Trying times

This is my quest To follow that star
No matter how hopeless No matter how far
To fight for the right Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause

It was so close. It could have been the result that so many, many people had dreamed of. But in the end it wasn’t to be. Despite the pressure, the commitment and the hard work, buoyed up by the dogged determination of the cheeky-grinned blond captain to make it happen, they just weren’t able to push it across the line. That final, glorious touch-down for victory was denied by the brutal determination of the opposing team to play the game their way and only their way…..but that’s enough about Brexit, the rugby was heart-breaking. So close, and yet not enough. Anyway, time to look to the future.

Of course, the future isn’t exactly clear at the moment, thanks to the fact that we are six weeks away from a general election. I know time speeds up as you get older, but, seriously, it only seems like 18 months since we had the last one.

General elections aren’t known for their ability to calm consumer jitters. For from it. It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that people in want of a settled government tend to be more cautious in their spending habits than those operating with less uncertainty. This industry is particularly susceptible to election jitters. So much of the RMI market that lies at the heart of what most merchants do, is governed by the rate of property transactions, house purchases and householder confidence. Every general election I can remember has been preceded by a period of uncertainty and belt-tightening. Bad enough when that happens once every five years; disastrous for confidence when it occurs not once, not twice but three times in five years. But Parliament has decreed that Boris must go to the polls to secure a mandate for his Brexit plan and so off to the polls Boris goes, dragging the country behind him. I remember another Prime Minister who thought that calling a snap general election would do just that. Spoiler alert – it didn’t and that’s why Mrs May is where she is and Mr Johnson is where he is.

David Cameron will be remembered as the Prime Minister who couldn’t or wouldn’t stand up to UKIP and the ERG, asked the question of the electorate that possibly shouldn’t have been asked (certainly not in the way it was asked) and, not liking the answer, swanned off to his shed. Teresa May will be remembered as the Prime Minister who also asked a question of the electorate and squandered the majority she’d inherited. How will Boris be remembered? As the Prime Minister who ‘got Brexit done’, or the one who prorogued then un-prorogued Parliament and then oversaw the haemorrhaging of Tory MPs – 39 of them thus far, including Amber Rudd, Nicky Morgan, Philip Hammond, Rory Stewart, Ed Vaisey, Justine Greening, Ken Clarke, Sir Nicholas Soames and Jo Johnson, the Prime Minister’s own brother. As Boris himself might say “Et tu, frater?”





About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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