Julie Burchill Julie Burchill

In praise of Kemi Badenoch

Kemi Badenoch (Credit: Getty images)

Whenever international affairs are proving particularly ‘interesting’ there’s always some clown who pipes up with ‘Oh, if only women ruled the world – it would be so peaceful!’ But females can be every bit as keen on a ding-dong or a dust-up as men; in fact, I’d say that women who try to push the theory that we have a completely different political sensibility – saintlike and self-sacrificing and not prone to sins of the flesh like that Big Bad Boris – are often slithery, self-righteous snakes with a far more sinister agenda than many nakedly ambitious male politicians. But enough about Nicola Sturgeon. For as one door slams on the disgraced ex First Minister of Scotland, another one opens, for Kemi Badenoch.

But not quite open; perhaps, for now, just ajar? Mrs Badenoch is far too astute to nurse any desire to rush in and grab the poisoned chalice from Rishi Sunak, to the point that she displays irritation towards those ‘friends’ who are trying to push her into pole position. Nevertheless, the Times reported recently that:

Tory plotters believe that Kemi Badenoch is best placed to succeed Rishi Sunak if they can manage to oust him in the coming months. The business and trade secretary has accused the plotters of “stirring” and said that they need to “stop messing around and get behind the leader”. However, the Tory rebels believe that Badenoch is the only candidate on the right who stands a chance of uniting the party and selling their policy platform. Badenoch is perceived to have star quality: “Kemi has the X factor, she has the capacity to cut through and communicate. She can carry off the policy platform that’s being drawn up,” said an anonymous Tory MP.

Defiance is a big Badenoch thing

On the Laura Kuenssberg show last week there was great fun to be had when Kemi was in the studio at the same time as Nadine Dorries (though seated some way from her, and interviewed in a separate section of the programme) and couldn’t resist taking a pop at Dorries’ ghastly-sounding novel The Plot, after which the WhatsApp group which Badenoch and Michael ‘Gossip Girl’ Gove (now that’s a gang I’d join) belong to is alleged to be named – ‘The Evil Plotters’.

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