Theresa May's Christmas Round Robin Letter
It's been an eventful 2017 for Theresa May and what better way to sum up the year's events than the traditional Christmas round robin letter? Here, John Crace, author of I, Maybot, imagines the Prime Minister's thoughts on a year of Brexit, Boris and a certain memorable party speech.
As many of you will know, this hasn't been the easiest of years for Philip and me, but we have taken great comfort from your support. And a special thank you to Boris and Michael for sending letters reminding us that no matter how bad we thought things have been this year they are only likely to get worse in 2018.
The year got off to a disappointing start when the Supreme Court ruled that parliament would have to be given a vote on triggering Article 50. As I said to Philip, what on earth was the point of the country voting to take back control in the EU referendum only to allow the British sovereign parliament to have a say in determining our future? I was also extremely disappointed that the Labour party decided to oppose my decision to trigger article 50 by voting with the government. At times like this, the country needs to come together.
On a happier note, we did get to have some time away together in Snowdonia over Easter. On one of our walks, I said to Philip that Nick and Fiona had decided that I had decided to hold a general election after all. Philip was rather taken aback by this and reminded me I had repeatedly told interviewers that holding a general election wasn't in the national interest. “Well it is now,” I snapped. Silly Philip. He really doesn't understand politics.
My election campaign got off to a wonderful start with a series of packed events in which I spent five minutes talking to a handful of Tory party activists. Everyone was really pleased and said I had never been more strong and stable and that we were heading for a resounding victory.
A couple of weeks later Nick and Fiona called to tell me they had finally finished writing my manifesto and it was one of the proudest days of my life when I got to launch it in Halifax. Sadly, several members of my cabinet, along with the rest of the country, insisted on misinterpreting what I had said. Just because I was calling for a tax on people with dementia didn't make it a dementia tax. Luckily I was able to tell everyone that 'nothing had changed' as I explained that the manifesto had never been meant to be seen as a series of binding commitments. Rather it was a random set of vague ideas that could be ditched as and when.
The election night was rather spoiled by that horrid man David Dimbleby insisting that I had lost the election as I had failed to get an overall majority. For a while, I must confess, this made me rather tearful. But then Philip put his arm round me and helped me to get the result in perspective. Any fool could get an 80 seat majority when they were 20 points ahead in the polls against a Labour leader no one rated and had two-thirds of the country's newspapers behind them. In the face of such overwhelming odds, it took a political genius to actually lose seats.
I was also much cheered that the Conservative party rallied round to show their support by telling me that I could stay on for prime minister for the time being as there were no obvious alternatives and they didn't want to risk another election which we would probably lose. “That's so sweet of you,” I sobbed. “Nothing has changed".
My speech at the party conference was also an enormous success. My script about how my election campaign had been too scripted went down a storm. And then a sweet little man gave me my P45 saying I had already done far too much for the country and I needed a break. That's the kind of compassionate Conservatism we can all get behind. I was so overwhelmed that I then got a frog in my throat but I don't think anyone really noticed. Not even when the frog jumped out of my throat and started knocking the letters off the slogan behind me.
Much of the rest of the year up to my eyeballs with the EU. As many of you know, one of my failings is that I am often trusting to a fault and I am sorry to say I have been badly let down by David Davis. David can be very good company but he does have a tendency to make things up and I was dismayed to discover that the reason we had made no progress on Brexit is that David had not been doing his homework and had scarcely even made it to Brussels. Still, these are the crosses we all have to bear.
Jean-Claude Juncker has been very nice about it, though, and promised we could progress to the next stage of talks because he would rather deal with me as prime minister rather than someone ever more hopeless. What a lovely gesture! It's these little displays of interest for my well-being that have kept me going through 2017 and give me hope for the year ahead.
With best wishes to you and yours.
I, Maybot: The Rise and Fall by John Crace is out now (Guardian Faber, £9.99)