Anyone with a few minutes to spare should try searching on Google for the websites of Boris Johnson’s and Jeremy Hunt’s leadership campaigns.
The one for Johnson, even if you click through several Google pages, appears to be non existent.
Hunt’s you can eventually find through his MP’s website. It contains a page of endorsements, his launch speech and details on how to donate (optional for readers of this newsletter).
This may be a reflection of the two campaigns’ poor SEO (search engine optimization) skills.
Whatever the reason, it is a depressing insight into how politics is conducted in 2019 that neither of the two candidates to be the next Prime Minister is willing to publish a detailed manifesto.
We have a had a few snippets of policy from Johnson.
So far these include a £9billion tax cut for the wealthy, a promise to solve Brexit through positive energy and uncosted pledges for more spending on health, the police and education.
Hunt’s programme includes a corporation tax cut, increased defence spending, pollution free cities in 10 years and vague promise to build more homes for young people.
What is lacking from either contender is any over-arching philosophy.
There is no attempt to grapple with the question of whether the Tories should be continuing Margaret Thatcher’s free market crusade or pursuing the more statist agenda of Theresa May.
There is no big pitch for how they intend to take the party forward in an age of loosening tribal loyalties and changing demographics.
You could argue the Conservatives, with the exception of Thatcher, were always a pragmatic party which claimed to put competence before ideology and perhaps it is better that neither candidate appears wedded to any particular creed.
But this absence of belief, which is really an absence of a narrative, does matter when your opponent is Jeremy Corbyn.
For all Corbyn’s faults voters understand, with the glaring exception of Brexit, what he believes in.
As predicted, yesterday’s shadow Cabinet meeting to discuss Labour’s Brexit position broke up without agreement .
The Labour leader wants yet more time to consider whether the party should unequivocally back a second referendum.
The most intriguing aspect of the meeting was how Corbyn’s closest allies voiced their exasperation at his refusal to make a decision.
Diane Abbott is reported to have told him that he did not understand the scale of discontent among party members while John McDonnell described Labour’s stance “like watching a slow-motion car crash.”
10.15am – Bank of England governor Mark Carney appears before the Treasury select committee.
11.30am – Welsh questions in the Commons.
12pm – Theresa May takes Prime Minister’s questions.
3pm – Rory Stewart takes a break from walking to appear before the international development committee.
Theresa May speech in Manchester on housing.
4.30pm – Westminster Hall debate on puffin habitats.
7pm – Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson take part in ‘digital’ hustings.
What I am reading: