The past weekend has shown yet again that for the Remain Establishment the fight isn’t over by any means. While the antisemitism in Labour gets a mention here and there – see e.g. this on the Labour Peterborough by election candidate – and while the latest poll (see e.g. here) on voter intention for a GE has already sunk without trace – too embarrassing! – the airwaves yesterday were full of Tory wannabe PM candidates explaining ‘their’ Brexit.
While we need to know what their plans are, let’s remind ourselves that we have no vote in this campaign unless we’re members of the Tory Party. It is however interesting to note how these Government ministers are all using ‘Project Fear’ arguments. One wonders (not!) where they are getting them from!
With glee the ‘stop-BoJo’ faction is now pointing out that Michael Gove is topping the leadership list, measured by how many Tory MPs support him. Here’s a fine report:
“Michael Gove’s Tory leadership campaign appeared to be building momentum last night despite Brexiteer fury over his No Deal stance. The Environment Secretary now has the declared support of 26 MPs – three more than his nearest rival Boris Johnson. Mr Gove has yet to publicly set out his Brexit strategy but sources made clear yesterday that he believed a chaotic No Deal could let Jeremy Corbyn into No 10. His campaign team played down reports that he would not take Britain out of the EU before late 2020, saying he was committed to leaving at the ‘earliest possible opportunity’. However, one source said that going for No Deal before Britain was ready could, in Mr Gove’s view, have disastrous consequences.” (source)
Another ‘source’ on his campaign team reportedly said:
“Simply trying to go for a No Deal before the UK is properly prepared will lead to a general election with Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street and risks Brexit being cancelled altogether. It’s not enough to believe in Brexit – you’ve got to be able to deliver it.” (link)
That is scare-posturing at its finest: ‘vote for me or Corbyn will get in’ – we’ve heard that one before, and it’s not even yet GE time. And look at the pure business-PR ‘speak’ about not just ‘believing in Brexit’ but being ‘able to deliver it’ – yeah right: deliver Brexit by already using the EU formula of German origin about an ‘orderly Brexit’.
Of course, the self-proclaimed ‘king maker’ Ms Amber Rudd MP who was said to support BoJo last week is now supporting Gove. That’s all we need to know about what sort of Brexit Mr Gove is going to ‘deliver’! Some of Gove’s opponents were pretty vocal:
“Michael Gove was accused yesterday by rivals in the Tory leadership contest of opening the door of No 10 to Jeremy Corbyn by saying that he would delay Brexit. […] The stance provoked fury among his opponents. A source in a rival campaign said: “It seems that Michael Gove’s great Brexit idea is to continue with Theresa May’s failed plan. This is only going to deliver Jeremy Corbyn into No 10.” (link, paywalled)
That spectre of Jeremy Corbyn is being used by all of them: ‘vote Gove and get Corbyn’ or ‘if you don’t vote Gove you’ll get Corbyn’. It’s amazing how the candidates’ attitude to Brexit obviously is nothing but an inner-Party marketing ploy to paint ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ as big bad scarecrow. You’ll have noticed that TBP and Nigel Farage have no role to play in these calculations.
Another hopeful May successor is Matt Hancock MP. He has of course his own Brexit Plan. Depending on which paywalled report you read, it’s either a three-point plan or a five-point plan. Both reports (in The Times and DT) write that Mr Hancock proudly claims the EU would like his effort:
“Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has claimed that other European leaders are receptive to his plans to find a way through the Brexit impasse. Mr Hancock set out his three-point strategy which includes a time limit on the Irish backstop, the issue that fatally hobbled Mrs May’s deal with Brussels. Sources close to Mr Hancock indicated that he had had a good response to the idea from other European countries. “We have had positive noises from Europe,” a source said. They added that other European countries had been open to the idea of a five-year time limit, but that Mr Hancock would want to reduce that time-frame.” (link, paywalled)
How … cute! Another Hancock source reportedly said:
“He has had conversations with figures at a European level and they have been quite open to his plan for a time-limited backstop. A five-year limit has been suggested in Brussels and that means you can engage in conversations to see what you can get that timespan down to. Matt has had a positive response to his ideas.” (paywalled link)
I bet he did! It was Brussel’s idea after all … but ‘figures at a European level’? Who they? Not M Barnier, I’m sure … Rounding up, we note that other wannabe PMs also are hopeful of ‘delivering Brexit’ by going for another extension or even for Remain:
“Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, refused to rule out extending Article 50 again if Parliament forces the option on the next Tory leader, after it emerged that Michael Gove has told Cabinet colleagues he would be prepared to delay Brexit until late 2020. It came as Sam Gyimah, the former universities minister who resigned from the Government over Theresa May’s Brexit stance, became the 13th Tory MP to enter the leadership race, saying he would hold a second referendum and campaign for Remain.” (paywalled link)
Mr Javid is already waving the white flag:
“Mr Javid was asked whether he would ask for an extension and replied: “I cannot envisage a circumstance where I would want to have an extension,” but he admitted he could not rule it out because Parliament could force it upon him.” (paywalled link)
Remain Central, i.e. The Times, has a leading article today bringing arguments which are interesting:
“There is a political consideration which candidates who suggest a summary departure (such as Mrs Leadsom, Mr Johnson and Dominic Raab) would do well to consider. The point that Mr Hunt has, rightly, been trying to stress is that leaving the EU without a deal may be impossible, whatever its intrinsic merits or demerits as an idea. Leaving without a deal on October 31 may require going through a constitutional crisis first and this, it might be thought, would give the sensible candidate pause. The quest for no deal could easily collapse the new government.” (link, paywalled)
That’s the usual defeatist crap excuse: ‘it’s too difficult to achieve so we won’t bother trying’ – for ‘the good of the Nation’, i.e. their jobs, of course. More:
“[…] in a hung parliament, there is no majority for anything. If steering a course through the Commons is even possible without resorting to a second referendum or a general election, it will require consensus. There is no hope of this if candidates simply declare that Britain will leave on October 31 come what may. That would lead to a concerted effort, on the part of the majority of MPs determined to avoid leaving without an agreement, to prevent the government proceeding. Amid wild talk of prorogation and votes of no confidence ending the new prime minister’s tenure almost as soon as it starts, the only predictable outcome would be chaos.” (link, paywalled)
In other words, this Remain Parliament would force any new Tory PM to Remain, irrespective of us, the electorate. Note that proroguing Parliament is deemed to be a huge no-no because: chaos! There would indeed be chaos because a GE would have to be called.
Given the under-reported Sunday poll result (e.g. here) where TBP is topping the board, it is quite astonishing that all wannabe PMs simply do not take this into their consideration. They are still playing the same old Westminster Bubble Games of ‘my BRINO is a better Remain than yours’, aided and abetted by the Remain establishment. Don’t forget that the ministers amongst them all have their hands held by their own Mandarins – and we do know what those want, don’t we!
This Thursday is the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, and incidentally it’s the by election in Peterborough. Let’s hope that date is a good omen for Mike Greene and TBP.