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The Prime Minister has disappeared, says Matt Chorley today in his indispensable Redbox morning email for The Times. He says:
“By my reckoning she has not been seen in an official capacity since a small business summit almost four weeks ago. Only snatched photographs going to church, walking in the Alps and watching the cricket at Lord’s have helped fill the gaps.”
Contrary to any suggestion that this is a cause for concern, Theresa May having gone to ground is great news, in my view. Here are five reasons to love the low-key approach of the new PM:
1. What a blessed relief that she has ditched the hyperactive approach to press and publicity favoured by some of her male predecessors. Even chilled out Cameron did way too much on the public relations front. Tony “eye-catching initiatives” Blair would have been much better doing less. Gordon “I hate holidays” Brown and the rest of us would have been much better off if he had done nothing at all between about 1997 and 2010. The PR whirlwind pre-May was exhausting. It was boring. It was counter-productive. She is old school. She is a grown-up.
2. May holidays in Switzerland. She has done this for years. Walking in Switzerland is classy and thankfully creates no opportunities for pointing at fish, as poor David Cameron was forced to do on holiday for the benefit of the snappers (newspaper photographers).
3. Going low-key leaves plenty of space for Corbyn, runaway winner of the twit of the year competition, to fill the publicity vacuum. He is unintentionally rather good at this.
4. Being low-key annoys some journalists, because rather than relying on lollipops from the Number 10 machine they will now have to do more to find their own stories. Forcing Westminster journalists to use more of their initiative is an interesting gamble on Team May’s part. What could possibly go wrong?
5. All of this disappearing has given the PM time in which to come up with a detailed plan for Brexit. Hasn’t it. Has it? It must have done. Surely? I say, hello. Prime Minister? Is there anyone there?