The British Prime Minister must bring order to Downing Street, the newspapers are divided on the responsibilities: Carrie Symonds responsible for her husband’s troubles, or a new Anna Bolena, pointed out for the choices of Henry VIII?
from our correspondent
LONDON – What do parties on Downing Street have in common, the very expensive renovation of the premier’s private apartment, even the controversial evacuation of cats and dogs from Kabul? Carrie’s hand, the wife of Boris Johnson. Whose role, now, divides the English commentators: why the question if one can criticize a woman’s influence without falling into the most sinister sexism.
The always caustic Camilla Long, sharp pen of the Sunday Times: who, on Sunday, wrote that the great, horrible, unreality of the Partygate scandal – and many other recent scandals – that all roads lead back to her. AND the columnist immediately does justice to the possible objections: You can try to advance the feminist concept that she is not responsible for her husband’s mistakes: but there is nothing feminist about Carrie’s drastically basic, greedy outlook. And already with the accusation that the fingerprints on all those decisions are his. She creates politics instead of advising. almost herself the prime minister.
But the reply arrived this morningalways from the pages of Timesfor Alice Thomson’s pen: che compares Carrie’s fate to Anna Bolena’s, pointed to the choices of Henry VIII. Half a millennium after not much changed – Thomson comments bitterly – there is only a different court, that of Boris Johnson. The columnist is especially angry with male critics: Carrie the Witch and the Whore and it’s no wonder they didn’t leave a black pointy hat on her door. But in any case at Thomson it appears sexist to burn a woman at the stake instead of her elected husband and the one in power. In conclusion, the failures at No. 10 are entirely the fault of a weak and chaotic prime minister and pointing the finger at his wife only serves to exonerate him.
But beyond the controversy, the political and practical problem of the moment that Boris promised to bring order in his court of chaos, as he had already called it Spectator. And to do so, he again resorted to the advice of Sir Lynton Crosby, master of political communication: who, he writes on Daily Mail another female commentator, that Sarah Vine who even the ex-wife of the all-powerful Michael Gove, Boris’ right-hand man in the government, will cast a cold hard look at Carrie and conclude – rightly or wrongly – that she is the prime minister’s weakness.
So the reset of the government machine will inevitably involve redefining the role of Johnson’s wife. And that it is not an easy operation is understood by the refusal just opposed by Antonia Romeoone of the most important British civil servants, offered to become permanent secretary of Downing Street with the task of reorganizing the premier’s office: the same Romeo who had already been in the running to become the secretary of the Cabinet of the executive but who, at apparently, it had been rejected by a veto from Carrie. Sooner or later, someone will have to deal with this tangle of public interests and private affections.