David Cameron’s resignation following the Brexit vote has triggered a leadership contest, commencing on Tuesday. The shock drop out of Boris Johnson from the running has left five utterly pitiful candidates racing to be the leader of the Conservatives, and succeed Cameron as Prime Minister. While Theresa May and Michael Gove seem like the most likely candidates to inflict their neoliberal austerity on the unsuspecting working class, the other candidates are Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom. The big dispute surrounding this contest is of course the question of whether a pro Brexit Hardliner should be appointed as leader or whether a Remain candidate should be appointed to broker a peace process between these two rivalling factions of the Conservatives. One thing that can be said for certain however, is that the Tory Party are in for an easy ride in pitting five pathetic candidates, as the main opposition party currently appears preoccupied with tearing itself apart over whether Jeremy Corbyn should stay as leader or go as Labour Leader. Regardless of this, someone has to hold the Tory’s to account, so in the interests of knowing your enemy, this blog post will look at the profiles and voting records of those racing to be the next Prime Minister.
Regardless of the fact that Theresa May was one of the pro remain Tory’s, it is undeniable that she represents the hard right faction of the Party. It is clear from her voting record that she not only believes in the upwards redistribution of wealth but that she hates human rights with a burning passion.
To give you a quick overview of why Theresa May should not be Prime Minister. May’s record of legislation includes the introduction of secret courts where defendants are not allowed to enter or see the evidence, an immigration rule which rips apart families by preventing British husbands and wives from bringing non EU spouses to the UK, making the mass trawling of private internet data legal, the banning of all drugs regardless of how harmful they are and a rule to deport workers that don’t earn over 35,000 pound per year. May has now conveniently decided to frame her leadership campaign as a reformist one, against the likes of the pro Brexit Tory’s such as Michael Gove. However, anyone that believes that May will be a reformist candidate and wont intensify her draconian assault on human rights, is either a bigot who secretly wants human rights abolished or wilfully ignorant.
Following on from what I just said, Theresa may has a number of other draconian measures up her sleeve. One of these is a so called counter terrorism strategy which involves scrapping rights such as freedom of assembly, presumption of innocence, the right to privacy and even the right to freedom of speech, in order to combat extremists who have not actually broken any laws. Another of these such measures is the scrapping of our human rights act for them to be replaced with a set of allowances. Ironically, for all of the empty rhetoric about patriotism and sovereignty, the European Convention of Human Rights was a British idea championed by Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee, after the Second World War. The basic idea was that, in order to prevent a tragedy like Nazi Germany ever happening again, every country should have a basic level of human rights that it is not allowed to fall below. If May does end up scrapping the human rights act, then we would be joining the extremely authoritarian Belarus, as the only country not to sign the convention, on the whole continent. Even if we generously accept that these measures intended to crack down on terrorism and ensure our safety, the presumption that this is all it will be used for is politically naïve at best.
If Gove’s Bizarre claim during the EU referendum debate that people in this country have had enough of experts was not enough to convince you that Michael Gove is not qualified to be Prime Minister, then I weep for your sanity. However, this statement is also particularly telling about Gove’s legacy.
One of his legacies is his time as education secretary, when Gove oversaw the forced academification of schools, resulting in about 2,000 secondary schools transferred to private ownership. Presumably with the intension of making our education system look as if it is failing so it could be privatised, Gove was also responsible for letting totally unqualified teachers into publicly funded schools, to the extent that they were put in charge of running entire schools. In addition to this, Gove is a disgusting historical revisionist who dismisses the views of experts and teachers, in order to promote his view that the First World War was not a result of catastrophic mistakes, but a patriotic effort on behalf of Great Britain. I can only presume that, if Michael Gove himself has had enough of experts, then we can look forward to a Britain where the NHS is staffed with unqualified nurses, where people live in buildings made by unqualified architects and where an overall ignorance of higher education is the norm? Hell, maybe a post Brexit dystopia is not as much of a leftist fantasy as Michael Gove says it is.
As I mentioned in a previous article, Gove’s plan for a post Brexit settlement is to take us out of the single market. While this is an absolutely ridiculous idea, it would allow the hard right Brexiters to achieve their dream of keeping all those pesky foreigners off our land. What it would involve is Gove and whatever hard right blowhards he appoints to his shadow cabinet, desperately trying to negotiate a hard right economic settlement with 27 annoyed EU nations, each of which would have to give their approval to it for it to pass. In the extremely likely event that this fails, and Gove is still utterly unwilling for us to remain a member of a single market, the only other option would be to trigger a complete meltdown of trade relations between the UK and the rest of the EU, with trade rules reverting back to basic WTO legislation. As such, how anyone can see Gove as a realistic option to be the next Prime Minister, and not just an option to appease the ukipper wing of conservative supporters, is utterly absurd.
If Theresa May wins the award for most dangerous candidate in the Tory leadership race and Michael Gove for the most manipulative, then Stephen Crabb should be the most frightening candidate. Following the resignation of Ian Duncan Smith from the shadow cabinet earlier this year, everyone thought the next work and pension’s secretary, could not be any worse. As it turns out however, Crabb was.
Crabb’s voting record shows that he is the worst kind of Tory Party Conformist imaginable. He has never voted against the Tory whip since they won the 2010 general election, and has only once voted against his peers in order to interfere with women’s reproductive rights. In addition to this, at the time Stephen Crabb was appointed as head of the DWP, they were wasting 250,000 pound to battle seven families in the Supreme Court over the bedroom tax. One of these families was a couple who care for their severely disabled grandson in three bedroom house, in Stephen Crabb’s constituency. Finally, another disturbing thing about him is that he has very close links to a ‘pray the gay away’ religious organisation. Despite this appalling track record, something that should work in Crabb’s favour at this election is that he was born and raised in a council house in Wales. Still, it’s hardly surprising that he has been put forward as a leadership candidate for the Conservatives. He is someone has always been loyal to the Tory Party machine.
Anyone Remember Liam Fox? He was the shadow defence secretary who was humiliatingly forced to resign after he let his close friend and best man, Adam Werrity, take up an unofficial and undeclared role, where he attended meetings at the Ministry of Defence, without first obtaining security clearance. As if this was not enough, Werrity had access to Fox’s diary, printed business cards to announce himself as an advisor and even joined Fox at meetings with foreign signatories. In a just political system, endangering national security and blurring the lines between personal and professional, would have prevented Fox from holding office ever again. He should have been held up as a disgrace, for every politician to see. Instead, Fox lingered on the backbenches of the House of Commons waiting for a time when everyone had forgotten about his mistakes and when he could emerge back into the limelight. His candidacy for leader have the conservatives, has been enabled by the fact that the media turn to him whenever they need a good quote to attack David Cameron, from the hard right. The question is, how stupid would the Conservative party have to be to trust Fox a second time?
Out of all the candidates mentioned Leadsom is probably the least bad. Of course, this is a Conservative leadership contest, so saying that is like picking the nicest person from a line of robbery suspects. It should come as no surprise to anyone then that Leadsom is a serial Tax dodger, facing two charges over tax fraud before being allowed to become a Tory MP. In addition to this, while I do not like playing the guilt by association card, her former job as a Barclays banker shows she has little to no experience with interacting with normal people. This may be why, her appeals to normal people during her campaign to leave the EU, came across as empty rhetoric and political posturing.
It is important to remember that with Boris Johnson washing his hands of the post Brexit chaos that has emerged, one of these dangerous and pathetic leadership candidates is going to have to navigate us out of the EU. The most likely candidates for the leadership are Michael Gove and Theresa May. Although there may be a chance of one of these candidates calling a general election, with Labour doing a better job of attacking Corbyn than attacking the Tory’s, an election will serve only to justify the new Prime Ministers leadership. As such, it is important that we are ready to fight back against whatever the next Conservative cabinet throw at us.