What with Trump’s visit and Theresa’s travails – not to mention ’It’s not Coming Home’ in precisely the way we all allowed ourselves to dream – it’s been a rare week or so to be alive in our United Kingdom.
What to make of Trump’s blundering interventions on May’s domestic trauma? One day he tells her she’s effectively finished and the next that she’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. We now know that the most powerful individual in the world has a habit of speaking before ever thinking about the consequences of what he says. He’s often wrong – on dates, his own actions and history.
But even a stopped clock’s right twice a day and when for example he asks why his country should spend tax dollars protecting Europeans from the threat of Russian invasion when they are not prepared to spend a modest amount themselves he surely has a point.
Given Germany’s enormous trade surplus, it is truly shaming that they don’t spend the 2% of GDP on defence to which they and all NATO members are formally committed.
Yet again the government is in turmoil over Brexit. Mrs May’s problem is not just the EU. It is primarily her own party, where 300 opinions ranging from Jacob Rees-Mogg to Anna Soubry make it impossible to find any workable compromise between remainers and leavers that will satisfy either camp.
“The adage that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas will persuade May’s most ardent critics that now is not the time for an election”
That said, I predict however bloody the battles inside her party will be – and not ruling out a change of leader, although I continue to regard that as highly unlikely – the old adage that turkeys don’t vote for an early Christmas will persuade even her most ardent critics that now is not the time for a general election.
Brexit’s gain is housing’s loss
Dominic Raab’s move to Brexit secretary means we now have the fourth housing and planning minister in 12 months. He will do a better job at the Department for Exiting the European Union than his predecessor but he is a loss to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
His replacement, Kit Malthouse, a businessman and former London Assembly member who was deputy mayor for policing and then business under Boris. Tony Pidgley rates him, which is a good sign, but the real question, as Property Week editor Liz Hamson pointed out in her leader column last week, is whether he will be allowed to stay for more than the blink of an eye.
Hear more of Tony Pidgley’s thoughts at RESI Convention 2018 - Tony Pidgley joins line-up for RESI Convention
Meanwhile, Eton-educated former Rothschild wunderkind and Cameron brainbox Sir Oliver Letwin, having studied the property industry to work out why housebuilders don’t supply enough houses to satisfy demand, has concluded it is in part because they don’t want to flood the market and thus lower prices.