BY JOHN ISMAEL
For me this election is as simple a choice as ever. It does not require a darkened room and a cafetiere of coffee. I do not need to spin a bottle or toss coins. It’s not an election around which anyone with the slightest sanity should have any doubts.
Simply look at the two key offices in British national government: Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
First, let us deal with Prime Minister. The choice there is between three people (in effect actually just two but let’s entertain the prospect of a Liberal revival just to be fair). So, we are forced to decide between Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron (providing Farron beats the fishfinger running against him in his constituency).
Theresa May is steely, was the longest-serving home secretary (known as a political graveyard) since Henry Matthews in 1892, she is the daughter of a Vicar (so presumably knows the difference between right and wrong), she has mainstream conservative views, understands and supports defence and order, says she will see through on Brexit and she already has international respect, especially from Mr Trump, who, to add occasional weight to Brexit negotiations, we might be calling on to help us out rather a lot over the next four, or possibly eight, years.
Jeremy Corbyn is – so his followers say – honest and kind. He’s never held any political office before. He is an overt socialist in spite of socialism failing wherever it has been tried before. Corbyn lacks judgment – he’s a friend of Hamas, the IRA and someone who thinks we can negotiate with Islamist terrorists. While the IRA “armed struggle” was at its height, Mr Corbyn attended and spoke at official republican commemorations to honour dead IRA terrorists, IRA “prisoners of war” and the active “soldiers of the IRA.” He believes in nuclear submarines without warheads and has little interest in giving our armed forces the support they need. Momentum, which backs him, is rife with Trotskyist entryists who hate Britain and detest our greatest ally, America. Foreign leaders avoid him on state visits, he employs an alleged Stalinist as his Executive Director of Strategy and Communications, and he has a penchant for dressing in lurid shell suits. He has had sex with Diane Abbott, allegedly.
Tim Farron looks and sounds like George Formby. He describes Brexit as a “theft of democracy”, his party numbers just eight MPs, he has never held political office, he’s an evangelical Christian which upsets the liberals and some gays, and he’s generally considered honest. He’s ginger and (have I mentioned this already?) he’s standing against a fish finger.
Based on those records, let’s score for gravitas and competence: I give May an eight, Farron a (generous) five and Corbyn a two.
Now, let’s look at the Chancellors:
Philip Hammond is bright. He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford where he was an Open Scholar and graduated with a first-class honours degree. He has plenty of experience of high office, serving as secretary of state for transport and defence, as well as Foreign Secretary. He looks and seems incredibly dull, perhaps not as dull as Alistair Darling but on a par with John Major, certainly. Hammond, in his first budget in March this year, increased National Insurance contributions that self-employed people have to pay, he also voted and campaigned for Remain – he is a safe pair of hands but an occasional butter (rather than fish) fingers.
John McDonnell attended Great Yarmouth Grammar School, but left at the age of 17 (not necessarily a bad thing). Under Ken Livingstone, McDonnell was the Chair of Finance, responsible for the GLC’s £3 billion budget and its deputy leader (hmm, I don’t recall the GLC being very successful). During a hustings for the GMB Union, McDonnell was asked what single act he would do to improve the world if he could travel back to the 1980s – his off-the-cuff reply was that “I was on the GLC that Mrs Thatcher abolished, I worked for the NUM and we had the NUM strike, I think I would assassinate Thatcher”. McDonnell is friends with IRA terrorists, suggesting in 2003 that the IRA should be honoured for the bombings which brought the British government “to the negotiating table” during the Northern Ireland peace process. He’s an overt communist and likes the idea of wildstrikes to bring capitalism down even if it involves struggle on the streets.
The Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor doesn’t even sit in the House of Commons. She’s called Baroness Susan Kramer and became a Vice-President of Citibank in Chicago. She and her husband then set up Infrastructure Capital Partners, a firm which advised on infrastructure projects, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. So, presumably, she can add up. She was President of the Oxford Union and also studied PPE.
I’m giving Hammond a seven, McDonnell a two (for his repulsive liaisons with terrorists) and I’ll give Kramer a five. Those numbers seem fair enough.
If you add the scores together, the Conservatives get fifteen, Labour gets four and the Lib Dems get ten.
I am voting Conservative at the election. It’s that simple. None of the others are up to filling such important offices of state. The Lib Dems are pro-EU and therefore anti democracy. In my opinion May went for the election not to win masses more seats (unlikely with a Remain-focused London) and would have waited for the boundary changes if she wanted more seats – she went for an election now as she can see how important those extra two years will be for negotiating a trade deal and putting Brexit to bed.
We’re facing choppy waters ahead. I’ll do what all Brits do when there are choppy waters ahead – hold onto nanny, knowing she will deliver Brexit while her competitors are either incompetent or won’t.