We’re all entitled to our opinions as to who’d make the better Prime Minister – Boris Johnson or Andrea Leadsom.
But there’s one thing on which must agree. Better either of the above – or, frankly, a Cocker Spaniel – than the (current Home Secretary and lead rival contender) Theresa ruddy May.
Let me give you two reasons why.
First, May is fundamentally unsound. Earlier this year she claimed, without blushing, that “Sharia courts benefit Britain.” But there was an earlier indication she was a wrong ‘un in 2014 when she had a public spat with Michael Gove (who at the time was Education Secretary), over the best way to deal with Islamic extremism in Britain.
It began, you may remember, as a result of the Trojan Horse scandal when it emerged that a number of state schools in Birmingham had been hijacked by Islamists promoting an extremist agenda, with non-Muslim teachers marginalised, boys and girls segregated, teenage males taught that rape is legal within marriage, Islamic terrorists glorified and non-Muslims described as kuffar.
May – perhaps to duck responsibility and save her skin: as Home Secretary she’s supposed to be in charge of law and order and social cohesion – tried to pin the blame on Gove.
Gove struck back, as well he might. No one in the British government has been more keenly aware of the problems of Islamism than Michael Gove. He was on to it a decade ago when he wrote Celsius 7/7 – a book excoriating the cultural dhimmitude that had led to problems like the London bus and tube bombings.
Part of Gove’s argument has always been that it is simply not enough to combat Islamist terrorism. You also have tackle the root causes of the problem: madrassas teaching young British Muslims to despise the values of their own country; Wahabi and Deobandi imams, parachuted in from Pakistan and Saudi, preaching the most extreme form of Islam; inequality before the law endorsed by Sharia courts; sucking up to extremist “community leaders” and ignoring the peaceful majority; and so on – as well as more positive stuff, like encouraging Muslims to become better assimilated and more loyal to their host culture.
It’s known colloquially as the “drain the swamp” strategy. That is, it’s no good just bashing the crocodiles’ heads as they attack your canoe. If you want to sort out the problem long term, you have to neutralise the environment from which all those crocs are coming in to attack you.
May, on the other hand, is of the “don’t let’s make a fuss, let’s just deal with the crocodiles as and when they appear” school of thought.
Which of the two approaches, do you think, is most likely to secure long-term social cohesion and reduce the number of future terrorist attacks?
The row between the two got so heated that Gove was ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron to apologise to May.
Gove, it should be noted, is now supporting Boris Johnson’s candidature in the elections to become new Conservative leader and Prime Minister.
The second reason why Theresa May doesn’t deserve to be Prime Minister is because she backed the wrong side in the referendum.
She didn’t need to do so. It has long been rumoured that she has Eurosceptic sympathies. But when push came to shove, she decided to put petty ambition before principle and take what she thought was going to be the easy option: back the Establishment position and reap the rewards.
Had Remain won, she would have benefited accordingly.
It would be a monstrous injustice – not to mention an insult to the electorate – if, having backed the wrong horse for the most cynical of reasons, May went on to be rewarded with the highest office in the land.
What makes May so much more dangerous is that as a Remainer she is, of course, the preferred candidate of all those disgruntled losers within the Conservative party who now wish to avenge the defeat of David Cameron. No sooner was the referendum result announced than a new Remain campaign was begun – this time to sabotage the result by throwing all sorts of obstacles in the way of Brexit, with a view either to stopping it happening or to sign a new deal so favourable to the EU that we might as well not have bothered leaving.
The new Conservative leader – and therefore Britain’s new prime minister – will be decided by the party’s 148,000 members. According to the first straw poll of the party faithful, conducted by the Conservative Home website, Boris (28 percent) is currently trailing May (29 percent), with Andrea Leadsom (13 percent) and Liam Fox (13 percent) tying for third place.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind at all if either Leadsom or Fox became PM because they’re both ardent Brexiteers.
But I think our priority in this hugely important contest is to ensure that whichever candidate gets the Brexit nomination is the one most likely to see off the threat of Theresa May.
Also, I’m not buying this ludicrous argument that because Boris somehow wavered as to which side he was going to take in the Brexit debate it therefore renders his decision to pick the right side invalid. Get real. It is a matter of record that Boris Johnson did pick the right side, undoubtedly making a significant contribution to the cause with his charisma and charm and unlikely common touch.
Boris Johnson is the Captain Jack Aubrey of British politics. In his sloop he took on a warship many times his size, at fearful risk, but he won the fight and now he jolly well deserves his prize money.
Theresa May, on the other hand, has been at best inactive in this campaign, at worst lurking in the Naval dockyards secretly selling sailcloth and timber to the French.
If Theresa May wins this then we might just as well not have won the EU referendum because she’ll do everything she can to water down the result.
That’s why I’d say it’s a bit of an idle luxury to be talking about which member of the Brexit team you’d think would make the most satisfyingly uber-right Conservative prime minister. It’s like spotty teenagers sitting around talking about which supermodel they’d most like to cop off with.
The single most important quality our next Prime Minister needs is quite simply this: anyone but Theresa May.