“I have your children. If you want them to have any stake in the future, you’ll withdraw from the leadership race.”
This formed the endgame of a barmy Tory leadership ‘election’ filled with ludicrous twists and unexpected turns.
First there was Boris’ trolling: gathering all the nation’s top political journalists into a room to launch his campaign, only to tell them, “Lol I’m not running.” As one commentator said on Twitter: “Boris Johnson has withdrawn. Well, there’s a first time for everything.”
People were quite angry at this, though. Boris led the Leave campaign. He got the country into an almighty mess, without any clear plan as to how to fix it, and then waltzed the scene altogether leaving others to pick up the pieces and deal with the consequences. For more on the Chilcot report into Tony Blair’s lack of post-Iraq planning, visit www.iraqinquiry.org.uk
At the first stage of the election proper, Stephen Crabb and Liam Fox (pictured left) dropped out of the race, which is a shame because I would have quite enjoyed it if the remainder of the campaign had fundamentally been an Aesop’s fable.
And thus the scene was set for Leadsom v May, an opportunity for us to soak up the relatively unknown Leadsom’s views on homosexuality and workplace rights (clearly being a mother gives her such an edge that she wants to deprive others of the opportunity by abolishing maternity pay), and a grossly patronising “recipe for a perfect British society” which appears on her blog:
A Tory mum’s recipe for a perfect British society
Take one cup of Anglo Saxon determination;
Mix with a jugful of Muslim respect for the family;
Stir in a pinch of traditional Asian modesty;
Whisk with two tablespoonsful of military respect for authority;
Serve on a bed of East European work ethic;
And enjoy with a full glass of British belief in the freedom of the individual!
She said that she’d been hounded out of the Conservative leadership race by “dirty tricks” and unreasonable online abuse.
And now we look forward to the Age of May…
…with David Davis, her new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (or SEE-U)…
…and, oh, yes, Boris, the only foreign minister in the Western world who can’t successfully make it to Belgium without accidentally shutting down an airport and mobilising five fire engines.
But more importantly: Theresa May is in my ears and in my eyes:
Readers may remember that the Information Tribunal ruled against Sussex in March, and ordered the university to reconsider my request, which asked how much they had spent on legal fees in a previous case I sparked (and which they partly lost and partly admitted their own failures). The judge was quite scathing, and her abject humiliation of Sussex resulted in university staff labelling me “a name to strike fear”.
Rather cheekily, they reconsidered my request and Head of Information Management Alexandra Elliott decided to refuse it a second time.
But the Information Commissioner disagreed, and now, 16 months after my original request, they’ve provided an answer.
The previous case about which I asked saw the university arguing that answering a freedom of information request would cause them commercial losses. But how much did they spend arguing this? Now we know:
Why did Constantinople get the works?
It’s been a very busy period since we last spoke, even if we don’t count British politics. We’ve had an evil terrorist attack in Israel and a “nice terrorist attack” in France. But most intriguingly, following a highly dramatic attempted coup in Turkey – almost a stereotyped coup, involving, as it did, all the key hallmarks of coups including bridge closures, low-flying jets, kidnapped army officers and more – our new Foreign Secretary convened a crisis meeting of COBRA, the top-secret emergency council which comes together in the basement of Downing Street when the going gets tough.
It was attended by a wide range of luminaries from:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the intelligence agencies, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Department for Transport. The ambassador and embassy staff in Ankara also joined by video link.
And what conclusion did these internationally renowned experts reach? It was very profound: according to the press release published after the meeting:
Officials agreed that we should monitor the situation on the ground closely over the coming days.
Let’s not forget Labour. Our credible opposition party is still ably opposing the government. Take this incisive question that Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott MP put to the government last month:
A 91-year-old pensioner from Nuremberg is facing prosecution after completing a crossword puzzle in an art gallery, only later to discover that it was a £67,000 piece of installation art which she’d just ruined.
Gabrielquotes has decided to provide its own topical crossword below – but be warned, I’m not going to warn you about whether or not it’s also worth a five-figure sum.
4. A cold child’s bed which took seven years
5. What John Whittingdale likes
7. Number of months it took Sussex University to answer a Freedom of Information request
8. Bloody disaster
9. What John Whittingdale likes
10. Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor [spent 8,870,400 of these pursuing legal proceedings against me]
1. Who respects their family most?
2. The main quality Asians bring to the UK
3. Bloody disaster
6. Andrea Leadsom’s views on climate change (and also an Egyptian river)
8. Sadly lacking in provinces