Who might win the Conservative Election Stakes ?
Nominations for the Conservative leadership close tomorrow at mid-day. There then follow a series of ballots among Conservative MPs until just two candidates are left and then the paid up membership of the party votes on the two candidates by a postal ballot.
We should remember that the referendum was a manifesto commitment designed to resolve a split within the party about continued membership of the EU. So there is still a split in the party between those who supported the concept of Brexit and those who supported Remain.
The MPs who supported Remain tended to hold that view because it was the best solution in terms of the UK economy. Very few of them have any ideological approach to the concept of a united Europe. Mild Euroscepticism is the party norm these days.
Among Conservative MPs, some who supported Brexit did so out of conviction, others supported the idea only because they feared that their constituents would otherwise vote UKIP. This was primarily a problem in less prosperous areas where immigration was a primary concern for voters or where job losses had been blamed on EU policies – for example as a result of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. How particular MP’s conducted themselves in the EU Referendum will be of importance in this race for the Tory Leadership.
Nobody yet has sufficiently taken Clown Boris (and Poison Dwarf Gove) to task for following the approach of the Dark Lord Farage and conducting a campaign on an anti-immigration front in a manner which has revived among the profanum vulgus a huge amount of racist aggression and misbehavior. For example, laminated cards in English and Polish were left on doorsteps and near to schools in Cambridgeshire causing much distress to Members of the Polish community.
There has been quite a substantial increase in this kind of racist abuse.
Previous form in office is also material. For example, Poison Dwarf Gove was quite widely seen as unelectable, particularly after his “reforms” in the education field.
The “quiet man” Ian Duncan Smith was seen as the man who did his best to wreck the benefits system and put in place the “soak the poor” policies adversely affecting pensioners, the disabled and poorer families. In addition he is a former leader of the Conservative Party who did not manage to win an election.
Clown Boris, however, was a popular Mayor of London for two terms and he has been a popular TV show participant. Additionally, as a columnist in the Telegraph, he is widely read by Conservatives. So the initial favorites for the Cameron succession were:-
Boris Johnson (the Clown), Michael Gove (the Poison Dwarf) and Teresa May, the Home Secretary. Wisely, Mr Gove has elected not to put his name forward. Clown Boris is the darling of the Brexit faction of the Party. Others may think that Boris is more interested in his own advancement than he is in the good of the Country. Teresa May has been a determined Home Secretary. She was nominally a Remain supporter but she kept herself well away from the Brexit campaign. She is widely regarded as the “Stop Boris” candidate.
Willian Hill’s Political Betting page has Boris Johnson at 8/11, Teresa May at 7/4 and Stephen Crabb at 6/1.
A You Gov survey puts Teresa May very marginally in front of Boris Johnson and other candidates at this stage are largely out of the race. But You Gov points out:-
- Teresa May leads Johnson amongst Conservative voters by a margin of 31% to 24%. She also leads amongst Labour and Lib Dem voters by margins of 18% to 9% and 31% to 13% respectively. Boris does however have a clear 48% to 9% lead amongst UKIP voters.
- Theresa May is supported by 26% of Remain voters compared to Johnson’s 4%. Whilst among those who supported Brexit, Boris wins by a margin of 32% to 18%.
Other candidates are emerging. Nominations close at noon tomorrow. The result will be known on or before 2nd September 2016.