The two runaway winners of last night’s Channel 4’s Conservative leadership contender debate were Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
Boris Johnson won with his genius strategy of not bothering to turn up – having calculated, correctly, that it was beneath his dignity.
Nigel Farage won because the whole grotesque event was an excruciating reminder of how constipated Britain badly needs the purgative force of The Brexit Party.
— James Delingpole (@JamesDelingpole) June 16, 2019
Gosh, I felt almost sorry for the Conservative candidates – Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart – who had been railroaded into participating in this excruciating and often nauseating farce.
Boris – pointedly represented by an empty chair – came across as calm, collected, refreshingly free of cant, and utterly impervious to the idiotic questions tossed in his direction by Channel 4’s house imbecile Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
The others, on the other hand, exuded all the dignity and grace of rats in a flooding cellar scrambling on one another’s backs so as to avoid being the first to drown.
I’m sorry I can’t give you a blow by blow account of the horror. That’s because I watched most of it through interlocking fingers while mumbling to myself “Oh no! Oh God, no! This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening.”
But I did catch little snatches of ghastliness.
The bit, for example, where the slippery Jeremy Hunt leapt in to stress how very, very important it was that we should all be allowed the chance of redemption for follies committed in our youth.
Ostensibly – if you were to trust Hunt further than you can spit, which of course you shouldn’t – this was to show solidarity with Michael Gove over his recent cocaine revelations.
In reality, I suspect, it was more a message to viewers on the lines of: ‘I think it really, really important, don’t you, that we never allow ourselves to forget those damning newspaper reports of a week ago about how Michael took cocaine in his early 30s during his Mayfair bachelor days and then hypocritically wrote a newspaper article the very next day condemning cocaine usage?’
The worst offender, though, by a long margin was the egregious jack-in-the-box Rory Stewart.
Stewart is now the preferred Conservative leadership candidate of everyone in the country who would never ever dream of voting Conservative.
That’s because from his views on government (let’s have more of it please: lots more) to his views on Brexit (bit embarrassing, really. Let’s just keep kicking the can down the road and with luck, everyone will forget about it and we can sidle back into membership of the EU where we belong) Rory is about as close to being a proper Tory as Diane Abbott or Kim Jong-Un.
And the Wankerati love him for it, they really do.
Star quality is hard to define in politics, but you know it when you see it, and on the basis of tonight’s performance @RoryStewartUK has it
— Robert Harris (@Robert___Harris) June 16, 2019
— LBC (@LBC) June 17, 2019
People like to jeer that Twitter is not real life but everyone on here knew that @RoryStewartUK was streets ahead of those flat footed, uncharismatic fantastists weeks ago. Interesting to watch the bookies and commentators coming in hot now.
— Dan Snow (@thehistoryguy) June 17, 2019
Yes, if you voted Remain and you’re not a Tory, Rory Stewart is definitely, definitely the man to take over leadership of the Conservative Party.
(He’s also, by the way, the dream candidate for The Brexit Party. Research shows that, in a General Election, Stewart is the Tory leader who would lose the Conservative party the most votes and win The Brexit Party the most votes. Go figure!)
Had Boris been present in this rigged debate, of course, he would have been the main target of Stewart’s snipey little questions about the precise terms of a No Deal Brexit.
To the Wankerati – and Remainers generally – this is the killer point which proves that Brexit is a terrible idea which should never be allowed to happen.
They should never be allowed to get away with it. It’s a trap. The point is to get you bogged in detail as to what would happen to Cumbrian sheep farmers or cheddar cheese producers – among the tariff groups which would be most negatively affected were Britain to trade with the EU according to WTO rules and thus make you look uncaring or out-of-touch or unrealistic.
By avoiding the debate, Boris was spared the job of having to endure the quisling Stewart undermining the future of his own party.
Sure Boris could probably have come up with a decent enough reply: about WTO being a last resort, at least as deleterious to EU producer interest as to Britain’s, and therefore one all negotiating parties have good reason to avoid.
But the bigger point is this: never mind what the Remainers and Rory Stewart think. In fact, frankly, sod them. If Britain is not to descend into chaos, if we are to avoid the horror of a Jeremy Corbyn government, then quite literally the ONLY way any future Conservative leader can survive another election cycle is to deliver hard Brexit, sooner rather than later. And the only way that can possibly be achieved is by keeping the No Deal option on the table in order to concentrate the minds of the EU negotiators.
Boris seems to get this – which is yet another reason why he remains ahead in the leadership contest, why so many Conservative MPs (even squishes like Matt Hancock) are now converging behind him, and why polls are suggesting that he is the only Conservative leadership candidate who could effect a Conservative majority in a General Election.
Of those that did participate in Channel 4’s debate, I’d say the one who emerged with the least discredit was Dominic Raab. He wasn’t the most polished; he didn’t get the most airtime. But he won me over by showing the most obvious contempt for and disgust with the whole enterprise.
And rightly so. This was a trap, staged by a shamelessly left-biased media organisation, to make the Conservative leadership candidates look bad.
Sure, most of them will delude themselves that they rose to the challenge, that they gritted their teeth and came out looking like plausible leaders. And they did – but leaders of a party that no longer exists in a world that has moved on.
Out in the real world, no one thinks that “elections are won in the centre ground” any more. Things are much more binary. Either you want full, hard Brexit or you don’t. Either you want Britain to be a place where you can speak your mind without having to tread on politically correct eggshells or you don’t. Either you think Channel 4 news is incisive, fair and balanced – or you think it’s a disgracefully biased leftist propaganda organisation which, with the BBC, should have all its public funding withdrawn and be exposed to the full rigour of the market or better still closed down.
If Boris ever needed reminding how right he was not to participate in this ill-disguised ugly contest, Channel 4 helpfully provided him with one over the weekend, when it invited a photogenic lesbian who had been mugged on a bus to agree that Boris Johnson’s “pretty homophobic comments” were the reason she and her equally fit girlfriend had been attacked.
"I do not think that Boris Johnson is fit to lead anything, much less the United Kingdom."
The lesbian couple who were recently subjected to suspected homophobic attack on a bus in London have criticised Boris Johnson for his previous homophobic remarks. pic.twitter.com/eS1nRrlest
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 14, 2019
That’s not legitimate public interest news journalism. That is pure leftist black propaganda.
Channel 4 – like CNN, like the BBC – is now so tainted with bias that no Conservative politician should touch it with a bargepole.
In fact, I’d argue that any Conservative leadership candidate foolish enough to be gulled into exposing himself on so hostile a platform is probably unfit to be Prime Minister.
So that only leaves one option, doesn’t it?