The last two contenders in the Tory leadership race slugged it out on BBC1 last night. I’m not sure it was the best thing to spend an hour watching it, but in the hopes that some great plan would emerge to save the country I did just that. Sadly, there was little to be encouraged about. Sunak behaved with a degree of rudeness that can’t be ignored, continually interrupting Truss, but then she did little more than repeat slogans with the claim that she was a woman of action. She’s not afraid of Putin so she’s hardly going to wilt under Sunak’s many interruptions. The audience, comprising Tory voters, gave Sunak more rounds of applause than Truss. The debate was poorly mediated. As much time was devoted to the candidates’ fashion choices as was given to the subject of climate change (on which neither candidate showed much interest). This reminded me of a scene from the film Don’t Look Up, where the seriously worrying content is upended by the need to entertain, to keep things light. It would be like Churchill, making one of his gravest speeches inserting a comment about whether he would prefer a soft or a hard boiled egg before fighting them on the beaches, the fields, the streets, etc., etc. To coin a phrase, to Sunak and Truss I would say ‘I knew Churchill, and you’re no Churchill.’ But then they both really want to be Thatcher. God help us.
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