If the Conservatives MPs and members don’t choose Penny Mordaunt this time then they will deserve to lose the next election.
The public are not fools. They understand ambition and ideology. They engage with politics at a peripheral level, having to get on with the business of their own lives, but are perceptive enough to suss out what’s going on.
The public are not that interested in policy. They just want our politicians to look the part (yes, a lot of it is about image unfortunately) to do sensible things, represent our country well, and make our lives a bit easier.
The problem is that the Conservative MPs are increasingly taking members of the public for fools. The MPs think they know best. But if they actually stopped for a minute, stepped outside their bubble, and thought for a nanosecond about which person would be most likely to win the next election for the Conservatives, then they would come to the conclusion that most of the public would come to – Penny Mordaunt.
The public know that Boris didn’t put the country first when he got his backers to support Liz Truss a few weeks ago. Boris knew her abilities. Knew she would crash and burn, and his plan is working out for him.
But the public can see this. Just as much as they can see that Boris Johnson wanted to block Rishi Sunak from getting the top job.
And the public can see that if Rishi Sunak did become Prime Minister, it would simply be a battle, right up to the next election, between the Sunak supporting MPs, and the Johnson supporting MPs. And the public will turn off, and vote Labour.
The public would like Ben Wallace, too. But he’s not going to run. So that just leaves Penny Mordaunt.
She is someone the public can identify with. They don’t know much about her policies, but they’re not that interested. In the same way they’re not that interested in Sunak’s policies either. They just want things to improve in their own lives.
They can see Penny Mordaunt as one of them. Rishi Sunak, with his upper-class accent, billions in the bank, and excruciating (oft to be replayed if he becomes PM) interview where he had no working class friends, will turn them off.
The public may not be too keen on Kier Starmer. But they will choose him over both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.
But Keir Starmer versus Penny Mordaunt? We don’t think the MPs and commentators are right when they say that whoever the Conservative party choose they will lose the next election. It doesn’t work like that.
When the public go to the polls, whenever it is, they will think about who the leaders are. And why? Because that is exactly what they’ve done for pretty much every election over the past four decades.
They liked John Major. Nice chap, could be the bloke next door.
They liked Tony Blair. The sort of fella you could get on with and represent the country well.
They didn’t much like Gordon Brown. Too broody. Not really someone you’d go to dinner with. All that policy talk!
They liked David Cameron. Decent bloke, nice family, seems to be one of us.
They weren’t much keen on Theresa May. Bit awkward. Made us feel a bit uncomfortable watching her. You’ll happily have her as your neighbour, but you’ll probably build your fence a foot higher so you didn’t have to do much talking when you went to mow the lawn.
They liked Boris Johnson. But only in a fashion that he was the funny cousin who you would go and visit, have a laugh at his antics, but be quite relieved you weren’t living with him.
The public have had their fill of Boris Johnson. It’s not really about Partygate or Pincher or Patterson with him. It’s just that they’ve had their fun with him, and that’s enough, thank you very much.
When the Johnson supporters say he is the only one that can win the Conservatives the next election, they conveniently don’t tell us that the 2019 election was won on Brexit, which is why the red wall seats in the north voted for Johnson (and the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was never going to appeal to anybody much).
Brexit is over and done with. People are forgetting about it. This isn’t 2019.
And the final question is, who would the opposition parties least like to see as their opponent? They won’t say it, but it isn’t rocket science to work out that Penny Mordaunt would be the one they don’t want to win.
So the public want Penny Mordaunt. It is almost certainly only with her that the Conservatives might still have a chance of winning the next election. The opposition parties wouldn’t want Penny Mordaunt. So isn’t it obvious?
Not really. Because the recent history of who the Conservative MP’s choose tells us that they simply can no longer reach out past their bubble, talk to people who disagree with them, and find out who the public would really want to be the next Prime Minister.
And if they don’t choose Penny Mordaunt, not only will the Conservatives lose the next election, they will deserve to have lost it.