Tuesday 11 May 2010


The Queen received the Right Honourable David Cameron this evening and requested him to form a new administration. The Right Honourable David Cameron accepted Her Majesty’s offer and Kissed Hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.

Am I the only person to have noticed that it's alleged she asked him to form an "administration"?

Where did that creeping Americanism come from? Whether a sweeping Labour or Conservative majority or a rainbow alliance with the Raving Monster Loony Party (or even - perish the thought - a "Progressive Alliance" with the SNP), the United Kingdom doesn't have "administrations" - it has governments. The announcement must have been drafted by a trainee at Buck House and released before HM got to see it as she would never have sanctioned that. She'll be fit to be tied. You might as well talk about meetings of the Privy Council in the Oval Office.

On the subject of which, the phones have been ringing at Number 10 with congratulations from foreign leaders coming in thick and fast as disclosed by the BBC's election live coverage web-page (click below to see it properly)

You can picture that as well, can't you? A civil servant holding his hand over the mouthpiece of the phone whispering "Mr Salmon on Line 2 to talk about the Progressive Alliance, Prime Minister ..."

DC says "Look Barack, it's been great but I'm going to have to leave it ... yah ... Israel ... yah, yah, ... Middle East, yah ... Barack, sorry, ... yah ... Road Map ... I know, yah ... Barack, I'm going to have to go, OK? ... Ciao, Bye, Bye, Bye ... Alex!!!! New tram to Glasgow Airport - shoot ..."


Suze said...

No, surely not. I have been watching avidly all evening and I don't recall wincing when Nicholas Witchell read the Buck House published statement as DC was driven off. I suspect Sky News or some other news channel of having paraphrased a combination of HM's request to DC to form a new government and the fact that there is going to be lots of admin involved in creating that government. That or HM was ticked off about having her evening trashed and was anxious to get back to Eastenders.

Neil King said...

I wish that that were so Suze, but Sky News clearly showed the official announcement (on the richly red embossed BH writing paper in the discreetly classical font) and the word "administration" was definitely there. It's also on the www.royal.gov.uk website.

I fear this solecism gets the new government off to a very inauspicious start ....

Kathie said...

So Nick Clegg is going to become "Deputy" PM. Is that like being VP of the US, minus any prospects for immediate succession in case of the incumbent's death/resignation/conviction-upon- impeachment?

Historical footnote: FDR's first VP, crusty Texan John Nance Garner, famously declared the US Vice Presidency to be "not worth a bucket of warm pi$$" (usually more bowdlerized in the retelling). US VPs, Al Gore and Dick Cheney aside -- and how I wish Dick Cheney had been further aside! -- besides presiding over the US Senate and casting the tie-breaking vote upon the rare occasions when that occurs, generally distinguish themselves by keeping their best black suit freshly dry-cleaned so that on quick notice they can attend lots of funerals on behalf of the nation (thus sparing the President such a mundane task).

Neil King said...

Kathie, short answer to your question is "yes".

There is no such office in the British constitution as "deputy prime minister" - although having said that it's pretty sketchy on the role of prime minister which is why the announcement from the palace bigged up on DC being appointed First Lord of the Treasury.

The office of DPM has been created ad hoc as a place to park Clegg but making him sound like a major player. Although I suppose if DC went under a bus, HM might appoint NC as interim PM pending a Tory leadership election.

Blair briefly had a deputy PM, I think - the benighted John "5 bellies" Prescott who is best known for having punched a supporter on camera at an election rally and then wrote his memoirs spilling it about how he was bullied at school. Prezza was strictly for egg target practice while Blair was off junketting at Camp David (and - famously - the Azores) with Dubya.

Kathie said...

Re the Bush-Blair-Aznavar mini-summit that Durão Barroso hosted in the Azores in mid-March 2003: As you know, it was held at Lajes Air Force Base on Terceira (dunno if it was in the Portuguese or US portion of the base, however).

Some Socialist friends in Angra packed up their kids and a picnic lunch (since it was a nice day), and went out to as near the base as they could get -- not allowed close enough that the summiteers could see or hear them, heaven forfend! -- to protest the political farce being played out -- in futility, of course, as though there were the least little chance that the Iraq War was not going to be held. Oh well, at least my amigos made the gesture...

Ironically, on my first Azores visit in 2002 -- about midway between 9/11 and the kickoff of the Iraq War -- I met only one person who said anything hostile to me re the attacks on the US (to the effect that we "had it coming"), and I'd already sussed out he was a total douchebag anyhow, even before he mentioned this.

Everyone else I met on that trip, whether tourist or local, was gracous and sympathetic re the 9/11 attacks -- especially when I explained that the fourth plane, UAL #93, crashed only about an hour's drive east of where we live.

Kathie said...

"gracious," not "gracous."

Kathie said...

Not "gracous," but "gracious."