Stewart Stewed, Stupid

A short News In Brief article today team. Another vote was held in the Tory leadership candidacy race yesterday and Rory Stewart, the candidate of choice for anyone who wasn’t Conservative, was eliminated.

He lost ten votes since the last Tory vote, going from 37 to 27.

This is the tricky thing about politicians voting – they can and often do change their minds.

They can also vote tactically to eliminate those they don’t like the look of.

While you can never definitively accuse people based on a secret ballot, and while Stewart himself laughed off the suggestion of tactical votes by saying that there are more important issues to concern ourselves with, there’s something not quite right about it all.

Lest we forget, hard-Brexiteer Raab was eliminated before Tuesday’s debate, leaving Boris as the only hard-Brexiteer representative. Stewart did surprisingly well in that ballot.

Now that Raab has gone, Stewart lost ten votes.

While he had a pretty poor debate on Tuesday, along with the rest of them, to have that base of votes disappear suddenly is… surprising.

Like finding-out-your-jilted-ex-has-been-somehow-reading-your-WhatsApp-messages surprising.

But, anyway, what does it matter. The one, truly different candidate is now gone, leaving us with:

  • Boris;
  • Boris-lite;
  • A taller, handsomer, “fuck abortion rights” Boris;
  • And “I am the son of a bus driver,” slightly more diverse Boris.

With Stewart gone, a Brexit involving a deal is all but gone. No candidate can negotiate a better one, despite their campaign slogans, so in 100 days (yes, it’s only 100 days), we will have a stark choice.

No-deal, which Parliament will refuse, or a second referendum, with Parliament will refuse.

Or revoke Article 50.

Shit.


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Tory Mass Debaters, Pt. 2 – Furiously Mass Debating

The reason why today’s article is slightly later than the usual mid-day is that I have been desperately trying to find some kind of positive out of yesterday’s debate.

In an unedifying, confused and vitriolic hour, we learned nothing about what any potential leader is going to do to solve the Brexit problem. What the debate boiled down to was five men shouting over each other (and the host, Emily Maitlis) and failing to answer any of the questions given to them directly.

Even Rory Stewart, the country’s newest political intrigue, was disappointing.

All in all, it was an utter mess. Watching the debate made me desperately worried about the future of our country, and ashamed of where our politics has got to.

So what positives could I find out of such a nightmare?

  1. Sajid David got every candidate to commit to an independent inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party;
  2. And Dominic Raab was kicked out of the race before the debate even began.

Bye, Dom. You anti-democratic, anti-feminist dickhead.

Until you’re inevitably given a job in the next cabinet.


Jesus, Was It Really That Bad?

Oh yes. Worse.

The debate was billed as being four candidates vs. Boris, but actually (and especially given Boris’ incredibly lacklustre evening) it ended up being four candidates vs. Rory Stewart. On Brexit, the overall result was:

  • Stewart refused to countenance no-deal under any scenario, but couldn’t answer how he would pass Theresa May’s deal through Parliament;
  • And all four of the other candidates refused to rule out no-deal, but couldn’t answer how they would pass no-deal through Parliament.

There were no answers to anything. Because there are no answers. We’ve let the rhetoric of statements like “NO DEAL OR NO BREXIT” and “THE BRITISH PEOPLE CANNOT LET US DELAY AGAIN” to become the driving forces of the debate, and both of these lend themselves to emotion, not reason or fact. Because of this, there is no definitive answer to how we move on.

And the debate itself quickly became an unstructured mess, with candidates all talking over each other, Emily Maitlis trying to wrest back control with little success, and finger jabbing and willy waving (not literally) being the primary means of discourse.

It was humiliating for Britain as a nation. One of these bellends is going to become Prime Minister. God help us all.

The one positive from the debate itself, besides Saj’s victory on persuading the candidates to have the aforementioned Islamophobia inquest, was that the questioners, members of the British public, were all brilliant – varied backgrounds, with excellent questions, and some serious amounts of shade to throw at the candidates after they had “answered the question.”

Erin, the climate change activist who asked the candidates to commit to zero carbon emissions by 2025 (a step too far for any politician, unfortunately), was the stand-out. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, praised her activism but then said he believed that she should be in school.

Erin was not taking a single solitary fuck of that, and gave him one of the most devastating eyebrow raises in history. Good on you, Erin.


And What Of Boris?

Boris had an interesting evening. While he wasn’t torn to pieces like some had predicted (and some had hoped), he also failed to set the world on fire. He fell strangely flat, and his long-winded, mumbling responses to questions and continuous talking over Maitlis served little to dispel the growing concern in some quarters that he’s just not up to the job.

However, he did have some classically infuriating moments, too.

  • He said that by using the GATT 24 article, we could be protected from tariffs with the EU, but you fundamentally can’t use it this way as both sides must agree to it;
  • He said that it was not his fault that Nazanin Zughari-Ratcliffe was detained for longer in Iran, despite the fact that his absent-minded claim that she was teaching journalism there was cited as a reason for her sentence being extended;
  • And he backtracked on his previous commitment to cutting taxes for middle-income earners, downgrading it to an “ambition” as opposed to a “promise.”

That this man is going to be our Prime Minister, bar a major cock-up (which isn’t impossible), is terrifying.

But…


But What?

I don’t think he’ll be Prime Minister for very long.

Jeremy Corbyn will announce today that Labour’s new strategy is to promote a Second Referendum at any cost. This is big news.

It means that the risk of Brexit not happening is now around 50/50.

And we will not leave by the 31st of October – no-deal will be blocked by Parliament, the current deal will be blocked by Parliament, and we will be forced to ask for an extension.

Boris might be able to bluster his way out of that one, but even then, what happens next? How do we break the deadlock? How do we achieve Brexit once and for all?

A General Election, which the Tories fear would eviscerate them?

Or a Second Referendum, and put it back to the people for the final say?

Boris might just have the political power to be able to justify a Second Referendum, and might even be able to persuade the ERG headbangers that it’s required for Brexit to happen. And if it is a victory, with Leave-voters sounding the horn for no-deal, then we would have legitimate cause to leave without a deal.

But should Remain win out, which is a real threat, then Brexit wouldn’t happen.

And that would probably destroy the Tory party.

God help us all.


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Tory Mass Debaters – Pt. 1

Yesterday, the Tory Leadership Race saw its first televised debate between the candidates (with the exception of Boris Johnson, who thought that it would be too ‘cacophonous’ and decided not to show up).

Being set at 6.30pm on a Sunday afternoon, just as the nation was settling down with their tea and biscuits, was an interesting move. This writer was actually just-returned from a stag do, making the convoluted vox-pops of some candidates just that little bit more painful.

On the whole, however, it was still a highly-interesting watch, with just the right level of competition and debate vs. maintenance of the “United Tory Party” front.

Whether or not it will do anything against the Johnson Juggernaut, however, we will have to wait and see.


Who Won, Then?

As is to be expected, depending on your views and beliefs on Brexit and beyond you could say that any of the candidates did well – indeed, Twitter was awash with various personalities across the political spectrum rushing to promote the candidate that was “Toughest on Brexit” (Raab) or the most statesmanlike (Hunt).

However, from the crowd in the C4 studio that was comprised of “Floating voters who would at least consider voting Tory,” there was a stand-out choice.

Rory Stewart, the most eloquent glove-puppet in the land, won the crowd over with a number of pragmatic, entertaining and most of all different statements. He railed against the “Machismo” of the leadership race and implored the candidates to think more about the ‘We’ than the ‘Me’ – cue applause. He stood out as the candidate that was never going to promise the impossible, which the crowd seemed to appreciate – if only more politicians didn’t credit the people they want to lead with being thick as a plank, they might actually get more support.

Stewart tore into Dominic Raab‘s policy on no-deal Brexit and proroguing Parliament, as did the other candidates. Raab never fully recovered from being singled out from that early fire from all sides, and surely his dreams of the Premiership are over. The only thing that might help was his unrepentant position on leaving without a deal on October 31st, which will endear him to some on the righter side of the Tory party.

Sajid David and Michael Gove both had slightly underwhelming evenings, which was something of a surprise on both counts. The Saj is genuinely passionate about bringing the country together based on his childhood in a working class home, but he does lack some of the dominant bravado of his rivals. Gove is clearly still rattled by the cocaine revelations from last week, and looked to have the wind taken out of his sails somewhat. He also kept looking down the camera, as though trying to reach the very soul of the viewer, which occasionally made me want to vomit.

Although that might have been the stag do.

Jeremy Hunt was competent, clear and statesmanlike. He also was the first and clearest in the condemnation of BoJo’s no-show, saying that if Boris’ team wouldn’t let him out to debate his colleagues, what would they do about the 27 EU Member States he needs to get a deal with?

Hunt is a continuation vote from Theresa May, which is unlikely to endear him too much to many Conservative Party members. He also has alienated a considerable number of the electorate by promising to reduce the abortion deadline from 24 weeks to 12 – a man ruling on women’s bodies is not exactly a smart move these days, and quite rightly so.

But amongst the MPs in his party he commands respect, and despite Rory Stewart’s excellent showing I would imagine that it will be Hunt vs. Johnson as the final two candidates, once the other votes are held this week.


The Phallic Fraternisation of Hancock/Johnson

Sorry. I needed to make at least one Hancock-Johnson joke.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary who pulled out of the leadership race over the weekend after accepting that he didn’t have the support he needed, has publicly backed Boris in a letter to The Times today. Johnson has also secured the support of Esther McVey, the hard Brexiteer candidate who failed to get the 17 votes required to win the first round of votes.

While this is definitely a strengthening of Boris’ position, it is believed that only half of Hancock’s supporters from the first round of votes are going to follow him on to Boris. Many are uprooting their flags to place them firmly in the Rory Stewart camp instead, given his recent staking of a claim to the centre-ground of the party.

It is worth noting that Tory MPs can and do change their preferred candidate votes between the first and second round of voting – Tory MPs are, lest we forget, exceptionally fickle.

So while my money would be on Hunt, you never know – the momentum is behind Stewart, and while he may not succeed on this attempt, it’s good to know that there’s at least one vaguely sane person in the Tory party waiting in the wings.

Although his idea for an involuntary National Citizens’ Service would probably go down with the electorate like a lift containing the Fijian rugby team after its cable snaps.


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Weekly Wrap-Up – 07/06 – 13/06

Well, the race for Prime Minister began in earnest this week, and of the original twelve horses, two were humanely put down before the starting pistol was even fired, and another three have fallen at the first hurdle.

While two of those candidates were strong proponents of a no-deal Brexit, the chances of no-deal actually happening improved considerably this week, as MPs failed to back a Labour-led motion that protected against proroguing Parliament (i.e. preventing Parliament from having any say on the matter).

In the immortal words of Han Solo, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.


DNF, And The Frontrunners So Far…

Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Mark Harper joined James Cleverly and Kit Malthouse in the glue factory, having failed to secure the number of votes by MPs for them to enter the second part of the leadership contest.

While Mark Harper was never going to go far, Esther McVey was a loud advocate for a hard Brexit and Andrea Leadsom will be disappointed, having got to the head-to-head stage against Theresa May last time around. The fact that they both fell so early in the race will be a bitter pill to swallow.

But for many non-Conservatives (and probably a few Conservatives, too), their falling by the wayside could be considered cause for some relief. Two of the more extreme candidates have fallen.

But, that is not to say that there are not extreme candidates remaining. One is even the odds-on frontrunner.

Yesterday, the first round of votes were cast by the Tory MPs for their preferred candidate for leader – they were as follows:

  • BoJo: 114
  • Hunt: 43
  • Gove: 37
  • Raab: 27
  • Javid: 23
  • Hancock: 20
  • Stewart: 19
  • Leadsom: 11
  • Harper: 10
  • McVey: 9

The number the candidates had to get to was 17 – hence the bottom three being eliminated.

Boris’ domination was expected, but to have as high a number as 114 is absurd. 105 is considered to be the number required to make it into the final two, so to get over that on the first round of votes alone is quite something.

Hunt will be pleased with his score, as will Gove considering his recent stumble over his cocaine use. Sajid David, however, will be disappointed – he was pitching himself as a non-traditional Tory against the Old Etonian elites like Johnson. It would have made for an interesting final two, but sadly it looks as though he’s pretty much done for.

Matt Hancock will probably be slightly disappointed, but will have known that his was a long shot – he is one for the future rather than for this particular leadership race. Rory Stewart, by contrast, will probably be delighted – he was an absolute unknown before this contest, but his excellent social media campaigning has made people sit up and listen.

Additionally, there will now be televised debates held by the candidates – Stewart could do well on these.

Dominic Raab, the anti-feminist, mouldy crouton floating in the minestrone of bonkersness that is this race, now has a tough decision to make. As Boris is so far ahead and is also a hard-Brexiteer, should he now pull out and lend his support to BoJo? If he did, he could be rewarded with a Cabinet position for loyalty…

Time will tell.

But make no mistake – this race is only just getting started.


No To No No-Deal

On Wednesday, a motion was put before the House of Commons by the Labour Party that was designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit happening without Parliament’s approval. It had nothing legally binding attached to it, unlike the Cooper Bill that passed a few months ago, and was just a safeguard to prevent democracy being sidelined.

Because nothing in British politics makes sense anymore, the motion was defeated by 11 votes, despite ten Conservative MPs rebelling against the government to vote in favour of it.

It failed to pass because a number of Labour MPs who represent Leave-heavy constituencies either abstained or voted against it.

It isn’t a definitive ruling on whether or not no-deal would be permitted, as some of the Vote Leave head honchos are saying it is. However, it is still a blow for those who are worried about candidates like Dominic Raab and even Boris Johnson saying that they could bypass Parliament to force a no-deal Brexit through.

But there is still plenty of time left. In both the leadership race, and in the grim march to the next deadline of October 31st. What will happen during that time is unclear.

But the one thing you can be sure of is that there are going to be a number of deeply unpleasant arguments.

The fuse is lit… But what will the explosion look like?


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BoJo’s Salvo

It’s a strange kind of race where the frontrunner hasn’t even started until two days in, but that is where we find ourselves in the Tory leadership race.

Boris Johnson, at long last, launched his campaign with a speech given to a room full of his allies which was classic BoJo – engaging, welcoming, and largely drivel.


Swinging Johnson

Back in the heady days of the Brexit catastrophe, when the full realisation of how badly the situation was had set in, there was round-the-clock coverage of Parliament. There was also a single man who stood outside the news tent and, during every interview, shouted, at the top of his lungs, “STOOOOP BREEEXIIIIT.”

That man, in a show of true British spirit, was outside Boris’ campaign launch today, shouting “BOLLOOOCKS TO BREEEXIIIIT.”

He was audible on Boris’ microphone.

Boris, in the first few sentences of his speech, saw fit to use the fact that four English teams were in the Champions League and Europa League finals as a reason for demonstrating how well Britain was doing. This, despite once describing Liverpudlians as “seeing themselves as victims, and resent their victim status, yet at the same time they wallow in it.”

Rings slightly more hollow, doesn’t it?

It paved the way for a speech that paved over some of the cracks of his time as a politician. While verbose, passionate and driven, as is Boris’ style, his speech portrayed himself as a champion of the most vulnerable in society, which is a pretty disputable claim.

He stated that he helped drag London’s poorest boroughs out of despair, which again rings hollow when you remember that one of his major campaign pledges is to raise the 40p tax threshold, which helps middle-earners and not the most vulnerable.

He elaborated his views on Brexit as being “prepared for no-deal, but aiming for a better deal,” against the backdrop of MPs today preparing to take no-deal off the table again. It is thought that this cross-party move today will succeed, making his claims somewhat less believable.

In fact, his speech sought to drive forward the populist nature of his politics by trying to inspire emotional backing with giving next to no actual facts whatsoever.


Trial By Fire

Far more telling than the speech itself were Boris’ responses to the questions put to him by journalists in the room. The reporters asked him some pretty robust questions:

  • Whether he stood by his previous, arguably offensive descriptions of women in burkhas as “letterboxes,” and whether or not he thought these were fitting for a Prime Minister – he said the quotes were taken out of context;
  • Failed to answer a question about whether or not he will resign if he fails to take Britain out of the EU on October 31st;
  • Asked to elaborate on his infamous “F*ck Business” statement, he hurried to ensure his support for all businesses across the UK, including the financial sector;
  • Stated that no-deal was “a last resort,” a real climbdown from his previous rhetoric;
  • And avoided a question on drug-use, saying that the only illegal thing he has done is “not always stick to 70mph speed limits.

So What Do We Make Of It?

Look, it comes down to this. If you like Boris, you absolutely would have liked what he had to say. His rhetoric was passionate, he spoke of “courage” and “guts,” and tried to inspire support through the nationalistic argument of having pride in Britain.

If you dislike Boris, you would have thought that everything he said was as shallow as his new haircut – all bluster, with no substance.

It won’t have hurt his chances of becoming leader, but nor was it the barnstorming speech that it could have been.

All eyes turn to Parliament – will they block no-deal and scupper one of his major policies before he’s even leader?


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Shots. Fired.

BATTLE STATIONS!

The Tory Leadership contest was always going to get a bit feisty. In a party as split as the Conservatives, who are about as split as a banana in a bowl with vanilla ice-cream, chocolate sauce and almonds on top, there were going to be disagreements.

Well, yesterday things started to get tasty. We’ve seen some serious shade thrown by, of all people, Loraine Kelly, the Labour Party mount a serious challenge to the no-deal candidates, and Rory Stewart…

Well. See for yourself.

OHHH SNAP

Yeah. Shit’s going down.

Let’s start with the man of the hour.


The Stuart Dynasty Reborn

Look, there hasn’t been a Stuart/Stewart on the throne since 1714. But for the people in the room watching one speak yesterday, it seems as though the vast majority would have settled for him becoming Prime Minister.

Rory Stewart, as we have detailed in our analysis of him as a candidate (which you can find here), is a different breed of Tory politician. Yes, he has the hallmarks of one – an Old Etonian, went to Balliol College at Oxford, a Tory man through-and-through…

But he’s started a quiet revolution during his campaign to become PM. While it is extremely unlikely that this will be his time, make no mistake – the man will likely be a major force in British politics before long.

Without wanting you to have to endure too many minutes of politicians speaking, I would recommend watching this clip of him explaining why the actions of some of his rivals are so utterly bonkers:

Unfortunately, we are currently living in a world where we are more inclined to believe half-truths and the bending of facts until they are unrecognisable, rather than reality. We here at Between the Lines are humbly trying to propagate fact with as little bias as possible (no easy feat, mind you), but there is little reciprocity by those who hold the cards.

The Tories are a disgrace. Corbyn and his cult-like followers, systematically failing to address rampant antisemitism in their party, are a disgrace. Nigel Farage and his manifesto-less, populist politics is a disgrace. Change UK’s dissolution due to ego and career-furthering ambition is a disgrace. UKIP’s appropriation of the racist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is a disgrace.

And the Lib Dems, as honest as they are, couldn’t lead a nation if it had a formed a conga line behind them and was actively pushing it towards a thriving economy and peak happiness levels. It would simply trip over its own sandal-laces.

British politics, in fact, is a disgrace.

But Rory Stewart talks of facts. Of prudence. Of living in our means. Of sensibility. He’s by no means perfect, and his campaign promises of a broadened National Citizens’ Service and abolition of hospital car parking charges are irrefutably ridiculous.

But he’s the start of something new. And he’s not the only one.

Jess Phillips, Matt Hancock, Wes Streeting, Sam Gyimah… on both sides of the House, there are good, decent politicians coming to the fore. Once this Brexit nightmare is over, once the fires have used up all but the last few gasps of oxygen, and once the ash has cleared, there will be a new generation.


But In The Meantime…

Lorraine Kelly thinks Esther McVey is a dickhead.

Well, possibly. That’s not slander, for any lawyers reading. It’s conjecture.

It’s bloody funny conjecture though.

Many moons ago, Esther and Lorraine worked together as presenters on GMTV. Esther went off to have a career in politics, Lorraine remained in TV. So far, so simple, right?

Well Esther McVey was on Good Morning Britain the other day, and this happened.

Yikes.

To be fair, Esther McVey is against the teaching of LGBT education in schools, while Lorraine Kelly is (unbeknownst to this writer until yesterday) something of an LGBT activist. It’s understandable our Lorraine, who is a TV character and not a real person, might not be her biggest fan.

Still though.


No-deal? No Chance.

In a pretty definitive move from a party that has, until recently, been about as decisive as a toddler choosing between cake or ice-cream, the Labour party yesterday tabled a cross-party motion to prevent a Tory leader from pushing through a no-deal Brexit without Parliament’s consent.

The motion will be voted on today.

If passed, the motion will allow legislation to be drafted that will prevent a no-deal scenario on Brexit Deadline Day, October 31st.

This is to prevent candidates like Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and even Boris Johnson from implementing their campaign promises that if nothing had been achieved by October 31st, Britain would leave without a deal.

Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat hypocritically, Rory Stewart, a vehement opposer of no-deal, has said that he will not be voting in favour of the motion – probably a tactical move to ensure that he still appeals to the Tory right. He needs to appease them to become PM, not the country.

However, Sir Oliver Letwin, hilarious toff and erstwhile right-wing bastion against Brexit, has given his backing to it, as has Corbyn, the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party.

Presumably Change UK will back it, too. Who even knows with them anymore.

Given that the Tory party has a majority of just five in Parliament, it could squeak through, which would be a serious hammer blow to Johnson et al.

If their delusions of no-deal Brexit are taken off the table, perhaps some common sense might just come back to the forefront of the leadership race after all?


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On Your Marks, Get Set, GOVE… Oh Wait, He’s High Again

The Tory Party Leadership Race has finally begun!

And here’s something for you to listen to for this article.

Following the official departure of Theresa May on Friday, signed off with a rather forlorn letter to the 1922 Committee, the race for leader begins in earnest today. The deadline – 23rd of July. 

The first hurdle? Thursday.

In just three days’ time, each candidate will need to have the support of at least 8 MPs in order for their candidacy to remain approved – while the big names like Johnson, Gove and Hunt will have no trouble with this, it will likely thin the herd somewhat. While it’s not certain, I would probably have a flutter on Sam Gyimah, Mark Harper and/or Esther McVey dropping out.

But theirs are not the only campaigns that have hit the (crack) rocks recently…


Gove’s Gear Fears

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has been subject of some serious criticism this week after his admission that he used to take cocaine recreationally. This has seen his previously-strong campaign take quite a stumble, especially considering that he is a pretty likely front-runner to oppose Boris Johnson in the final head-to-head section of the Leadership Race.

I feel rather sorry for Mr. Gove, but only because of the stupidity of it all. He was by no means the first candidate to admit to partaking in some “extracurricular activities” when they were younger. Jeremy Hunt admitted to having a cannabis lassi, Rory Stewart admitted to trying opium at a wedding in the Middle East, and all the other candidates seemed to try to clamber over one another to admit some kind of cannabis use.

Presumably the candidates assumed that this would make them more “down wiv da kids,” rather than trying to change a political programme that systematically ignores all the things that a culturally and politically-aware younger generation hold dear.

Good luck with that.

But anyway, Gove, perhaps out of wanting to do one better, admitted to dabbling in the devil’s dandruff a few times when he was a journalist. From what I know of journalism in the 80s and 90s, I would imagine that this was not an uncommon occurrence.

However, it was a step too far. The fact that it’s a Class A drug that damages the lives of millions of people throughout the world in its creation and distribution means that it has far more impact behind its use than the “Cheeky toke on the doobie” feeling that comes with marijuana.

Or rather, “comes with marijuana… for middle-class white boys.”

The backlash against Gove has been fierce, and this writer would argue a little insincere – I would bet my house on Boris Johnson being partial to hoovering up some silly snuff back in his day, yet Gove was the one who admitted to it.

Gove has apologised profusely and stated his understanding of how stupid it was, and so far he has not seen his 35 MP supporters back out. It will probably be more of a stumble than a crash, but it’s still not been a good few days for Team Gove.


The Runt Of The Litter

In a blow to Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, the highly-respected One-Nation (moderate) Tory and Work and Pensions Secretary, gave her support to Jeremy Hunt last night. The predicted “Bamber” alliance of BoJo and Ms. Rudd would have likely all-but-sealed Johnson’s path to the premiership, as she commands a lot of loyalty from the centre-right.

However, in a letter to The Times today, Rudd gave her backing to Jeremy Hunt, saying that “serious times… require a serious leader,” a thinly-veiled attack on Boris’ tally-ho campaign promise to battle against the EU. As such, the “Runt” alliance, as I have just decided to call it, has been formed.

This, especially with Gove’s cocaine cock-up, will give Hunt a serious boost to be the candidate to oppose Johnson at the final vote.


Raab Changes Garb

Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary who voted against the deal that he helped to negotiate, has decided that his first approach to the leadership campaign was so stupid that he’s going to “Go Green” instead.

Pledging to use technology to make Britain a leading light in the battle against climate change, he is trying to widen the pool of potential supporter away from just the hard-right, ERG headbangers who have largely come out in support of BoJo anyway, rather than Raab himself.

This comes off the back of a campaign where he has threatened to prorogue Parliament (i.e. end the session) to force through a no-deal Brexit and actively pushed back at the word ‘feminist.’

It’s probably about as likely to work as a nuclear bunker made of plywood.

Bye Raab, you useless toad.


The Lisa Your Worries…

Lisa Forbes, the Labour MP who narrowly won the seat in the Peterborough by-election last week, has come under intense scrutiny for social media activity where she has praised anti-Zionist rhetoric.

Basically, antisemitism is still slowly destroying the Labour Party.

Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Wes Streeting both actively denounced Forbes and Labour’s decision to run her in that constituency, and the backlash from around the country is pronounced.

Barry Gardiner, a close Corbyn ally, tried to play down the situation by saying that “If Gove can be forgiven for taking cocaine, Lisa can be forgiven for ‘accidentally’ liking a video on social media.” But Barry, one is taking an illegal substance.

The other is outright racism.

What is happening to our politics?


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Weekly Wrap-Up – 31/05 – 06/06

Just a quick one this week, folks. We here at BTL HQ have been putting blood, sweat and tears into getting the Tory Leadership Race blog up and running, and that has meant sifting through some pretty mediocre newspaper articles about some pretty mediocre politicians.

However, there are also some fascinating candidates besides the big-hitters of Johnson and Gove, and we’ve also explained exactly how the system works.

Hint: It’s not a great system.

But the most pertinent news story this week in British Politics was the arrival of The Donald.


Donald Duck Trump Comes To Town

It’s always reassuring to know that even if your own house is falling to pieces, at least your neighbour’s is already ablaze with the fury of a thousand populist suns. Trump’s America is about as divided as the split between those who stand to wipe and those who sit.

Donald Trump set down for his first real state visit this week, following on from last year’s fleeting, business-heavy trip. He met and dined with the Queen and the Royal Family without causing any major diplomatic rifts, claimed that the NHS would be a target for future trade deals then backed down… hell, he even backtracked on his claim that the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) was “nasty.”

All in all, it went rather well… considering…

…You know. Trump.

However, he did manage to cause a political stir by slagging off the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, before he even landed, and on Tuesday he also claimed to not know Michael Gove, prominent candidate for the Tory leadership, despite being interviewed by him a few years ago. Instead, he gave his blessings to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, which is probably not as meaningful a gesture as it would have been a few years / exactly one President ago.

Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, absconded from his invitation to the banquet with Trump’s delegation and gave a speech at an anti-Trump rally, then changed his mind and asked to meet with him, only to be denied the meeting.

Way to stick to your guns, Corbo.

Then, yesterday, Trump travelled to France to take part in the profoundly moving memorial of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Tonally, his speech was very good, which probably means he had nothing to do with the writing of it. The day was granted the sombre and reflective tone it deserved.

All in all, Trump threw a few spanners into the works, as he is wont to do, ignored the protests against him and called it fake news, but also failed to be an abject nightmare for all concerned.

It’s a sign of where politics has gone that this is considered to be a considerable diplomatic win.

For more info on his first two days in the UK, please check out our article here.


But What Of The Tories?!

I know, I know – it’s so exciting my brain might melt.

Well, as we linked to above, Between the Lines has taken some time to put together a comprehensive guide to the Tory Leadership Race this week. There have been some developments, too:

  • Matt Hancock made the bold move of calling Jeremy Corbyn himself an anti-Semite, a ballsy move that will probably see him slapped down with a defamation case;
  • Dominic Raab said that he would push through a no-deal Brexit by circumventing Parliament through proroguing it (calling an end to it without calling for a new one).
  • John Bercow, arguably becoming the most unlikely bastion of democracy in history, has since said that Raab’s idea is practically impossible.

Woof.

The hustings to the One Nation (or moderate and progressive) Tories were held this week, and Raab came off incredibly badly. We can but hope, as we alluded to in our analysis of his strategy, that this utter moron and his policies are taken off the table for good.

But who knows anymore?

Stay tuned next week folks – things are going to get bumpy until the Summer Recess, where MPs will take some time off. Then, a new Conservative Prime Minister will be announced.

Then, the shit will hit the fan.

You heard it here first. Have a lovely weekend!


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Sam Gyimah

Name:
Samuel Phillip Gyimah

Age:
42

Current Position In Government:
None
(Formerly Minister for Universities)

Current Position In Circus:
Trampolinist – Launching himself as high as he can

MP For:
East Surrey

Best Known For:
Promoting freedom of speech in university campuses

Previous Career:
Investment banking, Recruitment

View On Brexit:
Loud advocate for a Second Referendum

Bookmakers’ Odds:
250/1- Skybet, 06/06

Campaign Video:
None so far.

Pros:

  • A candidate who brings something different to the table
  • Another young, progressive Tory who could be the future

Cons:

  • Amongst the Tory electorate, being in favour of a second referendum is basically signing your own death warrant
  • Another relative unknown

Analysis:

Quite bold for someone with so little political clout to stand – probably one with his eyes on the future prize like McVey or Hancock.

Will not get far.


Please help to support Between the Lines by:

  • Liking, commenting on or sharing articles;
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Thank you!

Mark Harper

Name:
Mark James Harper

Age:
49

Current Position In Government:
None
(Formerly Chief Whip)

Current Position In Circus:
Clown No. 6 – Who?

MP For:
Forest of Dean

Best Known For:
Being in favour of fox hunting… at a push

Previous Career:
Accountancy

View On Brexit:
Voted Remain.
Seek better deal and short extension if required – no-deal is a fall-back.

Bookmakers’ Odds:
100/1 – The Times, 11/06

Campaign Video:

Pros:

  • Well turned-out…
  • I like the heavy-gravitas music in his campaign video

Cons:

  • A total unknown
  • Middle-of-the-road, beige politician… I think?

Analysis:

Who?


Please help to support Between the Lines by:

  • Liking, commenting on or sharing articles;
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Thank you!