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Damian Green’s departure won’t end, or even harm, Theresa May

20 December 2017

10:29 PM

20 December 2017

10:29 PM

Third Cabinet departure in as many months. Loss of close friend and ally. Scandal at the top of government. Cue questions about Theresa’s future. Has she been ‘rocked’ by the ‘sensational’ exit of Damian Green? Is this, at last, the beginning of the end for her?

I’m sure some enthusiastic members of my old trade will do their best to write this up as a mortal threat to Mrs May. They may talk about a shift in the balance of power in Cabinet. Or maybe a PM ever more isolated and friendless.

Actually, the boring truth is that Damian Green’s departure won’t end Theresa May. It probably won’t even harm her.

Start with the personal stuff. Yes, they’ve known each other for ages. But close? Not so much. Mrs May isn’t really close to many people, and certainly not to fellow MPs. Mr Green was an ally (sometimes) and a colleague, but a friend? It’s an open question at best.

As for sensation and scandal, Mrs May, more by accident than design, has a good way to face them: don’t react. Don’t panic, don’t even admit they’re real. Just grind on with the tedious job at hand and ignore the noise.

Sometimes, when it actually matters to voters and their lives – ‘dementia tax’ etc – this mute refusal to acknowledge the painfully obvious is a flaw, and a big one.

But when it comes to the stuff that, let’s be honest, only really excites the village, ignoring the chatter and doggedly marching on is a strength. And so it will prove with the Damian Green ‘scandal’.

Most people don’t know who he is or why he matters. They’ll register that he had porn on his PC and he quit, or possibly even that she sacked him for it. That will confirm their miserably low opinions of politicians (literally a bunch of w*****s). But change their view of the PM and her weak-but-stable government? Unlikely.

Most voters won’t give a toss about Mr Green and his career. This is another ‘crisis’ that will come and go. And Theresa May will limp on.


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