Monday 11 July 2016

The Conservative Party Leadership: What a drama

After last month's Brexit referendum result and David Cameron's decision to resign it was assumed that we'd now be in the midst of the Conservative Party leadership election with Boris Johnson odds on favourite to become the country's new Prime Minister.

If a week is a long time in politics then last month's referendum now feels like a life time ago. Rather then the Boris Johnson coronation many expected we instead have Theresa May as our new Prime Minister.

Everything is moving so fast at the moment in British politics I can't ever remember a time like it.

Boris Johnson's campaign crashed and burned within a week of the Brexit result and it many ways it was hardly surprising. After successfully convincing over 50% of referendum voters to vote for Brexit it quickly became obvious that Boris and his Brexit colleagues didn't have any immediate plan on what would happen next. Despite this, nobody really expected Michael Gove to politically stab Boris in the back by launching his own bid for Tory leader, and thereby derail Boris' long term political ambition.

As brutal as it all seems, I don't have much sympathy for Boris or any other politician when this sort of thing happens. This is the life they chose, a bit like mafia mob bosses who end up getting 'whacked'. It's an occupational hazard.

Besides, I'm very much in agreement with Ken Clarke when I say the idea of Boris as Prime Minister is ridiculous. It always baffled me as to why Boris had so much support amongst some Tories. Boris is clearly a very clever and able person but he's also someone who has blagged and winged his way through his career.

When you look at some of his gaffes and his personal and professional behavior over the last 20 years, it's incredible that he was even in the running to become Prime Minister. Boris has always been a unique one-off. If it was anyone else their career would have been finished years ago.

If the appeal of Boris Johnson has always baffled some, it doesn't quite compare to the extraordinary rise of Andrea Leadsom.

I'd never heard of her 4 weeks ago, yet somehow she made it to the last two for Tory Party members to decide who should be our PM. Thankfully and quite rightly, she's now withdrawn following the ridiculous interview she gave to the Times, where she insinuated that because she has children and Theresa May doesn't she has a 'tangible stake' in society.

When I first heard that I thought' 'Are you really going to go there?' As part of her humiliating climb down she then accused the Paper of gutter journalism despite the fact that the paper simply quoted exactly what she had said.

When it comes to Andrea Leadsom, the country has dodged a bullet. She was far too inexperienced for the role and far too right wing for my liking. She would have been a disaster.

So here we are with a new Prime Minister. You have to have a certain amount of respect for the way the Tory Party ruthlessly operates when it comes to getting rid of and electing their leaders. You can't help but think: Are you watching Labour, when you consider the shambles of Labour MPs in their attempts to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

I'm glad it's Theresa May has been elected. As a non Tory voter I can live with her. It's good to have another female PM and it's also good that she's slightly older. In the last few decades there's been a preference for younger leaders but with so many difficult and pressing issues facing world leaders I think it's good that we again look at older politicians with more experience.

There's no doubt that we're entering a new era in British politics and history and it's going to be fascinating to see how Theresa May and this new Conservative government will tackle Brexit.

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