful vote of confidence” in Britain Donald Trump and other world leaders have shown with their “strong desire” to strike new trade deals after Brexit.

The Prime Minister said she is “optimistic and positive” about a future pact with the US after the president said he believed an agreement could be reached “very, very quickly”.

Even before their meeting, Trump said:

I’d like to thank Prime Minister May for being with us. We’ve had tremendous talks. There is no country that could possibly be closer than our countries. And I just want to say thank you very much. We are working on a trade deal — a very, very big deal, a very powerful deal. Great for both countries. And I think we’ll have that done very, very quickly.

Meanwhile, Mrs Trump joined G20 spouses on a local tour before rejoining her husband at the conference:

The Daily Mail has more on Mrs Trump’s G20 attire, including stunning photographs.

Elsewhere, at the Vatican, Pope Francis fretted. He told Eugenio Scalfari, a journalist with Italy’s La Repubblica, of his concern about the G20. Leo Lyon Zagami, who is in the process of uncovering recent Vatican scandals (yes, he is a Mason but I will have more on his reporting), summarised and translated the article:

Pope Francis told him [Scalfari] during the encounter to be very concerned about the summit meeting of the “G20” in Hamburg, that witnessed President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, together for the first time.

Pope Francis said to Scalfari: “I’m afraid there are very dangerous alliances between powers which have a distorted view of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, Russia and Syria’s Assad in war”.

The Pope was also worried that the G20 might end mass immigration to Europe:

” … they fear an invasion of migrants. That’s why the G20 worries me.”

Then to save his idea of Europe, he promotes the destruction of the sovereignty of the single European countries, and the coming of a Federal Government for Europe, that will take over the decision making from the single countries: ”For this, and other reasons, I came to the conclusion that Europe must assume a federal structure. Laws and political behaviors arising here shall be decided by the Federal Government, and the Federal Parliament, not by individual confederated countries.”

That afternoon, a huge flap arose over Ivanka Trump presiding temporarily over a meeting when her father was called into a private one. The media — and abetted by NeverTrumpers (John Dean and Richard Painter) — went berserk:

Trump had addressed those attending the Women’s Entrepreneurship Finance Event then excused himself to attend the meeting. Afterwards, he returned.

Regardless, host Angela Merkel was bombarded with questions from the media. She explained that this is normal at a conference such as the G20:

Reaction from citizen journalists back home was outrage at the media:

Alternative media’s Jack Posobiec noted:

Media More Outraged at Ivanka Sitting in a Chair than Antifa Army Burning Hamburg

He wrote:

Today at the G20 meeting, Ivanka Trump briefly sat in a chair. The media utterly lost their minds. They also seemed to completely not notice the Antifa Army burning the streets of Hamburg outside the meeting.

Perhaps they do not think a woman should be representing the United States?

Ivanka was sitting in the back and then briefly joined the main table when the President had to step out, and the president of the World Bank started talking as the topic involved areas such as African development — areas that will benefit from the facility just announced by the World Bank.

When other leaders stepped out, their seats were also briefly filled by others, but the media didn’t seem to notice that, either.

Precisely.

Later that day, Trump tweeted:

Here is the White House transcript of the public remarks of that meeting.

USA Today reports that Trump spent much of Day 2 with Asian leaders:

HAMBURG — President Trump met with his Chinese counterpart at the G-20 summit Saturday, hoping to revamp a relationship that he once hoped could provide the key to resolving the North Korea crisis …

In a separate meeting Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump also addressed what he called “the problem and menace of North Korea.”

Abe said the security situation in the region had become “increasingly severe.” Addressing Trump by his first name, Abe said he “would like to demonstrate the robust partnership as well as the bond between Japan and the United States.”

Trump’s final day of his second foreign trip took what his predecessor, Barack Obama, might have called an “Asia pivot.” Having already met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Saturday afternoon’s meetings were dominated by Pacific Rim nations

President Widodo of Indonesia was delighted to meet with Trump. USA Today reported:

Meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Trump said the U.S. would soon be doing “a lot of business” with the Island nation. “We’re going to be doing a lot of deals together — trade deals,” Trump said.

Widodo said Trump had “millions of fans” in his country who wanted him to visit.

“We’ll get there,” Trump said. “It’s a place I’d like to go.”

Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsein Loong, must be equally as positive:

Trump said the U.S. had a “big relationship” with the small city-state, and he expected the relationship to “get bigger.”

Before leaving Hamburg, Mrs Trump tweeted:

This brief video has highlights of Trump’s G20 conference:

Although the media emphasised the negative …

… from watching G20 coverage on YouTube, Bernie Sanders and Green supporters in the US were pleasantly surprised to find out about the ceasefire in Syria that Trump and Putin negotiated on Day 1.

Former Senator Bob Dole (R – Kansas) had high praise for the American president’s trips to Poland and Germany:

The Trumps flew back to the White House:

When Trump reached the White House, the press asked the usual questions about Russian hacking. Give it a rest, guys! The president ignored them.

Earlier, at Joint Base Andrews, he retrieved a Marine’s cover in the strong wind:

Mrs Trump did not return to the White House with her husband. My guess is she went to collect 11-year-old Barron.

I’ll close with this:

Neither Trump nor Obama was ever in the military, but you can certainly see how differently they view the armed forces.

That view, in my estimation, will determine a shift in foreign intervention during the present administration. Any US action will be carefully considered.

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On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50 to begin the process of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union.

May signed the letter on March 28 and a British official presented it to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, in Brussels the following day around 12:30 p.m. BST.

This tweet by Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh is dated March 28, 4:15 p.m.:

Tusk takes receipt of the letter on March 29:

Nigel Farage, former party leader of UKIP who pressed hard for the 2016 referendum, gave an interview earlier that day:

He also discussed it on his talk radio programme in London:

Contents of May’s letter

Bloomberg is one of the few news sites to have the full text of Theresa May’s six-page letter to Donald Tusk.

The first four paragraphs follow (emphases mine):

Dear President Tusk

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

Article 50

The European edition of Politico has the full text of Article 50, which is brief and comprised of five provisions. Wikipedia explains it further.

These are the salient items:

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

This means that the UK is still part of the EU until the exit process is complete.

However, we are no longer allowed to participate in European Council discussions. In fact, it was interesting that the English text ‘European Commission’ has been removed from signage in Brussels. It has been replaced with another European language, with the French words underneath.

From March 29 onwards, news reports will refer to 27 EU nations instead of 28.

The UK is in an EU limbo until our exit. We must still pay monies to the EU and are subject to EU law.

Article 50 means simply that the exit process begins.

The Telegraph has more. Briefly:

A withdrawal agreement, covering financial liabilities, citizens’ rights and the border in Ireland, will need to be accepted by a majority of 72 per cent of the EU’s remaining 27 member states.

The agreement would then need to be approved by the European parliament, voting by a simple majority.

The motion makes clear that the UK will remain bound by the rules of the EU and that trade talks with third party countries are not allowed for as long as it remains a member.

The irony of Article 50

There is a certain irony behind Article 50.

It was written by a Briton between 2002 and 2003 to apply to EU countries that could become dictatorships.

Veteran diplomat John Kerr, now Lord Kerr of Kinlochard — a cross-bench peer — told Politico that he never envisaged the UK invoking it. Lord Kerr:

drafted the text that sets out the procedure for leaving the European Union as part of an effort to draw up an EU constitutional treaty in the early 2000s.

That initiative was scuppered by referendum defeats in France and the Netherlands but some elements ended up in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009.

One of the sections pasted across became Article 50

“I don’t feel guilty about inventing the mechanism. I feel very sad about the U.K. using it,” Kerr told POLITICO. “I didn’t think that the United Kingdom would use it.”

When he was writing the text 14 or 15 years ago:

the rise of Austrian far-right leader Jörg Haider was a big worry for mainstream EU leaders and some southern European EU members had returned to democracy only in recent decades. Kerr imagined that the exit procedure might be triggered after an authoritarian leader took power in a member country and the EU responded by suspending that country’s right to vote on EU decisions.

“It seemed to me very likely that a dictatorial regime would then, in high dudgeon, want to storm out. And to have a procedure for storming out seemed to be quite a sensible thing to do — to avoid the legal chaos of going with no agreement,” Kerr said.

He calls attention to the fifth provision of Article 50, the possibility of reversing a decision to leave the EU:

In other words, during the two-year negotiating period set out in the text, Britain could decide not to leave after all and simply remain an EU member. However, he says he cannot imagine how politics in Britain would allow such a U-turn.

Kerr summed up the exit process simply:

The process outlined in the text is, he noted, “about divorce … about paying the bills, settling one’s commitments, dealing with acquired rights, thinking about the pensions. It’s not an article about the future relationship.”

What is the timetable?

The BBC has a full timetable from now through March 2019. Of course, it is not written in stone, but it is the Brexit objective.

On Thursday, March 30, Brexit Secretary David Davis presented the Great Repeal Bill to Parliament, which will come into force as soon as the UK leaves the EU, i.e. in 2019 (all being well).

On Friday, March 31, Donald Tusk will publish negotiation guidelines that the EU will use.

In April, the 27 remaining EU members will adopt negotiation guidelines at the EU summit.

When Parliament opens again in the Spring, the Great Repeal Bill will be announced in the opening statement.

Michel Barnier, representing the EU, will begin participating in negotiation talks with the UK by late May or early June.

Late this year, Parliament will review the Great Repeal Bill in greater detail. If laws must be passed in certain areas to close any gaps, this will be done by mid-2018.

By the end of 2017, it is expected that Michel Barnier will have concluded the first round of negotiations. He expects to complete the negotiating process by September 2018.

At the beginning of 2019, both the UK and the EU will hold separate votes in Parliament and the EU Council, respectively, on the exit plan.

It is expected that the UK will leave the EU sometime in March 2019.

Impact of negotiations

The next 18 months will require careful negotiation to ensure that the UK is not adversely affected.

Attention to preserving human rights — including those for EU residents living and working in Britain as well as British expatriates living in Europe — will be essential.

Also essential will be negotiations concerning EU-sensitive industries such as farming and fishing.

The Telegraph and the BBC both have good Brexit Q&A on these topics and more (see halfway through).

Trade on food will also be negotiated. Currently, UK supermarkets sell a lot of EU fruit, vegetables and dairy products. We also export comestibles to the EU.

Banking and educational institutions are also weighing up their options. On March 30, Lloyd’s of London confirmed they will be opening a branch in Brussels. Oxford and/or Cambridge might open satellite universities in EU countries.

—————————————————————————————-

I’ll have more on Brexit soon and what we might expect to see over the coming months.

Sorry to be late to the party with this item, but it was in our two-week Christmas issue of the Radio Times, Britain’s foremost television (and radio) guide.

In the 17-30 December 2016 issue, the back page interview was with Prime Minister Theresa May, also the MP for Maidenhead. She answered a variety of questions from reporter Michael Hodges. Excerpts and a summary follow.

On Christmas Day, she and her husband Philip go to church. Afterwards, they meet up with friends for a drink, then it’s off to an ecumenical lunch for the elderly, where May takes time to talk with her constituents.

The Mays return home where the Prime Minister roasts a goose for Christmas dinner. They haven’t had turkey for several years. Although others consider goose to be extremely fatty, May points out:

if you keep the fat, it makes wonderful roast potatoes for quite a long time thereafter.

Absolutely. We also have goose at Christmas, partly for that reason, and for the unctuous stock from the wings.

May, a practising Anglican, lent the Radio Times a photo of herself as a girl with her late father, the Revd Hubert Brasier. She told Michael Hodges what Christmas past was like:

Throughout my life I have been going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and church on Christmas Day morning. As a child I had to wait until my father had finished his services before I could open my presents.

It felt like a very long wait. Others I knew would be able to open their presents first thing in the morning.

I’m an only child and my mother played the organ. So I would sit alongside her while my father was taking the service.

The interview did not mention that May’s parents died within a year of each other. Her father died just as she completed her studies at Oxford and her mother several months later. It can’t have been easy for her, especially with no siblings for support:

When you first lose your parents, Christmas is hugely, hugely important. Now I enjoy Christmas with my husband Philip and we keep up the tradition of going to church. But, of course, it does remind me of my parents.

During her childhood, she watched only the BBC, until:

one day, my mother managed to jiggle the aerial and we got ITV and I saw Robin Hood. That music and Richard Greene as Robin Hood really grabbed me.

This is the iconic theme to which May refers:

May’s other television favourites included early series of The Avengers with Diana Rigg, then Joanna Lumley, although:

I have never had a female role model — I’ve always just got on with doing what I am doing.

As an adult, she watched the ‘very evocative’ Das Boot. These days, she enjoys Scandinavian dramas Borgen and The Bridge. Christmas Day favourites include Doctor Who and David Suchet as Poirot.

She doesn’t take recommendations for television viewing:

My advisers don’t tell me what to watch on the television — I watch what I want to watch.

May ended the interview by saying she had no idea a year ago that she would be Prime Minister today.

What follows is her four-minute New Year’s message. If her father was as eloquent a speaker as his daughter is, he must have been a splendid vicar. May speaks of the change that Brexit will bring this year but also of the unity of the four nations of the United Kingdom and the shared values and experiences that make us one people:

This is very similar to the first speech she gave as Prime Minister outside No. 10.

She and Donald Trump will get on well. Of that, I have no doubt.

When pantsuits first became a craze in the late 1960s and early 1970s, most women shied away from them.

They knew that pantsuits require a certain figure. Marlene Dietrich was the first to wear one in 1930 in the film Morocco. Katharine Hepburn also wore elegant trouser co-ordinates from that decade onward.

What characterised those women was a slim, stately figure.

The late Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) came up with le smoking paired with trousers in the 1960s. Clearly, this ensemble was made for those with models’ physiques, women such as Melania Trump, rather than her husband’s opponent:

https://anorexiarevealed.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/ab5c6938-f8a8-4dc6-b549-e0d21cdb6f93.jpg?w=441&h=441

Look how happy Melania Trump is with her femininity. She treasures it.

Today, generations of women think that pantsuits hide their less attractive physical attributes. What they do not realise is that it would be preferable for them to show heavy ankles and calves in a skirt rather than cover them up and reveal more even more with trousers: large thighs and matronly hips. Even the jackets do not fit properly.

YSL’s creation, much imitated by many other top designers and mainstream design houses, was meant for a statuesque figure. The jacket and trousers were intended to create an elegant unity, a straight line from shoulder to ankle.

Instead, this is what we have today, best exemplified by Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel:

Women cannot hide their less attractive physical attributes in pantsuits. It would be preferable for these ladies to wear a flattering skirt paired with a chic Chanel-style jacket or a boxy sweater instead.

In 2008 Clinton’s supporters were referred to as the ‘sisterhood of travelling pantsuits’. They were paying a certain homage to her.

However, as one of my female readers — the author of Beauty Beyond Bonessays (emphases in bold mine):

Instead of trying to conform to what makes a man a man, why not celebrate the fact that, yes, I am a woman, and because of that, I bring unique qualities and talents and perspectives to the job, that make me equally and uniquely qualified to do it.

Leading a country means serving a country. It is a gift of self. Of inspiring and empowering the people.

A position that should be held by the most capable person for the job – man or woman.

Am I endorsing Hillary. No. There’s a lot more that goes into choosing a President that goes much deeper than a person’s gender. There’s … well … politics. The parties’ views on the US and our future are very different. And that is up to you to decide which issues top the list and sway your vote.

I would love to see a woman President. And think it is amazing that a woman is holding the nomination for a major party.

And I hope that the first woman president, whenever she’s elected, can confidently be sworn in wearing something other than a pantsuit. Because she’s not hiding her femininity, but celebrating her feminine genius, and embracing all the unique talents and qualities that she possesses in her very nature that make her equally qualified and able to do the job.

Just so. It would be great if all women, not just those in politics, could bear that in mind.

Even our statuesque Prime Minister, Theresa May, looks better in skirts or dresses than in trousers.

It has been just under four weeks since the UK voted to leave the EU.

Theresa May has been our PM for one week.

She has done quite a lot of housecleaning in that time with many new appointments to the Cabinet, making it her own, and has created a department for Brexit.

It is unfortunate that the Nice attack took away our initial enjoyment of May’s premiership. I have much to write on her appointment and the lady herself.

For now, a few brief observations follow.

The Conservative Party — best for women

The Conservative Party is the best political party for women in Britain.

Within 26 years, they have given us two female Prime Ministers, redoubtable women both.

By contrast, the right-on, progressive Labour Party has never had a female leader.

Around the time May was entering Downing Street last week, Angela Eagle — a contender for Labour leadership — said that it was high time they had a woman at the top. What Ms Eagle misses is that the Conservatives chose Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May not because of their gender but because of their competence.

I remember watching Andrew Neil’s Sunday Politics (BBC) in 2015 prior to the general election. Several Labour women MPs told Neil week after week that the Conservatives should have more women in Cabinet.

Ho hum. Which party has two female Prime Ministers? The Conservative Party. Which party just happened to have an all-women shortlist for party leadership with Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom just ten days ago? The Conservative Party.

Enough said.

First PMQs an absolute blinder

On Wednesday, July 20, Theresa May held her first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

She played an absolute blinder; she was confident, competent and concise. She answered every question with historical data and/or departmental updates. She took questions on housing, Brexit, ‘honour’ killings and the NHS, to mention a few.

Afterwards, I watched Daily Politics (BBC2) with Jo Coburn and her panel, most of whom, like Coburn herself, are very much left-of-centre. All said that May did very well indeed. Veteran reporter John Pienaar said she was much better than Margaret Thatcher in her early days of PMQs.

Meeting Merkel

May will be travelling to Berlin on July 20 to meet with Angela Merkel over a working dinner. (I will have an update in a subsequent post.)

Brexit is likely to dominate the dinner discussions. Terrorism and the recent attempted Turkish coup are also probable topics.

This is an historic occasion, as both Britain and Germany have female leaders at the same time.

The two seem similar in several respects: both their fathers were clergymen, neither has children, both have a penchant for improving society and they have strong personalities.

Expect mutual respect and honest discussions. It will be interesting to see if, once she meets May, Merkel is willing to engage in some sort of negotiations prior to our invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of Rome.

May will be meeting with France’s François Hollande on July 21. Calais and terrorism are sure to be on the agenda along with Brexit.

Brexit

On July 19, May held her first Cabinet meeting.

She reiterated her commitment to Brexit and will personally oversee that new department as well as those for the economy and social reform.

May has wisely appointed three Leavers to key positions involving Britain’s future outside the EU. Longtime MP David Davis is in charge of the Brexit unit as the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Boris Johnson, MP and former two-term Mayor of London, is Secretary of State for Foreign and International Affairs. Liam Fox is the Secretary of State for International Trade.

Keeping a close eye on Brexit, the economy and social reform ties together May’s overall agenda for her administration:

we will not allow the country to be defined by Brexit; but instead build the education, skills, and social mobility to allow everyone to prosper from the opportunities of leaving the EU.

I hope she continues to make progress in these areas. I’m beginning to like her a lot.

Image result for leopard skin kitten heelsJuly 14 is Bastille Day, but here in Britain it is May Day. We are interested in our new Prime Minister Theresa May and her Cabinet appointments.

Mrs May has long been associated with leopard skin kitten heel shoes which she wore several years ago at a Conservative Party conference. (Representative ones are shown at left.)

(Photo credits: mozimo.co.uk)

In fact, at the weekend, my better half and I spoke with an older local resident. This man told us, quite seriously (verbatim), ‘I do hope Mrs May wins the leadership contest. Oh, those kitten heel shoes … I do like a firm woman, one who knows what she’s about.’

My overseas readers might ask what happened to the Conservative leadership contest. This is how it all unfolded.

Andrea Leadsom’s miserable weekend

Last weekend, the other candidate running for Conservative Party leader, Andrea Leadsom, gave an interview to Rachel Sylvester of The Times.

Sylvester, incidentally, is married to the Diplomatic Editor of The Guardian, Patrick Wintour. Wintour’s sister Anna is the famous editor of the American edition of Vogue. Their late father, Charles, is best known for editing the London Evening Standard, although he also held similar senior positions at the Daily Express and The Times.

Sylvester asked Leadsom what set her apart from May. Leadsom, always interested in children, answered, in part:

… genuinely, I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake. She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people. But I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next … so I have a real stake in the next year, the next two.

The interview made The Times‘s front page. A media storm ensued. Leadsom tweeted that the quotes were ‘truly appalling’ and the exact opposite of what she actually said. Sylvester defended her interview, claiming that Leadsom was the one who brought children into it. However, renowned political blogger Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines) listened to the transcript and said that Sylvester wove motherhood into her question, something the journalist later admitted in a BBC interview. Fawkes concluded (highlights in the original):

Goes without saying that Leadsom completely denies raising the issue, calling the claim “gutter journalism”. The only way to establish whether or not Andrea Leadsom has been stitched up is to release the full recording – something The Times is refusing to do…

On Saturday, July 9, Leadsom gave a press conference from her home in Northamptonshire at which she said:

Everyone has an equal stake in the future of our country.

However, it was too late. Several Conservative MPs — men and women — criticised Leadsom’s remark on motherhood.

By Sunday, Leadsom admitted to The Telegraph‘s Alison Pearson that she felt:

under attack, under enormous pressure. It has been shattering.

By lunchtime on Monday, July 11, Leadsom announced she was dropping out of the leadership contest.

That afternoon, David Cameron made a brief announcement, saying that a new Prime Minister would be in place by Wednesday evening. He walked back to No. 10, unaware that the microphones were still on. This is what the world heard:

The Telegraph noted:

Somehow, it sounded half-mournful, half-jaunty. It was strangely touching. 

It was a very human moment. It brought a smile.

Speaking of which, July 11 marked the first time the British public saw Theresa May smile (see picture at the top of the Telegraph link). Finally, we saw another side to the ‘steely’ Home Secretary who had served the nation for six years.

Cameron’s final hours

On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 12, an empty removals van arrived at 10 Downing Street:

Simply Removals will no doubt be getting a lot of new business.

This may look trivial, but it is important in the British psyche with regard to a new Prime Minister. It represents the beginning of the transfer of power from one to another. I remember in November 1990 when John Major was announced as Margaret Thatcher’s successor. My colleagues explained that nothing would happen until the removals van arrived.

On Wednesday, Cameron presided over his last PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions). It was a witty, informative and heart-warming 45 minutes, including those questions and remarks from Leader of the Opposition, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who wore a tie. Cameron remarked upon it in the nicest possible way to much laughter from the benches.

Conservative MPs thanked Cameron for his achievements and some mentioned particular instances in their own constituencies, particularly the sharp drop in unemployment in certain parts of England.

Even a handful of Labour MPs thanked Cameron for his service.

At the end, the Conservatives gave him a standing ovation. All the Labour MPs heartily applauded him.

Afterwards, Cameron returned to spend a few hours at No. 10 before he gave his farewell speech around 4:45 p.m. His wife Samantha and their three children stood off to the side. Cameron recalled how his youngest, Florence (in Samantha’s womb when Cameron first entered No. 10 in May 2010) once climbed into his red ministerial box when she was little and begged him to take her along on one of his trips. He said that his two older children were known to kick the red boxes, they were so frustrated with their father’s absences from home.

The children, rightly, looked nervous. They had never been in the public eye until now.

Cameron also detailed his many achievements as Prime Minister — a lengthy list. We were blessed to have had him in that post for six years.

Just before 5 p.m., the Cameron family left No. 10 for Buckingham Palace. David and Samantha were in one car and the children in another.

The Queen’s role

Even more important than the removals van was the constitutional step of the outgoing Prime Minister asking the Queen for permission to resign.

This is a formality nowadays, since the successor has already been chosen by the political party, whether Conservative or Labour. However, it was not always so. When the Queen first ascended to the throne, the BBC News panel covering the afternoon’s events said that she used to seek advice from party grandees — the most senior MPs and advisers — on whom would be best placed to become the next Prime Minister. One Royal Family reporter said that this stopped in the 1960s after the Palace had a hand in the appointment of Anthony Eden — responsible for the Suez crisis in 1956 — and Alec Douglas-Home who served for only one year.

It is unlikely that the Queen would refuse a Prime Minister’s resignation. Nonetheless, she must be asked. The outgoing Prime Minister then recommends his or her successor to her. Again, these days, it is unlikely she would refuse that person.

In fact, Theresa May and her husband were already in a car waiting outside the Houses of Parliament. The driver awaited instructions from the Palace to leave. As soon as the Cameron family was being driven away — in black cars, no longer the silver Prime Ministerial ones — the car with the Mays pulled up in the forecourt.

The Queen spent a good half hour with David Cameron. Much of that was a private conversation between the two, then the whole family had an audience with her.

The monarch spent the same amount of time with Theresa May, again most of that privately, then with her husband included for a general conversation.

The Queen already knows Theresa May somewhat because, as Home Secretary, she was part of the Privy Council which meets with her at the Palace.

The Queen would have asked her to form a government. When the Queen issues this request of an incoming, consenting Prime Minister, that person must ‘kiss hands’ with her. In May’s case, this was a shake of the hands and a deep curtsey, à la Margaret Thatcher.

It is possible that the Queen asked May questions about the future government and its direction, although we will never know. Revealing private conversations of that nature is strictly forbidden.

The BBC panel said that, when the Queen was younger, she found the advice of Prime Ministers extremely helpful. That later turned into the Queen’s advising her Prime Ministers. The relationship is that of a CEO (PM) reporting to the Chairman (the Queen).

Theresa May is the 13th Prime Minister to serve under the Queen. It is interesting that she also was granted that position on July 13.

Like her predecessors, May will be expected to meet weekly with the Queen when Parliament is in session. The early Wednesday evening time — Cameron’s — might continue. We can but see.

The Mays left Buckingham Palace shortly before 6 p.m. in the silver Prime Ministerial car. They were in place at No. 10 in time for the evening news.

Security detail

Security cars and motorcycles escorted the Camerons and the Mays to and from Buckingham Palace.

The Camerons, like other former Prime Ministerial families or couples, will continue to have security detail in future.

Theresa May’s address to the nation

Theresa May no sooner got out of the car with her husband Philip when she addressed the people of Great Britain. Philip stood off to the side.

The Spectator has the full transcript, most of which follows. It sounds very centrist if not Labour-like. Excerpts follow (emphases mine):

I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government, and I accepted. In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister … David Cameron has led a one nation government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead. Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word unionist is very important to me.

It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it means something else that is just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from. That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home …

If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you

As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

That will be the mission of the Government I lead. And together, we will build a better Britain.

This is a very good outcome for the nation in just under three weeks from the EU Referendum result and Cameron’s resignation.

Tomorrow: more about Theresa May and her Cabinet

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