THE Home Secretary, Theresa May, described last week how her
father, the Revd Hubert Brasier, was happy for her, aged 12, to
stuff envelopes at the local Conservative Association, but urged
her not to trumpet her politics.
"As far as he was concerned, he was the vicar for the whole
parish; so I shouldn't be out on the street parading my politics,"
she told Kirsty Young, her interviewer on Desert Island
Discs on Radio 4 last week.
Mrs May, the longest-serving Home Secretary in 50 years,
described a childhood where "everything did revolve very much
around the church"
She felt, however, "hugely privileged" to have had the childhood
she did. She had never rebelled against the church, "because it was
never really imposed on me by my parents".
Still a practising member of the Church of England, her faith
was "part of who I am, and therefore how I approach things". But
asked about the very public faith of American politicians, she
suggested: "It's right that we don't sort-of-flaunt these things
here in British politics."
She decided to enter politics because "I wanted to make a
difference to people's lives," she said. "I don't have an 'ism'
other than Conservatism. But I do believe in certain principles:
individual freedom, of people being able to make better decisions
than the Government; of aspiration and opportunity.
"But, as a politician, you also have to be pragmatic. I just
want to get on and do the best that I can."
Her choice for the final track was her favourite hymn, "When I
survey the wondrous Cross", sung by the Wesley's Chapel
congregation, "so I can get that feel of being in a body of a
church with the people around around me".
Introduced by Ms Young as something of an enigma who spoke
little about her personal life, the Home Secretary revealed that
she had chosen "Dancing Queen" by Abba as something to "jig up and
dance to a bit", and that she would request, on the island, a
lifetime's subscription to Vogue.
Pressed about what she had thought when introduced to her future
husband, Philip, by Benazir Bhutto at a Conservative Association
disco at Oxford University, she replied: "I quite liked him."