June 12 2017

Image of Apologies...

Picture: Sunday Times

I'm sorry for the lack of blog posts last week. I was busy with filming for series 2 of 'Britain's Lost Masterpieces', and then any spare time I had was taken up with the extraordinary political event that is Theresa May's collapse. It's not often we get to see a Prime Minister expire like this - the British constitution is designed so that once a PM's authority has collapsed he or she is removed from office with brutal efficiency, usually within hours, or a maximum of days. But with May we are now grimly watching, like political rubber-neckers, a most gruesome political death. We have seen the first symptoms of her decline emerge with a disastrous manifesto, and watched those symptoms mutate over the course of a risible campaign. We have seen her writhe in agony as the diagnosis of defeat was delivered. And we are now watching the Tory party plan her funeral and write the obituaries. She caught a nasty virus, and it was called hubris. 

At the moment she is determined to cling on. But like the old man in the 'bring out your dead' scene in Monty Python's 'Holy Grail', May is still convinced she's alive and in good health. None of this means anything to the world of art history, of course (with the exception of some excellent political cartoons), but it may yet have a bearing on the art market. The prospect of May's so-called hard brexit, a withdrawal from both the single market and the customs union, was a disaster for a market which relies on the smooth transit of both goods and people from country to country. But now, with a clear majority of the country rejecting this approach, there is the prospect of a softer Brexit, where trade and the free movement of goods and people are prioritised over concerns of 'sovereignty', whatever that means. 

So AHN is therefore feeling somewhat cheered by the events of last week. At the very least, we have seen a Prime Minister who was beginning to get drunk on her power and ideology be reminded by the electorate that, actually, we're in charge. And that's never a bad thing. Long live democracy.

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