We are not political. But we write for a host of politicians representing different parties and views around the world. Mrs May isn’t one of them. Tonight we offer her a few words to announce a fresh, inclusive, more optimistic start. So here’s our script for Theresa. Pro bono!
In any profession there are times when busy people become so subsumed in the day-to-day that they can lose a sense of the bigger picture. They are so focused on the ‘what’ that it is easy to become detached from the ‘why’.
Politics is no different.
We enter public service with a genuine desire to do good. That never leaves us, but the bubble in which we live and work can allow us to lose perspective.
However hard one tries, it is not easy for a Prime Minister to live an ‘ordinary’ life. Logistics – including security – mean it is not possible to do ‘normal’ things in a ‘normal’ way. This means it is vital to spend time with people outside our political bubble and to step outside it as far as circumstances allow.
Tonight I had such an experience.
I attended the football international between France and England in Paris. It is an experience I shall never forget.
Fans from both sides paid their respects to the recent victims of terrorism in London, as they had at Wembley after the atrocities in Paris last year. The National Anthems were sung with pride and without rancour. Tens of thousands fell silent as a tribute to the fallen.
The match was played and watched in a similar spirit. Goals were cheered, skills applauded. Players showed concern for injured opponents. Rivalry was tempered with a tangible esprit de corps. It was an occasion from which those of us who work in Westminster and Brussels should learn so much.
Impact on Brexit
We are about to enter a crucial set of negotiations with France and the rest of the European Union. ‘Brexit’ has inspired great passion – on both sides – and its implications will be far-reaching.
As we enter it, perspective is vital. All the major political parties in this country campaigned for ‘remain’. The outcome, was, of course, to leave the European Union. A result that we will – and should – continue to support.
However, we must not forget the 48%. Nor should we forget the history of our – often fruitful – relationship with the EU.
Which brings me back to the football match. Two teams with different agendas. A rivalry carried out in a cordial spirit.
Which is how I intend to pursue these negotiations. With a keen sense of the outcomes we desire. But in a spirit of friendship. Intent on a beneficial deal for the United Kingdom, whilst leaving with dignity, and without sacrificing our relationships across the EU.
In that spirit I have invited representatives of the Labour and Liberal parties to join our Brexit team to ensure that this is a deal struck for the good of us all.
In Paris I experienced all that is good about the Entente Cordiale. Let us use it as a benchmark for the challenges to come.