Theresa May – judged by the company she keeps

EU flagIt has been quite a week!  We won the Leave vote; we surprised the world and we upset the establishment!  The pollsters, the markets and the Remainers got it seriously wrong.  While the markets show good signs of recovering, the pollsters have gone very quiet and some Remainers are working themselves up into a frenzy of indignation.

Although Boris probably carried the Leave argument in the country with the larger groups,image I thought Gove and Leadsom did remarkably well in the TV debates.  Gove has a statesmanlike and intellectual quality that over-shadowed Boris and Leadsom shone through brightly despite her relative political inexperience.  Boris’s departure clearly caught everyone by surprise and it seems that Gove is being portrayed as the villain in the piece which I think is unfair and unnecessary.  Boris and Gove are two very clever men with formidable intellects but quite different characteristics that should have made them an unbeatable team.  However, it seems they could not find common ground and the fact that Gove could kill Boris’s ambitions at a stroke surely speaks for his own standing?

May_T2Which brings us to Theresa May.  I struggle with the probability that she may get the top job as a result of remaining silent during much of the referendum debate and despite having nominally supported the Remain camp.  I am afraid I do not trust her or those who support her bid.

Michael Heseltine has castigated the 17 million electors who voted to get our country HeseltineM3back and clearly believes their wish should be ignored and circumvented.  This is the chap who lost his cool over Westland and caused the downfall of Margaret Thatcher although he failed to succeed her.  I am sure his arrogance is one of the issues feeding people’s despair with disconnected politicians.  He is supporting Theresa May.

ClarkK2Ken Clark has similarly expressed his amazement that 17 million electors have instructed the government to leave the European Union.  He clearly believes the wishes of the majority should be thwarted and the establishment should find a way of remaining despite having lost the referendum vote.  Famous for his Hush Puppy shoes and his left of centre Europhilia, he is supporting the lady with the shoes.

You judge people by the company they keep. I cannot understand how someone from the Remain campaign, however muted, can lead the country in leaving the European Union.  I suspect a fudge and her list of supporters gives me little comfort.  We need clarity and firm leadership that recognises people’s concern about unlimited access to our country for the 450 million people living in the 27 states. We need clarity and firm leadership about people’s desire to govern their own country and set their own laws.  This will involve disentangling European regulations from our own laws and giving us back our country.  I fear Theresa May would present the country with an unwelcome fudge that left us tangled in the EU’s tentacles.

LeadsomA2Which brings us to the two obvious candidates: Gove and Leadsom.  Whether our Conservative MPs will present the party members with this choice seems doubtful so, if it is May and Leadsom on the final ballot, my vote is for Leadsom.  I have already said how much I wish she represented Banbury constituency rather than the one next door.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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