We’re definitely back in Alice-in-Wonderland politics. The Establishment – Westminster politicians, former PMs and MSM – have cemented the interpretation by the BBC that ‘Remain’ won the EP elections. Tony B., former PM, has now declared this to be fact and we all have to believe him, don’t we!
Must we care about what Tony B says? Yes – because his increasing presence on telly indicates two things. One is that he’s apparently craving a comeback into British politics, the other is the state of Labour, the Party he once led. After all, if Nigel Farage can win big with a new Party, why shouldn’t Tony B be able to do the same with Labour? In politics, anything is possible – and Labour’s disarray can no longer be kept hidden.
Take yesterday’s astonishing announcement that Alastair Campbell, Tony B’s director of spin, has been thrown out of the Labour Party (here) – for saying out loud that he’d vote for the LibDems in the EParl elections.
Why should we pay any attention to that? Because, like the Tory Party, Labour is similarly split into Remain or Leave and the power-hungry Remain Labour sharks, sorry: grandees are smelling Corbyn-Blood in the water.
We recall the fine Labour art of ‘anonymous briefings’ of MSM journalists to create publicity in order to force the hand of recalcitrant Labour politicians. A certain Mr A. Campbell was a past master in this. So with no great surprise we read that Jeremy Corbyn
“could announce Labour’s backing for a second referendum within days, it has been claimed. The party leader has faced huge pressure to commit to a more decisive line on Brexit since his party was thrashed at the European elections last week. […] Now senior Labour figures have said he is poised to back a second referendum.” (link)
The pious claim for a 2nd referendum if not a GE is a smokescreen to hide the policy Labour grandees want, and that’s Remain, but are they ware of this:
“Having moved towards backing a second referendum, Mr Corbyn was warned by MPs in Labour’s northern heartlands that there would be “zero” chance of the Party winning a general election if he did so.” (paywalled link).
Nah – can’t be. Labour Voters will be taken back, their hands firmly held, and made to see the error of their way! Deputy Leader Mr Watson (see here) is not alone in this disregard, his former boss Tony B promotes just that policy, while spin doctor Campbell not only stuck the knife in but twisted it:
“Mr Campbell, a key player in the New Labour era, declined to rule out shunning the party again in a snap general election and said it would ‘depend’ on its Brexit policy. He described his rapid expulsion as ‘strange’ and said ‘people will inevitably draw the contrast with the lack of rapidity in dealing with cases involving anti-Semitism’.“ (link)
Here’s the report Mr Campbell referred to:
“Also on Tuesday the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched a root and branch investigation into Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints, only the second time a political party has faced such a probe, after the British National Party.” (paywalled link)
Where he’s right he’s right … and we are going to enjoy this summer’s double feature of the Tory ‘production’ on how not to select a new leader and the Labour production of getting rid of Corbyn, either by making him Leave or by hollowing him out and turning him into a puppet for the Remain string-pullers. Blairites and Campbell-Comrades have come out in force – just look at the names:
“Mr Corbyn faced humiliation as a string of senior Labour figures revealed that they, like Mr Campbell, had voted for other parties in the European poll, in what they described as a “Spartacus” moment. Anji Hunter, known as Tony Blair’s Downing Street “gatekeeper” during her time as his director of government relations, wrote to Labour confirming she had also backed the LibDems. Charles Clarke, the former home secretary, said he, too, had voted LibDem because of the “hopeless incoherence” of Mr Corbyn’s position on Brexit, branding Mr Campbell’s expulsion a “disgrace”. Bob Ainsworth, the former Labour defence secretary, said he had voted for another party in the European elections, something he “did not intend” to make public before Mr Campbell’s expulsion, while Fiona Mactaggart, a former Home Office minister, said it was “time for all of us to declare I am Spartacus”. Mr Corbyn must now decide whether to expel the senior Labour figures, and risk a domino effect of more and more Labour members challenging him with similar admissions in coming days, or to climb down over the expulsion of Mr Campbell.” (paywalled link)
Delicious! I can’t help but think that a certain former Labour PM is indeed planning a come-back.
Multiple Spartaci in the Labour Party and ‘Spartans’ in the Tory Party – it’ll be a nice summer full of antiquities, and I mean political antiquities, both Labour and Tory ones. Since the number of the Tory beauty contestants is shifting day by day, with the usual gleeful reports on their gaffes and smears, we won’t waste time on that spectacle at the moment because the official starting shot is on June 10th. Until then, it’s just another opportunity for MPs to grandstand.
Far more important is the announcement by that great, unsung Brexit betrayer, the speaker John Bercow: he isn’t leaving! See the reports here and here, the paywalled ones are here and here. His reasoning is precious:
“John Bercow has indicated he wants to remain House of Commons speaker beyond the summer, warning against switching the person in the chair while Parliament was still debating such “great issues”. […] Discussing his possible departure after a decade as speaker, Mr Bercow told The Guardian: “I’ve never said anything about going in July of this year. […] He added: “If I had any intention to announce on that matter … I would do so to parliament first.” (paywalled link).
Oh, isn’t he reasonable and mindful of the dignity of his office and the HoC! And his little kick of the former PM …! Of course, the real reason why he wants to stay is this:
“He also warned Tory leadership contenders that parliament could override their plans to leave without a deal and said it was “unimaginable” that Theresa May’s successor would be able to override the views of MPs. Mr Bercow told the American think tank the Brookings Institution in Washington yesterday. “The idea that parliament is going to be evacuated from the centre stage of debate on Brexit is simply unimaginable.” (link, paywalled)
How pious! And the Remain Parliament will of course let him stay – what better ally could they wish for!
Oh – the EU leaders met yesterday to lick their wounds and for once, they were nice to Ms May who had nothing to say, nothing to do, but finally got shown some love (here). They reaffirmed that there won’t be any re-negotiations (here, and paywalled here) – but that’s not really ‘news’, is it!
Merkel and Macron are allegedly in conflict about that Juncker replacement. Merkel’s candidate doesn’t look so certain now – and Macron is working hard to get his dream candidate’ affirmed – a certain Michel Barnier. You may have heard of him …
If you thought you could sit back and relax, now that Ms May is out but not yet gone, and that the EPArl elections are done and dusted, think again. It’s not over by a long chalk and while the contortions of both establishment parties are entertaining, the Remainers here and in the EU are not giving up. There’s much money involved (here). So we can’t take our eyes off the ball, we must keep vigilant and above all we must