HOLD YOUR HORSES EVERYONE, THERE IS NEWS. Imagine CHIC’s ‘Good Times’ playing while you read this next sentence.
The postal vote for the Tory leadership has now OFFICIALLY BEGUN.
Well, this week has been more of the same in the race to become Prime Minister – spending pledges that seem to be plucked out of thin air with no funds to achieve them, in-fighting within the party, and no-deal “willy-waving” (credit: Rachel Sylvester).
Oh, and for anyone who isn’t in the 160,000 or so Conservative Party membership, an overwhelming sense of dread.
So, in the week where Between the Lines has finally shaken off those post-festival blues, let’s cheer ourselves up with a quick update on where we’re up to.
Vote So Simple
We march, loudly and blindly, towards the deadline day where either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt will become the Tory party leader. The competition has become fierce, and not just a little bit vitriolic.
While Johnson remains the overwhelming favourite with the bookies, currently marked at 89% likelihood, there is no denying that the Jeremy “Underdog” Hunt is gaining some kind of momentum.
Boris has consistently dodged and swerved face-to-face interviews, and there are only two currently scheduled to take place (the 9th of July on ITV and on the 15th at an event held by The Sun). These will happen once the vast majority of the Tory members have already voted.
As such, Johnson is being viewed with slightly more mistrust than before – is he really just all style and no substance?
And if so, is that style (namely a fat golden retriever with ADHD) really enough for a Prime Minister to resolve the vast array of divisions within the UK?
Indeed, even within Johnson’s own campaign, some cracks are starting to show. The Times reported today that more centrist, One Nation Tories Boris-supporters are being laughed at behind closed doors by those on the right. ERG-supporters and more deeply right-wing Bojo-backers believe that the modernisers are going to be immediately forgotten about when Boris comes to power.
Take Matt Hancock, for instance. The current Health Secretary is about to bring a green paper to Parliament (i.e. a debate) about whether or not to extend the sugar tax to milkshakes in an attempt to try and stave off the obesity epidemic.
And it is an epidemic – this week it was announced some cancers were now more likely to be caused by obesity than smoking.
But Boris came out against “sin taxes” afterwards, saying that the poorest are hit hardest by them and that there is no data to suggest that they help tackle obesity.
While there is undoubtedly some wisdom to his words and the taxes deserve more scrutiny, he did absolutely steamroller poor little Hancock. The Boris juggernaut stops for no man, even a (supposedly) close ally.
Jeremy Hunt, by contrast, today said that he believed that there should be another vote on the hunting ban.
Which makes me think that there shouldn’t be so much a hunting ban as a Hunt ban.
For being such a moron.
Widdecombe Goes William Wallace
If the earlier childishness within the newly-formed EU Parliament this week wasn’t bad enough, Ann Widdecombe waded in today to make things worse.
While the Brexit Party’s turning their backs was pretty standoffish and the Lib-Dems’ “Bollocks to Brexit” t-shirts were absolutely pathetic, Ann Widdecombe today came out and made a speech comparing the UK leaving the EU to slaves uprising against their masters.
Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s Brexit Co-ordinator, quite succinctly remarked that Widdecombe was giving Nigel Farage “stiff competition as chief clown.” But I don’t think that goes far enough.
Just before I say this, some caveats:
- I believe the Brexit Party are doing an important job in representing Leave-voting constituencies in the EU;
- I believe that they are, on the whole, doing their jobs and standing up for what they believe in;
- I absolutely, categorically, do not hold anything against anyone who voted for the Brexit Party, and nor is the following about anyone but Widdecombe.
But Jesus Christ, just fuck off Ann, you racist, homophobic, rancid turd sausage in an anthrax pastry. Don’t you dare use the emancipation of those who suffered in literal slavery for centuries (millennia, even) to emphasise a point about a first-world country leaving a supranational body through a democratic process.
You don’t understand what you’re talking about, you never have, you never will, and when you’re gone you will be a mere snot stain on a page of our political discourse.
So just fuck off Ann.
You absolute spunk trumpet.
Have a good weekend everyone!
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