The Tapioca Factor, & why Stephen Crabb has it


Beginning The Slog’s new series on the Leadership candidates vying to be lower than mediocre by being tapioca.

meglycinessnipHaving just turfed out an overpromoted idiot who pretended to be eurosceptic, hands up all those who want the new Tory leader to be overpromoted already, and a full-on EUnatic? No show of hands? Well that rules Stephen Crabb out.

Craven Stab is married to a French lady. Nothing wrong with that: my first wife was Scottish, and my second Welsh. I’m well cosmopolitan: I live in France, eat snails, pee by the road. No Little Englander me.

Mrs Stab is actually called Béatrice Monnier, and she is the top wally working for the Welsh office of Alliance Française. The four-storey centre in Cardiff’s Charles Street hosts French language courses for adults and children, screens French films with subtitles, showcases French culture and gastronomy, and houses a cafe as well as a members’ bar majoring on French wine.

So it’s all about being French and holidaying in France and buying French things and generally adding to our trade deficit with the EU. Sorry; a bit petty that. But notable is an absence of any mention anywhere in the Alliance of what an illegally vindictive little Emergency Powers-wielding prat the French President is. François Hollande had this to say last weekend after British voters dared to defy the European Union:


Alliance Francaise is a French NGO that declares itself ‘dedicated to spreading French language and Francophone culture’. It is the biggest network of its kind worldwide, with 850 establishments in 136 countries on all five continents. Each year, 500,000 people, of all ages, attend Alliances Françaises to learn French, and more than 6 million people are affiliated to it in one form or another.

So if your missus is in the business of being a big wheel in the second biggest wheel in the European Bunion, it’s highly likely – if only for a quiet life at home – that you’re going to be Europhile. But that’s not what Crabb’s publicists are trying to get across:

His pitch for the Conservative leadership (they say) is straightforward: the EU referendum represented a revolt by people who feel left behind by politics and the political Establishment. It will take somebody who, like so many of those who voted Leave, understands what it is to start life with few advantages to bring the country back together again.

Except that Stephen didn’t vote Leave. He voted full-bloodedly to Remain.

Speaking to the BBC’s Wales Report with Huw Edwards in May 2015, the minister said he wanted to make the case for Britain to remain part of the EU.

“Being a member of the European Union is a huge strategic advantage,” said Monsieur Stabb, “The big prize we’re talking about is, of course, access to the single market, and Welsh business is a huge winner from that. We do need to have a debate in Wales, and there will be a referendum… there are some big discussions to be had. But I’m clear that we want to go into that referendum, on the back of a successful renegotiation, where we have delivered a reformed relationship between the UK and the EU… arguing the case for Britain to stay in the EU.”

It’s fairly clear from the drivel above that Stephen’s lack of prescience is what most forcefully pushes him down below mediocre and into tapioca. There will be a successful renegotiation he said (wrong) and then a confirmation of our commitment to the EU (wrong) and access to the single market is a big prize (wrong). There was a nothing negotiation after which we voted to leave….and I suspect our huge trade deficit with the EU had a lot to do with that.

But now (his blurb says) he is the man to unite the country around a new path. Along with his francophone promoting wife, and his extensive network of Remaindeers in the Conservative Party….and his complete lack of any experience in uniting anyone.

Wull, ah mean, coooorse ‘e is innee? I mean, stanz ter reason dunnit?

For he is a man from an underprivileged background, who sympathises with the struggles of the less well off, and loves to heal social wounds. That’s why – a mere three weeks into his job at the Department of Work and Pensions – he had this to say about women born in the 1950s having their promised payout snatched away:

“These [WASPI] women were only surprised because they’ve been breezing through life not thinking… I think it’s irresponsible of anyone in this House of Commons to try to pretend and lead these women on into thinking that somehow there’s an easy decision to be made, that’s just fiscally impossible. Any decision to row back now – who would pay for that? You’re back to asking younger people to shoulder more of a fiscal burden.”

As an example of lies about where the money went (to civil service pensions), insensitive comments about an entire generation of mothers, and setting the young at the throats of the old, that statement would be hard to beat.

Let’s face it, Stephen Crabb and the fragrant Béatrice are Tapioca. Full of balls (if she’s got a fulltime job as the Alliance Française grand fromage in Wales, why are we paying her salary to be his constituency secretary?) glutinously wobbly on direction, and not something anyone from Far Right to Hard Left would ever want on a political menu. And finally, Stab is developing into something of a pudding:


Yes, Stefano Crabbelli has got The Tapioca Factor. We dismiss him as a serious Tory Leadership contender….but commend him as a target for Waspi women hacked off with clowns who can’t even steer clear of corruption – let alone follow a moral compass.

Earlier at The Slog: Is Tom Peck at the Indie a Tomtit?