A tale of two leadership contests

It’s a sad day when Scotland can’t even be bothered celebrating the departure of David Cameron from number 10.

The man himself certainly seemed in a chipper mood as he hummed to himself entering Downing Street for one of the last times as Prime Minister. Perhaps it was the relief.

Plenty of folk were more concerned about the fate of Larry the Downing Street cat. Would the chief mouser to the cabinet be staying in post?  Is Theresa May a cat lady?  The internet was desperate to know. The feline, it was announced, will be one of the few in Westminster not to quit his job. He will perhaps get on better with the Mays as rumours suggest David Cameron is not a cat person and isn’t Larry’s biggest fan.

The Tory leadership contest ended when Theresa May’s only competitor for the job, Andrea Leadson, fell after suggesting she would make a better Prime Minister because she had children. Whether this is what she meant or not, the comments she made to a journalist were misguided at best and downright offensive at worst.

It’s also a whole a lot of nonsense and suggesting that women, or men, who are not parents do not have a stake in this country’s future is utterly  ridiculous.

Just as Theresa May was being crowned prime minister elect, Labour’s Angela Eagle was announcing that she would stand in an on again off again leadership challenge. She struggled to secure the the press she wanted as she discovered when asking around that all the journalists had hot-footed it to cover Theresa May instead. You could practically hear her voice echo round the room and see the tumbleweed tumble by.

It was eventually decided, during a doubtless fraught and tense meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee, that Jeremy Corbyn will automatically get to stand when Labour elects its new leader.

Ms Eagle really doesn’t stand a chance. She might get plenty of MPs behind her but Corbyn won by a huge majority and tens of thousands of people have joined Labour recently, it’s doubtful they did it to vote for Angela. A new entry into the race is Pontypridd MP Owen Smith. He was among the raft of resignations from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet and served as shadow work and pensions secretary. He reckons he can heal and unite the party. It’s a tough job but someone’s going to have to do it.

Labour finds its self in a mess of its own making. The disarray in the Tory party should have left it shooting at an open goal if there is to be an election later this year. Instead it has descended into in fighting and back stabbing. The country deserves and expects better than this.

The difference between Corbyn and most politicians is that people actually believe what he is saying, they trust him. This is a very rare thing for a politician and Labour would be wise to stick with someone people generally believe.

If, by some quirk of fate, Ms Eagle does win it will be momentous as Labour gets its first female leader and there will be two ladies staring each other down across the dispatch box at prime minister’s questions. Forgive me though if I’m not spotted dancing with joy on the front green and proclaiming a huge leap forward for women everywhere.

I’m not quite old enough to remember our only other female prime minister but I’ve heard the stories involving  people being carelessly tossed on the unemployment  scrapheap and they’re best avoided at bed-time lest you have nightmares. Lets hope we have better luck this time.

 

 

 

 

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