May’s Away Day

What with being the Prime Minister, trying to deliver the Brexit and fighting a general election campaign it’s hardly surprising that Theresa May generates quite a few headlines these days. With the election widely suspected to be another coronation for the PM after her steamroller victory in the Conservative leadership election, the media are even keener than usual to rustle up something interesting to report on.

Fortunately for them, and perhaps fortunately for us, none of the major parties have managed to stay completely spotless in their presentation so far. The Liberal Democrats have had to deal with questions about their leader’s religious views, Labour’s Dianne Abbott fumbled an interview with LBC and May herself has already been accused of hiding from the public, of managing to looking glum whilst eating chips and of being too busy to sit down with reporters from Cornwall’s biggest local newspaper on her recent visit to the West Country.

Taxing times for ‘Tezza’ then, but on the bright side it does give us a chance to highlight two of the things we care about most here at Cadence; communicating with the public and furthering British industry. With her decision to visit AP Diving’s manufacturing facility in Helston, Theresa May was attempting to kill both of these birds with one stone. So how did she get on?

The main criticism of the visit was that she shied away from talking on camera to Cornwall Live, the county’s largest media outlet. Indeed, her team were accused of shutting reporters in a room so that they couldn’t cover her tour of the factory floor. The Prime Minister seems to be hoping that by keeping the media and public at arm’s length she’ll be able to portray herself as being above the fray and focusing instead on promoting the national interest – a theory reinforced by her refusal to appear in the upcoming TV debates. Whether or not the strategy will prove to be sustainable in the remaining five weeks of the campaign is an open question – while it does set her apart from her rivals, the risk of being perceived as aloof is very real and could prove damaging.

Perhaps more importantly, her trip to AP Diving drew attention to the excellent work being done by British manufacturers not just in the West Country but all over the UK at the moment. With manufacturing output surging to a three-year high in April, the EEF’s Chief Economist Lee Hopley was moved to declare that:

“Against all expectations nine months ago, UK manufacturing appears to be in rude health, having navigated significant exchange rate swings and rising input costs, companies are capitalising on the upswing in the world economy and pressing ahead with some new investments”

While there are surely some ups and downs to come, the response of the UK industrial sector to the challenge of Brexit has so far been highly commendable. Whatever happens over the course of the rest of the election campaign and in the months afterwards, manufacturers will be able to say that they have kept up their end of the bargain admirably. And since their end of the bargain is to create great products and great jobs, we will be proud to continue serving them to the very best of our ability.

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