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Thursday, July 07, 2016 

Leadsom balloon.

It would just about sum it all up if after a referendum fought on post-fact, post-truth lines, our next prime minister turned out to be someone whose CV is a work of fiction, and unlike our out-going premier, really is a tax avoider

Would about sum it up, but still not cover quite how ghastly the choice of Theresa May versus Andrea Leadsom is.  Slightly less ghastly than if Michael Gove had made it through to the last two admittedly, mainly as Ken Clarke couldn't have nailed Gove better than in his comment about Gove's potential for getting us into three wars at once

One or two good things about May's time as home secretary can at least be said: she has stared down the police, forcing them to face up to their terrible record on stop and search.  She also fought Gove to a standstill over his attempt to make things even worse in the aftermath of the Trojan Horse panic in Birmingham, refusing to let Mr Drain the Swamp impose his views on extremism on the Home Office.

Otherwise, May's only claim to being a safe pair of hands is thanks to lasting six years in a job where so many others have failed.  This is less down to May's stewardship and more due to Labour when in power hiving off many of the home secretary's previous responsibilities to the always Orwellian sounding Ministry of Justice.  Presto, the appalling state of prisons, not to forget many of the other disasters of Chris Grayling's time as justice secretary, since reversed by err, Gove, are nothing to do with May.  Happily, Grayling has been rewarded for this unwitting protection of the home secretary by being made her campaign manager.

She can though be judged by the other policy stands she's made.  It was she that had no problem with the sending round of the "go home" vans.  She has been the principle force behind the pushing for the security services to be able to effectively do whatever the hell they like in terms of surveillance.  The remarkable stupidity of the psychoactive substances act is her own extremely illiberal work.  The victory she often trumps in sending Abu Qatada back to Jordan was nothing of the sort: he left of his own accord, prepared to take his chances rather than remain locked up here indefinitely.   The "Prevent" programme inherited from Labour has been expanded to the point where we have nurseries required to ensure those under 5 are not showing "signs" of radicalisation.  Rather than practically every other politician barring the Conservative front bench, she has also refused to guarantee that EU citizens will be allowed to stay in the UK after (or if) we leave, claiming she will only do so once the rights of our own citizens are guaranteed elsewhere in Europe.  It would be easier to accept this line of argument if May's team hadn't already taken to attacking Leadsom for claiming her stance would allow foreign criminals to stay too.

All this, and yet May is the equivalent of FDR in comparison to Leadsom.  Boris Johnson's support for her can only be put down to as previously stated, either nihilism or the belief a Leadsom victory would open the door for him almost as soon as it had been shut.  She is a laughably archetypal Tory of the old school: God-bothering, worried about the impact of sex education on children rather than the impact of the lack of it, has strange views on what political correctness is or isn't, and convinced leaving the EU only opens up new opportunities rather than shuts them down.  Not that she has been consistent on the EU mind, which means there has to be some other reason why so many other Leavers have jumped on her bandwagon.

Yep, a Leadsom victory would just about us up as a nation.  Unafraid to embrace decline, so long as we can indulge ourselves in nostalgia for a past that never existed.  We can also heartily look forward to thinkpiece after thinkpiece on the misogyny of the left for criticising whoever wins in the exact same terms as we have Cameron and pals.  What a time to be alive.

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