One more time, Ms May …
The hustings for the May Succession are finally done and dusted. About time, too. It’s far more thrilling to observe the Tory Remainers hastily trying to rearrange the fences to keep us in. The next days will see them scurrying around, all over the MSM.
Last night, BoJo brandished a kipper – the real thing, not a member of UKIP – to show his commitment to Brexit, garnering headlines. That kipper was well packaged, so no fishy smells were wafting over the audience.
The ‘real’ news however is that, according to the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility), we’ll face a recession after Brexit. Here’s a non-paywalled report, and here’s a quote from RemainCentral (paywalled):
“Britain will slip into recession next year and the economy will be 3 per cent smaller if there is a no deal Brexit, the UK’s official economic forecaster is expected to say today. The Office for Budget Responsibility is due to give its first assessment of the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit, including how it may affect household incomes, wages, employment and house prices. The five-year forecast predicts that the economy will contract in 2020 as the UK officially enters into a recession, The Times understands. The economy is forecast to recover the following year, but GDP is still likely to be at least 3 per cent lower under a no-deal than if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.” (link, paywalled)
I was intrigued by two points: one is that this OBR assessment compares a No Deal Brexit with a Brexit-with-a-Deal. It is thus not an assessment of Remain v Leave.
The other point is that, given the reports in the MSM, one might think that the EU and the world will be an economic paradise, and only poor Brexit UK will be suffering.I wonder if the OBR had a look at the world around us where economies are in difficulties, not least in Germany and France.
With the BoJo-Hunt now over bar the shouting, i.e. the voting, there are more reports about the Remain Tory MPs plotting against the No deal Brexit. All I’ll say is that if this plotting is ‘secret’, why do those involved talk to the MSM about it? See this headline: “Brexit plot: Secret Tory plan which could ‘bring Boris’ down’ if he becomes PM revealed” (link). Perhaps they realise that, until the result is announced, these last days give them the only opportunity to get their names and faces into the MSM?
One lady who certainly has grasped this fact is none other than the current occupant of 10 Downing Street, Ms May. This is what and how she did it, according to the (paywalled) DT’s sketchwriter, and I’m quoting at length:
“If you wanted to be generous, you would tell yourself that Theresa May did it on purpose. That it was a cunning plot, hatched over a nightcap in Number 10, to hoots of glee from her husband. After all the horrid things the newspapers had written about her, this would be her revenge. Step one: announce, out of the blue, that she was going to make a major speech, the very last of her premiership. Step two: refuse to disclose any of its contents in advance, thus raising hopes among journalists that Mrs May was planning to say something surprising, revealing, personal, newsworthy.” (paywalled link)
It gets even better:
“And then finally, step three: subject the entire press corps to the most punishingly tedious half-hour of their professional lives. Deliver a speech that was scrupulously news-free. Leave them to trudge back to their desks empty-handed, their afternoon wasted. And then, once they’d gone, cackle in triumph at having put one over on those hateful hacks. That, as I say, is the generous way to interpret what Mrs May did today. The alternative is less kind. Namely: that it wasn’t deliberate at all. She’s just very, very boring. Either way, there can be no disagreement about the speech’s contents. Even by Mrs May’s standards, it was spectacularly dull. Thunderously banal. Blisteringly bland.” (paywalled link)
Nevertheless, RemainCentral used this titillating headline “Stay out of the gutter” when reporting her speech :
“Theresa May has told Boris Johnson to stay out of gutter politics as she sounded the alarm against the rise of populism. Without naming her likely successor, Mrs May urged the next prime minister to compromise in the pursuit of a “sustainable” Brexit outcome around which the nation could reunite.” (link, paywalled)
The DM (not paywalled, so you can see for yourselves) reports with more details and some juicy quotes:
“But she voiced dismay at the toxic state of debate, saying Western civilisation was at a ‘pivot point’ and people had to operate in the ‘real world’ rather than making ‘promises they cannot keep’. In barely-veiled jibes at her likely successor Mr Johnson and Brexit hardliners – as well as the US and Russian presidents – she told the audience at Chatham House: ‘Getting things done rather than simply getting them said, requires some qualities that have become unfashionable of late. One of them is a willingness to compromise.’ […] She added: ‘Words have consequences – and ill words that go unchallenged are the first step on a continuum towards ill deeds.’ Underlining her anger that she had failed to get a Brexit compromise through Parliament, Mrs May added: ‘The alternative is a politics of winners and losers of absolute and perpetual strife and that threatens us all.” (source)
Lovely words, aren’t they! Funnily enough though it looks to me as if during those past three years the only ones who were exhorted to compromise were we Leavers, and not just here in the UK.
I ask myself if she made those observations to the EU, to the likes of Mr Verhofstatd, or indeed Mr Timmermans, who just had to have another go at us. His remarks to the BBC which will be broadcast tomorrow are certainly not indicative of an atmosphere of compromise during the negotiations.
This headline says it all: “British Brexit negotiators ‘ran around like idiots’ blasts their EU counterpart – who says Brussels was braced for Harry Potter-style wizardry from UK delegation but found them ‘like Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army’ … but in the May ‘spirit of compromise’, Mr Timmermans doubles down:
“Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice president, also accused Boris Johnson of ‘playing games’ with Brussels during his time as foreign secretary.” (source)
Mr Timmermans must certainly be pleased when he sees that the game-playing BoJo is now serious. According to this report, he has a ‘secret weapon’ which is his prospective Chief of Staff:
“He has reportedly appointed Sir Edward Lister as his chief of staff, and the former Tory Councillor is said to have already drawn up a plan for hist fist [sic!] 72 hours in Downing Street. Sir Edward could be Mr Johnson’s secret Brexit weapon, given his extensive and successful experience in negotiating.” (link)
In a week’s time all will be revealed. Meanwhile do study this extraordinary report in the DM. It’s not paywalled and is based on newly declassified Cabinet Office papers. It shows that the former PM John Major was not so keen on the EU when he was PM as me is now. This quote is interesting:
“When presented with a paper setting out prominent EU matters in December 1995, Sir John simply wrote ‘bad’ beside a section on extending the remit of the European Court of Justice.”
Do read the rest … and if you, like me, wonder what has changed his mind, here’s my interpretation: during his stint in No 10 a certain Mrs Thatcher was very much alive and kicking. Perhaps she kicked him, behind closed doors, to take the threat of the EU to our sovereignty more seriously. Sadly, we know that he stopped listening …
Finally, who said: “A majority is a majority in politics”? That’s right: the New Juncker, a.k.a. Ursula von der Leyen, said that when she scraped into her new job by nine votes. Tell the Remainers that their new overlord has spoken, and that it now behoves them to obey and shut up. Meanwhile, don’t forget to