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  Opinion   Columnists  23 Jul 2022  Farrukh Dhondy | With just 2 left in Tories’ PM race... Can Brutus be crowned Ceasar?

Farrukh Dhondy | With just 2 left in Tories’ PM race... Can Brutus be crowned Ceasar?

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Jul 23, 2022, 1:31 am IST
Updated : Jul 23, 2022, 1:31 am IST

If you are reading this anywhere in the world apart from the UK, you will be spared the 'news' about the rivalry between these candidates

Conservative party leadership contender Liz Truss. (AP)
 Conservative party leadership contender Liz Truss. (AP)

“O Bachchoo let temptation compel

To wine and waste; you already know well

There is no forgiveness for human want

— And that you have a reserved place in hell!”

— From Egg-Plant Bertha, by Bachchoo


Welcome, gentle reader, in this global heatwave to the yawn-fest of democracy. Britain’s Tory MPs have finally whittled down the eleven candidates who aspired be Prime Minister to just two.

Yes, the process prescribed by the party’s rules will now subject the two contenders to a vote by the 160,000 paid-up members of the Conservative Party — average age 59 years. They will decide between Rishi “Hedgie” Sunak and Liz “doesn’t even really deserve a parody Appellation” Truss, both members of BoJo’s last Uncle Tom’s Cabinet.

If you are reading this anywhere in the world apart from the UK, you will be spared the “news” about the rivalry between these candidates, their views and their prospects. I, living in London (Yes OK, I am thinking about it and am grateful that Priti “Clueless” Patel may not remain home secretary and so can’t deport me to Rwanda!) and the rest of the population will have to endure the boredom of this contest for the next six weeks. It’s not Achilles versus the tortoise — it’s more bore and endure.

Gentle reader, yes! These “members” have until the fifth of September to decide whether “Hedgie” beats “Lizard”, etc. This limited electorate, entrusted with deciding the fate of this brown and very over-heated, unpleasant land, was recently surveyed about their view on global warming. Only four per cent of these stalwarts thought it was an issue worth considering. These Neros were happy to fiddle while Rome and the rest of the world burns. The same survey found that 64 per cent of the rest of the population thinks it a priority issue. Roll on, British democracy.

To reach the top two, “Lizard” overtook a trade minster called Penny Mordaunt. This Penny had constantly been the second runner in the race, but when a fourth candidate called Kemi Badenoch was eliminated in the series of votes on Tuesday, her supporters, transferred their votes to “Lizard”. Why?

It was owing to the single philosophical division in this selection process. The Tories, and probably a large section of the population, object to the supposed threat to free speech and opinions posed by “woke” philosophical contentions, “identity politics” and the attempted reorientation of colonial history. The revision of history books, the toppling of statues, the reorientation of pronouns in a transgender context, the “cancelling” of people with whom some student body or the other disagrees with, etc…

One of the hopefuls, eliminated in the penultimate round, is called Kemi Badenoch. She is of Nigerian origin and boasts of her poor past. Now BoJo is known as a man with a strong sense of humour and I fancy that he appointed her minister for equality — whatever that means — with his tongue somewhere in his cheek. Perhaps her surname gave him the idea. You see, gentle reader, there was, according to the Bible, a figure we can call Good Enoch because he persuaded God to promise never to cause global floods again through global warming or whatever. Then in 1968 came the first Bad Enoch, surnamed Powell, who became famous for being a political racist.

And now Kemi, named Badenoch, argues against the whole enterprise of “woke” politics, philosophy and “identity politics”. Whatever you or I may think of it, gentle reader, she defined herself as the anti-wokist, anti-cancellist candidate, and so the virtual apostle of free speech and opinion.

If she had been elected PM, she would probably have initiated legislation to ban children from choosing their gender — boys and girls under 18 years of age going to clinics who legally prescribe drugs and surgery to get them to “change” their sex.

Penny Mordaunt was the only candidate in the race who made some gestures towards the “woke” contentions on LGBT and transgender issues. When Ms Badenoch was eliminated from the race, the MPs who voted for her then transferred their votes to Ms Truss rather than the marginally “wokish” Ms Mordaunt, allowing Ms Truss to overtake her — and so Ms Mordaunt was eliminated in the next round.

Which leaves “Hedgie” and Ms Truss to fight it out for the premiership. Ms Truss promises immediate tax cuts if she wins. “Hedgie” challenges her to say where the money will come from. Ms Truss replies she will borrow more money — and so take the State’s debts to unprecedented levels.

The eternal Tory argument is that cutting taxes on the rich will leave them with more capital to invest in economic growth and so create jobs and wealth which can enable a government to reduce debt. It’s an argument that has never been conclusively proven and is constantly challenged by economists of the Left.

“Hedgie” can’t oppose Ms Truss and say he will increase taxes. He says he will first deal with the present 9.4 per cent inflation (which happened under his chancellorship) and then reduce taxes. All very sensible sounding, but will it be popular with the Tory membership?

There’s no new blood in the race. Both these contenders went blithely and merrily along with BoJo’s plans, policies, peccadilloes, lies, favouritisms and hypocrisy. Then “Hedgie” resigned and started the avalanche which brought about BoJo’s demise.

Inevitably, the economic arguments will weigh with this Tory electorate, but there just might be the other factor: can Brutus be crowned Caesar?

Tags: rishi sunak, liz truss