Theresa May assumes the Prime Ministership; Larry the Official Mouser is unimpressed

I think I’ve announced twice that Larry, the Official Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, would keep his job after Theresa May becomes Prime Minister (today). I was greatly relieved. PMs come and go, but Larry has only one Forever Home (he was adopted from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Shelter), and there he should stay. He hasn’t been a particularly effective mouser, but neither was David Cameron a particularly effective Prime Minister. We shall see about The Honourable Theresa May.

In the meantime, reader Chris directed me to a German website with pictures of May taking up her residence, and Larry watching, seemingly unimpressed. The site is for the magazine Tagesschau, and the article’s title is “Der Kater Larry bleibt in Downing Street Nr. 10” (“The tomcat Larry will stay at 10 Downing Street.”) Here’s both Theresa May and the Honourable Chief Mouser:


The picture below, showing May with her trademark fancy footwear, has the caption:

Leo-Print – ob das einer getigerten Katze gefällt? Theresa May hatte offenbar besonders auf die Wahl ihrer Schuhe geachtet, als sie in der Downing Street vorbeischaute. Medienstar Larry hatte bereits vorher getwittert (@Number10Cat): “Kennt jemand einen guten Katzenfriseur, der ab morgen verfügbar wäre? Ich muss am Mittwoch auf jemanden einen guten Eindruck machen.” | Bildquelle: AP.

Larry apparently issued that tw**t yesterday, and I translate the caption as “Leo Print: will it please a tiger cat? Theresa May has obviously paid particular attention to her choice of shoes as she drops by Downing Street. The media star Larry has already tweeted, “Does anyone know a good cat groomer who is available tomorrow? I must make a good impression on someone on Wednesday.”


And here’s Larry getting fusses. If they had been from May rather than a bobby I would have been much more impressed!


I didn’t see the tw**t described above, but Larry is documenting the goings-on on his Twi**er feed:

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 1.22.14 PM


  1. Aaron Ferguson
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Cameron wasn’t averse to giving Larry fusses!

  2. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I saw Larry wandering nonchalantly across the street on CNN yesterday. He’s clearly above all the political shenanigans.

  3. Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh my giddy aunt and other slightly up-market, old-fashioned British exclamations. Boris is Foreign Minister. Laughing stock to the nth degree. Say it ain’t so, BoJo.

    • Graham Head
      Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Two immediate interpretations:
      1 she has taken leave of her senses
      2 she is giving him enough rope to hang himself and end his career forever.

      I hope it’s 2 but it’s a hell of a gamble.

      He is notoriously lazy and prefers to delegate everything to underlings. I hope he has a good team of junior ministers.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        That does about sum up the options. But what did the rest of the world do to May for her to inflict Boris upon them?

      • Dave
        Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        A third possible explanation: she knows him much better than you (or me, or any of us) do, and thinks he’ll do an effective job.

        Do you really think a new Prime Minister, appointing her first cabinet, in the current circumstances, would deliberately set out to sabotage foreign relations by giving the job to someone she expects to screw it up? If she wanted to sabotage Boris’ political career she could have done it simply by leaving him to twiddle his thumbs on the back benches.

        • Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          BoJo is the guy who called black people, ‘picaninnies’ and described their ‘watermelon smile’. He ascribed Obama’s ‘ancestral dislike of the British Empire’ to his ‘part Kenyan heritage’.

          He is not fit to be a Foreign Secretary. He knows barely anything about the Syrian conflict. Only someone who hasn’t looked at it seriously could possibly say this.

          ‘… no matter how repulsive the Assad regime may be – and it is – their opponents in Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are far, far worse.’

          …as he celebrated Assad and Putin retaking Palmyra.


          • Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            Well you are quoting him a bit out of context.

            “He ascribed Obama’s ‘ancestral dislike of the British Empire’ to his ‘part Kenyan heritage’.”

            Well, no, he didn’t quite. His words were “Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire ..”. That is actually true, in that some British newspapers did indeed say that (about the incident Johnson was discussing). [That’s not to say that Johnson was wise to re-hash the issue.]

            The “watermelon” piece was an attempt to be satirical and comedic [though one could legitimately assess it as a failure in that regard] and he was basically taking the piss out of Blair. (link here if you want to read it.)

          • Dave
            Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

            I agree with Boris’s comments about Syria. Assad is a murderous dictator but ISIS is indeed much worse. Like Boris, I was cheered when ISIS were driven out of Palmyra, and I would raise a glass to Assad and Putin if they succeed in eliminating ISIS altogether.

            Given the chip on the shoulder many Africans seem to have about the period of colonial rule, I don’t find it at all implausible that Obama could have absorbed a general dislike of Britain from the Kenyan side of his family.

            As for the “piccaninnies” and “watermelon smiles” comments, they’re a bit tasteless perhaps but just words. Nothing to get hot under the collar about.

            • Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

              Dave, Assad partially created ISIS when he released his imprisoned jihadists into Iraq in 2003. He released more in 2012 in order to create the huge sectarian conflagration which attacked the Syrian Arab Spring demonstrators for régime change.

              Since Putin’s intervention, at most 10% of their attacks have been against ISIS. The vast majority of military attacks are against Syrian civilians. The deaths of Syrian civilians outnumber those of ISIS by hundreds of thousands. Assad has killed hundreds of thousands more Syrians than ISIS: he is, in terms of numbers, a far more efficient killing machine. And he can congratulate himself on this last month’s success in targeting Syrian hospitals as a recent report by the excellent Ben Taub revealed.

              ISIS’s main trading partner for oil and gas is Assad himself. Assad wants to position himself with the west as a bulwark against ISIS. Fools like Johnson fall for it: and Obama is moving more and more to outright support for Assad.

              • Dave
                Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                My position is based entirely on Realpolitik, not morality. Who’s racking up the bigger body count in Syria does not concern me in the slightest. As long as the barbarians of the Middle East focus their hatreds on each other, I’m content to let them get on with their mutual slaughtering. It seems to be the way of life they prefer.

                I care only about the West (in which context I include Israel). ISIS poses a serious terrorist threat to the West, as shown by the recent atrocities in Paris, Brussels, Orlando and so on). Given time and opportunity they will do the same – and worse – again. Their destruction is therefore very much in our interest. Assad is no threat to us. He’s a bastard, but a sane bastard, one that we can do business with. If the price of ISIS’s destruction is Assad regaining control of Syria, then that’s fine with me.

              • Jonathan Wallace
                Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

                “As long as the barbarians of the Middle East focus their hatreds on each other, I’m content to let them get on with their mutual slaughtering. It seems to be the way of life they prefer”.

                Does it not occur to you that in between the murderous barbarians of ISIS and the murderous barbarians of the Assad regime there are huge numbers of innocent people who simply want to get on with their lives in peace but instead are forced to live in abject terror. Why do these people matter so little to you?

              • Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

                Jonathan Wallace, your comment comes up in my e-mail notification as being a reply to me. I assume, as you quote Dave, that it is a response to him. It is obvious, and I think that you think the same, that I disagree with him.

                I’ll leave him to reply for himself, should he wish to.

              • Jonathan Wallace
                Posted July 14, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

                Yes, Dermot,my comment was addressed to Dave. There is a ‘reply’ button beneath your comment but not beneath Dave’s response to it. I hoped that by quoting Dave at the start of my comment it would be clear who and what I was responding to. I agree with your comments.

            • reasonshark
              Posted July 14, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink

              “Who’s racking up the bigger body count in Syria does not concern me in the slightest. As long as the barbarians of the Middle East focus their hatreds on each other, I’m content to let them get on with their mutual slaughtering. It seems to be the way of life they prefer.”

              Realpolitik, racism, partisan callousness maskerading as realism, it’s all good. The important thing is that you handed over your morality card in advance.

              Best make sure I don’t hand over my own “West” membership card, then. Wouldn’t want you advocating passive murder on my head, now would I? 😉

          • Posted July 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            I think it is an example of LBJ’s maxim. Better that he is inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 22, 2016 at 1:48 am | Permalink

            ‘… no matter how repulsive the Assad regime may be – and it is – their opponents in Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are far, far worse.’

            Speaking as someone who, a few years back, felt the West should do far more to assist Assad’s opponents to topple him – I now think exactly the same as Boris’s quote above. Assad may be run-of-the-mill Saddam-style nasty, but IS are not only loathsome but seem to glory in being as spectacularly vicious and disgusting as they can possibly be.


            • Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

              Well, infinite, it’s a toss-up between who is the most morally revolting between Saddam, Assad and ISIS.

              Take Saddam. You could take his coup in which he sits smoking a fat cigar, Bond-villain style, while a tortured functionary names all the ‘conspirators’ who are dragged out of the room by armed guards: and sweaty Ba’athist officials ululate eternal fealty to the Dear Leader. The coup de grace? Saddam tells the ‘innocent’ to go out and shoot the ‘guilty’. Making them complicit. Stalin and Hitler never did that.

              Or you could mention Abu Ghraib, his torture prison, and the list of persons to be killed and how the screws went to the families of the victims and showed mercy to the prisoners whose families had given them the biggest bribes. And you could note the fact that the families were forced to watch and clap as their loved ones were executed.

              You could look at Assad’s nerdy bureaucratization of his killing machine. How his palace overlooks the hospital where he learned his ophthalmology. And how that hospital has been turned into its opposite: into a morgue for the people he kills, into a killing field and into an audit office for the dead. The dead are tattooed with more than Auschwitz numbers: date and method of death are important to Assad. Hitler never did that.

              Large elements of ISIS are simply the same people who rose to the top in the last days of Saddam’s regime; taught in the Faith Campaign which started in 1993. When you see crowds being gathered in Raqqa to watch gays being thrown off buildings, you see the echo of Saddam’s goons making families clap as their relations are executed.

              Really there is little that ISIS do which Saddam hadn’t already thought of. And of course Assad released jihadists on two separate occasions into the Iraq/Syria conflagration: once from his prisons in 2003 to further the Islamist insurgency in Iraq, and again in late 2011 to confuse the Arab Spring uprising in Syria.

              The methods of all 3 are largely morally equivalent: their media presentation differs. But I would describe none of them as ‘run-of-the-mill Saddam-style nasty’.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

                Well, to the point, I’m not a Boris fan but I think his quote is arguably justifiable.

                In respect of your ‘dictator x never did that’ theme there’s one thing about ISIS that no dictator of the 20th or 21st century ever did. They all committed various levels of atrocities but none of them ever had the utter moral depravity to publicise and glory in them as ISIS did. Not Hitler, not Stalin, not Pinochet, not Idi Amin, not Pol Pot, not Saddam and not Assad. They or their regimes had the modicum of self-awareness to realise their atrocities were shameful and should be hidden from the rest of the world. ISIS are such immature and barbaric scum that they glory in their atrocities. I think you have to go back several centuries at least to find any sadistic ruler so lacking in any shreds of common decency as to do that.

                So in that one respect at least, ISIS are far the worst.


              • Posted July 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

                Yes, infinite, the point about how ISIS publicizes its atrocities is precisely the point I made in my last paragraph.

                I do note however that you have upped your level of moral disapproval of Saddam from being just a nasty guy.

                Your list of 20th century state mass murderers and their refusal openly to propagandize their crimes misses the point. They always did.

                Take Hitler: what is ‘The Final Solution’ but a euphemism? Read the minutes of the Wannsee Conference. You would have no idea that they are the blueprint for the Holocaust.

                Philip Gourevitch, the US journo who wrote the first book on the post-2003 Abu Ghraib scandal, spotted this: ‘hate speech’ and action don’t declare themselves yet they have consequences. It’s the euphemisms you have to look out for and which have real consequences in the world.

                What were the orders distributed by radio in Rwanda for the the worst genocide by proportion of population in history? ‘Clear the bush’ and similarly innocuous phrases.

                Orwell understood all of this: that’s why we experience a frisson when he ends ‘1984’ with ‘He loved Big Brother’. Orwell understood the power of the euphemism.

                True, infinite, ISIS puts in your face the videos of its barbarities: but it learned how to make that propaganda from Saddam’s Secret Service, the Mukhabarat, who learned it from the KGB and Stasi.

                What you decide to release is merely a matter of strategy and tactics.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 22, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

                Well, Dermot, you’re just illustrating my comment that 20th-century mass murderers chose to conceal their atrocities. While ISIS – alone – choose to glory in theirs.

                I don’t see how I can be missing the point since that *was* my point.

                I think we’re starting to go round in circles.


      • jeremyp
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        Well, it’s not 2. If anything, she has resurrected his career which was looking pretty well dead and buried on Monday.

    • Aaron Ferguson
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:22 am | Permalink

      It should be noted that he has a diminished brief: stripped of international trade agreements (now with Liam Fox) & negotiating with EU to new departments (now with David Davis) – formerly under FCO.

  4. darrelle
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I’d bet that Larry is providing far more benefit by accepting fusses from humans than he would by catching mice.

  5. Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    They could hire Francois Hollandes’s groomer for only 9895€/month.

  6. aljones909
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    This was from a speech made by Theresa May 2 days ago. I think it puts her to the left of Bernie Sanders.

    “Because right now, if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you still earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s too often not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

    But, as I have said before, fighting these injustices is not enough. If you’re from an ordinary, working-class family, life is just much harder than many people in politics realise. You have a job, but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home, but you worry about mortgage rates going up. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and the quality of the local school, because there’s no other choice for you.

    These are the reasons why, under my leadership, the Conservative Party will put itself – completely, absolutely, unequivocally – at the service of ordinary, working people. It is why we will make Britain a country that works for everyone:”


    “And I want to see changes in the way that big business is governed. The people who run big businesses are supposed to be accountable to outsiders, to non-executive directors, who are supposed to ask the difficult questions, think about the long-term and defend the interests of shareholders. In practice, they are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles as the executive team and – as we have seen time and time again – the scrutiny they provide is just not good enough. So if I’m Prime Minister, we’re going to change that system – and we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but employees as well.”

    • Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Aspirations which are somewhat at odds with her own voting record in Parliament.


      • aljones909
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:30 am | Permalink

        Voting record? I saw a silly article in the Independent that focused on this. She’s been a member of the government and was therefore bound to vote for the policies of the government (or resign).

        • Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

          I don’t think voting “against” the government is necessarily a resigning matter. A three-line whip is the obvious exceptions, but not all of these issues were.


          • aljones909
            Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

            ‘I don’t think voting “against” the government is necessarily a resigning matter.’. A member of the cabinet voting against government policy is definitely a resigning matter. The exception is when the Prime Minister allows a free vote.

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted July 14, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          “…and was therefore bound to vote for the policies of the government (or resign).”

          Well if you are continually being asked to vote for things that are against your core principles, surely resigning is the appropriate thing to do? If you don’t then one can legitimately ask how sincerely you hold those principles.

  7. Merilee
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


  8. Posted July 13, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  9. RolandG
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Slight correction:

    Tagesschau is not a magazine, but the most popular TV news program in Germany. It airs on the public service channel Das Erste (Germany’s oldest TV channel) and can be compered to BBC News.

  10. Andrea Kenner
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Well, at least the shoes are in a leopard print. So there’s that…

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