Two Brexit Betrayal ‘themes’ caught my eyes today. One is about the Civil Service, the other is about Labour. Yesterday we also had the much vaunted ‘mano-a-mano’ TV debate between Hunt and Johnson. I didn’t watch it – after all, I have no vote so why waste time – but this headline for a review said it all: “It felt like seeing the Head Boy debate the class clown …” It’s not paywalled so you can read it if you like.
The whole BoJo-Hunt campaign has been like a red rag to the MSM bulls, the reporters and writers of opinion pieces. No, the whole country is not feverishly betting on the outcome, and yes, most of us know what to expect from Boris, Hunt not being such a well-known personality.
Even though the NHS is never out of our headlines, with the increasing waiting lists now being blamed on the greedy consultants who simply do not want to pay 95% taxes on extra income, it’s strange that none of the Hunt supporters in the MSM mention that their preferred Remain candidate was appointed to the Foreign Office only a year ago but was responsible for the NHS in all the preceding years. In case you forgot: Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary in 2018 because of Chequers and Ms May’s ‘leave in name only’ WA. How time flies …
Now then – let’s look at Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. He has now committed Labour to a 2nd Referendum, but the rest is confusion. Here’s a report that is not paywalled. More important are two comments, one by Austin Mitchell MP, a Leaver, who writes in the DM:
“My party is so busy trying to shed its working-class supporters and become a metropolitan team of amateur Liberal Democrats that it’s no longer recognisable. […] Today, it has become a mob of cosmopolitan meritocrats who love the European Union more than those at the bottom of society’s top-heavy heap. Jean-Claude Juncker’s federalism now means more to Labour than socialism. Nothing demonstrates this better than its clamour for a second referendum. As made clear in Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement yesterday that he will support a referendum on a Conservative deal and back Remain, Labour seems intent on prioritising the champagne-drinking population of chi-chi Islington above those it should be helping. That our once-great trade unions cheered him on makes Labour’s betrayal of working-class Leave voters all the more depressing.” (source)
Just so! Nigel Farage, Leader of the Brexit Party, comes to the same conclusion as Mr Mitchell. He writes in the Express:
“Corbyn has not only demanded that the new Tory prime minister must hold a second referendum on any deal or no-deal Brexit. He has also signed Labour up in advance to campaign for Remain. […] Corbyn has shamelessly abandoned his principles and given in to the political pygmies of Labour’s Remainer front bench. They have broken every promise that they made to millions of Labour voters – most notably, the 2017 Labour manifesto commitment to ‘respect the referendum result’. While they celebrate at their north London supper parties tonight, the party that claims to represent Leave-voting working-class areas like the North of England and South Wales will be met with more anger than they can possibly understand. Labour has effectively announced that it cares more about the opinion of the new metropolitan middle classes than about its traditional base of support.” (link)
This ought to dispel any doubt about the state of our establishment party system where rosette colour used to trump all. In a coming GE we’ll see ‘Remain’, represented by the Yellow of the Libdems, with splashes of Red, Blue and Green, and there will be ‘Leave’, with the turquoise of TBP to the fore, with splashes of Red, Blue, some Yellow and even some Green added.
The metropolitan establishment, the bubble dwellers inside the M25, Westminster and the MSM, have missed the train. It’s not about BoJo-Hunt, it’s not about the HoC peacocks and their desperate games trying to finagle something to stop Brexit. It’s about Leave or Remain, and thanks to the betrayal of their voters, LabCon are now in dire straits indeed.
And now: my favourite Brexit Betrayal subject – the Whitehall Mandarins! RemainCentral, a.k.a. The Times has this wonderful headline: “Wave of Brexit mandarins leave” (link, paywalled). Ah, I thought to myself – they are giving up! Before I started a little happy dance though I kept reading and two things became obvious.
The first one was that in good old MSM manner to exaggerate, The Times has now elevated all civil servants to ‘Mandarins’. No Sir, it’s only the top lot to which that label applies, the rest are ordinary working bods like ourselves.
Next, it turns out that this ‘Leave en masse’ is not precisely due to Brexit. That report is a nice study in MSM manipulation by putting relevant information right at the end of the article while starting of with the scary numbers – see for yourselves:
“The number of senior officials leaving the Brexit department has risen by more than 70 per cent in a year. More than 100 of the most senior civil servants in the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) left in the 2018-19 financial year, government figures released to the Commons show. The departures of 115 officials of grade seven and above, including 15 staff of the most senior grades, represent a rise of 72 per cent on the 2017-18 financial year, during which 67 left.” (link, paywalled)
Having been suitably shocked by those numbers – a rise of 72%, goodness me! – it turns out that’s only 115 civil servants altogether. We’re not told if they left Whitehall forever or went to other departments. That wouldn’t make a good story. The explanation from a current Government minister is relegated right to the bottom:
“Answering the parliamentary question from Mr Blomfield that yielded the figures, Kwasi Kwarteng, a junior Brexit minister, said that Dexeu was set up by Mrs May in July 2016 as a “time-limited department . . . The increase in numbers of leavers . . . is mainly due to planned leavers moving to other government departments following the end of their pre-set loan agreement or job rotation, or have left the civil service following the end of their two-year fixed-term appointment”. Dexeu undertook “succession planning” to maintain “high standards of delivery”, Mr Kwarteng added. A departmental source said that headcount in Dexeu had more than doubled between 2016 and 2018, affecting the number of staff leaving.” (link, paywalled)
That, you might agree, puts a somewhat different light on the story about the leaving Mandarins. While I am extremely relaxed about the fate of Olly Robbins and Sir Mark Sedwill whose name is now bandied about as replacement for the unspeakable current Ambassador to the USA, there is one other paragraph in this report which deserves our attention:
“Paul Blomfield, the shadow Brexit minister, told The Times: “It’s not so much ‘yes, minister’ as ‘I quit, minister.’ Essential legislation has not passed, customs and security arrangements are not in place and the negotiations are in paralysis. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt should drop the ridiculous rhetoric and put forward a credible plan.”(link, paywalled)
There’s the obligatory wail of “we’re not prepared for a No Deal, we’re all going to die crashing over that cliff”, but this is actually dissing the various reports by anonymous civil servants that they have been preparing for that No Deal Brexit.
It is however true that ‘essential legislation has not passed’. The MP for North Wiltshire, Mr James Gray, gives the reason for that in an article in ConHome where he puts the blame firmly on the now two-year-long session of this Parliament. It’s worth reading, and his conclusion is especially important given the attempts of the Grieves to stop the next PM from proroguing Parliament:
“Prorogation is not some kind of devilish plot to allow Brexit through (or scupper it.) It is an essential part of the Parliamentary drum-beat, without which we who are sent to Westminster to carry out our important job of scrutinising legislation simply cannot do it, not least because there isn’t any.”
The Remainers in their pigheadedness have not only kicked off the now inevitable change in our political landscape, they have and still are busy undermining and destroying our Parliamentary customs and conventions.
That is why we need a GE – not just to save Brexit but to save our democracy and indeed our Parliament.