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  Opinion   Oped  04 Sep 2017  Amid murmurs about early elections, will Modi learn from May’s example?

Amid murmurs about early elections, will Modi learn from May’s example?

Published : Sep 4, 2017, 12:39 am IST
Updated : Sep 4, 2017, 12:39 am IST

One of the biggest controversies raging in the media these days is over adoption, and particularly about foster care.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo: AP)
 UK Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo: AP)

The most popular game in town is the one in which you ask: “How Long Will Theresa May Last?” Proving yet again that a few weeks are a very long time in politics. So even as there are murmurings in India that there could be an early election, looking at what happened with UK Prime Minister Theresa May might deter many. It is now coming out that there was ample warning from the “Wizard of Oz” Lynton Crosby - (Whoops! I should have said Sir Lynton Crosby!) - who had, prior to the elections, conducted focus group sessions among floating voters to find out if there was an appetite for an early election. Despite the Prime Minister’s personal high ratings at the time - he had, in a “secret memo”, suggested that election could create “uncertainity” in the minds of voters. His memo also pointed out an interesting phenomena - that voters could select the best MP (in their opinion), secure in the knowledge they would still retain Ms May as PM. This could happen particularly because the PM’s popularity exceeded that of the party. However, voters might chose the moment to send out messages that the ruling party might not quite be prepared for! Sir Lynton has been credited with having been a successful spin doctor - but there is a debate on whether the Tory campaign itself was faulty. The jury is still out on that.

Time and again, women are proving that they can have babies and spring up back into shape without even a little blimp of flesh to show for it. Amal Allana, now Amal Clooney, stunned everyone on the red carpet along with husband George Clooney, as she floated down looking as thin as ever at the Venice Film Festival - after having given birth to twins in June, just a few months ago. In this she follows the now well-known tradition of Victoria Beckham and Kate Middleton. These women have fantastic willpower, and amazing help with dieticians and personal trainers, undoubtedly. Her husband compared her to an “Olympic athlete” who does everything beautifully. His own film, Suburbicon, which he has co-produced, directed and co-written with the Coen brothers, has received fairly good reviews from the critics at the festival. It is also a timely reminder of the underlying racism which continues to exist all over the world - even though it is set in the 1960s.

It took just a few lines to win an international poetry competition , and now 14-year-old British schoolgirl Gracie Starkey has managed to better 18,000 Haiku entries. She has walked off with the prize offered by a Japanese tea company, and this is the first time it has been won by anyone who is not Japanese. Though two million take part overall in the Haiku competition - there is a separate section for English entries - which was what Gracie triumphed over. The young girl had been asked to write a Haiku following a workshop at her school in Gloucestershire. And after a stroll through a garden - she wrote the winning words: Freshly mown grass/ clinging to my shoes/ my muddled thoughts.Oh well - while it takes a Haiku expert to understand the depth behind these words - they have now been reproduced onto green tea packaging and have made Gracie famous! A short Haiku could be written about this fairytale win!

One of the biggest controversies raging in the media these days is over adoption, and particularly about foster care. There are simply not enough people available from similar backgrounds for taking over foster parent roles, and it is difficult to get a perfect match, because there could be potential problems over their religious and ethnic origins. The latest problem to be highlighted was because a “white Christian” five-year-old had apparently been placed in the foster care of a Muslim family, and according to media reports was “distressed”. However, the story is not as simple as it first appeared to be - as it had been claimed the crucifix that the child had been wearing was removed, and so on. This was later denied. Was this a case of overreaction and “Islamophobia” or was it simply a case of the local council trying to place the child in the best available family, so that she could continue to live in the area she was used to? However, it does raise increasingly fraught issues about adoption and foster care, which need to be understood in an environment in which religion appears to take priority over humanitarian needs. Because of the brouhaha over the child in the media, the case was taken to court, and the “Christian” child has now been placed  with her maternal grandmother - who it turns out is a “non practising Muslim”. Given that we live in a fluid society with people of different faiths forming relationships, or indeed changing their religion according to their own needs, this story of the unnamed little girl gains poignancy. Does she need a religion more than a home - and what takes priority if both are not simultaneously available?

Tags: theresa may, george clooney, pm modi