Comparisons are odious, they say. Yet who could resist the temptation to compare those magnificent and inspiring, and deeply moving D-Day Commemorations; a scruffy rabble waving assorted placards in the rain in Parliament Square unhappy about the person of the President of the United States, while ignoring the importance of his office; and the 13 (now 11) rats in a barrel hovering in corners of the Parliamentary estate ready to jump out at innocent and undeclared backbenchers like me as we pass by.
Who can but wonder at the sheer scale of D-Day. 159,000 soldiers, 3262 Aircraft, 6969 ships, 195,700 sailors on board them. 400,000 people all told, of whom 4000 were killed and 6,000 wounded and missing. The sheer vastness of the logistical effort to get that lot ashore on the five beaches (one of my prize possessions are 5 little boxes with a handful of sand from each) without prior detection by the enemy. The sheer guts and determination of sweeping up through Normandy; the personal triumphs and tragedies. It was without doubt a Day which changed the World. We knew that the Nazi Empire was pure evil, and we threw the collective allied might against it.
I was glad that Mrs May was given her moment of dignity- both the pomp and circumstance, the banquets and furbelows of the Presidential visit, and the superb honour of remembering our fallen on Sword Beach on D-Day +75. She deserves it, and the right to demit office with dignity. By contrast with all of that, the battle to name her successor is less than dignified. I am glad that the 1922 Committee have brought in new rules to curtail the contest and reduce the candidates to 2 by -latest - 20 June. There will be a host of hustings, meetings, campaigning, favours bestowed, old favours called in, during that time. I hope to be able to rise above the hubbub and vote for the person who seems most likely to achieve three things.
First, he or she must bring the Party, the Government and the Country back together again. We cannot go on as we are. There’s a country be to be run out there, and squabbling amongst ourselves hinders it. Second, they must deliver Brexit. That’s what the people voted for, and that’s what we must do. My own view is that if a Deal cannot be agreed, then let’s leave without one. After all, all of the details of life post-Brexit have been agreed and would doubtless kick in the morning after. I suspect that a No Deal departure would be a great deal less catastrophic than the Remainers would have you believe. And third, we need a Leader. Someone who can inspire confidence; someone who can lead us to do things beyond our own self-interest; someone who can use the levers and machinery of power to make Britain a better place.
The Nation needs something of the D-Day spirit to do that. We need to be pointed in the same direction, with a clear mission, determined to win; careless of our own little lives and concerns and ambitions; proud to be a part of the greater whole. That’s what’s missing in the Conservative and Labour parties alike; its what’s missing in Government and Parliament. We have lost our way, and need a strong and charismatic leader to get us out of the mess. Let me know who you think that might be.