It was Harold Wilson, back in the 1960s, who said that ‘A week is a long time in politics’. Looking at the current goings on in Westminster, one could almost be inclined to revise this to state that a day is now a long time in politics.
Regardless of your political persuasion, it doesn’t take a genius to spot that things aren’t really going that well at the moment. Liz Truss, by her own admission, models herself on Margaret Thatcher. That’s quite ironic when you consider that Mrs Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century, whilst Ms Truss will go down in history as Britain’s shortest ever serving Prime Minister. I do wonder what the late Iron Lady would think to that one?
And so as a consequence, a combination of Tory ‘has beens’ and ‘still wannabe’s’ are all once again jostling for position in the latest instalment of this year’s leadership elections. The last time I checked the three most likely candidates are Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt. What a curious situation this is. Apparently the three best people for the job are two people who failed to get the job 6 weeks ago, and one person who was removed from it 3 months ago.
Ironically given the circumstances, probably the only candidate therefore with any credibility is Boris. I say this purely on the basis that, aside of anything else, he does at least have some concept of a mandate from the Great British Public. Whether or not people around the UK still think this mandate should apply is a different matter. But, if we are to believe a recent poll then about half the country are ok with Boris coming back, 20% of the remainder don’t care either way and everyone else probably thinks that Harold Wilson is still in power.
Given that when asked for an opinion, in most cases this country is typically divided down the middle – the Brexit vote being a classic example of this – then, on these stats at least, Boris should be absolutely fine and end up back in Number 10 with a resounding majority.
Of course the question remains does anyone actually want the job? Personally I would have thought Boris, or indeed any other politician right now, is far better off heading onto the after dinner speaking circuit. There’s probably more money in it, less stress and a greater chance of a gin and tonic handed to you when you’re finished.
Only time will tell…