There have been moments in world politics in the past four years where I have been surprised and perturbed by the result. Post-election hangovers are nearly always the best way to dull the immediate pain of being slapped in the face by certain events. At precisely 13:21 on Thursday 13th June, I read the results of the first round of voting for the next Conservative leader, and my ACC hangover was completely ruined. It is now obvious that in concert with an opposition leader that is at best clueless and at worst, criminally incompetent, we shall have a Prime Minister that is, at best, criminally naive, and at worst, criminal. I am, of course, referring to the walking, talking mound of piss –yellow thatch that is Boris Johnson. I cannot wait for their symphony in mismanagement.
In the first round of voting, The Johnson, as he is affectionately known by those that bleed red, white and blue and believe that the Empire was a Good Thing, was able to secure 114 votes to be Tory leader. Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, Boris’ nearest competition were only able to obtain 43 and 37 votes, respectively. Gove was probably too busy snorting cocaine in the boys’ toilets to garner adequate support whilst Jeremy Hunt’s pro-remain stance means that his campaign will be aborted before he reaches the final stages; just not by him. The other candidates, smiling Hannibal Lecter, the depressed Humanities teacher, Trump’s best friend and that guy that smoked weed one time, are not likely to be able to muster sufficient support in the remaining time to reach the final stage. It is almost a certainty that Boris will surpass the 1⁄3 of Tory MPs necessary to reach the final stage. Here, Boris and his opponent, whether it is Gove or Hunt, will be exposed to the Tory membership that will ultimately decide the next Tory leader.
Boris’ rabid Brexiteer stance, as well as his fiscally irresponsible tax cut proposals for the wealthiest among us will almost certainly resonate very strongly with the Tory membership. If they weren’t already queuing up to arthritically cross the box with his name in it, then they certainly will be now. It doesn’t matter that these plans are being financed by a readjusted budget ceiling that was created to prepare for a no-deal Brexit scenario and that, in order to finance them long term, it will probably involve tax cuts for the rest of us. Most of them will already have voted for fiscally irresponsible things before, such as errr… Brexit. Boris has clearly hit on a winning strategy. Promise unrealistic financial dividends and reap the benefits. Populist and dishonest as it is, this has certainly been an effective strategy in patrimonial elections throughout history. His competitors, with their carefully thought through proposals, reek of Remainer fear-mongering and expert driven advice. This will not go down well with a membership that wants big, brash, bold promises to solve their problems.
This is ultimately the fundamental issue with the Tory leadership elections so far. 120,000 people will get to vote for the Prime Minister that will enact policies beyond Brexit. These policies will almost certainly afflict the many to the benefit of the few. The Tory party membership are some of the most rabid Brexiteers and free marketeers that you could possibly find. I did see the BBC cast them as “passionate about politics”, in an attempt to legitimise the vote, but the facts remain; if this were a national election, promising tax cuts for the richest members of society would probably be political suicide. However, with the majority of the electorate’s voice comfortably muted, they can press ahead with these promises.
The only way in which the results of this election can become legitimate are if, following the election of Bozza to the post of Prime Minister, parliament is dissolved and a general election is called. The issue of the proximity of Brexit is irrelevant. 120,000 people should not possess the power to dictate the course of a nation of millions, where we are, at least nominally, a democracy. A brief period to engage in fractious internal civil war should, of course, be permitted, in order to provide Boris with a cabinet as rabid as its membership, but ultimately there is a responsibility to the democratic institutions that we all hold as sacred to do the honourable thing. Fight it out in the sphere of public discourse, not the safe space of the Tory membership.