One can imagine poor Liz Truss riddled with nerves at Balmoral, where she met the Queen, Her Majesty looking surprised but delighted to find another new prime minister on her doorstep. As The New York Times likes to remind us, our constitution is arcane and irrational (the American system is much better: both candidates declare victory, then spend four years trying to put each other in prison).
“Other local traditions include warm beer and bad weather…” and while waiting for Liz to return from Scotland, Tory MPs instinctively took to the pub and watched the skies. Boris, they whispered, must have done a rain dance. From the look of the clouds, London was set to bucket.
By late afternoon, Downing Street was fully swamped by the world’s media, and the best spot I could get was wedged between a camera crane and the presenter of Cairo Tonight.
I could just about see Liz’s new podium. It did not bode well. A hideous modernist interpretation of a podium, deconstructed and twisted, it looked as if it had been fashioned by an evil goblin. The furniture was also starting to drip.
At 4.30pm, the heavens opened. The MPs ran for cover. The speech, we feared, might be cancelled. As for what happened next, the conspiracy theorists will say Liz simply told her driver to keep going around Trafalgar Square in nauseous circles till it stopped, but I favour providence – for the downpour happened to ease the moment her car was spotted crossing Westminster Bridge.
Taking advantage of the rush to lower umbrellas, I pushed and scratched my way forward till I could see clearly through a gap between two unrelated thighs, and watched the Prime Minister take her place at Sauron’s podium. Finally, I was going to get my tax cut.
Or maybe not. It seems that if any reader was expecting jam today, you might have to wait until tomorrow – or two years after that. We face a “storm” Truss declared ominously, referring to Ukraine and the energy crisis, and it will be strong. But we will come through it because Britain is “stronger”.