Exactly where candidates for elective office stand on the political spectrum is sometimes deduced from the programme they offer to their chosen electorates. Those candidates may pitch their political orientation themselves. But most telling can be the kinds of people who choose of their own free will to endorse them. Thus it has been with Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom and those who are lending her their support.
The rogues’ gallery lining up to back her should concern anyone interested in tolerance and friendship towards those who may not share the same language, skin colour, sexual orientation or religious preference that they do. And what makes it worse is that, thus far, there has been no repudiation by the Leadsom camp of any of those endorsements.
So who is backing her candidacy? Step forward recently resigned UKIP leader Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, whose blatant recycling of 1930s Nazi imagery during the referendum campaign caused such disquiet among the designated Leave group. Mr Thirsty took to Twitter between pints to tell “Congratulations to @andrealeadsom. Important the next Prime Minister is a Brexiteer - she has my backing”.
Farage was not the only Kipper to voice his support for Ms Leadsom: Arron Banks, who has generously donated significant funds to UKIP, has also declared his support. Responding to the Telegraph’s beacon of intolerance Allison Pearson, who noted the gap between the number of Tory voters who voted to Leave, and the majority of the party’s MPs who were for Remain, he concluded “I think Leadsom will bridge the gap”.
So far, so mainstream, but then came the real off-the-wall far right endorsements, typified by not-really-a-fascist-honestly Nick Griffin, former leader of the openly racist BNP, who took to Twitter to confirm “Having two sons of military age should make #AndreaLeadsom less gungho for neo-con Russia-baiting. Best bet for #Peace as well as #Brexit”. Griffin detests the EU so much he was Tweeting from, er, Italy.
Could it get worse? It certainly could: the even-more-openly-fascist Britain First group decided via their Facebook page to throw the weight of their “patriotic” political party behind the Leadsom candidacy. So that’s another for the Islamophobes, then.
But it couldn’t get even worse than that, could it? I mean, Britain First is just a fringe party without access to a megaphone. Not a problem, because pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins has one of those, and she’s firmly in Team Leadsom, telling her adoring public “There's only one woman I trust to see us through this mess and safely out of the EU – and it ISN'T turncoat Theresa!” Yes, Ms Leadsom will see off those Scary Muslims (tm).
Hatey Katey is as tolerant and charitable as ever, sniping at Theresa May for not having children, accusing her of cowardice, and blaming her for child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. Sadly, she is also stupid enough to want a Prime Minister “committed to Leaving the EU and invoking Article 50”. Yeah, right. You invoke Article 50 to start the leaving process, Katie. It’s not some kind of designer add-on.
Andrea Leadsom could disown any or all of these endorsements. She does not. So that’s another reason to be very afraid of the CV-enhancing Tory, then.