SARAH VINE: The race to be Prime Minister is like Love Island for ugly people – and I’m joining in
So far, the most interesting thing about this Tory leadership race is the sheer number of people who think they can do the job.
Either there’s an awful lot of untapped talent in the party, or some people have a rather inflated sense of their own abilities.
I’ve lived through a few of these contests in my time, and they’re basically like Love Island for ugly people (which might explain why Penny Mordaunt is doing so well: she’s the only contestant — sorry, candidate — we’ve ever seen in a bathing suit).
One person makes their pitch, and all the MPs cluster round them like excitable brood hens. Then another throws in a few sexy promises and they all flock to him or her. There are a lot of tense conversations in quiet corners of the villa/Commons; a variety of illicit goings on after lights-out.
Promises are made and broken, not everyone behaves as well as they probably should, people ‘couple up’ where you least expect it — and an inordinate amount of time is spent preening in front of the cameras. Anyway, seeing as they’re all fighting like cats in a bag, I thought now would be a good time to make my own bid for power. So, yes, I’m standing, too, and before you say I’m not an MP…well, I’m sure the 1922 Committee will work something out once they read Vine’s Vision for a better Britain.
Sir Graham Brady (4th from left) chairman of the 1922 Committee, announces in the Houses of Parliament, which MPs have gained the support of the 20 MPs required to go into the Conservative Party leadership contest after nominations closed on Tuesday
Penny Mordaunt seen on the Television Programme Splash
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak (left) is one of the top contenders and British Secretary of State for Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss (right) another Tory hopeful
First things first: anti-social behaviour. I would introduce tough legislation to curb the late-night antics of irresponsible individuals by requiring the use of breathalysers on keyboards. Drunk Tweeting is the single most serious cause of social media strife, and the source of endless lengthy and pointless disputes. This rule would also apply to smartphones.
In a similar vein, and in line with my steadfast commitment to improving the nation’s mental health, I would also switch off the internet between 11pm and 7am.
This would ensure everyone gets a decent night’s sleep instead of spending all night scrolling through Instagram and TikTok, wondering why their thighs aren’t ‘bikini-ready’ and watching videos of Megan Thee Stallion getting jiggy with her back-up dancers. As for councils, all local authorities would be required to bring back parking meters that use coins, so people who don’t have smartphones can park their cars without having a nervous breakdown.
I would also require them to install dog mess bag dispensers in parks and on street corners (not just ordinary bags, nice scented ones) and introduce £10,000 on-the-spot fines for anyone who doesn’t clear up after their pet. Filthy habit.
In the interests of good taste, I would introduce a tax on acrylic nails and false eyelashes more than 3cm long.
British Attorney General and Conservative leadership candidate Suella Braverman attends the Conservative Way Forward launch event in London today
Tom Tugendhat (left) delivers his first speech of his Conservative Party leadership campaign on July 12 and Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi (right), one of the candidates for Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister
Jeremy Hunt (left), former health secretary, has also secured the necessary votes to enter the Tory contest and Kemi Badenoch (right), formally equalities minister, is also in the Tory leadership contest
A similar levy would be applied to joggers with swishy ponytails, women who talk loudly in cafes about how well their child is doing at nursery, MAMILs (middle-aged men in Lycra) on expensive bikes and anyone who orders a burger without a bun in a restaurant (it’s a burger: have the bloody bun, or order something else).
The revenue raised from all this would comfortably eliminate public debt within a few years.
Some other thoughts: the school summer holidays should be limited to four weeks to save every mother’s sanity; all sandwiches containing red onions should carry a warning so you don’t accidentally eat one for lunch and then spend the rest of the afternoon stinking out the office; and children who use their parents’ bank cards to order food on Deliveroo at 11pm should be forced to do litter-picking at the weekends.
And last but not least, Zara must come clean about its sizing. XL, my foot! That wouldn’t fit a seven-year-old.
Mo Farah revealed that he was trafficked into Britain and spent his early years here in domestic servitude
Joking aside, this is the first Tory leadership contest in almost two decades where I have no skin in the game. I can’t tell you what a relief it is. No feverish late-night gatherings over red wine and lasagne. No tedious donor dinner parties. No sucking up to splenetic grandees with weapons-grade halitosis in the hope of winning a precious vote. No waiting in fear for the dirty tricks or smears. No waking to find some long-forgotten misdemeanour splashed all over the front pages. No lies, no betrayals, no defections. Bliss. I only wish it had happened sooner
Bernie Ecclestone and Fabiana Flosi at a film premiere back in 2013
Bernie’s bigger, better half
Bernie Ecclestone, 91, is facing fraud charges over the whereabouts of some £400 million worth of assets. Here he is pictured with his third wife, the lovely Fabiana, 45. Once again, to paraphrase the immortal words of the late Caroline Aherne: ‘So Fabiana, what first attracted you to billionaire Bernie?’
Real lesson from Mo
My goodness, that Mo Farah story is heartbreaking. And a grim reminder that modern slavery does exist, hidden behind closed doors in our suburbs and cities. That is what we should be focusing on now: stories like Farah’s, real suffering in the here and now. Not the pointless pulling down of statues by privileged white brats who have no concept of what some people have had to overcome.
According to Good Housekeeping readers, the washing machine is the greatest household invention of the past 100 years. An even better invention would be a man who could use one.
Penny Mordaunt has said she disapproves of classic sitcoms in the vintage of Dad’s Army
Penny Mordaunt, former defence secretary and current trade minister, is in the last eight Tory leadership hopefuls
Penny Mordaunt saying she disapproves of Dad’s Army and other sitcoms of that vintage is a bit like pleased-with-himself QC Jolyon Maugham (who battered a defenceless Basil Brush to death with a baseball bat) applying to be CEO of the Fox Protection League: totally counter to her core constituency. If she is one of the final two Tory leader contenders, she might have some explaining to do.
Lyse Doucet, a BBC war correspondent
Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford’s latest wheeze is to impose a 20mph speed limit in urban areas. Why bother? Under his watch, the entire country — and the once-thriving tourist industry — has pretty much ground to a halt anyway.
Lyse outplays Lineker
Here’s what I don’t understand about the BBC. How can Lyse Doucet (right), a brilliantly brave and hugely experienced war correspondent, a woman who risks her life (and her sanity) reporting from some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts, be paid £155,000 a year, while Gary Lineker, who does nothing but sit in a comfy studio in his expensive suit chatting to his mates about football, gets £1.35 million a year? Doucet is worth 100 Linekers and yet is paid roughly a tenth of his salary. Market values, says Beeb boss Tim Davie. Skewed values, say I.
The sun has got his hat on, as they say. I’ve never understood that. Surely if the sun had his hat on, there would be lots of lovely shade. It’s the fact he’s evidently taken it off that seems to be the problem.
I’m all in favour of menopausal women getting the help and understanding they need, but there’s a fine line between raising awareness of a misunderstood condition — and turning it into a melodrama. Of course Davina McCall hasn’t grown a beard, as she claimed this week — she’s probably just got a few hairs on her chinny chinchin like the rest of us. Nothing that a quick trip to the waxers won’t solve.
Duchess of Cornwall with one of her rescue terriers during Country Life editorship
The Tour de France was brought to a standstill yesterday — by climate change protesters. Sorry, I thought they were in favour of cyclists?
On a visit to Sainsbury’s recently, I spotted a sign at the bakery counter which read: ‘Gingerbread person: 85p.’ I didn’t realise you could misgender a biscuit, but there you go.
Duchess with a glint in her eye
Country Life’s ‘girls in pearls’ feature has long been a showcase for the eligible upper-class young lady about town. But in this month’s issue, edited by the Duchess of Cornwall, the ‘girls’ are Bluebell and Beth, her two rescue terriers. A fun and witty twist, and thoroughly typical of the Duchess herself. Turning 75, and still with a wicked glint in her eye.