Monday, 11 July 2016

Labour demand a snap election! And, with poll figures like these, I'm sure they really mean it...

And that was after...

...the Prime Minister's resignation and two weeks of unbelievably vicious Conservative Party infighting, and before the electorate heard that the Tories were going to avoid an extended leadership battle stretching over the summer, and before Angela Eagle guaranteed further turmoil in the Labour Party by officially announcing her leadership bid earlier today. But Labour's chances of wooing voters will no doubt have been enhanced by Ms. Eagle's impeccable sense of timing. When she asked for questions at her press conference this morning, the assembled hacks had just heard about Andrew Leadsom's withdrawal from the Tory leadership contest. This was the result:

Yes, whatever "it" is, this gal's certainly got it!

As for hearing that Theresa May is to become Prime Minister this Wednesday, I felt a bit...

...because, after a decade of Cameron leading the party, I was rather looking forward to a right-wing conservative with strong political beliefs and a distinct vision for a post-Brexit Britain. Instead we have a dull paper-pusher more suited to fulfilling briefs handed down to her by more dynamic, more daring politicians than someone eager to devise policies of her own. She gives the impression of being happy to work within parameters set by others, rather than a leader determined to create her own parameters. She's another visionless manager.

During Margaret Thatcher's first policy meeting as leader at Conservative Central Office, she famously interrupted the stream of flabby, semi-socialist, Butskellite twaddle flowing from the assembled policy wonks by removing a copy of Friedrich Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty from her handbag, slamming it down on the table, and snarling, "This is what we believe!" Just as one couldn't have imagined David Cameron doing anything remotely like that (what, exactly, did he believe in, except being in power?), one would find it hard to imagine Theresa May believing in any sort of political ideology. In fact, it's hard to figure out why she wants to be prime minister at all - what exactly does she want to do with all that power? She was a Home Secretary who railed against the restrictions placed upon her ability to deport foreign criminals by the EU, and who presented herself as unconvinced by the benefits of mass immigration, and who courted a reputation as a Eurosceptic - but, when the opportunity arose, she didn't have the courage (or the decency) to campaign for Brexit, preferring instead to skulk in the shadows, hoping that the referendum outcome would present her with the chance to replace her boss. While one can certainly admire her political nous, it's hard to feel anything but mild contempt for her decision to place her own career interests above those of her country. When Margaret Thatcher seized the leadership of the Tory Party, she was filled with an almost messianic desire to change the course of her country and her party  - does anyone seriously believe that of Theresa May?

I don't particularly admire Mrs. May, but I don't actively dislike her. I hope she's up to the job, and that - despite all appearances to the contrary - she actually has a vision for Britain. With any luck, it may even turn out that she's as right wing as she tried to convince us she was. Her first round of cabinet appointments will be fascinating.

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