Andrea Leadsom got into terrible trouble in the run-up to the last Tory leadership election for hinting that her experience of being a mother and raising children gave her an advantage over Mrs May – a wider experience, a broader understanding of people, greater empathy perhaps. This was most unwise because according to diversity and inclusivity theory, the new religion of our age, all people must be treated equally and can be assumed to be of equal capability in every respect regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social or family background, disability etc. Outrageous, then, to suggest that motherhood – a problematic concept, to say the least – confers an experience denied to others.
But did Leadsom know something we did not about Mrs May, our robotic prime minister, now bunkered down in Number Ten, clinging to office like a limpet mine? Was she trying to convey a coded message, however inept, that May had certain defects of personality that rendered her unsuited for the office of prime minister? What she wanted to say, but could not, was perhaps something on these lines: ‘May is a dominatrix, a control freak, who is incapable of accepting that other people have opinions that might differ from her own, who has a severely limited capacity to empathise with others, who has a talent for lying, deceiving and manipulating people, who is incapable of accepting responsibility for her actions, and who has a pathological indifference to what others think of her’. She was unable to find the words to express her thoughts in a politically ‘acceptable’ manner. But it turned out she was spot on. What a pity we did not listen to her!
No doubt Leadsom has her faults, but she has proved a competent and dignified Leader of the House and has won the respect of all sides, as was apparent in some of the tributes paid her tonight. She is also, by all accounts, a decent and likeable sort of person who can get along with others. And I liked it when, asked to comment on the petition for a people’s vote, which had reached several million, she calmly replied, ‘When it has reached 17.4 million, I will take note’.
Now, unlike her supine cabinet colleagues, she has shown she has some balls, resigning on principle while others continue their manoeuvres. It is reported that other senior ministers asked for urgent meetings today but were turned down, that May has even taken the telephone off the hook. She is ‘too focused on delivering Brexit’ to listen to them. But they continue to stomach it.
Yes, I find I am warning to Leadsom more and more. Subscribe