The contest for a new Tory party leader has left me with a faint sense of nostalgia for Theresa May.

Despite her pitiful legacy, having presided over a disastrous Brexit plan, the Windrush scandal and austerity measures that have led to a huge increase in homelessness and the widespread use of food banks across the UK, judging the line-up of hopefuls to replace her, I have found myself contemplating the times when a Prime Minister came across as mildly competent and respected.

Surely, I can’t be the only one?

With May at the helm, particularly over the last two years as we have endured endless Brexit negotiations, British politics has felt like Groundhog Day. It is difficult to imagine the Tory Party could willfully continue its downward trajectory. And yet, as Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson stands as the favourite to succeed May as leader of the Conservative party and – by default – Prime Minister, I have found myself muttering the phrase ‘better the devil you know’ on several occasions.

May was a poor performer and through her policies she lacked compassion; but for me, Johnson is on a whole new level of derision.

I can see his appeal as an affable, non serious figure, in a sea of otherwise dull and generally stiff politicians.

Indeed, he has gained popularity and an ever-growing fan base from a cross section of society for being apparently funny, honest, charismatic and intelligent. People who like him see him as both a clown-like figure and a bit of an underdog, who – despite his clumsiness and catalogue of mistakes and failings – always bounces back and appears to get a job done.

But I don’t find anyone who normalises bigotry clever or humourous, let alone the person vying to lead the country. Not only does Johnson hold a woeful record for the roles he has held previously, in and out of government, he is also racist and misogynistic.

His likening of Muslim women who wear the Burqa to letterboxes in his column for the Telegraph last year, which he recently offered a half apology for, is one in a long line of examples of the type of dig whistle racism in which he regularly engages.

Meanwhile, back in 2005, in a farewell piece in which he offered advice to his successor at the Spectator, Johnson said of the magazine’s then publisher Kimberly Quinn: “Just pat her on the bottom and send her on her way,”

Certainly, all of this appeals to a right-wing base, but it is far from the type of “plain speaking” we desire in a Prime Minister and the leader of the country.

As I daydream, I feel sorry for Britain.

But then, quickly, I remember, England is where I call home. It is where my daughter will soon go to school, where she will learn amongst other things, British values: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

These are values we expect in the workplace, in our hospitals and other public spaces, too.

And yet, when we turn on the TV to watch the news or read a newspaper, we hear rhetoric that is the opposite of tolerance, democracy and respect for others with different beliefs, by the very people who are supposed to be proponents of such values – our elected representatives.

I’m pretty certain Johnson’s peers in the Tory Party don’t view him as generously as it currently appears. From where I’m standing, he will not win their support because they admire or respect him, but because he is seen as their best option for keeping the party together in the short term and seeing off both Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and a Corbyn-led Labour Party at the next general election.

And as Britain nudges ever closer to a new style of Trump-esque politics, the adage ‘when America sneezes, Britain catches a cold’ rings loudly in my ears.