Leadership Challenge in March | Daniel Evans


Leadership challenge when? Watch out for the Ides of March.

There’s a familiarity of the Matt Hancock scandal about this Christmas party stuff. Someone has sat on this information for a year. Why is it getting released now? In Hancock’s case it paid to have a clean break from the past, ahead of any potential bad news in the coronavirus response report.

No loss. Hancock is unremarkable. His political career is distinguished by sucking up, aligning with whoever’s winning, saying whatever, and otherwise manoeuvring and grovelling. Adding in the sex scandal he’s a textbook, completely stereotypical politician. Unremarkable. Deselect him and move on. There’s a thousand people on the candidates list who the Conservative Party might as well try instead. Worst case, they’re as pointless as Hancock without the baggage. Start fresh.

Well, Johnson isn’t quite the same. It’s a bit difficult to fit him as boring or stereotypical. He’s certainly closer to it if the Boris act no longer works. See the Peppa Pig speech at the CBI and make up your own mind.

Sure, you can point to Brexit, furlough, and vaccines, as popular, but they’re now in the past. The latter two are a response to something. They’re not about building the country or taking it forward. What has Johnson really done? What has he really done lately?

It’s not exactly scientific, but a Guido Fawkes Twitter poll probably reflects something about how people are feeling. Aren’t you suspicious too that Plan B restrictions were a dead cat and not about public health?

What has Johnson got left? Beware the Ides of March. Fitting for a Classics man and Shakespeare fan. Let’s see what happens at the North Shropshire by-election on Thursday 16th December. In a “safe” Conservative seat a narrow win won’t be impressive, and a defeat would be a disaster. Still, Christmas is a bad time for any big moves.

The country will be more focused on Christmas and winding down. Cynically, winter is the peak season for disease and NHS overload. Challengers will want to let Boris take any blame, for this winter and all the previous pandemic-related awfulness, and it gives them more time to organise.

 The spring budget could be a good excuse to either rebel or a chance to set a new agenda under a new Prime Minister. The last spring budget was 3rd March earlier this year.

March could also be good timing ahead of the local elections. A new leader might benefit from the poll bump and honeymoon phase. A possible downside is that the party looks like it’s in disarray and voters still stay away. It’s a fair excuse for a new leader if things did go badly. What’s the downside?

Yes, watch out for March, and watch out for Rishi Sunak, Elizabeth Truss, and Jeremy Hunt.


Photo Credit.

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