The whole Nation, allegedly, watched ‘that’ debate on Ch4 yesterday evening. Well, some of us must’ve done so (no, nor me neither …). The MSM commentariat certainly did, and reading their reports and analyses I’m glad I didn’t waste my time.
This was billed as the perfect vehicle for the Tory wannabe PM contestants to shine – only Boris Johnson refused to take part and was instead ‘represented’ by an empty chair. Unsurprisingly, Tory Brexiteers declared that this empty chair was ‘the winner’.
Knocking lumps out of an empty chair wasn’t exactly to the taste of Brits who believe in fair play. Others remarked that ‘blue-on-blue’ infighting wasn’t precisely conducive to winning votes. And we read in this report that BoJo meanwhile had some food delivered to his house during the debate: our wonderful ‘investigative reporters’ at work!
The ‘real news’ on this debate are in the statistics. First, there’s the claim that the audience was skewed to Remain – what a surprise (not!) – and then there’s a hard look at the time permitted each candidate to make his case:
“Analysis showed that Mr Raab, who has said that Parliament could be suspended to ensure Britain leaves the EU by October 31, got the least amount of time to answer the questions. Mr Raab’s answers were timed at 10 minutes two seconds, far behind rivals Sajid Javid (11 min, 23 sec), Rory Stewart (12 min, 9 sec), Jeremy Hunt (12 min, 13sec) and Michael Gove (14 min, 30 sec). “ (paywalled link)
Remain bias? Certainly not! It’s all perfectly natural …More on that below, first savour this comment:
“Presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy courted controversy by introducing each candidate by the school and university they went to. It meant that Rory Stewart’s schooling at Eton was highlighted, together with Jeremy Hunt’s Charterhouse background, while Sajid Javid was introduced as having been to a comprehensive school near Bristol. Mr Guru-Murthy also made the point that all the candidates were men.” (link)
Strangely it seemed to have escaped Mr Guru-Murthy’s notice that the female contestants had already been voted out. I wonder why he didn’t mention that there wasn’t enough ‘diversity’ amongst the candidate panel. After all, it surely is time for every Party to promote vigorously candidates for PM based on the colour of their skin …!
The Brexit Tories were quick to document the bias in the debate and audience:
“One Brexiteer Tory MP said: “Watching Channel 4 and the ganging up on Raab one could be forgiven for thinking there had never been a referendum. As the only one there who wanted an actual exit date he was sneered at. Not surprising from ‘Channel4Remain’.” […] A source close to the European Research Group of Tory MPs said: “A Channel 4 audience hated Dom because he had the courage to stand up to everything they hate. A really courageous performance by seemingly the only man in the room concerned about not losing even more Tory voters.” (paywalled link).
Well, they would say that … It’s not surprising though that RemainCentral, The Times, gave top notes (8/10) to Michael Gove and Rory S while Javid (6/10) and Raab (7/10) fared less well (link, paywalled). The DT’s panel of ‘experts’ had BoJo at the top (paywalled link). Quentin Letts’ summing up is delicious:
“At an hour when sensible people wend to Sunday evensong, five men in dark suits stood behind gameshow-style podiums to squabble and brag in their bid to lead the Conservative Party. What terrible big boast-ins televised political debates have become. “I took Corbyn comprehensively to pieces,” cried Michael Gove. “I’ve got broad appeal,” claimed Sajid Javid. “I look gentle but I’m stubborn underneath,” offered Jeremy Hunt. “I resigned out of principle,” recalled Dominic Raab. “I’m proud to be supported by Labour and Lib Dem voters,” averred Rory Stewart. There was accomplished debate-society swivelling from Gove. We had a few zingers from a neatly combed Stewart, a headmasterly air from Hunt in a Union Jack badge, and a tolerant decency from Javid who (perhaps to his credit) seemed least comfortable with the event’s self-promotional demands. Dominic Raab smouldered wonderfully. Mr Bonfire! He is better on telly than you might expect, Raab.” (link, paywalled)
But enough about the Tory peacocks disporting themselves! Unsurprisingly, given this spectacle, a piece of news didn’t make as much waves in the MSM as one would’ve thought. Apparently, ‘Tory Donors’ are ‘in secret talks’ with Nigel Farage – not about giving money to TBP, but about ‘a pact’, see here and paywalled here. A leading Tory donor writes in the DT that, ‘to save the country from Corbyn’, Tories must enter a pact with TBP, and, after smearing Nigel Farage in the usual way, concludes:
“If the Conservatives want to be the senior party to their estranged Brexit cousins then some sort of practical accommodation with them is needed. […]There comes a point when reality has to be acknowledged and an electoral pact needs to be considered soon.” (paywalled link)
That ‘pact’ is not about Brexit, you understand, it’s only about keeping Corby out of 10 Downing Street. That Tory hasn’t understood that this top-down, ‘we’re senior’, approach won’t work any more. Here’s Nigel Farage’s reply:
“Mr Farage confirmed on Sunday that he had discussed the plans. He said: “I have had a couple of approaches from people saying ‘wouldn’t this be a good idea?’ To which I say ‘to do what? Just to keep the Tories inside Number 10 and us in the EU?” He added: “I don’t trust any of them [the leadership candidates] to deliver a genuine Brexit and unless that situation changes, we are gearing up as an organisation to fight every seat in the country.” (paywalled link)
But rest assured: the Remain brigade is already working hard on another battlefront. They acknowledge that BoJo looks to become the next PM, and have homed in on his remark about not paying the £39 billion divorce bill. Unsurprisingly it’s the Remain editor in the DT, Peter Foster, who reports what his “Whitehall Sources” said:
“However several Whitehall sources have confirmed that on-record internal legal advice from Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, has warned that linking Brexit bill payments to the progress of any trade talks would be illegal. The advice sets up a potential clash between Mr Johnson and Mr Cox who last week backed the former foreign secretary for the Tory leadership. It also raises the prospect of Parliament demanding the publication of the advice if Mr Johnson seeks to overturn it as Prime Minister and withhold the cash.” (paywalled link)
It also raises the prospect of watching Remain Labour tear itself to pieces in the HoC! Demanding that billions of our money be paid to the EU while squealing about ‘Tory austerity’ is not a good image.
Perhaps they ought to read this legal advice, published in September 2017 by Martin Howe QC: “We don’t owe the EU any money”. All that has changed during this time is the increasingly boneheaded attitude of Remainers in Whitehall and the Tory Party who still believe we need to implement the former PM’s Vassalage Bill.
I wonder if the time has come to let those wannabe PMs and their various acolytes in the MSM stew in their own juices and just disregard the whole ‘show’. After all, we have no voice in this ‘election’ unless one’s a Tory Party member. More than ever, Brexit has become degraded into a plaything for political peacocks.
Meanwhile, hugely important events in the world, from Iran to Hongkong, are disregarded by our politicians who don’t have time to even notice them. Labour is in industrial-strength communist mode, planning to restrict the sums parents are ‘allowed’ to give their children. The LibDems are wallowing in self-congratulations and are dreaming about ending in 10 Downing Street, the nationalist parties have become quiet for the time being and Ms May is emptying the coffers of the Treasury without hindrance just to have “a legacy”, leaving no money for her successor.
We poor peasants are left looking at this ‘summer’ which has produced a sodden country, sodden gardens, floods and misery. At least we can use the rain-time keeping us indoors to good effect, by telling our constituency MPs to get us Brexit or else. So, as always, rain or shine: