What a vile occupational hazard party politics are. After the mayhem of the EU referendum, which saw the ‘LEAVE’ vote prevail after a frenetically unpleasant campaign when neither side acquitted themselves with much credit, it looked as though it would be a ‘straight’ fight between Boris Johnson, aided and abetted by Michael Gove and Theresa May, the current Home Secretary. There would almost certainly be apologetic bids made by Stephen Crabb, Sajid Javid, Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom and maybe Jeremy Hunt. At 9.00am this morning, with a few hours to go before nominations were closed, not many would have predicted the drama that was to unfold.
It transpired over night that Sky News had acquired a copy of a private email from Sarah Vine, wife of Michael Gove, which concluded that the Justice Secretary found himself unable to support a Boris Johnson nomination. Many suspect that this email was surreptitiously leaked – perish the thought! May I wash my mouth out with soap and water! Anyway despite years of protestations from Michael Gove that he had no wish to be PM, he threw his hat in to the ring. 10 minutes before the witching hour the member for Uxbridge announced he would not be standing in the leadership contest. WOW! Why? Never underestimate Boris’s historical and political antennae. Once he knew that Mr Gove, his running mate in the LEAVE campaign had stabbed him by saying he was unable to support his candidacy, it did not take the brains of a rocket scientist to work out some of the ramifications.
Clearly Messrs Cameron and Osborne are seriously miffed at the outcome of the referendum and we know revenge is best served up cold. They knew perfectly well that there was still a majority of TORY REMAIN MPS, who wanted to REMAIN. So the smoked filled corridors of the past will have been full of intrigue. With Gove not supporting Johnson, the hierarchy would have known that it was unlikely that Boris would have found sufficient grass root support from MPS to mount an effective campaign, even though he knew that if the vote was open to the country, he was a ‘slam-dunk’. So why embarrass yourself unnecessarily. So he left his supporters gob-smacked with Nadine Dorries in tears, as he announced he was a non-runner. Clever boy! He dodged that exocet missile very adroitly. Boris is young and his day will come. Also without being unkind, Boris has led a colourful life and his privacy may not have stood up to the closest of scrutiny – perhaps it would but does he need the aggravation at this time? But one wonders what skulduggery went on behind the scenes? David Cameron and George Osborne are still incandescent with rage, having misjudged the mood of the country and the appetite to LEAVE. They now realise that this referendum was all about social justice and little to do with the EU.
The Tories are always a law unto themselves. They should have a BREXITER PM, which is what the electorate wants. So it should probably be Gove; if not Liam Fox. I don’t think Fox will muster sufficient following. Perhaps Andre Leadsom has greater support than many considered. Theresa May could well be the best candidate to unify the party and the country. But she is not an obvious BREXITER. However I suspect the Tory hierarchy will be desperate for Mrs May to win in order that some deal a la Norway can be cobbled together with the EU. This would be a real fudge job and would displease the grass root blue collar worker as well as UKIP supporters. One suspects that Mr Cameron will suffer acutely from convenient amnesia. This contest needs to be drawn to a speedy conclusion. The government looks rudderless. This is not a healthy state of affairs and the opposition are little more than an embarrassment.