We’ll be going to the polls in one week’s time, and thus one would expect that party politics rather than actual Brexit politics were dominating the headlines this morning. In a strange but indicative (or should that be ‘meaningful’, or even ‘definitive’?) sense, it’s the turmoil, nay the internal warfare in the Tory Party which receives attention – some attention, that is. The PM’s vassalage treaty? Nah – boring …
For the MSM, the only other game in town is the rise and rise of TBP and Nigel Farage. Their fascination with this phenomenon, especially their opinion writers’, is astonishing but understandable because there’s nothing coming from their Brussels ‘sources’: they’re all off campaigning, just like our politicians are.
However, I find it stunning that these pundits, these well-connected journalists, seem unwilling at best, incapable at worst, to connect the dots. Yes, the surge in support for TBP is breathtaking. But is this all that is worthy of reporting?
It’s strange how there is this disconnect in the minds of the Westminster Bubble dwellers between this surge and the reason for it: the betrayal of Brexit by our government. Only Allister Heath in the DT is connecting the dots in his analysis of the rise of TBP and the demise of the Tories:
“There is something in the Conservative psyche that breeds this kind of deranged complacency: the conceit that theirs is the “natural party of government” is especially toxic. Many of the candidates for the party leadership, and not just the Remainers, genuinely believe that the ongoing political earthquake is in fact nothing more than a minor tremor. To these establishment types, Brexit voters will come flocking back to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t elected, and everything will return to normal. It will be a hairy few months, thanks to Theresa May’s staggering incompetence, but the ancien regime will reassert itself. Why? Because this is Britain, and this is how we do things.” Delusion has long been the default position of politicians facing an outcome too bleak to consider: most would find it impossible to continue if they didn’t lie to themselves at least some of the time.” (paywalled link)
That is a good description which applies not only to Tories, be they MPs or Party activists, but equally to the Westminster Villagers in the MSM who seem to regard this surge of TBP as some nice game to entertain them while Brexit is being betrayed. More from Allister Heath:
“Many are hoping that the old ways are merely in temporary abeyance; as soon as “Brexit is sorted one way or the other”, they pray, politics will once again be limited to a narcissism of small differences. Yet the idea that politics is about to return to normal is nonsense. Something has snapped. The relationship between the Tory party and its core electorate has shifted permanently. In 2014-15, many people lent Ukip their vote; today, many are gifting it to the Brexit Party out of loathing for the Tory betrayal. Their passion should terrify the Conservatives. They would be foolish to assume that Farage’s share of the vote has peaked. (paywalled link)
Something has snapped indeed – not only regarding the Tory Party, it applies equally to Labour, whose confusing Brexit policies are still sailing under the radar as far as the MSM are concerned.
Looking at the MSM’S latest reports, it’s as if the current proposals by the PM, to push that vassalage treaty across the deadline, are taken as a given, as immutable. Meanwhile, the pundits occupy themselves with dates, see e.g. this article in The Times:
“Theresa May is facing a row over her decision to hold a critical vote on Brexit at the same time as a state visit by President Trump and D-Day commemorations. Downing Street is committed to putting Brexit legislation to a vote in the week beginning June 3 — a gamble that is likely to lead to Mrs May’s resignation if she loses. However, that week also coincides with the visit by Mr Trump on Monday, June 3, to Wednesday, June 5, and events marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Portsmouth on Wednesday and Normandy on Thursday. The Commons is not sitting on Friday. Government sources told The Times that they were considering holding the vote on June 5. Other Whitehall sources said that no decision had been taken on which day that week the vote would be held. Nor has any decision been made on whether to publish the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before or after the European elections.” (link, paywalled)
Where would we be without those ‘sources’! There’s of course that pesky by election in Peterborough on Thursday 6th … Here’s a variation on that theme-of-dates:
“As the polling currently stands, the Conservatives coming in third place behind the Brexit Party and Labour [in the EP Elections] would be classed as a good result. No wonder MPs are not sitting that week, with Mark Francois predicting that the results will hit the party like a “tsunami”. At least Mrs May has a state visit from Donald Trump to look forward to in the first week of June, when the US President is guaranteed to say something disparaging about her handling of Brexit while meeting Boris Johnson behind her back. June 6 is projected to bring more misery with the Peterborough by-election (caused by the ousting of disgraced Labour MP Fiona Onasanya) now widely expected to be won by Nigel Farage’s party in another drubbing for the Tories.” (paywalled link)
I think the speculation about dates is indicative of the disarray prevailing in the minds and the diaries of her cabinet and her advisers and that of MSM pundits. Their collective fixation on today’s 1922 Committee showdown is fascinating – as if they are all innocent bystanders rather than agents in this spectacle:
“Conservative MPs believe that if Mrs May loses the Commons vote she will have run out of options and will have to quit. She is unlikely to admit as much to the leaders of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers when she meets them today, however. Some allies of the prime minister said that she would probably resign in the week beginning June 10 to avoid a vote on her future by the National Conservative Convention, which represents Tory grassroots, on June 15.” (link, paywalled)
And for a variation on this fascinosum that is the possible mud- or bloodbath taking place today, see this:
“Mrs May has already promised to stand down once Britain has formally left the EU, but the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories will tell her on Thursday that she must agree to resign regardless of whether her Brexit deal is passed by Parliament. There is growing unease within Tory ranks about the swift rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which now has more than 100,000 paying supporters and is expected to dominate next week’s European elections.” (paywalled link)
Yeah, well … let’s wait and see … tonight we’ll be the wiser, surely. But: let’s not forget the main player in this drama who has been winning all along, and that’s the Whitehall Mandarins. It’s in their interest to keep the PM in office and to get the vassalage treaty, i.e. their handiwork, signed off. Who would bet against them?
As Nigel Farage keeps saying at TBP rallies: this vote is about our democracy. I say that democracy has not only been imperilled by MPs forsaking their promises to us voters – it has been thwarted and imperilled by the Whitehall Mandarins: unelected and powerful, just as the EU bureaucrats.
Taking our democracy back also means taking power back from the Sir Mark Sedwills and Olly Robbins. Voting in the EP elections is the first step, so: