Fireworks inside the House of Commons
Yesterday’s return of the Remain harlots to the green benches they love so much that they are doing everything to keep sitting on them promised to be, well, let’s say: interesting. And by God, so it was!
I watched the whole thing, until the end at 11pm. It was well worth it, for the sheer theatre of the Attorney General Sir Geoffrey Cox – he of the booming mellifluous voice (and by golly did he boom!) -, for the sheer ‘grab them by their throats and shake them’ performance from the PM and for the grand finale by the Leader of the House.
It was especially worth it because, comparing what I and so many others watched unfold with the reports in today’s MSM, I can say that their Remain credentials are intact. None of them reported on one extraordinary scene – more on that below. JRM’s explanation regarding his remark that the SC verdict was a constitutional coup is also nowhere to be found in today’s MSM.
This remark was reported yesterday and had the Remain MPs in a tizzy of fabricated outrage. JRM said that this remark was falsely attributed to him (“you mustn’t believe everything you read in the papers” …) and was based on leaks from the cabinet meeting on the SC verdict. The MSM were not interested.
But let’s start at the beginning. The Attorney General had the floor and the attention of the full House. It was the best performance I’ve seen from the government bench for a long time. It was only topped by the PM, but we’ll come to that later.
Mr Cox’s opening act turned out to be the start of what became a veritable slaughter of the opposition MPs. Let me recommend the following video clips for your enjoyment, where Mr Cox unleashed his inner Cromwell: here, here, here and here – the last one with the screaming attack by that Labour MP. Mr Cox’s reply is stellar!
Quentin Letts in the paywalled Times has some choice descriptions in his Parliamentary sketch which you’ll enjoy as much as I do:
“Prowling at the dispatch box, tail swishing, one forefinger stabbing the air, Mr Cox raged that the Commons was trying to block 17.4 million people’s votes. “This parliament is a disgrace!” He told Opposition MPs that they were “too cowardly” to try to topple the government. All they wanted was to stop Brexit. “But the time is coming, Mr Speaker, when even these turkeys won’t be able to stop Christmas.” Behind him, Conservative MPs, who had earlier looked a little shattered, blinked and started to cheer. Ministers alongside Mr Cox looked alarmed. It must have been like being next to the blast of a six-cylinder Lagonda engine. Mr Cox was flaming. Scorchio.” (link, paywalled)
It gets better:
“His [Mr Cox’s] opening responses, delivered in his Aslan growl, were measured. But slowly the exasperation mounted. He was irked by his Labour shadow, who said that the loss of the Supreme Court case left Mr Cox without a “shred of credibility”. Mr Cox told the man not to be so “absurd and ridiculous”. Lawyers often lost cases. Soon came pesterings from the likes of Letwin, Grieve, Soubry, Benn and the Wollaston nightmare. […] Across Mr Cox’s eyes there flickered a few sparks of static electricity. […] He even had to put up with a complaint from Labour’s Emma Hardy about using the old legal expression “when did you stop beating your wife”. Ms Hardy, and Mr Bercow, thought it insensitive to domestic-violence victims. Good grief.” (link, paywalled)
Mr Letts doesn’t mention that this remark produced the first signs of emotional pleas from wimmin MPs to apologise for … language! There’s more:
“It was Rory Stewart who finally pushed Mr Cox over the edge. Mr Stewart lavished praise on the Supreme Court. Maybe Mr Cox saw his self-pleased smile as he sat down. Whatever, it detonated his anger and that was when we had the “dead parliament” eruption. And then we had Philip Lee, the ex-Tory from Bracknell who now pollutes the Lib Dem benches. Mr Lee told Mr Cox to show “more humility”. This from a man of the most sepulchral pomposity. Mr Cox: “Words fail me. They really do. He should be on his knees to his own constituents, begging their forgiveness for his betrayal.” Big hurrahs. Mr Lee is little liked. Cromwellian Cox united the House.” (link, paywalled)
I can attest to that! Here’s the summary from Benedict Spence who observes in the DT:
“It is quite a thing, then, that despite being a dead man walking, it was the sacrificial lamb who came up smelling of roses, and tolled the bell for his assailants.” (paywalled link)
What imagery! I love it. The MPs then had the opportunity they so wanted, to scrutinise the government. The main part was about that ‘Operation Yellowhammer’, again. Not only do opposition MPs have a remarkable lack of comprehension, some of their grandstanding questions were too ridiculous for words.
It’ll surprise you to hear that thanks to No-Deal-Brexit there will be a shortage of cheddar cheese and that there will be food riots because of that. Oh – and because of a shortage of carrots in Scottish constituencies. Yes, really! That’s what the Remain harlots wanted to come back for?
Then – the main act, the PM, Mr Johnson. For reference see the reports in the Express or this report in the DM. But be warned! Just as the broadsheets coyly omit reporting on what happened after Johnson’s reply to Corbyn’s statement, so the DM clips the video at that point.
I heartily recommend you watch what actually went on here – not just for the clapping and standing ovation but for the preceding reply by the PM where he shreds Corbyn.
Next, the Remain MPs became first irritated, then angry when Johnson called the Benn Bill the ‘Surrender Act’. They begged him to desist – desist he did not but doubled down, calling it the ‘Humiliation Act’ and the ‘Capitulation Act’. Their demands that BoJo stop this was to no avail:
So the ‘wimminz brigade’ rose and wailed with one voice about Johnson’s use of ‘violent and dangerous’ language. As far as I could make out, they meant words such as ‘surrender’ and ‘treason’.
It got worse. In a final act of what can only be described as scraping the emotional barrel, they blamed his language for the murder of Jo Cox MP – which had actually taken place over three years ago. Woman after woman rose on the opposition benches and wailed:
“Many of us are subject to death threats and abuse every day,” she said, “and let me tell the Prime Minister that they often quote his words, [such as] ‘Surrender Act’ and ‘betrayal’… We must moderate our language, and it has to come from the Prime Minister first.” The Prime Minister’s response began as follows. “I have to say, Mr Speaker,” he said, “I have never heard such humbug in all my life.” The Opposition gaped. Then they raged. The Prime Minister, however, remained unmoved. Moments later, in fact, he declared that “the best way to honour Jo Cox” would be “to get Brexit done”. […] Later still, he accused Labour of “synthetic outrage”. (paywalled link)
What has been disregarded in the MSM reports on this ‘synthetic outrage’ is Johnson’s repeated assertion that he would not ask for an extension. That’s now on the record.
Next, we were treated to a spell of points of order which were about – language! It turned into a veritable feast of mutual self-pity and emotion. At one point I thought the Speaker and some MPs – l’m looking at you, Ms Swinson! – were going to burst into tears.
So to the final act, the cherry on the cake of the government’s humiliation of the opposition: the Leader of the House announcing the business for today. It’ll be a debate on democracy and voters. The Parliament site hasn’t yet published the order paper, we’ll have to wait for that. You’ll not find his speech and replies reported in the MSM. There aren’t even video clips as of yet.
As I’ve mentioned above, JRM clarified that remark on ‘constitutional coup’, not that this penetrated the thick skulls of the opposition MPs. Thus a Labour MP – a woman, of course – rose, smirking, and asked him which of the two versions of ‘coup’ he meant. She quoted those versions straight from a dictionary (here). When will they learn that it’s futile to try and embarrass JRM like that?
In a brilliant play on words he replied that there was actually a third version of “coop”, meaning ‘a hen house’ … laughter all round. The Lab woman sat smiling, not having realised that she had been skewered. It was vintage JRM: lethal courtesy, the stiletto slid into the heart so elegantly that the victims don’t even notice they’re already dead.
At the end of 11 ½ hours of parliamentary theatre, I rubbed my eyes and asked myself if this really was why the Remainers wanted Prorogation stopped by all and any means. This drubbing by Messrs Cox, Johnson and Rees-Mogg cannot have been what they expected.
The three acts by these three gentlemen have inflicted such damage on their standing in the eyes of us voters – all attempts by the MSM to spin this notwithstanding – that they are dead buffoons walking.
I’ll be watching today’s session which promises even more fireworks.