Westminster is even madder than usual at the moment. The usual Brexit-mania has been given extra spice by the Conservative leadership contest as well. But it’s not just a ‘Westminster bubble’ issue; Jeremy vs Boris matters here in Weston and the villages too.
On substance, there’s less between them than you’d think. On Brexit, they both want a deal, but would go without one if it was the only way to deliver the democratic decision to leave. They both ended up voting for Theresa May’s doomed Brexit deal in Parliament. And they’re both modern, moderate Conservatives, who want to grow the economy because it helps pay for better public services, rather than just so everyone can get rich.
So why should it make any difference to Westonians, either way?
First, a disclaimer: I’m supporting Jeremy Hunt because he’s an old friend, and it’s time we had a former businessman in No 10, who can get things done. He’s got better relationships with European leaders, where Boris is marmite, so there’s a better chance of negotiating a Brexit deal. And I like the way he puts people first, whether it’s grieving relatives who lost family members to rare-but-awful NHS mistakes, or the family of Nazanin Ratcliffe who’s been unjustly imprisoned in Iran.
So it’s boiling down to something rather old-fashioned: character. Not lurid press stories about private lives, but skills, abilities and values. How they react when the phone goes at three in the morning with a national security emergency. Or what they write in the personal, sealed letter that goes with every Trident submarine, containing instructions to the captain about what to do if there’s a nuclear attack. For me at least, Boris is entertaining, but Jeremy is more capable when the chips are down.
Either way, it will all be over in 3 weeks time. And then there’ll only be Brexit left to worry about………….