Dear friends, this morning I feel a bit like those truffle pigs trying to find truffles, sniffing around the trees (a.k.a. MSM), digging frantically in the soil – but only finding some tiny little exemplars at the end of all that effort.
Brexit, it seems, is being displaced in the MSM by roars about one of our frigates preventing Iranian boats to storm one of our oil tankers (here) – and rightly so. Then there’s the resignation of that unspeakable UK ambassador to the USA. That is being used by the MSM to lambast Ms May and the BoJo-Hunt as the Remainers are now into tying BoJo’s hands at all costs.
It may look like the usual storm in a teacup but it shines a light on what the Tory supporters for either of the BoJo-Hunt candidates believe and hope for, providing a convenient little glimpse on what we can expect from the Tories under a new PM. Not much, it would seem …
I’ll come back to that below, first here’s another little item that is a warning signal for Brexiteers. RemainCentral dug it up. The headline says it all: “Whip who forgot to vote blamed for no-deal defeat” (link, paywalled). You might think this is just a bit of human error, it could happen to anyone, but the consequences could be far-reaching:
“A Tory whip who forgot to vote is being blamed for a key defeat that rebels hope will pave the way for parliament to block a no-deal Brexit. Jo Churchill, the MP for Bury St Edmunds, does not appear on division lists for the vote on Dominic Grieve’s amendment on Monday night, which passed by a single vote. The defeat could help MPs to prevent a future prime minister from suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit, a move Boris Johnson has refused to rule out.” (link, paywalled)
The reason for this error is something that got me ever so slightly annoyed:
“Colleagues said that Ms Churchill, 55, had agreed to act as a proxy for Chloe Smith, the MP for Norwich North, and that although she cast Ms Smith’s vote she had forgotten to cast her own. […] Proxy voting was introduced only this year as part of measures to make it easier for MPs to combine their duties with family responsibilities.” (link, paywalled)
We can all guess which MPs want to ‘combine their duties with family responsibilities’, can’t we. All I’ll say is that one cannot demand to be treated as equal in all respects when applying for a job – and then demand extra help once one’s got the job. And all I’ll say about this episode is that it’s frightening to see how thin the thread is on which a No Deal Brexit hangs.
Now to that sorry spectacle of the UK ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch. Just like other top functionaries, be they of Whitehall origin or in industry, it’s never their own fault. He felt ‘obliged’ to resign after Johnson refused to say whether he would keep him in his job. There’s more, and it’s a nice little stew which does touch on Brexit, albeit at a remove:
“Boris Johnson’s allies have warned Theresa May that she must not “tie the hands” of her successor by appointing a new ambassador to the United States as one of her final acts in Downing Street. Sir Kim Darroch resigned as Britain’s ambassador to Washington yesterday, saying that it was impossible for him to stay on after President Trump severed relations and described him as stupid, wacky and pompous. Friends of Sir Kim told The Times that Mr Johnson’s refusal to say whether he would keep the diplomat in office had been a factor in his decision to quit.” (link, paywalled)
Extraordinary, isn’t it: an ambassador who has obviously become ‘persona non grata’ seems to think that he still deserves support from the new PM. The mindset in the Foreign Office and in 10 Downing Street – remember Ms May supported him fully, leaked emails notwithstanding – is astonishing.
They are actually using this serious diplomatic incident as plaything in the BoJo-Hunt campaign, showing a total disregard to our standing in the international community. You could ask what else is new, that’s the attitude of Whitehall all along, Brexit included. Indeed so it is, and while we can disregard the now customary smears of Johnson coming from the ‘prevent BoJo at all costs’ brigade, here is why this incident is important and why it’s touching on Brexit:
“Mrs May has been told by ministers that the role of US ambassador is too important to be left vacant for an extended period. “They think it is in the national interest that we have an ambassador in place,” a source said. Allies of the prime minister pointed out that her predecessor David Cameron appointed Ed Llewellyn, his chief of staff, as ambassador to France shortly after saying that he was leaving No 10.” (link, paywalled)
Now who in Ms May’s circle has indicated that he’d like to leave for pastures new? Exactly: Sir Mark Sedwill! What better replacement for one Europhile could there be than this other Europhile …! You might like to read what the inimitable Sir John Redwood wrote in his Diary today: “What do we need from a new Ambassador to the USA”. Read the last sentence in that diary entry! Does that fit Sir Mark Sedwill? You decide …
Then there’s the ‘New Juncker’, Ms van der Leyen or vdL. She’s been touring the EUParl to canvass for votes. Voting will take place next week, another are reports that the Greens in the EUPArl won’t vote for her.
It’s not in doubt that she’s an ardent anti- Brexiteer. The reports of her canvassing tour illustrate nicely though how selective reporting is utilised by the MSM to push their agenda. Here’s The Times:
“The candidate to take over the top post in the European Union has vowed to defend the “precious” Irish backstop and in effect ruled out reopening Theresa May’s Brexit agreement. Ursula von der Leyen, the German defence minister who hopes to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission, sent a warning to the next British prime minister as she made her pitch to MEPs yesterday. Dr Von der Leyen, 60, said she hoped that Brexit would “never happen” but charged the UK with a “noble task” to fulfil its side of the exit agreement. “The backstop is of utmost importance and we absolutely know how crucial this non-existent border is for you,” she said in response to a question from an Irish MEP. “Having the backstop in the Brexit deal is precious, important and has to be defended.” (link, paywalled)
If you got the impression that she was in ‘take that, UK, Brexiteers and BoJo’ mode, then you’ve correctly interpreted that report. After all, RemainCentral is in the business of preventing a No Deal Brexit. Here’s the report of the same event in the DT:
“Ursula von der Leyen, the woman nominated as the new president of the European Commission, has warned the next prime minister of Britain over the “tone and attitude” of Brexit. Mrs von der Leyen said that a courteous Brexit was vital because it would set the template for the future UK-EU relationship in what will be widely interpreted as a swipe at Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson, the favourite to succeed Theresa May. In her first public words on Brexit since her nomination by EU leaders after a July 2 summit, she said, “We all know that we want you to Remain but I know how facts are. I hope for a good development. But in case we’re going to have a Brexit, I’m convinced it is crucial how the tone and attitude is with which Brexit happens because Brexit is not the end of something, Brexit is the beginning of future relations.” (paywalled link)
A bit different than the RemainCentral report, you might agree. While this is no indication for how forthcoming talks with Brussels will go – after all, so far neither Ms vdL nor BoJo are in office – it shows that the establishment MSM are not giving up in their crusade to keep us ‘In’.
It is always necessary to look for the small pieces in the establishment MSM, especially when there are no ‘Brexit drama’ headlines. They are seemingly unimportant but show which way the Brexit wind is blowing.
We must keep an eye on the Remain establishment ‘at work’ and stay vigilant. And so, as always: