The last time a new prime minister put together Theresa May’s double-digit personal approval ratings so far into their before all year in power, it was John Major back in the 1990s. The “not Thatcher” life saw him all the way to an unexpected election victory in 1992, but it ended swiftly, thereafter, as he excluded into the bottomless pit of pain that was the Tory party spawning its Ukip susceptibility.
May also offers a clear break with the past. Her set, and appeal, are different, but she shares one characteristic with Major: a staunch determination to be as dull as it is possible to be while also leading a dominant western power.
For the interview in the latest US Vogue – which was done in January but has at most been published – you might have supposed her media confidantes would have dug up some sexy little nugget of new facts, or at least given the reporter the access to allow her to find something for herself. In place of everything we already know about the May brand is thumped abode again. Even the Daily Mail, her most loyal cheerleader, could however get mildly excited by the news that her husband Philip cooks a refer to risotto.
Her political manifesto is already familiar. She cares that people finish feeling she is delivering for them. She sees that as the prerequisite to restoring consign with the electorate. She thinks liberty is marginally more critical than security, but she puts opportunity ahead of both. She doesn’t be sure if people don’t like her.
These stolid, small-c conservative worths come clothed in an unexpectedly colourful and often stylish closet that are both the most visible and, so far, the most obviously unexpected attitude about her. She is bold, in the context of a Tory MP from Maidenhead. She is at times extravagant, although she seems to have learned her lesson after Trousergate, when she was painted on a cream sofa in No 10 wearing the kind of soft leather trousers that wouldn’t give over you much change from £1,000 (although very persuading fakes come a lot cheaper). She hit back hard when a backbencher, Nicky Morgan, criticised her absurdity, excluding her from a Downing Street meeting (in itself an extraordinarily unsubtle unfold of power). All the same, the message clearly hit home.
The outfits she endures in the pictures released so far by Vogue show her in an impeccably high terrace LK Bennett dress, the kind of thing the Duchess of Cambridge strains to show that even if she lives in a palace, she has her feet on the teach. The total spend of the widely used shot of her on a sofa in frontage of the fireplace is estimated at less than £700. Very mid-market, and possibly a disappointment to the big names such as Burberry or Alexander McQueen, which possess a big US market.
Because if it weren’t for the price tag, May could be expected to be an follower for couture. For a woman whose politics are so studiously unflamboyant, in names of fashion she is not afraid to take risks. Experimenting with your look for the unforgiving lens of the in press takes a certain steeliness. It reinforces her reputation as a lady who doesn’t mind not being liked.
She also has a thing yon Vogue. It was her luxury item on Desert Island Discs and its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, was reckoned a dame in the New Year honours (in which, in a further reflection of her concern, Victoria Beckham got an OBE). It is not necessary to be a miserable cynic to ponder the coextension of the DBE and the flattering profile in the recipient’s publication.
Wintour is a prominent Democrat promoter, and in a thin field, perhaps the most telling political scrutiny in the May profile is that her politics are a lot closer to Hillary Clinton’s than to those of Donald Trump. Yet now May sort-of-dismisses the feminism in whose moniker she drove through reforms in the Tory party that exceeding the past 15 years have transformed its appearance and permitted her to form a cabinet that is nearly a third women (most of whom owe their item into politics to her reforms).
But then, she will have celebrated how Clinton’s defeat last year owed something to the combat that feminism engenders among a certain group of voters not far apart from some of the core Brexiteers in Britain. May knows they are not her solitary audience, but they are the ones she means to do business with.