Susan Morrison has an eye for a winning Tory leadership contender, but this time her inner weird sister is stumped.
MacBeth, you’ll recall, was just on his way home at the beginning of the play, having finished a battle, which I imagine was a fairly spectacular bloodfest that even Game of Thrones fans wouldn’t have complained about, and as laden with gore and backstabbing as the latest Tory fight to lead the party.
Presumably the Thane of Glamis was looking forward to a good hot bath and a soothing herbal tea, when three aged crones suddenly lurched into view and told him he was about to go up the pay-scale and become king. Clearly the gals had an eye for a thane on the make.
Well, like those three witches, I have a strange power. I’m not proud of it, but I have called it right for every leader of the Tory Party in every party battle since Margaret Thatcher in 1975. Yes, I was a schoolgirl at the time and yes, I was roundly laughed at for even suggesting it, but this lady was not for turning and, by jiminy, victory was mine. If ever a victory was hollow, that was it.
Iain Duncan Smith? Yep, marked his card when most people had never heard of him, a track record he managed to maintain throughout an entirely forgettable period in office only to blossom into a pantomime villain in cabinet with Universal Credit. Michael Howard? Yep. William Hague? Easy to spot. David Cameron? What, Tories would vote for some one who sounded like he should have been running a bit of the Empire and acts like he owns the place already? Shoo-in, mate.
If this is the second sight, it’s pretty rubbish. I know you find this hard to believe, but I’d trade in a lifetime gift of Tory Party Leader Prediction for just one week of the lottery numbers.
Don’t think I take my strange powers lightly. Remember Paul the Psychic Octopus back in 2010? He made a fortune by apparently predicting who would win football games the world cup. Surely, I can monetise my one superpower? It’s predicting the next leader of the Tory Party, for heaven’s sake! How much more entrepreneurial could it be? Obviously, I’d charge more since I’ve only got two legs, whilst Paul there had eight. Money in scarcity, my friend.
Which brings us to the latest lurch for No. 10. Here’s my problem this time around. I’m stumped.
So, there are 12 of them this time around. A photo spread of the runners for this egg-and-spoon race looked like a trailer for the worst-ever series of The Apprentice.
We know a few of the faces, we vaguely recognise a few of the names, but this time around there are politicians so unknown they might as well be balloons with googly eyes stuck on the front.
But there is one we all know, and this is where my inner weird sister strokes her chin thoughtfully.
Boris. Now, here’s the thing. He’s a double-dealing, backstabbing mendacious womaniser who fibs like an unsuccessful dieter lying about the calorie intake of an entire cheesecake. Somehow we got to the end of his time as Foreign Secretary without us being at war with an allied front of Kiribati, the Faroe Islands and Disneyland.
Offensive, buffoonish, ineffective and with a Bullingdon Club belief in an ability he doesn’t have. So, on paper, he looks perfect to lead the Tories. But my inner crone is not convinced. The Tories never reward the assassin, and BoJo’s never been slow to knife allies in the back. Looking at you, D Cameron and T May. Also, the rest of the country thinks he’s privileged prat. Surely the Tory members who select their next leader will choose more wisely? No, I can’t believe I wrote that either.
Grayling’s trailing – and he’s not in the race
Who’s left? Well, I’m surprised by one notable omission, Chris Grayling, the man who ordered ferries from a company that didn’t have any.
I’m an old retail hand, so when I’m in the market for a purchase, I generally find out who’s got what I’m looking for and go there, or you wind up marching into B&Q and trying to buy knickers.
Should I be shopping for ferries, I’d go to a ferry shop. It’s not an impulse buy, is it? Not at £50 million, which is what it cost to sort the mess out. If we’d given Chris a million quid to just stay at home, we’d be £49m up on the deal.
Cheerfully, and giving hope to all those out there who have spectacularly fouled up on a regular basis, Mr Grayling seems completely oblivious to his obvious shortcomings.
I was surprised he hadn’t popped up in the leadership lists. Oh wait, you don’t think he’s launched a leadership bid for Plaid Cymru instead, do you?