In my last posting I talked about excessive leaking. For the Budget, you could read the Brexit negotiations, where the desperation of the various parties to gain an advantage and the pressure of obsessional media interest has led to lots of loose lips. Yesterday it was apparently the Irish who briefed on the short-lived Brexit breakthrough, but it could have been any of a number of leakers.
The one group not constantly feeding the press is the DUP. Whatever you say about the unionists, they are a model of unity. It helps that they are a small party, though that’s not stopped the LibDems and UKIP leaking like second-hand sieves. I may be corrected by those with a greater knowledge of the ins and outs at Stormont, but by yesterday’s showing the DUP demonstrated they are a model of solidity and restraint.
Arlene Foster read the leaked press reports, called Theresa May (getting the right one, unlike Donald Trump), rounded up her team, rounded up the press, drafted a statement and read it out. Boom! (as the younger generation like to say). It was short, sharp and effective. By surrounding herself with others from the DUP, Ms Foster used the same trick that Donald Trump does when he rounds up a crowd of servicemen or rednecks with red baseball hats to stand behind him. It screams unity and strength – two attributes Mrs May would love to demonstrate.
To be fair to the Prime Minister, she is not holding a strong hand. She relies on the DUP to keep her in power, her party is divided and her cabinet is a nest of vipers. However, Mrs May has shown over many years that she is not good at either control or showmanship, two key attributes she needs if she is going to be an effective communicator as leader of this country.