After Andrea Leadsom demonstrated her cluelessness and lack of self-awareness twice over, making a number of crass comments to Times journalist Rachel Sylvester, and then moaning about it afterwards, it was time for her supporters to rally round. Sadly, one of those supporters has made things worse - a lot worse. Because Ms Leadsom is being backed to the hilt by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
At the outset, Ms Mensch decided that, whatever the fact of the matter, her chosen candidate was right, the Times was wrong, and so was anyone who dared to dissent from that view. Moreover, she would put everything right by the sheer force of her, er, frothing and ranting. She would save the day, or, as it turned out, maybe not.
As soon as the Times front page was out there, she was off and running, although in which direction is not clear: “Leadsom never ever said this. Never. Never. #ProjectSmear”. She didn’t? “The times needs to publish the full transcript. I see Andrea saying ‘I don't want it to be about I have children and Theresa doesn’t’”. Two things here. One, the transcript is out there, and two, what Ms Mensch “sees” has nothing to do with it.
This did not deter Ms Mensch, especially after Andrea Leadsom protested about the headline: “WONDERFUL to see @andrealeadsom fighting this APPALLING smear”. It wasn’t a smear, but do go on. “If I were @andrealeadsom press team I'd insist on recording ALL interviews with right to publish full transcript. The smearing insane”. It was recorded. The audio is freely available. And it still isn’t a smear.
Whatever, as Ms Leadsom had demanded the transcript, what else was Ms Mensch to do but act as an echo chamber? “Andrea Leadsom demands the full transcript #ProjectSmear”. We know. We can read, thank you. Then freelance Jane Merrick incurred the Mensch displeasure: “she denies it and has demanded the full transcript #ProjectSmear won't work #LeadsomForPM”. Transcript is there. It changes nothing.
And no-one was listening. What do do? Simples. Rant a little louder: “Andrea's strong denial and disgust is a treatment to her character. She would never say or think being a mother gives political edge. EVER … The whole world can see Andrea Leadsom enraged at the suggestion she would say this of Theresa May. Her fury obvious and genuine”. Fury at being exposed as a thoroughly unpleasant individual, you mean.
But still nobody listened. So the ranting was escalated to Times management, with deputy editor Emma Tucker targeted next. “I'm sure you'll be able to reply to Andrea. Is she telling the truth?” No response, so on to Rachel Sylvester. “So tell us, @RSylvesterTimes - did @AndreaLeadsom say this to you repeatedly - or not? #ProjectSmear”. Enough already.
Not only did Andrea Leadsom say what the Times claimed she said, when the audio was released, with her stressing “But I have CHILDREN”, it looked even worse. Louise Mensch is once again ranting to no purpose, except to cause even more people to see that her preferred PM is not a very nice person. Takes one to know one, I suppose.