Thursday, July 07, 2016

The best choice for country and party.

So the country will have a second Conservative woman Prime Minister - and before the supposedly more progressive Labour or Lib/Dems have even elected a woman leader (not counting deputies who became acting leader.)

Whatever happens, congratulations to Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom on making the shortlist on merit.

This is important because when you have just had one person from a particular group break through to the top, they are to some degree exceptional. Once you get the second it starts to be normal. I hope and expect that when the third woman becomes Conservative Prime Minister nobody will notice and that is exactly how it should be.

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson both have enormous talent and both have comprehensively blown it. Gove is of course a "Game of Thrones" fan: when he moved against Boris a week ago everyone thought it was a real life "Red Wedding" but as it proved tonight, Gove was less like Walder Frey than a Kamikazi pilot who destroyed Boris at the cost of destroying himself.

So who is the better candidate, May or Leadsom?

The first thing to say is to beg anyone, whichever way they themselves voted in the referendum, who thinks that having a PM who voted a particular way in the EU  referendum overrides all other considerations to

1) take their head out of their fundament,

2) go and read a decent analysis of the Chilcot report conclusions and

3) think about all the things the PM is responsible for.

The Prime Minister has to deal with a vastly broader range of issues than just negotiating our departure from the European Union, however important that is. We cannot afford to chose a leader based entirely on whether we agree with their stance on Europe, particularly as both candidates have made very clear that they will respect the referendum result.

I don't know whether Andrea\ Leadsom has any supporters who voted Remain, but I did notice several very prominent and enthusiastic Leave campaigners standing behind Theresa May and supporting her today.


I will look very closely over the coming weeks at the experience and policies which both Andrea and Theresa have to offer. We have got to get this one right.

It is also worth reflecting on the results of an opinion poll by Survation - yes, I know, after the times they've called it wrong in the past fourteen months we should all take opinion polls with a bucketful of salt, but professionally conducted polls with a decent sample and showing a clear picture are still a better guide than going on what your mates said down the pub.

The "Favourability ratings" show whether the people in the opinion survey had a positive or negative view of the five candidates originally nominated to be Conservative Leader and PM - e.g. the percentage of people with an "unfavourable" view of Michael Gove is 47 percentage points higher than the percentage with a favourable view of him. The lower table shows the answers of those polled when asked whether any of the candidates for Prime Minister would make them more likely to vote Conservative.

Whoever wins the ballot of Conservative members and becomes PM will have to take on Jeremy Corbyn or his successor (and if he resigns before the next election his successor will probably also come from the hard left) in a general election between this autumn and May 2020. Those who think that after all the turmoil of the last few years the last thing we need now is a hard-left Prime Minister might like to bear these figures in mind.

(Survation interviewed 1,008 UK adults aged 18+ between 4th – 5th July 2016, before Liam Fox was eliminated and Stephen Crabb dropped out of the race. More details of the poll are available here.)


Jim said...

That title does give me cause for a reply, You see it shows me which one lower level (may I call you that) conservatives put first.

"The best choice for party and country"

Just an observation.

Chris Whiteside said...

You are reading into the order of the words a significance which does not represent my values and a meaning which was not intended.

Perhaps I should reverse the word order.