I know you have every right to disregard me on this topic given I said Michael Gove was a sure fire bet to be our next prime minister. I will only retort that I figured there would have to be a Brexiter in the final two and that the parliamentary Conservative party would realise that having Andrea Leadsom on the ticket instead of Gove would be sheer madness given the Euroscepticism of the members. I vastly overestimated the sanity/intelligence of Tory MPs and for that I whole heartedly apologise.
But I come back to my logic for why I thought Tory members would opt for Gove – a passionate Leave campaigner who would win over the membership, as they opted for a Leaver over a Remainer. The only way I can rationalise the choice of Leadsom in the final two is that the parliamentary wing of the Conservative Party figured they wanted May to win for stability reasons, so they thought putting Leadsom up against her would ensure that taking place. Or perhaps they just really hated Gove that much. There has been on display, in first fortnight of post-Brexit mania, a very strange mode of thinking swirling around Tory MPs: what a shit Gove was for stabbing Boris in the back – but thank Christ he did because BoJo would have been a disaster as PM. There is such an obvious paradox at the heart of that sentiment, I don’t feel the need to spell it out.
Now we find ourselves in a situation in which the parliamentary Conservative Party may have just committed suicide off the back of that extremely flawed logic. Andrea Leadsom, should she win, could easily trump every goer in the “worst prime minister of Great Britain of all time” sweepstakes by a canter – in fact, if I was David Cameron I would be praying for Leadsom to win. She is about the only thing that could redeem his legacy. Instead of being the bloke who gambled with the future of the nation and lost, she might help him out and let him instead enter the history books as the final Tory leader blessed with a basic level of sanity.
The Left is nowhere near prepared enough for how shockingly Leadsom may be about to combine incompetence and inability with hard right viewpoints whose rhetoric will be built around how people with competence and ability should be allowed to get on in life. It could dovetail nicely with a Donald Trump presidency. What an age we live in.
We’ve seen the first example of Trumpism from Leadsom this morning with her reaction to the Times article. “Gutter journalism” was how she responded on Twitter to a headline in which Leadsom claimed that motherhood would make her a superior PM to May. She dared the Times to release the transcript of the interview; when the newspaper did, she dared it to release he audio; they have and now she has nowhere to go next with this rant. In post-truth politics, however, I suspect none of this will hurt her standing with the Tory electorate who could make her the leader of the country in two months time.