The world can breathe easily when Mrs May is at the podium. In fact, many of those delegates in the hall seemed to be relaxed to the point of catalepsy. Her speech coincided nicely with their post-lunch nap. The timetabling for this general debate at the UN was optimistic, as ever. Technically, four hours were set aside before lunch for 19 speeches, but it was 2.40pm before Mrs May, who had drawn ticket No 18, took to the stage. As a result, the hall was rather empty. Perhaps the UN canteen shuts at 2.30pm sharp.
In the front row of the British section, Boris Johnson was looking thoroughly fed up. For all his manifest flaws, the foreign secretary gives a good speech, even if you disagree with what he says.
It must be painful for him to sit through a plodding 20 minutes from the woman who bores for Britain.
He was probably contemplating the six hours that he was going to have to spend in the boss’s company on the flight home, when he would rather order a triple scotch and watch that new film about Churchill than listen to Mrs May seek assurances about his loyalty on Brexit. He clapped when he needed to, which wasn’t often, but sluggishly, as if his arms were trapped in a giant rubber band and he found it hard to pull them apart.