Andrea Leadsom emerges as main challenger to May
The Telegraph front page headline is the emergence of Andrea Leadsom as key challenger to Theresa May for the Tory leadership. IDS is backing her, and she is expected to announce the support of thirty Conservative MPs next week. Meantime it reports fury with Gove in the Tory shires, incensed at the back-stabbing of Boris.
The man who wields the dagger never wears the crown: This sounds so like Shakespeare – but perhaps originates more prosaically with Gavin Esler. Oh well. More recent. Slightly less distinguished. But a quote applied first to Boris, and now equally appropriate to the latest knife wielder, Boris’s own assassin, Michael Gove. And just as support bled away from Boris, so now it seems to be melting away from Michael. He insists he didn’t want to be Prime Minister. Now he finds that no one else much wants him in the job either.
When I read that Andrea Leadsom is now ahead of Gove and running second to Theresa May, I wondered if it was amongst MPs, or Tory Party members. Neither. It’s with the bookies – usually the most accurate forecasters. She is also storming ahead in social media (although maybe I mostly follow people who are likely to support Andrea).
Perhaps a two-woman race in the end? Dull, grey, last-decade Theresa, or sharp, tough, experienced, articulate, committed, clean-hands, no-baggage Andrea? Tough choice.
May ahead? Certainly the press have Theresa May in a cakewalk to Number Ten. The Mail: “MAYMENTUM” (though it notes that Andrea Leadsom is ahead of Michael Gove) And the Mail also accords her the whole of Page five on “Theresa’s Tory values”. The “i”: “May heads for No. 10”.
The EU on the back foot: In the same issue of the Specky quoted above, economic commentator Liam Halligan argues that it’s the EU, not the UK, that’s now on the back foot.
Well done Wales!
They’ve made it to the semi-finals of Euro 2016. And they voted strongly for Brexit. Great days for the Principality.
Morning Star for a good laugh
The Morning Star is a paper you would never read for news or comment — but I’ve found it can certainly offer you a chuckle over the cornflakes. How about “GOVE AWAY! King Rat Tory told to back away from leadership bid”. Hire that sub-editor! A brilliant headline.
Osborne ditches plan to balance the budget
George Osborne has just announced that he will no longer be able to balance the budget by 2020 – just as he was unable to balance it by 2015. This time, however, he has his excuse ready to hand. Although it was clear earlier this year that the target was out of reach, he can now blame it on the Brexit vote. How jolly convenient.
An Independent Scotland would be like “Greece without the sun”
A report from the Centre for Policy studies reaches a stark conclusion about the prospects for a so-called “independent” Scotland in the EU: it would be “like Greece without the sun”. That should have Nicola choking over her porridge.
Austrian election re-run
The Austrian Supreme Court has upheld an objection to the recent Austrian Presidential Election, which now looks likely to be re-run. In the first run, the Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer lost by a tiny margin. He now hopes to win second time round. There is a normal electoral pattern where if a loser challenges a result on a technicality, the public, annoyed at having to vote all over again, punish him by affirming the previous winner by a big margin. But intruding into this scenario we now have the British Referendum result. Will it galvanise voters to support a eurosceptic party? Or perhaps the volatility of markets in the week after the vote will intimidate them? We shall see.
But I am annoyed by the MSM characterisation of the Austrian Freedom Party as “Far Right”. I’ve met some of their people in the European parliament, and I find them measured, moderate and reasonable. They just happen to believe in their country, which constitutes them “far right” in the BBC/Guardian world-view.
London house prices down
The Evening Standard leads with “House prices hit by Brexit fallout”. I suspect that, as with the FTSE, this could prove to be a nine-day wonder. Or perhaps two days. If so, some owners may be concerned – although it won’t trouble them if they’re not selling. But for thousands of young people desperate to buy their first home, it’s splendid news.
John McDonnell: Brexit result must stand
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has insisted that the Brexit result must stand. Funnily enough, French President François Hollande seems to agree: “Brexit result cannot be cancelled or delayed”. This follows from Cecilia Malmstrőm’s insistence yesterday that negotiation would have to come after invoking Article 50 – and the UK should get on with it (although the BBC suggests that some other EU officials beg to differ). I can’t remember when I’ve been so in agreement with Labour, the French Presidency and the European Commission.