For anyone interested in public affairs watching a debate of candidates for Prime Minister (PM) should be a pleasure #ITVdebate. It’s the summer heat. Pleasure it certainly wasn’t. It was a formulaic event that was enough to make milk curdle. The toxic blue-on-blue punch-up was uninspiring. A college debating society might have made better peak time TV.
The matter of who will be the British PM in only 7 weeks’ time is important. As the first question put it, we are at the start of an actual cost of living crisis. Unfortunately, Sunday night a lot of fairy tale economics were on show. Rubishing the past took front stage. All Conservative candidates said they would not have the caretaker PM Boris Johnson in a new cabinet.
All candidates vaguely rattled on about Brexit opportunities. When asked if the winner needed to call for a General Election to consolidate their mandate they all said – no.
Tom Tugendhat MP stood on a hill shouting “clean start,” but it was as if no one was listening. He said he was in mortal fear of the leader of the opposition. He shifted around in an uneasy manner.
Liz Truss MP wanted to emphasise that she was “honest” but admitted to not being “slick” as she sideswiped the other candidates. Here neo-Thatcher stance is thinning as quickly as it arrived. Word of the night was – bold.
“Time for a change” was Kemi Badenoch MP’s mantra. Being brave and asking for unity are all designed to create good vibes. The Twittersphere has dubbed her #badenough as if to mark that as the criteria for winning. To target the giveaway candidates Badenoch said there’s “no easy option”.
As the front running Rishi Sunak MP, former Chancellor, got the most kick backs from other candidates. “I want to be honest” and responsible were his themes. He put the stress on prudent conservatism, a phenomenon that may not exist anymore.
Penny Mordaunt MP was all about saying she’s a team player but not acting like one. Asking for an innovative approach and that the system is broken is appropriate. Sadly, filling the vacuum with nothing much hasn’t helped her case. She’s the spend, spend, spend candidate. She told a fib about the state of the polls too.
Robot like, Truss wanted it known that she has “served” and will stand up to Putin. She stressed her legacy of trade deals and getting things done. Her project fear was to mention the inflationary spiral of the 1970s. Truss and Mordaunt can across as arrogant and patronising by calling for change but being unclear what change is needed.
Badenoch was not ashamed of her role in Government. Strangely for a politician she hit out at the others by saying “talking is easy” Tugendhat is a fan of nuclear power and never misses an opportunity to mention his military service.
Sunak was the only one to come across as relaxed. Open shirts are his uniform. He was unshaken as he skilfully batted back all the balls bowled directly at him. If there was a winner – he was it.