Gottcha! She’s gone. Ding-dong, the witch is dead. After a weekend of vitriol and abuse Andrea Leadsom has had enough and withdrawn from the race to be Conservative party leader and thus Prime Minister. Even then the abuse has not stopped – after all it just goes to show that she is a weak woman and should retire to the kitchen – where she clearly belongs (yes – that really was said!).
I didn’t realize that when I wrote this article about her being sent to the secular stake, that the witch-hunt would have such quick results. https://theweeflea.com/2016/07/10/the-hunting-of-andrea-leadsom/
The Leadsom case is a great example of how modern Western politics work and how the liberal elites treat anyone from out with their worldview. Here is why.
Andrea Leadsom was a relatively unknown government minister, until she was thrust into the limelight because of her role in the Brexit campaign, in which she was a star performer. As a result she expected to be part of a Boris team but when he withdrew, she found herself in the role of leadership contender and won through to the last two – beating Michael Gove in the last ballot. There was a real fear amongst the Establishment that this relatively unknown and inexperienced government minister could actually win. She comes across well, is intelligent and played a leading role in Brexit. Although the majority of MPs supported her rival Teresa May, it was unclear whether the majority of Conservative members would. And so the dogs of war were let loose. The main Tory newspapers were as vicious as only they can be. And the left wing media were only too happy to join in. What happened?
There was almost nothing about her politics and policies. Surprising given that there is plenty not to like and plenty to disagree with. But politics is not the issue here. The powers that be (the men in grey suits and the women with poison pens) had decided that she must go.
She was accused of making up her CV – something that seems to boil down to calling herself a financial institutions director rather than a deputy financial institutions director. It was trivial but was repeated ad nauseum through media and social media.
She was obliged to make the usual public statement of how she supports LGBTI rights – to no avail because they continued to attack her because she did not vote for SSM – which is apparently still the blasphemy against the holy State.
Then there was an attack on her appearance, smile etc. The mocking, condescending superior tone of this Guardian article delighted the mob intelligentsia and was passed on through social media by Nicola Sturgeon and other politicians. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/09/andrea-leadsom-tory-leadership-am-dram-peasant-revolt
But the real attack – and the real bitterness, came because of her Christianity.
Leadsom became a Christian in her 30’s. I don’t know about her Christianity because I don’t know her – and I am wary about claiming any politician as the next great Christian hope. In recent years Christians have many times been let down by those who profess to be Christians. Those Christians who looked to Nicky Morgan, Tim Farron or Stephen Crabb have been sorely disappointed. I do know that she attends a parliamentary bible study, was opposed to Same Sex marriage and in general is known to uphold Christian values. Unlike so many ‘Christian’ politicians she was not ashamed to speak about her faith – “I always try to ensure that I’m doing what I think God wants me to do”. For this she was accused of holding to ‘an extremist Christian agenda”, holding to anti-modern values and this beauty from one of the secular groups,
”it’s a disgrace that someone of these views can be considered acceptable in modern Britain”.
The Smear of Anti-Abortion
She had to defend herself against the ‘smear’ that she was anti-abortion. If you want to realize how regressive and dumbed down British politics has become, then all you need to do is reflect on that last sentence. This was not from The Guardian but The Telegraph. Imagine that! It is a ‘smear’ in modern Britain, even in a conservative newspaper, to be accused of wanting to stand up for the weakest and most vulnerable humans, children in the womb. Our society is really not a post-modern, anything goes, non-doctrinaire culture. Our liberal elites have their own doctrines and they will defend them as fanatically as any Muslim would Mohammed.
Speaking of children, she was attacked for her views about children and motherhood. She has three children – and suffered from post-natal depression after the first was born. In this respect she has some genuinely radical ideas that could really help people, which almost certainly will not now be enacted. She felt so strongly about the importance of infant brain development in social outcomes, that she used a hustings to talk about the issue at length, which one MP said, went down like “cold sick”. Some Tory MPs are so empathetic! This article from The Telegraph is revealing.
But the coup de grace came when Leadsom was interviewed by a Times journalist, Rachel Sylvester. The version of the story that the Times ran with under the headline – “Being a mother gives me the edge on May – Leadsom” was that Leadsom herself brought up the subject of family and children. Teresa May does not have children. Leadsom does. It appeared that she was suggesting that she would be a better Prime Minister because she has children, whilst at the same time cruelly attacking her opponent’s childlessness. If that were true it would indeed be dreadful. Such cynical manipulation, abuse and stupidity. And the Twittersphere went into meltdown…Tory MPs, the Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson, and others just could not resist tweeting their shock/horror/disgust/outrage/mockery.
Except that is not what she said. In fact she said almost the opposite.
Sylvester: During the euro debates, you said several times ‘as a mum’ . Do you feel like a mum in politics?
Sylvester: Why and how?
Leadsom: So, really carefully, because I am sure, I don’t really know Theresa very well but I am sure she will be really sad she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t’, because I think that would be really horrible but, genuinely, I feel being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.
Interestingly The Times has refused to release the transcript of the rest of the interview. Perhaps this is because they know their journalist lied. Sylvester stated on the BBC at 9am the following morning: “What was so striking was it was she her introduced the issue of family, I didn’t raise it at all… it wasn’t I who introduced it, she did.” And yet without an hour she had reversed her story and admitted that she had indeed raised the question.
Rachel Sylvester is married to the diplomatic editor of the Guardian newspaper. The Guardian ran with a story about how there was social media outrage. (An interesting aspect of this is how a ‘black ops’ campaign dreamt up by the Tory grandees and carried our first of all in the Times, Mail and Telegraph, was supported by the Guardian and the Left). Amongst other people quoted were Sir Alan Duncan, Tory MP who described Leadsom’s comments as ‘vile’. This is the same Alan Duncan who ‘joked’ about killing Miss California because she was anti-SSM.
There is modern British politics in a nutshell. Suggest that you want to kill someone who is anti-SSM and its light-hearted banter. Suggest that being a mother gives you an additional motivation for being Prime Minister and you are an evil vile woman who deserves all the abuse she gets.
Leadsom then withdrew from the leadership race – thereby indicating that her remarks were genuine and not some cynical ploy to attack her rival. She realised that she probably did not have the support and given the campaign and abuse against her, she understandably decided to withdraw. Her leadership bid was over. As someone tweeted after Thatcher died, ‘Ding-dong the witch is dead’.
So where does this leave us all? Apart from reminding us how ruthless the Tories can be to their own (remember the destruction of Thatcher?) I think there are some clear lessons.
Firstly misogyny is still deeply ingrained in British culture. A radical right-on atheist secularist messaged “ go home to your kitchen and make roast chicken”. The amount of abuse associated with her being a woman was almost as much as she received for being proud of being a mother.
Here is the second lesson. Motherhood is not valued. Oh, children are valued. Indeed they are the idols of our time. The ultimate purchase/status symbol. But mothers? Leadsom’s comment was not wrong. It could be perceived as cruel if her intention had been to attack May, and it was naïve of her not to realize that that is how it would be used. But the comment itself, taken in context, was not wrong. If anyone stops to think for a moment you will realize the truth of her statement and the illogicality of the emotional rants against it. Let me put it this way. If a woman is a local councilor who is deciding about local schools, does the fact that she has children who will be attending those schools not act as an extra incentive to her to provide the best possible schooling for all? I have a lot less time for those politicians who decide on local schooling and then send their children to private schools! It is a fact of human existence in the real world that most people who have children are incentivized to do what they can for the coming generations, because it includes their own flesh and blood. Even in sport this works – according to Andy Murray his baby helped him win it. Isn’t that an insult to all those tennis players who don’t have children?!
In the Disneyesque world portrayed by our opinion formers, all politicians are only in it in order to serve the community out of the goodness of their hearts, and they don’t need extra incentives like family (or money). To suggest that a mother might have an additional incentive is an insult to those who don’t have children. Really? Is that the infantilized level we have shrunk to? If someone mentions that they have a University degree, is that an insult to those who don’t? If someone mentions their wife or husband, is that an attack on those who are single?
Motherhood and Apple Pie
And this is where ‘Motherhood and Apple Pie” come in. Our culture no longer holds these as obvious goods. A better phrase for Western liberal society would be “sexual freedom and Masterchef/McDonalds”. The one area that our liberal elites cannot allow to be questioned is that of sexual freedom. It doesn’t matter the harm it does (STD, s the re-introduction of slavery, pornography, the destruction of marriage and the home) – they want it. It is their right. And they will not allow it to be questioned. As a society we love food…whether it is the cheap instant junk food, or the celebrity entertainment of Masterchef, but let a working woman suggest that she loves cooking at home for her family and she is immediately barraged with ‘kinder, kuche and kirche’ – as though she were some out of touch 1950’s traditionalist. The best thing that could happen for Britain today would be if we had better homes and for that we need better mothers and fathers. To argue for motherhood is not to argue against working women in the same way that to be proud of being a mother is not the same as denigrating childless women.
The Ninth Commandment
One final lesson. All of us, but especially Christians, should be wary of making judgements based upon either traditional or social media. I was deeply saddened to see Christians reposting mocking articles about Leadsom and passing on gossip as fact. I even saw on one Christian website people stating as a fact that Leadsom was a supporter of the BNP and EDL. Even when it was pointed out to them that this was a lie, and that everything you read on the internet is not true, they still persisted. They seem to have adopted the view, if I feel it is true and I want it to be true, then it must be true – and anyone who disagrees is biased! Perhaps we need to remember that the 9th commandment is still in force. It is wrong for us to lie, gossip about or defame another person or join in any mob which is doing that.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q: What is required in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour’s good name, especially in witness bearing.
Q: What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A: The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbour’s good name.
Just because they are a public figure whom we don’t know, does not negate our responsibilities. I don’t know Andrea Leadsom. I don’t know about her policies, or her Christianity. But I am certainly not going to take my views of her from the Guardian, the Times, the BBC, Facebook or Twitter. As I think about that I realize how much I have broken this commandment. I don’t know Nigel Farage, David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon or Jeremy Corbyn – and yet I too have seen fit to pass on hateful disparaging comments about them. Perhaps we all need to be a bit more careful and respectful about those who after all, are Gods, servants – even if they do not recognize it.
And that goes for our new Prime Minister – Teresa May. I don’t know her or her character. I know something of what she has done. Her support for Sharia law and her expulsion of 50,000 mainly black and Asian students; her insisting that spouses have to earn £18,500 before being allowed to stay with their partners in the UK, her refusal to give a guarantee to EU residents currently in the UK (unlike Leadsom) and her support for Remain, do not fill me with confidence. But maybe she will turn out to be a great Prime Minister who will fulfill her One Nation, Brexit promises. Whatever – we must pray for her, and for all our leaders. If nothing else, the hounding of Andrea Leadsom, shows they need it.
Footnote: After publishing this I was delighted to see that others had picked up on the same thing – This from Brendan O’Neill – Thanks to the Sneerocracy…
And this from Ross Clark in The Spectator is worth reproducing in full…
‘I’m a gay woman with strong northern working-class roots,’ Angela Eagle told Robert Peston on Sunday. ‘I think I’m the right person for this job at this time.’ In case we didn’t get the point she followed it up this morning by boasting: ‘I’m a northern working-class girl who understands modern life.’
How outrageous that Jeremy Corbyn’s challenger should bring her class, her geographical birthplace and her sexuality into the leadership debate, suggesting that they would make her a more suitable leader than Corbyn. Or maybe it isn’t outrageous that someone should draw on their personal experiences while campaigning for office. I certainly haven’t come across anyone else making the point I have just made, and neither did I hear anyone protesting when Stephen Crabb talked about his council house upbringing while launching his leadership bid, nor when Sadiq Khan went on ad nauseam during the London mayoral election about his father being a bus driver.
In which case why was it such a scandal when Andrea Leadsom suggested that being a mother gave her valuable experience for being Prime Minister? If being northern and working class makes you better able to understand a section of the population then surely being a parent helps you understand the demands on millions of other parents. Moreover, having to juggle the needs of work and childcare and still follow a successful career surely shows the world that you have valuable skills in time-management.
There is a good reason for the inconsistency. Leadsom was savaged for her motherhood remarks because the metropolitan liberal establishment was determined to get its own back after suffering a crushing defeat in the EU referendum. It targeted Leadsom because it has a hate for anything it regards as the promotion of traditional family life. It operates in a kind of reverse of Clause 28 – it will praise alternative lifestyles to the point that even Tory MPs are feted as heroes if they come out, but it will not tolerate anything which seems even slightly to celebrate a traditional family life of two married heterosexual parents bringing up their own children.
As I wrote here in April, the latest form of ‘discrimination’ being promoted by the left is that childless employees earn less than new fathers do. Never mind that there is an obvious explanation – new fathers have to work harder because they have to earn more to support a family, especially at a time when their wives or partners are probably taking maternity leave – the TUC somehow tries to float the idea that employers are deliberately paying childless employees less.
I am sure that being childless will not detract from Theresa May’s ability to do the job of Prime Minister. I am equally sure that being a northern, working-class lesbian won’t help Angela Eagle be a good Labour leader, if she succeeds in getting the job (though she does have some good qualities as a parliamentarian). But it speaks volumes as to who wields the real power in Britain when a prime ministerial candidate is crushed for boasting about being a mother.