So the three-headed hydra has been reduced to two heads with Michael Gove being knocked out of the Conservative Leadership race. Now Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom will have to persuade the 150 000 Conservative members, 0.2% of the population, to elect them as prime minister. I wanted to make a joke about how more people vote for x-factor candidates then will vote for our Prime Minister but they don’t release the amount of votes cast much to my disappointment (I’d put money on it.) Complete lack of democracy aside, it’s important we know a bit more about our two prime ministerial candidates.
Needless to say, both candidates have a fairly establishment background. Theresa May was educated at Oxford, worked for the Bank of England and her husband works in investment banking. Andrea Leadsom, on the other hand, went to Warwick University and has a history of investment banking at one point working for Barclays, although there has been confusion over exactly what she did there. They’re no Eton-educated, Bullingdon club member aristocrat but neither are they your average British person by any stretch of the imagination.
Now let me deal with the elephant in the room, Leadsom and May have exhibited ‘homophobic tendencies’ with both candidates voting against pro-LGBTQ legislation and Andrea Leadsom publicly saying she was unhappy with the bill on gay marriage. Now you can make of that what you will, however, personally I find those kinds of opinions terrifying in an individual who will shortly be our Prime Minister.
I was in a vaguely curious yet masochistic mood today so I decided to look at the voting records of both candidates which read like policy list in a dystopian novel. In regards to the European Human Rights act its safe to say that both candidates are less than happy with its existence. Leadsom voted to repeal the Human Rights act in 2012 and 2016, Theresa May was only able to express her distaste towards Human Rights in 2016 as she was absent from the vote in 2012. As if to secure their anti-Human Rights credentials, both candidates have voted consistently for UK military intervention overseas. The list only gets worse, they both voted for the bedroom tax, reductions in welfare, increasing VAT, cutting corporation tax and against the increase of the top level of tax. So when Andrea Leadsom says she’s for “prosperity not austerity”, remind yourself that actions speak louder than words. Moving on from the economy, both candidates supported the increase in tuition fees, because obviously, the key to a well-functioning society is to have everyone who’s educated buried under debt. I guess it all depends on what you define as a well functioning society. Unsurprisingly both candidates voted for tighter restrictions on trade unions, however, Leadsom really comes into her own having, at one point, said she would abolish the minimum wage, maternity leave and other workers rights for small businesses, which is complete insanity. Theresa May, however, accused Leadsom of protecting “foreign criminals” when Leadsom guaranteed the status of EU nationals, which is also complete insanity. I’ll leave you to flip coins over which candidate you find more morally abhorrent.
All jokes aside, I would like to draw your attention to something that will not be explored in any great detail by the mainstream media, climate change. Both May and Leadsom have consistently voted against measures to restrict climate change, with May voting in clear support of fracking. Climate change is a serious issue which is of even more consequence as the next Prime Minister will be key in ensuring that our exit from Europe does not impede the global effort to reduce carbon emissions. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that neither Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom are the candidates to ensure a continued reduction in carbon emissions.
Ultimately, Leadsom and May are the epitome of the ‘nasty tory party’ and one them will become the unelected prime minister of the UK. This raises so many issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to reducing climate change. If there is anything that the left can take away from this conservative leadership election it’s that we need to form a progressive alliance and we need to push the conservative party out of Government while retaining our principles. To quote the hilarious and accurate Jonathan Pie “Its time to lock and fucking load, because the Tories are coming!!”
*This entire article would have been almost impossible if not for the brilliant research theyworkforyou.com do, I seriously advise looking up your local MP on there to see what they actually vote for in Parliament.