Saturday, 9 July 2016

Hey, Why Has No One Asked The Most Important Question About Our Next Prime Minister?

The most pressing concern for me about the Leadsom/May battle is not about whether motherhood matters in being a good Prime Minister (it doesn't, but it's something the media has been preoccupied with for decades because it thinks that reflects the feeling of the average voter), nor whether our prospective Prime Minister knows the price of a pint of a milk, and all that kind of malarkey.

No, what matters most for me is who is going to be best at pulling out the pre-scripted funnies at PMQs now Cameron has gone, and then pull that face that Cameron does afterwards when he's so pleased that he's made the house laugh?

Which of May or Leadsom will be most likely to welcome in a newly elected maiden Labour MP and then advise her to leave her phone on as she might be in Corbyn's shadow cabinet by the end of the day? Or which of them will be most likely to congratulate Corbyn (or an equivalent opposite number) on doing his share of job-creation by giving so many different MPs the chance to work in that self-same shadow cabinet?
Because if you're going to lead a Conservative Party that isn't in the least bit Conservative any more, against a Labour Party that is currently leaning too far to the left for even the majority of its grass roots supporters, you're going to need a decent sense of humour - and I'm sure neither May nor Leadsom are exactly going to give Voltaire, Mencken, Twain or Wilde a run for their money in leadership wit!

Two more things
On the discussion about whether the next Prime Minister needs to be someone who voted Brexit or not - I don't think so, as long as they invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and respect the result, I don't have an issue if the PM voted Remain in the referendum.

In actual fact, playing the long game - one thing that may favour Theresa May is that when all the cross-party dissensions and media tensions are brought to bear on her leadership, a woman who voted Remain (albeit tepidly) but who steered us with some aplomb through the process of leaving the EU may actually in a very subliminal way be able to procure a modicum of connection and empathy with both sides.

Lastly, it shouldn't go unmentioned how interesting and ironic it is that the party that didn't go down the all-women shortlist route has ended up with two women contenders for PM on merit, whereas the opposition party that tried to design their representation of sexes with all-women shortlists and silly pink buses is all over the place and currently replete with second-rate female representation in senior roles, and three under-duress men at the forefront of their leadership.