I just sent this letter to my MP. This was about as short as I dared go within the bounds of at least some semblance of politeness, because right now I am angry almost beyond the point of rational speech.
Dear Robert Goodwill,
This will be a relatively short message, and I suspect you know what it will be about.
The Prime Minister committed a criminal offence whilst in office, which he now *finally* admits. He broke laws he was responsible for creating. And then he lied about it *repeatedly* to Parliament. He has never been fit to hold office, and his latest malefactions merely provide more evidence of what many of us have always known. And yet your party continues to support him; that continued support is frankly nauseating.
The “but we can’t change leader when there’s a war on” excuses are pitiful, and seem to forget the precedents of history. The parade of cabinet ministers, and others in your party, who have dutifully lined up over the past 24 hours to circle the wagons and defend this behaviour show a level of craven complicity in this kakistocracy that makes me ashamed of the land of my birth. You are ALL tainted by association.
For the love of God, he has to go. NOW.
He wrote back.
Thank you very much indeed for your email following the news that the Prime Minister has been issued with a fixed penalty fine, because of the event in Downing Street taking place on his birthday.
I appreciate many people have strong feelings on this, not least those who had a dreadful experience during lockdown when they couldn’t visit relatives in care homes, or indeed in some cases where terminally ill or dying relatives could not have the love and support of their families, and those same families couldn’t come together at their funerals.
I very much note the points you make and obviously to change the Prime Minister would be a very serious step to take, particularly given the global economic challenges we face, and the war in the Ukraine.
It is fortunate that we have a whole mine of talent within the current cabinet, who could potentially take over at Number 10.
It would be helpful if you could let me know which of the alternatives you believe would make the best Prime Minister. Certainly Rishi Sunak has shown tremendous leadership and judgement during the pandemic with the introduction of support for businesses and the furlough scheme. Dominic Raab has shown that he can step into the breach when the Prime Minister is away, and did so when he was in hospital as well as taking Prime Minister’s questions.
As Health Secretary, Sajid Javid has also got tremendous skills and an amazing track record both in politics and before. There are also many other seasoned campaigners not serving in government, in particular I would mention Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox, who I have always supported due to his experience not only in government but as a doctor.
Jeremy Hunt was also the leader I campaigned with at the last leadership election, and I do believe he has great potential to be a leader.
Perhaps you could let me know if the Prime Minister were to resign which of the alternative leaders would regain your vote and get your support at the next general election, as that would be the key decision made by the Conservative Party if we were to make the decision to change leader.
I will not be writing to the 1922 committee.
Sir Robert Goodwill MP
All of this weas very much as I expected. But, he asked for my options, so I sent them back.
Dear Sir Robert,
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have to say, however, that I read your response with a rather weary sense of the inevitable.
First, I do not believe we are (at least officially) at war in Ukraine, neither would a change of Prime Minster markedly affect government policy, given the rather half-hearted raft of financial sanctions implemented so far. I shall not venture further opinion on current government policy in that regard as it would be a distraction. As it is, the idea of changing leaders during times of conflict is hardly without precedent, as both Neville Chamberlain and Herbert Asquith discovered. To pretend that Boris Johnson is indispensable at this time is not an idea I can take at all seriously, especially as you now know my opinion on his qualities, or singular lack thereof.
The only thing that appears to keep him in place is the dispiriting paucity of talent, contrary to what you aver in your reply.
Both Javid and Sunak have been Chancellor, but the tax affairs of Mr Sunak and his wife, and the fact he managed to hold high office while being in possession of a US Green card make him less than trustworthy as far as I am concerned. His seeming belief that proper scrutiny of both his, and his spouse’s non-domiciled status has been tantamount to bullying, in spite of the fact that the ministerial code is quite specific that it such matters were very much in scope, was also less than edifying. Javid’s previous public positions on the funding of the NHS prior to him holding ministerial office do not much endear me to him either.
Dominic Raab’s performance as foreign secretary left much to be desired, as did his somewhat tenuous grasp of cross-channel geography and trade. I watched Raab at PMQs. Admittedly, it is not the only part of the job, but he did not perform well, even though we know that the weekly Wednesday ritual is little more than cheap theatre. To even consider him as a potential Prime Minister seems fairly implausible as far as I am concerned.
The less said about Liam Fox, the better. The man who claimed our agreement for exiting the EU “should be the easiest in human history” is not someone whose judgement I hold in particularly high regard. Andrea Leadsom? As someone who’s not a mother, let’s move on.
Of the list you went through, to damn him with the faintest of praise, Jeremy Hunt is the least worst of an extremely poor bunch. Even then, I have not forgotten his performance at the Department of Health.
The problem is not simply the person who sits atop the chain of command at present, though he must bear an enormous share of the responsibility. The fact remains that the party allowed him to get there, kept him there, and continues to keep him there for now. We all know what manner of man he is, yet still he remains. That says an awful lot about the culture and the values of the modern Conservative Party, possibly rather more than should make many in it feel comfortable. Merely shuffling the deckchairs and changing the faces at the top is not enough. The entire culture of your party needs to change: it has rotted from the inside out. Too many of your colleagues seem to think they can behave with impunity, and that the law, and the conventions of decency only apply to us, not to them. It has appalled me how rapidly the the tenuous bond of trust between the political establishment and the electorate has been worn away, how little trust or regard the public have for the government, and how little it has done to deserve it.
I did not expect you to write to the 1922 if I’m being entirely honest, so I can’t claim disappointment. It has very much settled my voting intentions in the immediate, and not so immediate future. There will be a General Election by late 2024. There is no way I can vote for a Conservative Party with these values, and the attitude it continues towards too many people in society.