Clarke discusses the Tory Leadership “Fiasco”
Ken Clarke, for whom I have an enormous amount of respect, has been caught on camera giving the most sober analysis of the Conservative Leadership Election out there. He concedes Leadsom could be alright, admits he hasn’t a clue what Crabb stands for, and calls May “a bloody difficult woman.” Most interesting are his comments on Michael Gove:
I remember having a discussion once about something we should do in Syria or Iraq and he was so wild that I remember exchanging looks with Liam Fox., who’s much more right-wing than me. Liam was raising eyebrows. I think with Michael as Prime Minister we’d go to war with at least three countries at once.
Now, by right-wing, he obviously means hawkish, which is not an acceptable definition of right-wing in my book. But the fact that by Clarke’s assessment, Michael Gove is the most hawkish of the leadership contenders is very interesting indeed. Of course, Gove has an entirely just reputation for being a Blairite (which Theresa May has somehow avoided), but if Gove’s foreign policy stances are more aggressive than even Liam Fox’s, then we should hope and pray that we don’t get Gove.
Regarding his comments on Andrea Leadsom and whether she is sincere about leaving the European Union, I am not entirely sure I agree with his assessment. Leadsom may personally and privately believe all manner of things. She may personally have preferred that the vote was to remain in the EU. She may personally believe in Gay Marriage. She may personally be a communist for all I care. What matters in politics is how you position yourself, and Leadsom has positioned herself as the most Eurosceptic and culturally conservative contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party (and a look back at her old, unedited blog, which she has not yet deleted, suggests that she is indeed very right-wing, and by my definition of the term!). She has not only positioned herself as the right-wing Tory, but she also has support from other right-wing Tories like Iain Duncan Smith and the anti-interventionist John Baron, along with a number UKIP backers. She seems alright to me. However, for the avoidance of doubt, this is not an endorsement; she has enough of those already.