It is so wonderful to receive a gift. It just makes you feel so special.
A guy I know got a birthday present of a trip to Perthshire for a skydive. He was chuffed. He had always wanted to jump out of a perfectly-serviceable aeroplane and was very excited. When he arrived, he had his briefing and was then told it was time to go out to the aircraft.Then he realised something was missing. He told the instructor he had no parachute. The instructor replied: “You do not need a parachute to go skydiving. You only need a parachute if you want to go skydiving twice.”
The instructor was joking but the point is some gifts have strings attached. Members of one of the great political movements of our time has gifted the party’s greatest honour to a new leader and that new holder of the top office has already made history for being a very different kind of steward. They will now take the great mantle upon their shoulders and they have vowed to face the great issues of our time with purpose, vision and the decisiveness that will show the world what they are made of.
Yes, Jo Swinson, a woman at that, has been elected leader of the LibDems.
A wee woman fae Glesga beating a cove with a knighthood to become leader of a major UK political party. You would think the media would devote acres and hours to such an achievement, but no. Instead, the focus has been on some other leadership tussle at another political party that was not really a tussle at all but a foregone conclusion. Whether you like the winning candidate or not, the fact is that there are really some big changes ahead. Brexit, or the prospect of it, has changed the rules and pretty much broken the government of this country. Little other business is being done.
Several ministers anticipated the result and headed for the exit without waiting to see what the new leader will be like in office. So Mr Johnson will have to undertake an even bigger reshuffle than he had scribbled on the back of his fag cabinet. That type of cabinet is a box of his favourite Havana Bolivar Belicosos Finos Cigars, which sell at £460 for a cabinet of 25, not just the highest governmental committee. Just saying, in case you were confused.
Change is very unsettling for anybody. A big reshuffle later this week will probably see a few more ministers feeling down and downing portfolios and heading down Downing Street to drown their sorrows down the rub-a-dub-dub. Mind you, the new leader and PM will have to install at least one clever politician in his new cabinet so if I tell you that Jeremy Hunt will be the new Chancellor of the Exchequer before the weekend, remember where you heard it first.
And if he is not given any job, just forget what you have just read here. Deal?
Being promoted to a cabinet minister is fraught with obstacles. No matter how much anyone thinks they themselves have earned it, it is not something that comes automatically if you put in enough years. It is up to who is in charge at a particular time and to what extent and how often they have been upset by the wannabe. The other vital point is nothing to do with the candidate but whether it is in the PM’s interest to promote that person. So bright spark Jeremy Hunt is likely to get a job because the PM needs one or two of those. Not too many though, as they could get ideas above their station.
So the portfolio is, in fact, a sort of gift. Actually, when you think about it, it is also a loan because it can be taken away if the PM thinks it is not appreciated or because a copybook has been blotted. But even that kind of temporary gift can be very challenging and some ministerial appointments have been described by previous borrowers as a poisoned chalice. You need special skills to stay the course, they have said. Being Brexit secretary, to give one recent example, is one that has been described as that. However, that was in the era of a former prime minister and now everything in the garden is rosy and the future is bright.
Mrs X and I just had our wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. As you can imagine, the drinking and dancing went on for days. Well, almost. We had a takeaway and a bottle of Merlot. Oh, and there were Hula Hoops. Yay. Unfortunately, something upset my stomach and the effects of that lasted for days. Still, we will have a proper break in Englandshire in a couple of months. But we did exchange gifts. I got my expectant wife – just to be clear, I did not say expecting wife – a very special gift. It’s really cool. It was fantastic to see her wee face light up when she opened it. It was a fridge.