LISTENING to Radio 5 Live this morning, I could scarcely believe my ears.
Conversation was flowing over an earlier radio interview with Prime Minister Theresa May, which I had missed.
Various pundits seemed very impressed that Mrs May had apparently presented a different side to her character, including saying that she’d ‘shed a tear’ over her near-disastrous General Election result.
How naïve can people possibly be?
This wasn’t a sign of our Prime Minister changing but clearly a result of her being strongly coached since June 8.
I’m not having a go at Mrs May directly here – this happens in public life all the time.
Politicians don’t change their spots, they merely take on different roles.
Mrs May, for example, did exactly that after the EU referendum result.
After being an albeit very quiet but firm supporter of Remain during the campaign, she gladly accepted the role as a pro Brexit Prime Minister because that was her route to power.
Now her power has been reduced – due to losing her majority in the House of Commons – she is being forced to take a more humble, human stance.
Very few politicians hold fast with their real views. Infact it’s almost impossible to do so.
Even Jeremy Corbyn has had to publicly, at least, curb his personal views on a wide range of issues since he became Labour leader.
From being against Trident as a leading part of the Stop the War Coalition, he is now being forced to defend Labour’s position in favour; he spoke out regularly in opposition to the European Union during his career in the political wilderness, yet now leads a party that campaigned for Britain to Remain; he has also shelved, for now, his opposition to Monarchy in the UK.
My point is this. Politicians and other members of the establishment is full of actors and actresses. Personal views are put aside in favour of political ideals. If you don’t tow the line, you will soon find yourself being permanently sidelined.
Political speeches also must be taken with a massive pinch of salt.
Very few – Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is an exception – write the words they present to the public as their own.
That’s not so much a sign of deceit. More the fact that there really are only 24 hours in a day.
Since the General Election, the Prime Minister will have been told she needs to change her public persona.
She has to come across now as being more down-to-earth, in touch with her feelings and in tune therefore with the thought processes of the public.
Does that mean she is a reformed character?
No more so than if you see Judy Dench take on an unfamiliar role in a film and come to the silly conclusion that she therefore is a different person.
Generally the rule of thumb is that the higher anyone progresses in this world, the more difficult it is to stay real.
We should realise this from our own more mundane existences. Whenever you go to work, you put aside your true thoughts and feelings and basically play a part. What you honestly think is usually reserved for your resignation letter.
We also put on different shows for our friends. It’s very rare to find someone prepared to speak their mind and risk being unpopular in a crowd.
Yet, if we fight against this very human tendency and stay true to what we know, that unleashes considerable power.
The sword of the truth is as sharp as ever but very rare among those people we unwisely look up to.