End the era of the lightweight: general election now – letter to the editor

Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman)? If only. The Tory leadership contest threatens another selection of lightweight, venal, self-interested candidates wholly unsuitable to lead our country through its current crisis.

Liz Truss’s public appearances to promote her campaign over the summer or to defend her suitability since taking office were puddle-deep in content and lacking in any eloquence. She showed the calibre of an over-ambitious marketing assistant trying to parley their way to a £5k pay rise rather than serious and capable stateswoman. Like watching The Apprentice, I winced at every interview. Her amateur political operation has seen drastic u-turns on major policies, confusing communications (3-line whip or not?), and pointless deflecting of blame anywhere but on her own and the government’s bad decision- making.

Workplaces across the UK are plagued by overpromoted mediocrities whose ambition and ego are greater than their abilities. The biggest job in the country requires someone with an exceptional skillset. After this ridiculous experiment in amateurism we now need someone competent and serious-minded.

But the names taking soundings on whether to run include inexperienced politicians like Kemi Badenoch, with barely a couple of weeks in cabinet. Even those who have sat at that top table are hardly of the calibre of statesmen – ‘limited and specific’ lawbreaking with Brandon Lewis or third rate conveyancer Suella Braverman, surely the most disastrously lightweight mind ever to serve as Attorney General, let alone as Home Secretary (mercifully briefly).

The very idea that Boris Johnson is a solution to our current predicament is quite astonishing, particularly given the very real possibility that the Privileges Committee’s findings in a few weeks’ time could trigger his re-resignation and yet another leadership contest. So much for stability! Does that leave us with Rishi Sunak, by process of elimination, as the least worst option?

The world has shifted so much since December 2019 and our country is in crisis, yet the Tory party have their eyes primarily on whatever offers them, personally, the best chance of electoral success. 

What the UK needs now, more than ever, is a focus on the national interest and a general election.

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Harrison