Well, no-one saw that coming. Of course by no-one I mean anyone who is over the age of 18 and hasn’t been living under a rock that entire time, knows that the Conservative party didn’t become the most successful political party ever by tolerating what they perceive as lame duck leaders. It is as sentimental as a colonic irrigation and does much the same thing when it needs to.
When I write successful I mean successful in the very narrowest of political senses, that of winning elections. Not trivialities such as helping to create opportunity and wealth for all, facilitating a shift in social values such that this country properly rewards those whom we can’t do without – NHS doctors and nurses, teachers and firefighters – and rejects those we can do without – hedge fund managers, estate agents and homeopaths. But there is little chance of that happening when a political party that has been in power either alone or in coalition for 72 of the last 100 years clings to power.
If ever Britain looked like a banana republic it is now. One can almost hear the laughing in the Kremlin. For centuries Britain has loftily boasted about being the ‘mother of all democracies’ except now we’re the mutha of them. Although this presents Sir Not with a conundrum. He can call for a general election, with all the paralysis and uncertainty that would inevitably unleash, or he can be statesmanlike. Put country before party and all that, the whole ‘it’s a far far better thing than I have ever done’ vibe.
He could issue a statement saying that he could call for a general election, of course he could but he won’t because what the country needs right now is a sense that the adults are in charge. Announce that he’ll give the new PM his full support and in return for that he wants a general election in February 2023. That he doesn’t want to add yet another crisis onto the rash of them that has been 2022, but rather just get though this one and start the New Year with a new PM.
Unlikely, I know, but if people aren’t whispering that in his ear, then they aren’t serving him well, they’re serving him up