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Trident-tongued Theresa……..Maybe?

may-marr-tridentLeading the UK right now is a role that few would be envious of if they took the responsibilities of being our Prime Minister seriously. Even within lucid non-partisan moments, many of us would struggle with the implications of a juggling act which can at its worst require the incumbant to knowingly sacrifice the lives of others in order to deliver a result which is focused upon a much greater good.

As a people, we are culturally and unwittingly trusting of our political leaders. There being some kind of unwritten understanding or expectation that those which have been elevated to the greatest office in the land will have the integrity, set of values and robustness of character to fulfil a role which has been occupied by titans of history such as Winston Churchill.

However, we have also become deeply suspicious of the political elite and quietly look for that moment when the true colours of any new occupant of 10 Downing Street are shown in the open, perhaps confirming our hope-against-hope based fears.

We should make no mistake that leadership does require information to be held back from a wider audience, and sometimes in ways with which we might not automatically agree. But whilst good strategic management might require a government not to tell us everything – even because it might give credence to a counterproductive argument which could have serious implications as a result, it doesn’t necessarily follow that when challenged about such an event, it is ok for a Prime Minister to lie as a result.

The Trident question does indeed have all the hallmarks of Theresa May’s watershed moment. Not because she kept quiet about the June misfire of a £17 Million weapon. But because she has now deliberately ducked the question about the incident when challenged by a respected journalist on National TV.

Some will be jumping up and down, demanding to know why the story didn’t surface in June. But others will appreciate that the vote on Trident renewal which followed soon afterwards in the Commons, would almost certainly have suffered the same fate as the missile had it done so.

Yes, it may well sound like a suitable conclusion in the circumstances. But it would not account for the many successful previous tests of Trident Missiles from our Nuclear Submarine Fleet, the excessive costs of testing them each time we do, nor the fact that as everyone knows, machines of every kind break down or ‘go wrong’ at the most inconvenient times.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but on balance, the Prime Minister was indeed right to sit that incident out, purely on the basis that renewal of the Nuclear Deterrent had been delayed already for far too long, and hollow arguments do not account for the true responsibilities of government – even if they make exceptionally good headlines.

That as they say, should really have been that. Theresa May was fortunate that the story didn’t leak before now and the Government – quite rightly – achieved a good majority vote in Parliament to drive the Trident Renewal Policy forward and ensure that our would-be enemies will continue to have to be minded of our existential threat.

Politics is however a game, and it does as such have rules. Sooner or later, the Trident story was always going to break, and it was inevitable that the way which the Prime Minister handled it would shine a clear light upon the quality of leadership therein.

When Theresa May was challenged not just once, but four times by Andrew Marr on Sunday, an honest and comprehensive response could have easily justified the action of not publicising this now historic event.

Members of the public are much more attuned to the credibility of the baseless arguments that many politicians employ than those MP’s grandstanding to the media might like to think. Yet the public would also have valued an honest and genuine response which demonstrates that the Government and the Politicians who are part of it, thoughtfully but nonetheless respectfully take the burden of quiet responsibility when needed, in order to prevent stupidity and political point-scoring from becoming a tangible risk to the safety of us all.

Instead, Mrs May has now brought the whole process into question and will have to accept that she will be responsible for any whirlwind that comes from the seeds which not in June, but on Sunday morning were almost certainly sewn.


image thanks to standard.co.uk

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