With Parliament due to rise shortly for the Summer Recess, it is often thought that politics ‘goes quiet’ until early September. With a lack of real debate and issues to consider, the media has to find other, less important, things to talk about. This makes it the ‘Silly Season’. But this summer especially, is not the ‘Silly Season’ and anyone who fails to pay proper attention will miss consideration of issues of real and immediate importance.
Stories that circulate during the Summer months are often considered less worthy than at other times during the year so they should be taken less seriously. This is partly down to Parliament not sitting but also people, not least politicians, taking holiday and simply being away.
This, however, ignores the challenges facing government and is also a very pre-social media, pre-digital, twentieth century attitude. Not being at home, or away from London, is no longer a block on proper stories developing.
So what are we likely to see this Summer that could be so important?
Tory leadership challenge – this won’t happen during the Summer but candidates will be put up and knocked down over the Summer. The ‘get Hammond’ brigade have been out in force over the past three days and this will continue. Expect Boris’s profile to come up again and for David Davis to demonstrate how tough he is being in negotiations. One or two other names will start to bubble up as well. All this is line with talk that has already been going on amongst Tory MPs.
It will be during the summer and into early September when Mrs May’s fate as leader will be decided with a challenge most likely post party conferences. So Mrs May needs to resume some level of authority over the Summer. However, the very fact that she is having to remind colleagues that private discussions need to be kept private is a damning indictment of her current lack of authority and the low starting point for the rebuilding process.
Government – there may be some announcements but given that there haven’t been that many when Parliament was sitting, Government will likely go quiet. That does not though stop the potential leadership challengers from raising their profile and showing that they have a real plan for the future and for Brexit.
The Labour Party – at least there is no Labour leadership campaign to content with this summer! But if the Party is seriously in permanent campaign mode then it has to maintain the momentum over the Summer. So Corbyn and other members of the Shadow Cabinet will continue to be active over the Summer.It is an approach that that served them well so far so it will continue. New issues and lines of attack will come up.