In the afternoon of 15th January, the day I put up some thoughts on Project Fear on Cliscep, and Theresa May lost by over two hundred votes in the House of Commons on her original Withdrawal Agreement, agreed with the EU, I read something truly shocking in the Daily Telegraph:
The reputation of the Environment secretary – and former chairman of Vote Leave – has recovered from his decision to withdraw support for Boris Johnson in the 2016 leadership election with his war on plastic.
Boris was by contrast at 6/1 with Ladbrokes to be the next Tory leader. Based on Oddschecker this Friday he and Gove are now level-pegging at 5/1 with the said bookies. The recovery has it seems continued apace. But do Cliscep denizens agree with the Torygraph (called that because it’s often been considered a semi-official mouthpiece of the party) on the reasons for the man’s fall and rise? And what to make of them? Are we sceptics winning? (It’s a somewhat ironic question but you get the idea I hope.)
James Delingpole wrote warmly of his old friend – as a friend – in The Spectator a week ago. (In No luxury has ever disappointed me as much as my wood-burning stove. Paywall issues, sorry.) But James says he’s totally gone off Gove as Tory leader. At the end he advocates Liz Truss. She’s at 66/1 according to Ladbrokes. Do we sceptics sometimes prefer the rank outsider, out of principle? (Ironic again. But with a serious edge.)
When I found myself at the pub with James a year ago, after Christopher Booker had presented his ideas of the climate phenomenon as groupthink at the GWPF, I knew I had to ask him about Gove as Environment Secretary. The line James took then was that Machiavellian manoeuvres by Dominic Cummings were to blame. And that reminds me, Brexit: The Uncivil War has only four days left on Channel 4’s catchup service, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Cummings. Highly recommended as excellent telly, if imperfect history. And, I feel, containing some of the answers on what’s been happening with this Tory unhopeful, then hopeful again, since June 2016.
Cummings has only once I think retweeted me on Twitter. On that occasion he was the only one. A kind of solitariness I can cope with. I’m sure he can!
Project Fear again but moving on, and not in a good way. On the strangeness of the new conspiracism generally, I strongly recommend John Gray on its American variant in The rise of post-truth liberalism in Unherd in September.
And that’s all for now. I did have more but there are as always other things to attend to. Having seen Ben Pile call Gove a ‘moron’ on Twitter, and Jaime Jessop be not much more polite about him on Cliscep recently, on the wood stove initiative Dellers is also fed up with, I’d appreciate any feedback at all on the small mysteries to which I’ve drawn attention.