It’s official: our political establishment is delusional. All of them – not just the PM and her Remainers but the ‘loyal opposition’, a.k.a. Labour and their top dogs, as well as the LibDems. The evidence is spread right across the MSM.
The dust has somewhat settled on the local elections and while the LibDems fondly believe that their success means the whole country now wants to Remain, the PM and Lab believe the 39,000 spoiled ballot papers screaming ‘Brexit!’ and ‘Brexit Now’ means that voters clamour for the PMs WA or for Corbyn’s Remain in the Customs Union.
The DT still has the best ‘sources’ and published an important article yesterday night which the other MSM picked up and copied (here, here and paywalled here). Some select Tories then made the expected noises. Here are the relevant bits:
“Theresa May has held secret discussions over a three-way second referendum ahead of a crunch meeting with Labour this week to agree a cross-party Brexit deal. The Prime Minister has carried out “scenario planning” with aides and ministers in case the Government cannot prevent a Parliamentary vote on a second referendum.” (paywalled link)
Excuse me, but in my naivety I always thought that the government proposes legislation and Parliament scrutinises and amends it before voting on it. But the PM is now so divorced from reality that she is clutching at HoC demands (remember the Letwin/Cooper Bill?) to let MPs of all stripes tell her what to do – provided it’s Remain:
“Mrs May and her advisers are understood to have ‘war gamed’ the possibility of giving voters a choice of her deal, no deal and remain, though Government sources insisted it would only become relevant if talks with Labour collapse and Parliament forces a vote on a second referendum. That could happen either through a series of “indicative votes”, which are Mrs May’s plan B if the Labour talks fail, or through an amendment to Brexit legislation. The Prime Minister believes that if MPs insist on a public vote that would include Remain as one of the options, the public would also have to be given the choice of a no deal Brexit and a Brexit with a deal. Downing Street sources denied there had been a meeting to discuss a second referendum.(paywalled link)
Before Thursday’s local elections we heard Tory grandees claim that a 2nd Referendum is not on the cards, no way, of course not … but it is now!
Do pay attention to the last sentence in the quote above: of course Drowning Street would deny that there was a meeting on a 2nd Referendum! They’re right: the meeting, as reported, was mainly about ‘war gaming’ on what to offer Corbyn – and we do know, do we not, that half of Labour wants a 2nd Referendum, as do the LibDems and SNPGreenPlaid.
As Tory MPs were robustly told to ‘suck it up’, let’s see what they are expected to swallow:
“Mrs May is understood to be on the brink of offering Labour a temporary but comprehensive “customs arrangement” which would last until the next general election – allowing the winner of that election to decide on more permanent arrangements. The Prime Minister is also ready to offer Labour permanent alignment of workers’ rights with EU rules, and closer regulatory alignment with the EU.” (paywalled link)
If a GE is somehow ‘on offer’, then where is the bit to make this deal “Bobo proof”? And didn’t some Labour MP talk about making this WA deal last for 30 years?
It is remarkable how one point – a rather important one – is not mentioned in these reports on the PM’s ‘war games’. Not one thought has been spent, apparently, on TBP.
It surely cannot be beyond the mental capacities of the PM, Labour, and all their advisers, to imagine the result of a 2nd Referendum! If they really believe that scrapping the EP Elections to ‘kill the Farage fox’ would make him and TBP go away and leave the battleground to Remain which would then, finally, win that 2nd Referendum, then ‘delusional’ is a very mild description for their state of mind.
Again we see that inside their happy bubble, playing war games, they totally overlook and discard the opinion of the voters outside the M25. Only Bernard Jenkin MP has grasped it:
“Unless Brussels can be persuaded to replace the backstop, a WTO Brexit is the only realistic way to achieve Brexit. It will be difficult for many MPs to come to terms with this, but we have no choice, or the Farage bandwagon will roll.” (paywalled link)
Just so – but other Tory MPs are still fixated on finagling something along the lines of that Brady amendment, i.e. getting rid of the Backstop, and not caving in to Labour. Why they still think that the PM’s WA sans Backstop is Brexit must remain their secret.
The inevitable Sir John Redwood has a whole clutch of questions for the Government in his Diary today, concluding:
“It is because the negotiations have been so poor from the UK side that we now must just leave without signing the Withdrawal Treaty. The public understood only too clearly how the UK had to argue its corner and dig in over what we thought was fair.”
He gets it … do read the whole thing!
Meanwhile there’s still one obstacle to the PM’s war-gamed plans: Mr Williamson and the Huawei scandal. Yesterday we saw unprecedented briefings against Mr Williamson in The Times but we also found a delicious piece of leakage:
“Gavin Williamson has accused the senior mandarin who orchestrated his downfall of usurping the role of ministers after it emerged that Sir Mark Sedwill is to launch his own visit to meet China’s leaders this week.” In what has been dubbed the “Mandarin mission for mandarins” the cabinet secretary is leading a delegation of 15 permanent secretaries — the top civil servants in Whitehall — to Beijing.They will seek to forge new links with the Chinese ruling class and boost business connections, but the trip is seen by ministers as a vainglorious attempt by Sedwill, who is accused of behaving like “an emperor” in Whitehall. “This is a massive showboating exercise for a massive ego,” said one cabinet source.” (link, paywalled)
What a lovely coincidence …! Later that day the DM (here) reported that Sir Mark Sedwill is now under pressure not to go. Read the whole piece, it’s not paywalled.
If Mr Williamson is indeed going to give his speech to the HoC then Ms May might well have to ‘wargame’ on a second front. Perhaps our supine MSM journalists might even find the courage to open the can-of-worms that is the Sedwill-Robbins-Selmayr ‘Agreement’ to keep us in the EU. This intervention shows how serious the Huawei scandal is:
“Mrs May should defend her senior mandarins who have been attacked over the government’s positions on Huawei and Brexit, according to the Institute for Government (IFG). Tim Durrant, a senior researcher at the IFG, said yesterday: “The insinuation that Sedwill and team are working to their own agenda as opposed to serving the government, is bonkers and undermines how our democracy works. Ministers, particularly the PM, need to come out and say what they are and aren’t allowing officials to do, rather than leaving them to face this kind of criticism undefended — their silence just allows rumours to grow.” (link, paywalled)
Yes please – do ‘come out’, so we can have proof that and how the top mandarins are governing our country! Document how and that the clowns in the HoC are simply there to take our attention away from the fact that our representatives, from the PM down, have supinely let them ride roughshod over our decision.
That, and not the Huawei leak or the PM’s cave-in to Labour is the real scandal.