Monday, July 22, 2024
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Laura Perrins: Who to choose – the buffoon, the bore or the brilliant toff?


The Conservative party are at it again – busy plotting the downfall of their current leader and Prime Minister and speculating as to who should be the next. So far, so Conservative party. And what a choice we have before us! I am going to discuss three MPs who have been touted as leader.

Boris Johnson MP, Foreign Secretary
First we have Boris, who over the weekend in a 4,000-words-or-so end-of-term essay set out his vision for a bold new post-Brexit Britain. Boris has over the years been offered up as some sort of saviour for the party. His buffoonery hides an incredible ability, allegedly; he is ‘popular with the people’; socially and economically liberal.

Boris brought Brexit over the line – this is true. But that is where the brilliance ends. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but his buffoonery does not hide his brilliance – he is just a buffoon. Sometimes what you see is what you get.

This guy (according to reports) could not even close out the deal the last time the leadership came up because he missed a phone call. Is this the man you want in 10 Downing Street with Trump at the other end of the phone? Is this the man you want with North Korea increasing its nuclear capability?

Boris is also morally bankrupt. We have explained this before, but supposedly we are to ignore it because he will ‘get down with the kids’.

However, times have changed and I have yet to see any polling that demonstrates post-Corbyn the youth vote will come out to vote for this entitled, privileged man over a Corbyn-led Labour party.

True, when it comes to policies such as Brexit and the economy, he is on the right page, although the Times did a pretty good take-down of the end-of-term essay here.

Boris insists that ‘our system of standards will remain absolutely flush with the rest of the EU’ but also that Britain will take a lead on global deregulation. Normally when Mr Johnson wishes to express ideas so mutually incompatible he at least does so in two separate articles rather than one.

The reality is that to actually implement any of the low-tax, low (or flushed with EU?) regulation policies, one must in fact be competent. And Boris most certainly is not.

So sure, if we ignore the adultery, the incompetence and the general policy confusion, Boris would make a great PM.

Amber Rudd MP, Home Secretary
Then there is the uninspiring arch-Remainer and all-round bore Amber Rudd MP. Years ago you would have found Rudd as the bossy head of a WI branch but thankfully as times have changed she is at the Home Office. Rudd may be doing an OK job there – if her tough talk really translates into being tough on crime  – but that is surely where the talent ends.

It is inconceivable that this arch-Remainer could lead Britain through the Brexit process or indeed solidify any agreement post-Brexit. She is even duller than May, and we all witnessed how that worked out.

There is no reason to believe Rudd could inspire the youth to vote Conservative above Corbyn. Do we really see her inspiring the country and offering a vision? It is a laughable proposition.

We have no reason to doubt her character, but she will have the backing of George ‘Psycho’ Osborne – the body-in-the-freezer guy. In the long run this is not a good look, and may cancel out any favour she will have with female voters. Rudd as leader would be a disaster for both the party and the country.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, back-bench MP
Then there is Jacob Rees-Mogg, who we are to believe is so far beyond the pale of normality that he could never be leader. I have yet to read exactly why this is case, so let’s just put on our thinking caps and look at the evidence.

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s character is beyond question, as I have explained before. He is an honourable, decent person who has stood up to the kind of scrutiny that other politicians have never had to endure.
We are told that he is too eccentric to be leader. I don’t think he is eccentric; he is just a very wealthy, very posh Englishman.

Rees-Mogg would ‘lead the Tories off a cliff’ because his opinions are out of step with the times.

Really? That is not the impression I got from these young people in East London on the last question discussed on Question Time. Not one of them rounded upon Mogg for his alleged extreme views (about 53 minutes into the clip). Not one.

In fact Rees-Mogg is not hiding anything behind his so-called eccentricity. If you ignore all the commentary, his competence and brilliance are front and centre.

If you have any doubt about this listen to his interview on LBC and then Julia Hartley-Brewer
and in particular the speech he gave to the Oxford Union on Brexit.

Ask yourself if you have ever heard anything so inspiring from the buffoon or the head of the WI?

On Any Questions a few weeks ago his handling of the issues and knowledge on each subject was truly impressive.

In terms of Brexit and the economy, Rees-Mogg is firmly on the Right of the party. He has stated time and again we need a low-tax, low-regulation economy to create the jobs that Britain needs. Normally, he would be a Right-winger’s dream come true. But there is something holding him back, and that something is the fact that he a Roman Catholic.

Look at this: ‘It may be surprising that so many people seem surprised that a traditional Catholic holds traditional Catholic – and thus irredeemably unfashionable – views on abortion and same-sex marriage but there is no gainsaying the manner in which Mogg’s opinions are out of step with the times. A Mogg leadership would pour unneeded petrol onto the culture wars already burning brightly in British politics. And he would lead the Tories off a cliff.’ Translation: the Conservative party cannot have a Catholic as leader.

Be in no doubt, despite Mogg’s impeccable character, incredible advocacy, brilliant grasp of the issues, rock-solid conservative credentials on Brexit and the economy, he cannot be leader of the party because he Catholic.

In this era of equality and diversity, this is a bridge too far. In this time of tolerance, the party will not tolerate a Catholic, with actual Catholic views, being leader. The man is a Papist: end of conversation.

He could never win a general election, we are told. Has anyone actually run the numbers on this, or is this just pre-judging the issue, also known as straight-up prejudice?

The man has six children, for goodness sake, and although in the past this was standard operating procedure for posh folk, it is all seen as a little odd these days. Can you imagine them all running around 10 Downing Street? It is unseemly.

The truth is that the Conservative party will never again have a candidate so solid on the issues, so competent and as inspiring as the Mogg. So the next time some party hack tells you ‘he is too eccentric’ to be electable, it cannot be done, ask for the evidence. What they are really saying is – he is too Catholic and we will not tolerate it. There is a word for that. It’s bigotry.

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