Posted on 16th July 2022

Glad to be back home from hospital this week with that embracing warmth that allowed me sight unseen to go and hug my favourite young copper beech in my pyjamas. Some people might call it eccentric but I call it just saying it’s good to be alive.

Slane Castle

So the Tory leadership battle rages on. My money from the beginning has been on Penelope Mordaunt and if they have any sense they will choose her over Rishi Sunak. With some justification she is entitled to say that she is the leader that Labour fears the most. First, an attractive if not an imposing figure, her back story is far from the playing fields of Eton and Oxford. No bad thing after Boris. Growing up in Portsmouth she still remembers vividly the ships going off to the Falklands War and as she says “ that taught me what my nation was about, that we stood up to bullies, that we don’t need a role in the world, we just had to be ourselves”. She is now a Royal Navy Reservist on active service, an honorary Captain of MCM2 squadron. Unlike Rishi Sunak, who went to Winchester, Oxford and Stanford University, where he got an MBA, Penny Mordaunt went to the local comprehensive and then to Reading University as a deferred entrant because she was still a carer for her family. Both her parents got cancer when she was young and Penny had to grow up very fast. She has experience as Paymaster General, Minister for Trade Policy and, most importantly, is a successful Minister for Defence. She is also a genuine Brexiteer, an essential qualification for leadership. She is also formidable in the Commons. During a debate on donations against Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, she is described as looking “ like Boadicea crossed with a lioness”. She made “mincemeat” of Rayner and the encounter is described as the “the greatest bitch slap in history”. Still the lioness’s march is being challenged by Liz Truss, the former Foreign Secretary, who very much fancied herself as a future leader but isn’t necessarily getting the traction she anticipated. Now in an interview in the Spectator she has suggested that she would fund tax cuts through borrowing. This, of course, does not meet the approval of Rishi Sunak, the ex Goldman Sachs banker. By all accounts Rishi is a thoroughly nice guy, a former head boy at Winchester, he is the perfect gentleman with the intellect to match. However, with a hugely rich wife with non-dom tax status, he is not relatable to the ordinary voter. So despite the vicious attack on her by Lord Frost and supporters of Liz Truss, PM for PM is their best bet, but they probably won’t take it.

There are few people who do not recognise climate change is the greatest issue of our age. It would be fair to say that this sentiment has driven much support for the Greens. Then how tone-deaf if not out-right hypocritical is it for Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin to fly business class. It smacks of entitlement. Perhaps instead they could focus their energies on dealing with the terrifying increase in anti-social and violent behaviour on public transport as shown on Primetime on Thursday evening.

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