Reflecting on the political fallout of the Windrush Scandal and the appointment of the new Home Secretary
As I write this on a wintry Monday morning, the new Home Secretary is as yet unnamed and Twitter is awash with helpful suggestions (Yvette Cooper, boom boom) after Rudd’s self-deportation*. I am very sorry about Amber. She is a rare politician in that she puts country before party, people before politics, and principle before preferment (as you can tell I am trying not to sob, and she’s one of us).
The blood on the carpet should not be hers. The novelist Linda Grant keeps suggesting Jo Johnson MP. I’m partial of course. Even though a recommendation from me is the kiss of death, Jo would make a fantastic home secretary. But even I see the snag here. Ms Rudd is leaving Marsham St basically because back in November, the Guardian’s stellar reporter Amelia Gentleman started running harrowing stories about the treatment of Windrush immigrants.
The scandal snowballed beyond the administration’s control and competence. The government initially refused to meet the heads of Commonwealth nations – oof – but since then has spent the last three weeks on the back foot, grovelling.
Gentleman has led the story every step of the way. It must have escaped Linda Grant’s notice that her pick for the top job, ie my bro Jo, is married to… drum roll… Amelia Gentleman, none other than the journalist who toppled the Home Secretary.
It would be nice if the PM appointed another humane pro-European to spend more time with my family, but I’m not holding my breath.
Of course, the best person for the job would be Jurgen Klopp. Herr Klopp once wanted to be a doctor, he has schussed Liverpool through the latter stages of the Champions League, and he cares. ‘I have this helping syndrome,’ Klopp says. ‘I really care about people and I feel responsible for pretty much everything.’ But you know and I know the reason for my crush is his take on you-know-what. Echoing Churchill’s deathless line on democracy, Klopp says the EU is ‘not perfect but it was the best idea we had’.
When the Kaiser of the Kop calls for the Volk to think again, and to hold another plebiscite, whatever we think about referenda we should pay careful attention.
PS I have put in a bid with my paper the Mail on Sunday to interview him so if anyone sees Jurgen, will they tell him he’s got a friend in me – my husband, son and I are all LFC superfans – and put in a word?
One of the unintended consequences of the #metoo movement is the way men’s body language has adapted to the new hostile environment of male/female relations. Just look at how the two leaders on the Korean peninsula conveyed their chemistry on the 38th parallel through a careful choreography of hugs, pats, and hand-holding. Macron and Trump literally had a man-date in the White House as the watching world cringed ‘get a state room’ from behind splayed fingers.
Now men can’t touch women in public, not even their wives (I refer you to Melania, who is really growing on us all, and how she ices him every time handsy Donald Trump reaches for her), men are all over other blokes like Kay Burley over a new Royal Baby.
I went to the unveiling of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, which was a magnificent occasion, even if the longest speech was made by a man (Sadiq Khan).
Highlights were: the protesters carrying EU flags behind the podium. The fact that Mishal Husain, Theresa May, Caroline Criado Perez, and Jeremy Corbyn all wore red (although I was told by Ben Evans, the founder of the London Design Festival, who was also there, that it was an ‘old school Labour tie, more maroon with those 80s yellow stripes’).
It is thrilling that my maternal distant ancestor is the first female in Parliament Square (my mother was born Charlotte Fawcett).
But it beats me why this historic piece of public art is called ‘conceptual’.
It shows a woman in tweedy folds holding up a tea towel with the message, ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’ which to my mind is not nearly as stirring – or indeed ‘relevant’ right now – as the Edith Cavell statue which urges us, ‘Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone’. Perhaps clever TNE readers will be kind enough to explain.
*I knew it. Sajid Javid has been announced Home Secretary and I haven’t even finished writing this diary yet.
Life moves very fast doesn’t it?
Linda Grant must be as disappointed as I am, but I can’t say I’m surprised.
Rachel Johnson is a columnist on the Mail on Sunday