Whenever a Conservative stands at the Despatch Box these days, your mole can’t help feeling that they are auditioning for the role of Prime Minister. Particularly with Andrea Leadsom, who tried to run against Theresa May last time, and is rumoured to have the leadership in her sights again.
So it inspired both joy and horror when the Leader of the House, and potential future PM, stood up in the Commons today to celebrate women’s achievements – and called Jane Austen “one of our greatest living authors”.
Referring to the author’s place on the £10 note – which has already been tarnished with a quote from the deceitful Pride and Prejudice character Caroline Bingley – Leadsom informed the chamber:
“I would just add one other great lady to that lovely list, who I’m delighted to join in celebrating, and that’s that of Jane Austen, who will feature on the new ten pound note, which I think is another – one of our greatest living authors…”
As MPs began to giggle, she added: “Greatest EVER authors! Greatest ever authors…well, I think many of us probably wish she were still living.”
Although it was a slip of the tongue, your mole assumes that Leadsom has a certain zombie Prime Minister on her mind, and has hence been imagining zombie authors too. Or perhaps, as a staunch Brexiteer, she would rather we were still living in an age when Austen was alive. A time when women were merely required to feverishly embroider until they met a man and had babies (very important if one wishes to be a good Prime Minister), and men rode around on horses being horrible to them until they succumbed.
As one tweeter quipped, she probably thinks Pride and Prejudice is a critique of modern suburbia.
Also, she missed some people out:
Andrea Leadsom: ” have you heard Beethoven’s String Quintet? absolute banger mate”
— Elliott Haworth (@ElliottDHaworth) July 20, 2017
After mentioning ‘one of the greatest living authors’ Jane Austen, Andrea Leadsom would like to thank Noah for his ongoing conservation work
— Fatpete (@fatpete_86) July 20, 2017
Andrea Leadsom – also a big fan of Darwin, our greatest living scientist!
— Lindsay Emerson (@Lindol_Emerson) July 20, 2017
Oh dear #AndreaLeadsom everyone knows William Shakespeare is the greatest livingwriter of our generation
— Andy Wedge (@andy_wedge) July 20, 2017
Andrea Leadsom, everyone! WTAF. is she having tea with Dickens later? pic.twitter.com/BWbWfyR1LA
— Farore (@Farore13) July 20, 2017
Hang on what is Andrea Leadsom talking about: there’s Tolkien and Chaucer and yeah Shakespeare who are greater living authors surely !?
— Giles Dilnot (@reporterboy) July 20, 2017
Don’t be so hard on @andrealeadsom . It was an easy mistake to make. She meant to say Charlotte Bronte.
— NigelBriggs (@lawlecturer) July 20, 2017
Don’t be too hard on Andrea Leadsom; she was up all night listening to her favourite living guitarist, Jimi Hendrix.
— Judge Conkerface (@Conkerface) July 20, 2017
Andrea Leadsom is completely wrong about Jane Austen being our greatest living author.Oscar Wilde is.
— Spaniel Alves (@AlvesSpaniel) July 20, 2017