Saturday, 2 July 2016

An hour is a long time in politics

A brilliant cartoon, copyright Daily Telegraph

Harold Wilson once famously said that a week is a long time in politics. This week has shown us that an hour is a long time. On Thursday I was visiting friends in Devon, but we spent a lot of time hypnotically watching the BBC 24 Hour News to keep up with the latest sensational developments, while I dealt with live interview requests from French radio and calls from American journalists and even from Chile.

I have been following British politics since the late 1950s and this is the most astonishing period I can remember. As someone said (so much has been said by so many), no government, no opposition and no plan (for Brexit).

As of now it looks as if the race for the Conservative leadership is resolving itself into a contest between Theresa May as the favoured candidate and Andrea Leadsom as the representative of 'Leave'. In the extraordinary times in which we live, no one raises an eyebrow at a junior minister from one of the less major departments being seriously considered as a prime ministerial candidate. She is, of course, a Warwick politics graduate. Her biography is here: Biography

She was (initially at least) brought up by her mother as a single parent. Her biography implies that she did not politically active until after she graduated. I am still trying to track down someone who remembers her at Warwick.

When I was chair of the Political Studies Association many years ago, I recommended that at our annual awards ceremony we should give an award to Theresa May as a rising star. We duly made her Parliamentarian of the Year and she came along to accept the award (not everyone does, although to his credit Gordon Brown did).

We had a conversation and what I took away from that was this was a very intelligent, personable lady, confident in herself without being over bearing. A sort of Margaret Thatcher without the less pleasant bits. I am pleased that Conservative MPs I respect are backing her.

Interesting YouGov poll where the divergences are so big you can't put them down to polling errors. I have added up positives and negatives and disregarded the many don't knows (this is electorate wide):

  • Leadsom +32
  • May +28
  • Crabb -8
  • Fox -32
  • Gove -41!

As for the Labour Party, it is in total disarray. Jeremy Corbyn needs to do the decent thing and stand down, not because he is left wing, but because he is not up to the job.

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