As well as taking a ‘slight’ interest in front line politics I have been a fan of all attempts to portray political life on the TV. I used to love Yes Minister as a comedy until I ended up in Ministerial team meetings that too closely resembled the scripts from the series for comfort. I’ve transitioned through Thick of It, West Wing and of course House of Cards.
Up until last week I think that BRITISH politics still resembled more Yes Minister than House of Cards treachery and backstabbing. But the brutality of the Gove intervention yesterday to force Boris Johnson off the Tory leadership ballot paper has me scouring the House of Cards episodes for clues about what we may have just witnessed. Of course the conspiracy theories are all starting to fly around about how long this had been ‘planned’. But as a good friend reminded me on Twitter today Frank Underwood had a plan. For all the conspiracy theories surrounding Gove/ Johnson I am not sure either fully thought they would win BREXIT and therefore if they did have a plan – it was in a post referendum world where they lost narrowly and could still carry the banner for out within a Tory party where Cameron stepped down in 2019. The speed of events in the last week and the lack of a plan exposed Boris for the chancer that he is. I can’t say I shed a tear yesterday as he pulled out of the race. Perhaps we can now get on with life and ignore this back bencher!
It certainly seems as though Teresa May is the front runner for the Tory Leadership and therefore set to be our next PM. However, it is worth pausing to add the caution that the front runner at this stage has rarely won. Thatcher was a surprise as was Major IDS and Cameron. So watch out for Leadsom and Crabb. Whilst I am a friend of Stephen I still think this has come 2years too soon for him. He has impressed some close to him and he has been in the Cabinet for a couple of years, but he has only held the big DWP brief for a short time and not really had time to make any impression. I am hoping Gove will be punished by the parliamentary party by not even being on the final ballot paper to go to members.