Theresa May is not going to give a running commentary, but she is going to commentate on running

The Prime Minister's lyrical observations on the brothers Brownlee transfixed the Birmingham Symphony Hall, but really they were a plea to Brussels

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The Independent Online

For a Prime Minister who cannot go a day without refusing to give a running commentary, it cannot be ignored that the most memorable passage of her speech was a commentary on running.

Indeed, can it be that Theresa May’s determination not to give a running commentary on her Brexit negotiation strategy is because that strategy is a running commentary?

Her poetic ruminations on the brotherly love of the Brownlees may have delighted the Birmingham Symphony Hall, but it is clear they were meant for the ears of Jean-Claude Juncker and our soon-to-be sparring partners in Brussels.

“Seeing his brother’s struggle, he didn’t pass on by,” she pleaded. “As other competitors ran past, he stopped. Reached out his hand. And gently carried him home.

“And there in that moment, we saw revealed an essential truth. That we succeed or fail together. We achieve together or fall short together.

“And when one among us falters, our most basic human instinct is to put our own self-interest aside, to reach out our hand and help them over the line.”

Isn’t it, Jean-Claude? Isn’t it, Donald? When among us falters, we reached out our hand and help, don't we. Don't we? Please. Please.

Anyway, we are all the Brownlee brothers now. Ruthless selection in state education is coming back, foreign doctors are being sent home, immigrants are to be victimised, but we are all the selfless Brownlee brothers now, apparently. Well, one of them anyway. The nice one. Not the one that wasn’t as fast or as fit or as strong as he thought he was and suddenly collapsed knackered. Definitely not that one.

Actually, that’s not fair. The closing stages of that triathlon in Mexico have been viewed hundreds of millions of times, but not many people have seen the moment when the younger brother, in great shape, glory assured, then suddenly a number of liberal metropolitan elite newspaper columnists started Talking Jonny Brownlee Down and he simply couldn’t recover. It’s their fault, not his, and that needs to be remembered.

So we now know what May-ism means. It’s not capitalism with a human face. It’s certainly not socialism with an iPad. It’s Nigel Farage with a Bacon Sandwich. 

Alright, she didn’t say the exact words that, the little people, the real people, the decent people, had said no to the big banks, the big multinationals and no to big politics but she might as well have done. 

Theresa May’s government would be all about, “Tackling unfairness and injustice, and shifting the balance of Britain decisively in favour of ordinary working class people, giving them access to the opportunities that are too often the preserve of the privileged few.”

It is, of course, painful to have to point out that 2,000 of the most senior figures in the Conservative party rose as one to applaud this attack on the privileged few. But they did.

But June 23rd, was a victory for real people, for decent people, for ordinary people. She praised that, “typically British quiet resolve for people to go out and vote as they did: to defy the establishment, to ignore the threats, to make their voice heard.”

In less mad times, it might matter that she was part of the establishment they defied, the threats they ignored had been coming from her. But those days are gone.

At this point, I might, just in a gentle nod back in the direction to normality, mention the name of Crispin Odey, the Old Harrovian billionaire hedge fund manager who contributed to the Brexit campaign and on June 23rd made £220m overnight, short-selling the banking stocks that most ‘ordinary British people’ have their pensions tied up in.

But who cares anymore? This is a new Britain now, “where everyone will go as far as their talent can take them.”

And if, who knows, it transpires that 52 per cent of the population aren’t happy that their talent hasn’t taken them as far as they’d have liked, well we can always another referendum on something or other and start all over again.

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