The bullying scandal in and around the Tory Party may have gone quiet for now, but those involved never really went away. And following news that Andrea Leadsom had a trip to the USA paid for by the neocon American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) before she became an MP are coming more revelations about just who is backing her bid for the party’s leadership - and why they are doing it.
ALEC has links to the Tea Party movement. It has received funding from the Koch brothers, who have backed the climate change denial lobby. It has backed the NRA-supported “stand your ground” law, which has enabled many individuals to avoid prosecution for using their guns on others by claiming self defence. It is virulently anti-Trade Union, anti-EU, and anti-Public sector.
So it will surprise no-one to see that Ms Leadsom, since becoming an MP, has attended at least two Parliamentary rallies of the Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF), the “Conservative Madrasa” that is widely suspected of being an entryist organisation. Elliott Johnson, who took his own life last September, had been caught up in the YBF and its activities. Ms Leadsom attended the YBF’s Parliamentary rallies in both 2013 and 2014.
The YBF’s co-founder Donal Blaney has also declared his support for Ms Leadsom: although he has taken his Twiter feed private, his avatar clearly shows a Twibbon backing her. This should be no surprise, as the YBF is aligned with neocon groups in the USA . Blaney is also, it should not be forgotten, effectively in control of both Conservative Way Forward, the Thatcherite lobby group, and the Tories’ youth wing.
Aligned with him are the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have been blatantly spinning for Ms Leadsom, even though every significant player in the mainstream right-leaning press (Sun, Mail, Times, and Telegraph) have backed Theresa May. But then, Staines and Blaney both share something with Ms Leadsom, something that might put the wider electorate off her.
And that is her committed Christianity. She has said “my own view … is that marriage in the biblical sense is very clearly from the many many Christians who wrote to me on this subject - in their opinion - can only be between a man and a woman … I would have preferred for civil partnerships to be available to heterosexual and gay couples and for marriage to have a remained a Christian service for men and women who wanted to commit in the eyes of God”. So she’d rather not have same-sex marriage.
Now, having a politician who is a devout Christian is not illegal, and not in itself a barrier to office. Nor is enjoying the hospitality of Stateside neocons. Nor is being backed by the man whose creation has been accused of entryism, and whose groups have been heavily implicated in the Tory bullying scandal. But it’s information that some may find worrying.
The more that becomes known about Andrea Leadsom’s backers, the less appealing her candidature appears. And it didn’t look too appealing in the first place.