TWO women dominate today’s front pages. One dead these 20 years and the other condemned as a “dead woman walking”. One departed in a moment of tragedy; the other was last seen in the political departure lounge.
Princess Diana first, I guess. Yes, her death was tragic, denying her sons of a mother; and robbing the nation of the woman Tony Blair went on to famously dub “the people’s princess”. Diana’s death in a car crash in that Paris tunnel helped define an era, and much weight is put upon that sad event.
This month’s remembrance always was unavoidable and now we have reached the actual day of the anniversary (do only non-royalist grumps sigh and mutter: “Enough already”?).
The national sainthood bestowed on Diana forgets her manipulative and scheming side; the woman who played the media to her own advantage, sometimes merely showing the honest good she did – visiting Aids patients, for example – and at other times using journalists in her personal wars with Prince Charles and the royal family.
Perhaps the best comment on all of this is a tart joke from Private Eye, calling Diana “the papers’ princess”. Diana was good for business in her day, and keeping her alive – perfectly preserved in printer’s ink – has remained good for business. If she signed a deal with the devil in her short lifetime, the devil seems to be getting the best out of the bargain.
Everything will be allowed to subside now, until the 30th anniversary, by which time life will have changed, and Charles could be king – or even William, perhaps.
And Theresa Maybe will still be prime minister, if she has her way. After running an election campaign so terrible that she threw away her majority, Mrs Maybe was considered doomed – having been given that ‘dead woman walking’ black spot by former Chancellor George Osborne.
Mrs Maybe previously said she would only stay for as long as she was wanted, and some of her MPs appeared to think five minutes might be pushing it. But now she has turned defiant, saying: “I’m not a quitter.” In Japan, where she is drumming up business to fill that Brexit hole, she told reporters: “I’m in this for the long term. I’m the people’s prime minister. There’s no way those bastards are shafting me.”
Well, perhaps she only said the first part of that. But Mrs Maybe did say that she was aiming to fight the next election in 2022, saying: “There’s a real job to be done in the United Kingdom.”
With her usual rhetorical flourish, and channelling her inner Churchill – the insurance dog, rather than the noted Conservative – she added: “It’s about getting the Brexit deal right, it’s about building that deep and special partnership with the European Union but it’s also about building global Britain, trading around the world.”
Dear me, that woman is dull, but sometimes dull does it. Perhaps that’s her strategy: out-dulling everyone else until they all say, “Oh go on, go on.” It’s a plan, but the disaffected in her own ranks are not known for undying loyalty, so we shall see. It will take a lot for a leader who led so poorly to be trusted with the steering wheel for another general election.