BY TIM DAWSON
Boris or Hunt? Neither can be worse than Theresa May.
Today, everything changes. Or rather, everything changes unless for some reason the Conservative Party has taken leave of its senses and decided to elect Jeremy Hunt as its new leader.
There is nothing actually wrong with Mr Hunt. In person, he is charming, emollient even, and in ordinary times, with everything running smoothly, he’d have made a perfectly adequate ‘steady as she goes’ PM.
But these are not ordinary times. Theresa May’s record is truly dire. The redoubtable Ann Widdecombe – the artist formerly known as Doris Karloff, subsequently of ‘Strictly’ fame – suggested Mrs May is the worst Prime Minister since Lord North. I beg to differ. Lord North lost the colonies. Theresa May tried to turn us into one.
May never understood Brexit, and pursued a strategy so foolhardy, so painfully maladroit, that it’s impossible to conclude she was ever really serious about taking us out on March 29th. Her Withdrawal Agreement, concocted in a spirit of supine forelock-tugging and gloom, was, to use a technical term, rubbish.
Her domestic approach was equally as unsuccessful. Hectoring, nannying state-intervention. Sin taxes, cake taxes, internet regulation, regulation regulation, red tape, tax hikes, tax records, for God’s sake change the record.
And then there was the personal style. The Dancing Queen. The Coughing Queen. Those awful addresses to the nation, staggering out of Downing Street like Mrs Overall without the ‘two soups’, propped up in front of that lectern. Lassitude made flesh; ‘decline’ in kitten heals.
“Nothing has changed.” “No deal is better than a bad deal.” And, worst – the “I’m on your side” pleas. I mean, please. Just the thought of it makes me want to close the curtains and go and rock in a wardrobe.
More generous readers, and Conservatives are by and large a generous bunch, might feel this assessment lacks charity.
But a Prime Minister cannot be someone whose main support is drawn from people feeling sorry for them. “Poor Theresa”; “The Prime Minister is doing her best”. No. A Prime Minister must be somebody with presence. Somebody you admire – or despise. Ideally somebody you respect. But never someone you feel sorry for. Not until they’re finished, at least.
The truth is, Theresa May has been finished since 2017. That she has held on for so long is perhaps an achievement, but an achievement so detrimental to the health of the Conservative Party and the country that it cannot be applauded. Except with the slowest of handclaps.
Today, however – today, dear reader! – it ends.
Twitter is already in meltdown at the prospect of Boris Johnson entering Number 10.
Brexit Derangement Syndrome is morphing into Boris Derangement Syndrome. Remainers, who have controlled the agenda so completely in the past two years, are realising the game is up.
“Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven.”
Now, we await the result. Is it too early for champagne?
After launching himself into a successful screenwriting career with BBC3 comedy ‘Coming of Age’, which was commissioned when he was just 19 years old, Tim Dawson became ‘Broadcast Hot Shot’ in the 2008 Industry Magazine. Whilst he saw his TV series run for three successful seasons (2007-2011) he also lent his hand to writing for ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’ starring Ralf Little and star of stage and screen Sheridan Smith. He has written for The Telegraph and The Spectator.