Tory leadership candidates? I pass!

The following exchange followed comments from a Telegraph article: “Tory leadership candidates with little backing could be ‘culled’ to speed process up” (Or on Facebook)

Cull anyone that supported Mrs May’s deal, that’ll get the number down fast. Might need another batch of candidates though, ‘cos this lot invalidated their application due to a medical condition: rather hard to stand up for the country when you don’t have a backbone!

[Stuart Surridge]
… so MP’s who showed loyalty to their own party leader, the Prime Minister, and supported the cabinet approved deal have automatically ruled themselves out of the running according to you. Great.

It’s amazing that you get it – yet still completely miss the point, Stuart.

The cabinet, en mass, were clueless about the WA until October when – with a proverbial bullet to their head – they were presented with the torturously worded 500-odd page finished legally binding agreement and given an hour to read it and agree to it – or resign. Exactly like her Chequer’s agreement before it, were she basically told her cabinet: “Support it or resign, now, and walk home, I’m keeping your ministerial cars; there are cards for local taxis in the lobby.”

You also miss the point that Theresa May altered and added to the WA (ahead of MV4) without even telling her cabinet. In fact she added amendments they had, in a heated cabinet meeting, emphatically ruled out. But she wanted them in anyway and simply went behind their backs.

On fuller inspection – as verified by numerous people from the cabinet (several of whom did resign eventually) and from the back benches, and by independent lawyers and QCs across the country – the WA is, as widely described, Brexit in name only. It gives away everything for no return on a chunky £39 billion (plus) payment. And it has no end date – unless you are willing to sign an agreement with “20XX” as the end day, with the understanding the ‘xx’ is to be filled in by the other party.

Would you sign a TV package deal on those terms? A phone package? A house rental? I think not.

OK, you can fairly argue that other parties voted the deal down over and over and over again just to be ornery, but at the end of the day, on it’s first outing, it was smashed. It was the worst defeat in parliamentary history. All but the cabinet – who are extra paid to be loyal to the PM – voted it down.

Even then, most of the cabinet didn’t vote it down not because they believed in the WA but because it was a job condition, a requirement. They had the option to be honourable, resign from cabinet, they wanted the perks of the post more. (And the same with the no confidence vote in her. It had little to do with liking the woman, and everything to do with a) keeping their posh job, and, less so, b) loyalty to the post). In any other era the defeat was so resounding and final the PM would have had to resign. This one? Not a chance. With the support of the paid lackies, and backed up by an arguably biased and disreputable speaker, she just ploughed on. MV2, MV3… MV4 was only stopped because she was effectively sacked.

Regardless, virtually all of the HoC, from all parties – including the Conservatives – agreed that the WA was and remains both worse than cancelling Brexit and worse than a SUPPOSED “crash-out / cliff-edge” Brexit. In was widely – by MPs and media alike – called little more than vassalage, than a “surrender document”, than the “worse deal in history”. It was also widely agreed by MPs and media that it completely fails to honour the Tory Manifesto pledge on leaving. Regardless of the lies Theresa May repeatedly told to the contrary.

So bloody hell *YES*, if they supported the PM and her WA – over their own promises to the electorate and to their constituents (who ultimately hired and pay their wages and expenses), then they are to be reviled. They are not to be trusted.

I will go out on a limb here and assume you voted remain. I, obviously, did not. However, the referendum was not divisive until – even before in happened – government and media (notably The Guardian) leapt in and openly, flagrantly, and slanderously called anyone that dared vote for exiting the EU a xenophobic moron, or, as Matthew d’Ancona put it (Guardian, 13/6/2016), “With a symphony of dog whistles as our soundtrack, we are trudging dangerously close to the idiot option.”

Media – with the full endorsement of the government, and of MPs from all parties – went on the offensive as soon at the referendum was announced. Indeed, it started several months before the result. That Leave still won is incredible and I personally expected it to be rigged if it didn’t go the “right way”. That’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a fact of life. I am quite sure – given the past 3 years – that if some people could go back in time, they would be quite prepared and happy to do so. As such I most certainly wouldn’t trust them not to rig another referendum. (Paranoid? Yes, actually. That doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility, or there wouldn’t be so much rigorous attention to ballots, hmm…)

Funnily enough, just days after I wrote this, it was reported that for the Peterborough by-election, held yesterday, Labour’s vote share was down 17% – but postal voting was up 69%. At the same time, it is alleged: Labour hired a convicted ballot rigger (who had used postal rigging in the past) to “help” them win the by-election (at any cost?). The article reports of people being being intimidated at the polling station by gangs, and others being offer £10 if they’d vote for Labour. Be interesting to see if this is officially investigated – or not.

So, yes, while I’d grudgingly accept (but be wary of) Boris or Raab, I wouldn’t trust a single candidate to deliver Brexit as promised in their manifesto for one simple reason: No backbone. Whether – like Rory Stewart – they fully endorsed the WA – or, like Boris, buckled on MV3, they gave in in the end, to bribes, to attrition, to blackmail, to stress, to peer pressure… I’m not for a second doubting that, as the months pressed on, the relentless pressure from whips, cabinet, peers to “just give in, just accept it, just get it down” took its toll, but still, no. I know I would never have surrendered to what I knew was wholly wrong. And whether you were for remain or for leaving the EU, the WA was wholly wrong.

Thus, anyone that supported the WA – fully understanding its implications – is not fit to lead a country.

For me it has to be Steve Baker (or his FB page), but I’d be satisfied with another that honoured their manifesto pledges of 2017, such as Sir John Redwood, Priti Patel, Peter Bone and Sir William Cash, all of whom need to be in the next cabinet. (JRM, Raab and Boris for cabinet too, even if they need a back brace after weakly capitulating to MV3!)

The current cabinet though – all of them – can take a walk.

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