The door to No 10 swung open and the Prime Minister walked reluctantly out.
Helicopters whirred reluctantly overhead. Reluctant clouds moved across the reluctant blue sky.
Earlier a reluctant policeman had, with an air of reluctance, placed a reluctant lectern on the reluctant Tarmac.
Step by reluctant step, she moved reluctantly forward and took her reluctant place behind it. She cleared her reluctant throat, parted her reluctant lips and reluctantly began to speak.
“Reluctantly, I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet,” she began. “Where we reluctantly agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on 8 June, a date that will hereafter be known as Reluctance Day.”
No longer Theresa Maybe then. Theresa Definitely. Just as, on at least 15 different occasions in the less than 12 months she has been Prime Minister, there definitely wasn’t going to be a snap general election, now there definitely would be one. And that is the sort of “strong, stable leadership” your Reluctant Prime Minister invited you to return to government in eight weeks’ time.
Not since Congolese would-be IT support operative Guy Goma was whisked from reception and sat down in front of the live BBC News cameras has anyone been compelled to shape their public legacy with such reluctance.
It is not yet a year since she reluctantly campaigned for Remain, then lost and reluctantly became the Prime Minister that would reluctantly take Britain out of the European Union, and now that absolutely nothing has changed in the slightest, she has reluctantly called the very general election she, presumably reluctantly, has always claimed would never happen.
“The country is coming together and Westminster is not,” she said, surprising those of us who imagined no one could have less of an idea than Jeremy Corbyn about the job of opposition in the British parliamentary system.
"If we do not hold a general election now, the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election,” she continued, evidently forgetting it was her and no one else who had (reluctantly) chosen the pull the reluctant trigger on Article 50 and set that precise timetable herself.
With her last, reluctant words, she urged the country to choose between Jeremy Corbyn and “strong and stable leadership in the national interest”.
She said it three times. Choose “the strong and stable leadership in the national interest” that I didn’t think was in the national interest this time last year.
Choose the strong and stable leadership that wants a general election that six months ago I said was a “risk to national stability”.
That other favourite trope was there too, from this straight-laced, straight-faced safe-pair-of hands Prime Minister who steadfastly does the precise opposite of everything she steadfastly says she’s going to do.
“Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done,” she said.
Some good news for Remainers, at last. One Theresa May can really start getting the job done, we’ll be back in the EU by Christmas. Reluctantly, of course.Reuse content