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Samizdata quote of the day

The first speaker I introduced to the platform was Tory leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch. At one point, she directly addressed the common misapprehension that free speech is “a cover for bigoted middle-aged white men to spout politically incorrect nonsense”. When Badenoch pointed out that she was neither middle-aged, white, nor a man, a heckler shouted: “Are you sure?”

Without missing a beat, Badenoch replied: “I’m sure. I am a woman and I know what a woman is.” This was greeted by cheers and applause, particularly from the strong contingent of Left-wing feminists who were present. The debates that have since raged online about the prospect of Badenoch as the next Tory leader have revealed that she has considerable support from traditional leftists by virtue of her stance on the culture wars. Can this really be described as “a notable swing to the right”?

Andrew Doyle

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Alex

    Excellent. I hope she does well. She could well persuade me to hold my nose and vote Tory at the next election, if she were leading it and stuck to her guns on this and similar matters.

  • James Strong

    I watched the debate last night and was disappointed in all of them.
    Channel 4 controlled the questions, the candidates could do nothing about that. But they could set out their own case in an opening or closong statement, whichever is available.

    I would like to know their policies on:

    cross-channel small boat immigration
    tax and duty levels, paricularly on fuel which runs through the whole economy
    Diversity and Inclusion officers in the NHS, and similar issues throughout society
    Net Zero and green levy
    the war in Ukraine and the cost to the UK
    free speech vs. control of material that can be published

    and anything else that each one of them thinks is of major importance.

    On another note, I do not believe that last night’s audience in the Channel 4 was made up of true floating voters.

  • Paul Marks

    James Strong makes a good case – last night’s debate was not good, Channel 4 prevented it being good (and the audience were not conservatives).

    One could look at the campaign websites – the statements the candidates make about themselves.

    Penny Mordaunt says “I am a pragmatist” and that response to Covid 19 shows that the government can “move mountains” when it is “focussed” and in control.

    I am not a pragmatist, and I believe that the international government response to Covid 19 was an utter disaster – that it shows (yet again) why government should not control society, not why it should control society.

  • Alex

    I didn’t watch it on TV but I’ve seen a lot of clips from it. Sunak was allowed to speak all over the other candidates. Liz Truss, not someone I am particularly a fan of (to put it mildly), waited patiently for him to stop speaking and then when she responded he kept interrupting her and speaking while she was still speaking.

  • John

    I am concerned that in 2010 at the relatively advanced age of 37 and with no prior/familial affiliation to the Navy Mordaunt became a RN reservist just months before being elected as MP for Portsmouth North.The extent of her duties, considering her responsibility to represent her new constituents, can only be guessed at. One should never be surprised at cynicism in politics.

  • Sam Duncan

    What I find fascinating about Badenoch is that she appeals to disillusioned Leftists without pandering to them. She retains, far more than any of the other candidates, solid conservative principles. Some of them just happen to chime with what was once, about ten minutes ago, a common societal consensus. And, by the way, she’s the only one who’s spoken out against the “Online Safety” Bill.

    She doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell, does she?

  • I’ve seen one political debate that was won by honesty: the 1998 election for Governor of Minnesota. At the time, Minnesota was running a budget surplus. The moderator asked what the candidates for office would do with it. The Democrat and Republican candidates waffled like politicians.The Reform candidate (Jesse Ventura) said “give it back”. And during Ventura’s four years as governor, every taxpayer got a rebate check in late summer. Since there were no Reform Party legislators, Ventura governed mostly by veto. It seemed to work.

    I hope the checks reflected the state of the budget, but once the news media got over the shock it was impossible to trust a thing they said.

    Ventura, of course, had come to politics from a more honest profession. He was a “bad guy” wrestler who did the feather boa routine.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Sunak is tetchy when out under pressure. Not encouraging.

  • Paul Marks

    Ellen – Minnesota is a Big Government State, but at least it is not a Big Debt State.

    Johnathan Pearce – the orgy of deficit spending under former Chancellor Sunak makes his present claims to fiscal rectitude bizarre.

    “Ignore what I did over the last two years” – is that the line?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Via Breitbart Europe:


    Tonight we asked over 1000 normal voters to watch the debate and we have just asked them who they thought performed best.

    Tugendhat 36%
    Sunak 25%
    Mordaunt 12%
    Badenoch 12%
    Truss 6%

    What about Tugendhat as PM with Badenoch as deputy?

  • Fraser Orr

    I don’t know much about this lady Kemi Badenoch. However, she started out as a computer programmer, so she has my vote… well not that I have one…. I heard someone say she was the new Maggie Thatcher. If so, she is surely what the country needs after the disastrous clown BoJo.

    I have listened to her talking, and what I have fixed in my mind is the idea of such a spectacularly smart, articulate and nimble on her feet lady having a discussion with the slow minded, moron that occupies the white house. It is just shocking to think about.

  • Tugendhat is the worst of all possible options. Tugendhat means at the next GE, we get Labour when millions of Tory voters stay at home. And all Tugendhat as PM with Badenoch in cabinet would do is either ruin Badenoch or end up with her quitting in short order if she actually believes the things she says.

  • TomJ

    @James Strong: All the candidates save Kemi have, I understand, committed, to keep Net Zero. Kemi is agin it.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri – the only purpose of such polls is to show us what the establishment want, such polls are designed to produce the result the Collectivists want.

    That Liz Truss is at the bottom of such a poll makes me think better of the lady. I have a friend who works for Mr Tugendhat – but the fact that he is at the top of the poll makes me think worse of Mr Tugendhat.

  • Paul Marks

    TomJ – if true, that is an excellent point Sir.

  • Martin

    Here’s hoping Kemi can get to the final two that go to the members. The only thing I like about the others is they aren’t Kier Starmer, which is a such a low bar (especially because I think Corbyn was less repulsive than Starmer!).

    Tugendhat seems to remind me a bit of John McCain, someone with military experience and a supposed ‘independent’ the media love but is both not very conservative and would probably get thrashed come election time (hence why the liberal press love him!).

  • Snorri Godhi (July 16, 2022 at 6:45 pm), a poll of people who watched the Channel 4 debate is not a representative poll of relevant-to-the-Tory-party UK voters – even less so when you subtract from them those who would never vote Tory whoever the leader was.

    As Perry says, Tugendhat would be the worst possible candidate. Even Tory MPs seem to agree on that one – he has least votes of the survivors so far and is confidently expected to be the next to be eliminated.

    Kemi has a double-digit lead in the latest ConservateHome poll and, as Guido remarks,

    ConservativeHome polling has proven to be accurate in the past

    Whatever the ConservativeHome poll is worth, it is more relevant than the poll of Channel 4 debate viewers.

  • she has considerable support from traditional leftists by virtue of her stance on the culture wars. Can this really be described as “a notable swing to the right”?

    The pairing of ‘traditional’ and ‘leftist’ in itself suggests a turn to the right 🙂 – especially when you notice that, in this context, ‘leftist’ most often means ‘feminist’.

    To paraphrase a well-known saying,

    Leftists will not become wise before learning that much that they have done, and even more that they have thought, was very foolish.

    Even ‘The Sceptical Feminist’ (published 1980 – a more accurate title would have been ‘The Not Nearly Sceptical Enough Feminist’) spent its first chapter explaining (with a by-no-means-complete set of names and quotes) that the feminist movement was unwise to insist so stridently that objectivity was a male concept used to oppress women. That ideological feminism would in time empty itself of belief in the objective existence of women was not foreseen by the writer, let alone by these ‘traditional’ (i.e. young and radical then, older and saner now) feminists who now see virtues in Kemi – who see today what they did not foresee.

    [It would have been – or rather, it was – foreseen by Hannah Arendt, who explains in the last chapter (‘Ideology and Terror’) of her (not-perfect but packed-full-of-insights) book ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’ why all such ideologies necessarily empty themselves of their original motivating content during the process of acquiring and exercising power.]

  • Lee Moore

    According to the betting market odds (Predict It), Mordaunt has slumped from her position as firm favourite with a better than 50% chance (accusations of flakiness and laziness) to being neck and neck with Sunak at 35% each. Truss is a long way behind at 19% (accusations of dimness and dullness), and Badenoch further behind at 10% though she has risen from 2% only a few days ago (accusations of being an actual conservative.) Tugendhat (happily) is at 3% (accusations of being a Liberal Democrat.)

    Tugendhat is pretty much certain to go in the next round, and Sunak is pretty much certain to qualify for the party membership vote.

    So the first question is who gets to play Sunak in the final. I’d say the chances are :

    Mordaunt 40% Truss 40% Badenoch 20%

    And the second question is, how does the final come out ? I’d say the chances are :

    Sunak 50% Mordaunt 50%
    Sunak 35% Truss 70%
    Sunak 20% Badenoch 80%

    So overall I’d say the betting markets are overpricing Mordaunt and slightly underpricing the others.

  • Mr Ed


    What about Tugendhat as PM with Badenoch as deputy?

    Mr Tugendhat is a modern-day ‘Wet’ Conservative, whilst sins are not to be visited on offspring, his father is a former High Court judge, his mother French, his uncle a former European Commissioner; he is a caricature of someone as ‘Remain’ as they come. He is as soaked in the EU as a rum baba should be in rum. His wife is French, and reportedly a civil servant of the French State (which is not the EU, I know, but..). That alone should rule him out of any office under the Crown.

    He is also been a reserve officer in the British Army (the Blairmacht). He is however, good on Red China, and is apparently under sanctions from them. He seems to have integrity though.

    In office, he would make John Major seem like a blazing Ron Paul style radical. A deputy Prime Minister in the UK has less power than the US Vice-President, who at least gets to preside over the Senate and tie-break. A deputy PM has no power at all.