Our next PM? The MSM’s new darling …
The Tories selecting their May Successor may look like another by-play filling the news void during what is known as ‘summer’ here in our green and pleasant lands, but as it is ultimately about Brexit, we’ll have to keep some sort of watch.
Yesterday saw the first round in that “beauty contest”. Tory MPs voted in the morning and the three candidates with the fewest votes were eliminated. Here is a good graph of the results. It might look as if Boris Johnson has it in the bag but this is by no means a certainty. There are more rounds of voting to come and the last two standing will then have to convince the Tory grassroots to vote for them.
“Last night Mr Hunt and the five other candidates still in the race against Mr Johnson committed themselves to joining in debates due to take place on Sunday and Tuesday. In a joint statement Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock, Sajid Javid, Rory Stewart and Mr Hunt said that the debates would help to “shape and define” the competing visions for the country. Mr Johnson was the only one holding out against participating. A spokesman for the former foreign secretary said that his campaign team was in discussions with Channel 4, which will show Sunday’s debate. A source at the broadcaster said that he would be represented by an empty podium if he refused.” (link, paywalled)
BoJo’s rivals hope of course that he’ll commit one of his famous gaffes. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them – nor to the broadcaster – that we, the electorate out here, are not Tory members. We have no vote. This is not a national election, for goodness sake!
It shows however the immense vanity of them all, thinking that they need a carefully orchestrated platform – paid for by us viewers – to peacock about. As if us politics nerds haven’t watched them strut their insignificant stuff in the HoC for months already! We know who you are and what you are – and Brexiteers you mostly ain’t!
There’s one candidate of whom most of us haven’t heard before. He’s become the MSM ‘dahlink’ because he ain’t BoJo and because he is, of course, a firm Remainer. I am talking of Rory Stewart who seems to think that he’s a proper future leader, having smoked opium when young. Street cred, innit, or summink.
In an extraordinary interview yesterday he threatened his rival Boris Johnson with setting up a ‘rebel parliament’ should BoJo dare to prorogue Parliament. You have to watch the whole thing, here. Nothing could display his overweaning vanity better – this report doesn’t have half the impact. Why he thinks that taking perfectly legal negotiating instruments off the table is clever is beyond me, but, well, he’s a Remainer …
He has written an article for the (paywalled) DT – not surprising, everybody else does. It’s worth quoting a few of his utterances, though, to get a flavour of this man, for example:
“While other candidates have concentrated on Westminster I have been out listening to the public. I’ve met nurses and sheep-farmers, designers of robots and third generation market traders, in Londonderry and Derby, Edinburgh and Peterborough, Wigan, Woking and Warrington. And these weeks have been some of the most fulfilling of my life. Each conversation educates me – about knife crime in Barking, about affordable housing in Lewisham and in Enniskillen about the history of the Northern Irish border. And I have discovered just how popular a straightforward conservative message can be.” (paywalled link)
This, you understand, is a Minister of the Crown. One would expect that he would know these things, that he would’ve been talking to “the people” while campaigning for his seat. But then, it’s one of those secure Tory seats where a donkey with a blue rosette will get elected, even if he’s just been parachuted in. I give him this point:
“Before we fight a national contest, we must show people why they will be right to back us. We need to be tested. We must talk and listen and make our case. We must explain why the Conservative party is not simply a better choice than Jeremy Corbyn’s dangerous utopia – of course it is – but better in itself, better than any other choice for Britain. […] But it is the support of the people of Britain that I am asking for. The support of a country which stands ready to elect another great Conservative government, if only we find the courage to make our case. My promise to my supporters is that I will not hide from our country. I will be out there, talking, arguing, making our case with passion. It is not just the only way I know to do politics. It is also, in the end, the only way to win.” (paywalled link)
Hm. That looks to me as if he’s trying to copy a certain politician, now leader of TBP … Should Rory win, a TV debate between him, Corbyn and Nigel Farage is one I would pay to watch …
However, the ones who will vote at the moment, the Tory MPs, have reason to support BoJo with gritted teeth. Peter Oborne writes:
“Mr Johnson should remember, however, that MPs are only lending him their support. Many don’t like him and some are voting for him while holding their noses. They are backing him as Tory leader for only one reason. Namely they are scared of Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party. They see Mr Johnson as a house-trained Farage.” (link)
And there’s the crux of this Tory Leadership contest. It’s not really about delivering Brexit – it’s about stopping Nigel Farage, again …!. That shows how out-of-touch they really are. They still think they can square the circle of scuppering our Leave vote and winning a GE, perhaps even accepting a Corbyn government, provided it means we’ll be tied to Brussels forever.
However, it doesn’t matter to the EUrocrats who will end up in 10 Downing Street. They won’t budge:
“Brussels’ stance can be summed up as an insistence that the withdrawal agreement, which includes the Irish border backstop, is not up for renegotiation. The backstop, if triggered, would put the UK in a bare bones customs union with the EU to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. The EU says the aspirational political declaration, which sets the terms of future trade talks, could be redrafted, if Britain was to change its Brexit red lines.” (paywalled link)
And there’s the mess Ms May and her Whitehall handlers have created for us, aided and abetted by the Remain MPs who collectively clutch their pearls when the words ‘No Deal’ are uttered, who fall into paroxysms of foaming at the mouth at the word ‘prorogation’.
Andrew Lilico in his (paywalled) article has a stark warning for BoJo and indeed all candidates:
“Why, then, would Leave voters believe the Tory Party would deliver at a “No deal if necessary General Election”? They might believe Boris would go for no deal if it were up to him […] but most Tory MPs will not. Why would pro-no deal voters vote Tory, trusting the Tories “one last time” when they could vote Brexit Party? It’s not even as if the opinion polls suggest the Tories have any more chance of winning a majority than the Brexit Party does?” (paywalled article)
Good question – why indeed …Lilico concludes:
“The Tories have no way to guarantee we will leave by October 31st with no deal, regardless of what extravagant promises the leadership candidates make. And they have no way to convince voters to trust them in the General Election that is surely coming. Perhaps voters will be foolish enough to trust the Tories on Europe once again, despite nearly 30 years of failure and betrayal. But chances are they will not, and that the PM the Tories are now electing will be their last.” (paywalled article)
Indeed. And one might also ask: why would people vote for a ‘house-trained Farage’ or a wannabe Farage when they can vote for the real thing?
So let’s watch this charade play out, and chuckle over Chuka Umunna who has now joined the LibDems while the rump ChUKTIGs must again change their name: “The party will apply for registration with the Electoral Commission as “The Independent Group for Change”. – TIGfC? Blimey …
While we laugh let’s reflect on the abysmal quality of our politicians, do our best to get the Remainers deselected in our various constituencies, prepare for a coming GE, and