Spare a thought for our dear friends across the Channel! Yes, even our EU fellow members – after all we’re still ‘In’. They are facing the mother of all heatwaves – see here, for example. We’ll be getting a bit of it, but also all the rain they’re not getting. It surely wouldn’t have happened had they agreed to Brexit already, n’est-çe pas …
But let’s not gloat – we’ve got our own troubles, personified by the two May replacement candidates. There’s no other game in town: Boris gives an interview where he says it’s Out on Halloween, ‘do or die’ (link, paywalled) while Hunt says that ‘we need a trustworthy PM or there won’t be a Brexit’ (link, paywalled), claiming the BoJo’s ‘do or die’ Halloween deadline is ‘fake’ … (link).
With those statements now on the table and given the intransigent attitude of Tory Remain MPs like Grieve and Kenneth Clarke, the Tory whips have gone into battle mode:
“Conservative MPs have been placed on a war footing for the first week of the new prime minister’s term in office amid fears that opposition parties and rebel Tories will immediately try to topple their government. Chief Whip Julian Smith has told MPs they are on a three line whip – meaning they must attend and ready to vote with the Government – in the week beginning July 22. The party confirmed this afternoon that the new prime minister – either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt – will be announced on July 23. In an email to Tory MPs, seen by Sky News, Mr Smith said: ‘As reported over the weekend, there is a possibility that the official opposition will table a confidence motion that week. ‘It is vital that we make sure that this is defeated.’ ” (link)
Of course it’s vital to prepare for every eventuality – that’s why, all Remain cries notwithstanding, our government has been preparing for a No Deal Brexit. The Head Civil Serpent, Sir Mark Sedwill, said so – and he should know.
It’s therefore quite interesting to take a look at the situation inside Labour. RemainCentral, i.e. The Times, has accrued brownie points by publishing a report (paywalled) with the title “Jeremy Corbyn accused over Brexit ‘car crash’.”:
“Jeremy Corbyn’s top team split over Brexit again yesterday as he was accused by his closest ally of presiding over a slow-motion car crash. Senior Labour figures had expected a meeting of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet to be the final stage in agreeing to pursue a new Brexit policy, favouring a second referendum in all circumstances and backing a Remain vote. The Labour leader instead told those present that he wanted to delay a decision for a fortnight to hold more talks with trade union general secretaries, some of whom have doubts about changing tack.” (link, paywalled)
That looks as if it’s not quite plain sailing for the Labour Remain faction. This is interesting because the top Tory Remainers who are planning to topple Johnson should he become the new PM are relying on Labour to get a Vote of No Confidence (VONC) through the HoC. However, as is well known, Labour relies on the Trade Unions for their finances. Who pays the piper calls the tune, so Mr Corbyn’s reluctance makes sense.
We know that Corbyn is fixated on getting a GE which he and his allies believe will see him in 10 Downing Street. Elections cost money … but that doesn’t seem to worry the future Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr McDonnell:
“Some of the fiercest criticism came from John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor and Mr Corbyn’s longstanding ally. He said that the “disintegration” of Labour’s compromise Brexit position, thrashed out at last year’s party conference, had been “like a car crashing in slow motion”. On Monday Mr McDonnell had predicted “white smoke” from the shadow cabinet meeting, telling an event in the City of London: “I am expecting some decision-making to take place. I am in favour of going back to the people. If there is a referendum I would campaign for Remain.” (link, paywalled)
Will the City go for ‘Labour Remain’, 2nd referendum included and never mind that Labour is bent on destroying our economy, or will they prefer a Leave Tory PM? Perhaps they think Labour is only going to play …
There’s more, and I applaud RemainCentral for naming the top Labour Remainers:
“In the meeting a frustrated Mr McDonnell said that he had been given the impression that a decision would be made and demanded to know if he had been wrong to think that was the case. He was supported by Tom Watson, the deputy leader, who said that Labour’s Brexit dilemma would get worse “the longer we leave this”. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said that as soon as Labour backed a referendum it would have to make clear how it was advocating people should vote, and the answer must be Remain. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary who since the European elections has taken a strikingly pro-Remain line, insisted that the meeting had to come to a decision, telling Mr Corbyn: “This is about leadership.” (link, paywalled)
Of course it is about ‘leadership’, and it most certainly isn’t about trying to get Remain voters back from the LibDems, to become the largest Party in a forthcoming GE, of course not! The less well-known Labour shadow ministers apparently tried raising their profiles – just savour this:
“Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, derided Brexit as “a neoliberal project” and said that “as socialists we should have the courage of our convictions and oppose it”.” (link, paywalled)
From ‘Tory Brexit’ which must be rejected because a Labour Brexit would be so much better, to opposing Brexit altogether … : Labour Leave voters can be discarded. Never mind that they now have an alternative to vote for, and I don’t mean the LibDems or, God forbid, the Tories. Perhaps the Labour Big Beasts believe that their firm grip on the postal votes will obliterate any rivals from TBP … Moving on, here are some of the ‘doubters’:
“Mr Corbyn’s decision to consult the trade unions again before making a decision came after he held a meeting with general secretaries on Monday. Although several have been pushing for a firmer pro-Remain stance, Unite — whose general secretary, Len McCluskey, was not present — and the Communication Workers Union are understood to be unpersuaded. Some members of the shadow cabinet are still cautious about a second referendum too. At the meeting Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business secretary, and Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, agreed that it was important to ensure that the leading trade unions supported any policy shift.” (link, paywalled)
I have been quoting at length from this paywalled report on Labour’s decision making because there are few such reports, especially at this time of ‘blue-on-blue combat’. We need to know what the Opposition thinks and plans, especially given the unprecedented blackmail attempts and blatant disloyalty on display in the Government Party.
Btw – just as the HoC displayed such unanimity and speed in deciding to take No Deal Brexit ‘off the table’, they were equally happy to vote through, at speed, that May ‘Legacy Bill’, the
“Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order which was nodded through on Monday evening, just twelve days after being first laid before the House of Commons. Unanimously approved after a self-congratulatory, back-slapping debate that lasted 90 minutes, it is now on its way to the House of Lords for a second round of rubber-stamping. The target of cutting greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050, as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change a mere seven weeks ago, seems certain to become the law of the land. Theresa May will have finally secured her legacy. The challenge of meeting this target makes the Irish border question look like a game of dominos, and the cost will make the £39 billion golden goodbye to the EU look like chump change.” (paywalled link)
Isn’t May great! Aren’t we all virtuous! And Ms Merkel reportedly is proposing a similar Bill in Germany …
All I’ll say is that it’s surely high time to get rid of this HoC, with special attention to be paid to removing Remain MPs as well as the MPs who would happily damage our country with their virtue-signalling.
It’s now beyond tedious, it’s becoming dangerous.