Why the Tories should gamble on Kemi Badenoch

9 July 2022

10:54 PM

9 July 2022

10:54 PM

There’s only one candidate for prime minister with the guts to dismantle the self-loathing culture of identity politics that is destroying Britain. She’s uniquely qualified to take on the challenge because she’s a black woman raised in Nigeria who studied for her A-levels while working in McDonald’s. And she may succeed because, in addition to a passion for knocking heads together, she has a startlingly clear understanding of how our politics and culture are poisoning each other in a left-liberal suicide pact.

As soon as I read Kemi Badenoch’s article in this morning’s Times, I thought: this is a risk worth taking. The last gamble didn’t pay off, but then Boris Johnson was always too distracted and self-absorbed to assemble his maverick ideas into a political philosophy. Cameron and May, meanwhile, were almost completely subservient to ‘the Blob’.

Badenoch, not coincidentally, was a minister under the man who coined that term: Michael Gove, the most successful reforming secretary of state for decades. But, unlike him, she ticks boxes that leave liberal power-brokers squirming over the etiquette of criticising her. It’s an agonising dilemma, because make no mistake about it: this charismatic, streetwise and rhetorically merciless black woman is out to get them.

In her article today, she articulates a patriotic, free-market political philosophy that addresses the specific malignancies of the 21st century (in which, born in 1980, she has now lived most of her life). Government has become ‘a piggy bank for pressure groups’, she writes, with the vehemence of a former equalities minister who was subjected to their entitled lamentations. As she puts it, ‘the fiercest proclaimers of “social justice” usually believe in the power of the government over the people, in the power of the bureaucrat over the individual, and have a distrust of people making their own decisions in the economic sphere just as much as the social.’

What Badenoch doesn’t say is that since 2010 her own Tory colleagues have worn out their knees genuflecting to these pressure groups. But she knows it: hence her reference to the Online Safety Bill, which she describes as ‘legislating for hurt feelings’. This plain talking, the like of which we haven’t really heard since Thatcher, will resonate powerfully with a broadly liberal and overwhelmingly anti-racist British public that is sick of being lectured by halo-polishing elitists obsessed with race, sexuality and claiming expenses.

As I say, electing Kemi Badenoch would be a gamble. But, on the basis of what I’ve heard so far, I reckon it could pay off spectacularly.

Listen to Katy Ball’s speak to Kemi Badenoch on Women With Balls:

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