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The Big House... From the Inside

After all the attention given to the Labour Party and their new leader during their conference, it is almost a relief to turn to reports from the Tory Jamboree (But note, only 'nearly')

With David Cameron having said clearly that he will stand down before 2020, the most entertaining element for me without a doubt was the performances of the prospective new leaders, Boris Johnston, Theresa May and George Osborne.

So, firstly, can you say, 'The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson' without smiling? No, neither can I. And therein lies his problem.

Of course Johnston can be deadly serious, just look to his reactionary reign as London Mayor. Then again, a few years ago, around the time of his mayoral campaign, I was invited to lunch at Moncrieff's, the slightly posh canteen for media vultures at Westminster. I am not really a lad who lunches, but this time the yellow haired phenomenon was to entertain. So, rather reluctantly, I climbed the long, long stairs up to the nest.

After a sumptuous feast of the usual dead chicken the guest speaker was introduced, and he immediately set about presenting his programme. In deadly earnest - with no jokes. If the chicken was rubbery the speech was dry as dust, the questions from the hacks extremely pointed, and the answers dismal. Win or lose therefore, what comes inevitably to mind is the last line of the commemorative verse to himself found in a drawer next to the bed of the very droll but by then very departed poet John Ceiriog Hughes 'Dyma'i lwch a dim lol' - 'Here's his dust and no nonsense''

For me Theresa May comes second in the race, if only because she is completely serious, has always been so, and has shown this week that she is willing to say anything to please the crowd (a big advantage for some politicians and some for political parties at election time). I accept that even the occasional Tory and many of their friends in the business world were ashen faced from hearing her opinions on migrants. But there you go, Thatcher's opinions weren't always popular with all the faithful. Even so they loved her to bits. Until they plunged the dagger.

The frontrunner of course, and from quite a distance I would say, is Mr Osborne, or the 'relaxed George Osborne' as some insisted. I have to say that his attempt on stage to appear natural and even, nearly, a human being reminded me of someone else trying to tweek his image by eating a bacon sandwich. This time he promised to cut assistance to the undeserving working poor and devolve power to the 'northern powerhouse' *. Good on him, they said.

The problem for Gorge is that the departure of the man next door is rather far away. Famously, when asked, the former Prime Minister Harold MacMillan would say that the greatest problems he faced in office were 'Events, dear boy, events'. There are years of events ahead of the Chancellor, and remember, a certain G. Brown was riding the crest of a wave, until he sank and drowned.


By the way the little known Sajid Javid is also swaying attractively on the outskirts of the fray, with his eye perhaps on the deputy job, or possibly marking his card for next time round.

But only remember that Corbyn, was an unlikely candidate for Labour supremo a mere six months ago ('an unusual choice', were the words used by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones for his new bestest friend, before his success). Then again at the beginning of nominations for the Caernarfon seat in 2001 I was described by one of Plaid Cymru's biggest guns as 'a good outside bet'.

Would I put a fiver on Javid? Somehow I think not. But then again I ventured not a brass farthing on Corbyn (nor on myself either).


*As a child I could never understand how one country, the United Kingdom, could contain two norths. Us in northwels and them Oop North.

Then I realised of course that at football I supported 'Wels', as I am Welsh.

This column appeared first in Welsh in Y Cymro 9/10/15

Translated by Gwenno Hywel

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