Boris’ Historic Election – Thank You EU

Congratulations to Boris! Now perhaps we can go back to having too much food, too much drink and too much indulgence over the Christmas break, without having politics upsetting us all?

Johnson this morning – photo from BBC

This huge victory will set the direction of politics for the next 10 years. Yes, we predict another term for BoJo starting in 2024. I am indebted to my older contact who has already pointed out that by December 2024, Labour will have only had one election-winning leader in 50 years. FIFTY YEARS!!! Step forward Tony Blair. You achieved the success that eluded Jim Callaghan, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown, Ed Milliband and now Jeremy Corbyn. Oh, and John Smith too…… Did I miss any?

Jim Callaghan – never won
Michael Foot – never won
John Smith – never won (though to be fair he never tried)
Neil Kinnock – never won
Gordon Brown – never won
Ed Milliband – never won
Mr Corbyn – he didn’t win either (twice)
Tony Blair – the only one to win in 50 years – and yet they hate him!

And to what can we allocate this massive swing in the vote for the Tory Party? Why, the EU!! What a change for the European project to be assisting the blues! It was the disdainful response of Frau Merkel to David Cameron’s pleas for moderating change that set the ball rolling towards a leave vote. This was compounded by the EU inaction during the referendum campaign. Where were Messrs Junckers and Tusk during the lead up to the vote? They were not in UK sharing the vision and love were they? Their next mistake was to play hardball too much with Mrs May, forcing her on to the defensive at home. One has to surmise that they thought a Remainer-Parliament was their best hope of keeping the UK on board. But they overplayed their hand, sending Theresa back with too much of a surrender bill. This off-hand treatment was compounded by the humiliation and shunning that Mrs May received from the other EU leaders at Salzburg. So the scene was set for Parliament to respond to the lack of co-operation… which led to Boris becoming leader…. which led to the election. One has to hope that they will work with Boris as an equal!

What an Eton Mess of Manners, Mr Cameron

Eton College

Eton School‘s reputation is for the best education money can buy. Indeed, they have supplied more British Prime Ministers than any other institution. But what happened to “Cameron Minor” when everyone else was being told not to speak ill of people?

My mother (grammar school, northern town) always instructs me that if one can’t say something nice about somebody, say nothing at all. And life has taught me that bad-mouthing people actually reflects worse on the speaker than the target. It is the ultimate in futile, self-harming spite.

And yet, David Cameron, with all those thousands of pounds of education, and numerous examples of how interfering ex-PM’s do not look good – see Edward Heath for how not to do it, Mrs Thatcher for a good example – has chosen to come out making sharp comments about his ex-schoolmate Boris Johnson, and his ex-friend Michael Gove.

Johnson and Cameron in happier times

Two days later, I can’t even remember what he wrote about his two ex-colleagues, but I do recall the fact that David Cameron lessened himself by hitting out. And what a contrast when Boris was knifed in the back by Michael Gove: Boris, also Eton-educated, never said a word in public, though one has to wonder what he said in private! So who has shown more statesmanship?

There is just one more thing though. David Cameron has a book to sell. And the timing is great – the party conference is coming, and Brexit remains somewhat topical. Could it be that this is not the real David Cameron, but manufactured bitchiness designed to sell autobiographies? In some ways, that is even worse!

Who Next For the Tory Leadership?

Last week, we speculated how Brexit could be extended by 12 months to 31 October 2020 in our “The End of May BY The End of May” article. Prolonging the agony? More like extending the fun for us.

Whilst always hesitant to make forecasts – particularly about the future (Ed. What other kinds of forecasts are there?) – it still feels like change is in the air-conditioning.

Mrs May is due to meet the 1922 Committee Executive (aka The Men In Grey Suits) later this morning. According to the Daily Telegraph, they will tell her that the game is up and she must leave before the summer recess.

You know what this means???? Instead of a quiet summer forgetting about politics, we will have a Tory Leadership / PM election contest.

Andrea Leadsom – who didn’t lead any

As you know, the system is that the MPs elect a shortlist of two, with the grassroots Conservative members making the final choice. Last time, Andrea Leadsom made it on to the ticket, but them withdrew, resulting in no contest. The activists will not stand for that this time.

In normal times, the MPs would choose two characters broadly acceptable to a majority of themselves: truly a case of who has the fewest enemies. This is how we had such bland leaders as John Major and David Cameron. Nobody would call either of them dynamic inspiring leaders, but they were widely tolerated.

However, this is not a normal time. This is a national emergency akin to when Margaret Thatcher was elected as Tory Leader in 1975. Ted Heath had thoroughly blown it for the blues, and a radical change was required. It’s not quite the same as Winston Churchill riding to the rescue in 1940 – though the analogy may have occurred to Mr Churchill’s biographer, one Boris Johnson.

Thus this time, it won’t be a healing, centre-ist, least-objectionable leader. The last thing the grass-roots Tories want is “Continuation May”. The May approach hasn’t worked out well so far has it?

Priority number one for the MP’s and activists is winning the next election. Right now, they have no chance. An election tomorrow would result in a hung parliament – with Labour ahead but Brexit Party not far behind, and the Tories third. So the Tories can see that they need to return more to their free-trading, right-wing, libertarian roots. Oh, and they need to resolve Brexit in a manner that makes it seem like a) it has really happened, and b) it doesn’t look like the EU got one over on us!

Boris in rallying cry – now deliver it! (Pic from FT)

There will be a cast of candidates – and it really is a Grand National where anyone could win. However, of the runners and riders, we believe Boris will make the conquest. He is not tainted by the current Government incompetence, he is generally thought to have done a half-decent job winning the London Mayoral election and then actually running it. What the Conservatives need more than anything is a break from Mrs May, and a proven election-winner. As an alternative, Liz Truss has caught our eye because she believes in traditional Conservative small-government and free markets – values which make the conservatives seem more than “Labour-lite”.

The MPs are aware that their Constituency Chairs and members have had enough. Pressure will be applied to select a winner.

Boris, your time has come!