Thursday, 3 August 2017

The electorate will vote for and believe politicians they like and find genuine

Politicians the electorate like poll well irrespective of party. BoJo, an Old Etonian Tory, is the best recent example winning two mayoral elections in London a city dominated by Labour voting ethnic groups comprising well over 50 % of the electorate. Zak Goldsmith who is a very rich Tory but a nice guy lost to a nasty piece of work Sadeq Khan who is doing the City London down at every opportunity. His recent comments on making Donald Trump unwelcome in London are stupid and vindictive beyond belief. Trump is the democratically elected US president a country that saved us from the Germans.

Rees Mogg is now replicating BoJo. Mogg is also an Old Etonian, also rich and although his claims to have made his money by his own efforts are largely true having your Daddy as Times editor opens doors in the City as well as Westminster.  My wife knew Mogg's Mummy and Daddy and liked them for the same reason the young Paisley MP liked Jacob in the Commons. They all have impeccable manners and are always very polite. All the Paediatric staff in our local hospital, nurses and cleaners liked the Moggs for their courtesy and politeness. This is what comes across strongly on TV and what the voters like.

A run off for Tory leader between BoJo and Mogg would be very tight with DD, another politician people like probably ruled out because of his age. All thre would make excellent PMs

The Lib Dems, Charlie Kennnedy, now deceased, was another politician voters liked and identified with. Labour's Frank Field and Gisella Stuart come into the same category. Voters perceive them as honest and decent and trust what they say but their parliamentary parties put their own selfish interests first so elected hopeless cases as leaders, Campbell, Foot whom the public disliked. Corbyn had a partial success with the public on the back of promised bribes and the most incompetent Tory party in my lifetime..

The problem is its parties that choose leaders who can become PMs and they choose candidates who appeal to the Westminster bubble often on expectations of preferment.with the future financial rewards that brings.

It was Tony Blair's great skill to con the British electorate three times and keep his MPs happy at the same time. All parties desperately seek another TB, the Tories chose Cameron the Lib Dems Clegg. Neither was a success so the search goes on for the party managers to find another TB.

Personally I do not want another smooth con man like Cameron or Clegg or geriatric duffers like Cable or Corbyn. I prefer honesty and brains and Mogg, BoJo and David Davies have that in spades. Most politicians come across as thoroughly dishonest by their consistent evasion of questions and in a few some cases corruption and nepotism.

I must however plead prejudice against Old Etonians so DD. a genuinely self made man people like would be my choice but choose a leader people like!


Stephen Harness said...

For me it has to David Davis. He has a fair idea where up north is and he has had a proper job.

L fairfax said...

I think David Davis is too old if I were a Tory I would think about someone like Priti Patel. If she were leader of the Tories and David Kurten leader of UKIP this tweet from Corbyn would look really stupid.
"Only Labour can be trusted to unlock the talent of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people"
Possibly it could be changed to only Labour gives jobs to talentless people of any race (Diane Abbot I am talking about you).

Stephen Harness said...

Yes Churchill was 66 when be became PM in 1940. Are you really saying he was almost too old to face a the serious crisis of an invasion. The next PM cannot be a gamble, however suitable.

L fairfax said...

David Davis is not another Churchill, if he were he would have beaten Cameron and be Prime Minister now.

Eric Edmond said...

I disagree Mr Fairfax. Churchill was detested by the Tories who wanted Halifax. Churchill was thhe last resort.

Tories were desperately seeking a 'Blair' when they chose Cameron although in terms of talent and experience Davis was clearly the better candidate. The Tories got conned by Cameron just like the British electorate got conned by Blair.

L fairfax said...

But Churchill was a great public speaker, I thought Davis was not very good at public speaking. (I am not a historian so could be wrong and maybe everyone thought the same of Churchill at 66).

Eric Edmond said...

Successful con men are all great public speakers. That is how they persuade the gullible to vote for them. Churchill was always a bubonic self publicist. Those whose relatives died at Gallipoli may take a less charitable view of him.

L fairfax said...

True, although my Gran lost relatives there and still thought he was great. BTW Winston Churchill was 41 when resigned and went to fight on the front, Tony Blair was 54 -but very active - when he resigned as PM - sadly no one suggested that he go and fight in Iraq.

rapscallion said...

Personally I'd opt for JR-M. He comes across as a thoroughly decent type. Properly brought up and who treats all who cross his path with politeness and courteousness. His background is irrelevant. You can either do the job or you can't. I concur with your selection but would also add Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxhall. What have the all got in common? The courage of their convictions, they don't succumb to the latest fashions or "fashionable" ideas. I disagreed on many thing Tony Benn cames out with, but at least I respected his opinion. Thats' the thing these days - so many MP's have come straight from university and have not experienced the daily slog and grind that the rest of us have to put up with.

Eric Edmond said...

I agree Kate Hoey is a good decent honest intelligent woman.

Stephen Harness said...

The standard entry route to PM is via one of the big jobs of state, Chancellor or Foreign Sec. That puts Boris and Philip in the lead, take your pick. Churchill did it via the backbenches, so, on that basis Jacob could be the man. Would his religion make life awkward for him?

Eric Edmond said...

Thatcher was sec of state for Education, Cameron was shadow education sec, Blair never had a government post of any sort prior to be being PM. The two who fit your filter were Brown & Major. Both were failures.

Wilson was in the cabinet at 30 as President of the Board of Trade before PM as was Heath so the path you suggest to PM is not de rigeur, there are other routes to PM as Jezza may yet prrove.

Stephen Harness said...

Good points as usual. We have Donald Trump as Mr President and leader of the free world without any political office experience. He was a business tycoon and television personality. My thoughts turn to Alan Sugar or Simon Cowell. Perhaps Nigel Farage increasingly fits the bill. Certainly he is the best orator and commands an audience but would have to make so many compromises.

Niall Warry said...

I'm glad you added your last sentence as I was getting confused by your post as I know you hate 'toffs' on principle!

As for Boris being honest he was sacked from the Telegraph for lying and making up an article and of course like 'Pantsdown' cheated on his wife.

JRM indeed comes across as very polite but \I have serious doubts about his ability to put his country before his party's best interests.

DD lost to Cameron and then did nothing for ages.

I don't rate any of them but, and I'm sure this will shock you, I think Hammond is closer to reality than most.

Number 10 said...

Dear Dr Edmond and Mr Harness,

Interesting discussion between you on "standard entry route to PM" and intriguingly both of you are correct, depending on the context.

If the context is someone becoming PM for the first time upon a change of governing party, then Dr Edmond is correct and one has to go all the way back to 1885 to find an incoming first-term PM in those circumstances who had previously held one of the great offices of state. Astonishing but true. That PM was Salisbury who had been Disraeli's Foreign Secretary a few years earlier.

If, however, the context is someone succeeding a PM from the same party during a parliamentary term, then it is Mr Harness who is correct and it is a very long time since anyone has become PM in those circumstances who was not at that point occupying one of the great offices of state (which include Home Secretary as well as Foreign Sec and Chancellor). Moreover there are many more examples which "fit the filter", as Dr Edmond puts it, than just Major and Brown. In reverse order from themost recent, they are:

2015 - May (Home Sec).
2007 - Brown (Chancellor)
1990 - Major (Chancellor on becoming PM, previously Foreign Sec)
1976 - Callaghan (Foreign Sec on becoming PM, previously both Chancellor and Home Sec)
1963 - Douglas-Home (Foreign Sec)
1957 - Macmillan (Chancellor)
1955 - Eden (Foreign Sec)

This brings us back to Churchill who all the way back in 1940 was the most recent example of someone who was not at that moment occupying one of the great offices of state becoming PM in succession to another PM from the same party, but even Churchill had himself been Chancellor a decade earlier.

Number 10 said...

Correction, May of course became PM in 2016 not 2015.

My two lists illustrate variius truisms, I think. First, in seeking to return to government after a period of opposition (particularly a long period of opposition), political parties are unsurprisingly more likely to seek fresh blood in their leaders and consequently those who are less likely to have held the top roles previously (there have been two postwar possibilities to break the rule - former Chancellor Gaitskell in 1959 and former Home Sec Howard in 2005, but in both cases they led their party to election defeat). Second, when governing parties change PM during a term they are more likely to go for experience through someone already near the top. Third, these PMs are statistically more likely to fail. There are numerous reasons, but one is that they are inevitably more likely to be taking over governments that are old and tired and on their way out. Looking at the list, only three led their party to a majority in the election after taking office - Eden (the only one to go to the country almost immediately after becoming PM), who would soon be buried by Suez, Macmillan (who won in 59 but was perhaps saved from later defeat post-Profumo by his own ill health) and Major, who by winning in 1992 was actually far from being the biggest electoral failure on the list but is nonetheless more largely remembered for his big defeat in 97.

As the current context, if May goes, is a governing party changing leader in the midst of a parliament, history does rather suggest Hammond or Johnson (or God help us, Rudd) has a better chance than DD or JRM.

Number 10 said...

A further thought, if you will allow me, Dr Edmond. Looking again at that list of PMs from Eden to May who have moved directly to Downing Street from one of the great offices of state during a parliamentary term, it strikes me that something might be different this time, assuming May's imminent departure, which may give a better chance to someone from beyond the great offices of state like David Davis or Jacob Rees-Mogg.

It is true that under such circumstances the Tory Party has in recent history always gone for the less adventurous option of an existing occupant of one of the great offices, as has the Labour Party for that matter. But it needs to be asked who exactly has constituted the party in previous instances.

In 1955 (Eden), 1957 (Macmillan) and 1963 (Douglas-Home), it was still the so-called "magic circle" which exclusively made the pick - the tiny handful of party bigwigs, including the outgoing PM, in consultation with the monarch. No wonder they didn't look beyond their fellow bigwigs at the great offices in those days.

In 1990, the "electorate" had grown to become a ballot of the full parliamentary party (the same was true of the Labour Party when it changed PMs in mid-government in 1976). Slightly more hope for a more junior minister or backbencher under those circumstances, perhaps, but not greatly so, with the grassroots still kept out of the process.

That leaves one more example from both of the big parties - Brown in 2007 and May in 2016. By then, the rules included the grassroots in both, but in each case we were denied the opportunity to see for the first time how the grassroots would vote whilst their party was already in government, Brown being an unchallenged coronation from the outset and May emerging by semi-default when Andrea Leadsom dropped out before the vote of grassroots members. For the record, the powers-that-be in Central Office breathed an undisguised sigh of relief at Leadsom's announcement and had clearly been worried that the grassroots would not stick to the approved script.

It's hard to say how the Tory Party movers and shakers would try to move and shake everything this time. They might try to opt for another quick coronation, citing a need to avoid a messy and protracted contest in the middle of the Brexit negotiations. However, they might look at May and say "look where that got us last time", judging that taking the decision to the grassroots would offer a better chance of reconnecting with the wider electorate. If that were to happen, we are in uncharted waters, because no grassroots membership has ever picked the new PM during a parliament. Until the day that happens, we cannot really judge whether they are more likely to plump for the safety first option of one of the great office holders (not that everyone would see Boris Johnson as a safety first option in any case, of course!) or whether they would look beyond to a DD or JRM, though of course we can speculate...