My goodness – wasn’t yesterday exciting! Reading the headlines it looked as if Ms May would surely be gone and Messrs Gove or Lidington installed as PM that evening. I’ve even had friends email me from across the Big Pond asking what the heck was going on.
Well, let’s be generous and evenhanded and call it Peak Brexit Hysteria. By yesterday evening, it was all over and done with. The alleged PMs-in-Waiting denied everything on telly – watch them here and here – but before that, do watch Ian Duncan Smith here who elegantly shredded the whole tissue of gossipy rumours.
Let me draw your attention to two points. One is that the Remain MSM insinuate that it was the ERG representatives JRM, BoJO and IDS who were the actual ‘plotters’, never questioning that they, the MSM themselves, were the ones who actually ‘elevated’ Mr Gove as coming PM, based on nothing but rumours”, “friends said …”.
The other point is reporting what that Chequers meeting was all about: Ms May ‘scaring’ those hardcore ERG types into supporting her abomination: “My way or BRINO” – and never mind that ’her way’ actually is BRINO. The Times (paywalled) writes:
“After meeting prominent Brexiteers at Chequers yesterday, the prime minister is instead expected to allow parliament to move towards a softer exit from the European Union. The strategy is designed to scare hard Brexiteers into line and steer them towards her deal while seeing off an attempt by MPs to seize control of Commons business.”
while the DT (paywalled) has more details:
“During three hours of “frank” discussions she issued an appeal for them to support her deal and said that Britain faced a significantly softer Brexit if it fails to pass in the Commons. The Telegraph was told that several of those present, including Mr Rees-Mogg, the leading Eurosceptic, asked her to set a timetable for her departure. However Mrs May declined to do so and subsequently refused to be drawn on the matter when it was raised again. A Downing Street source said the Prime Minister is concerned that setting a date for her departure will look “weak” and could damage her attempts to pass her deal through the Commons.”
Attentive readers that you are you’ll have immediately spotted that it’s now about Ms May ‘looking strong and stable’. It’s no longer about Brexit, about our country, about our democracy. It’s about appearance, not substance!
The article continues:
“The source said Mrs May was only willing to do so once she knows that she “has the numbers” to win the vote in the Commons. […] Mrs May was said to have given little detail on her plans. She has previously suggested that the Department for Exiting the European Union could be restructured.The Prime Minister focused her warnings on “indicative” votes in the Commons this week, which will be held on alternative Brexit approaches including a customs union, second referendum and revoking Article 50.” (paywalled link)
In other words – everything remains. Ms May, the government, Parliament: all might as well have followed the Whitehall Mandarins and delivered us, shackled, back to the EU. That’s modern ‘democracy’ …
The title of Boris Johnson’s Monday column in the DT (paywalled) this morning says it all: “Theresa May is a chicken who’s bottled Brexit. The only way forward is to come out of the EU now” …
To be sure, BoJo, and to be sure we agree with this analysis – or do we?
“It is wrong in every sense to blame MPs for blocking Brexit. It is both shameful, and inaccurate. MPs voted overwhelmingly to trigger Article 50, and therefore to leave the EU on March 29 – this coming Friday. It is a scandal that we are not in fact doing so. The reason we are not leaving on Friday is not the fault of MPs. We are not leaving this Friday because the government has chickened out.”
And Ms May is not ‘the government’ ? Oh dear … moving on:
I believed that the PM genuinely had the 29th of March inscribed in her heart. She repeated her commitment to coming out – deal or no deal – so often that I trustingly assumed that she meant it. It surely followed, I thought, that if she could not persuade the House of Commons to support the withdrawal treaty on which the EU insisted – and the Commons has now voted it down with two colossal majorities – she would draw the logical conclusion. She would simply enact the mandate of both parliament and people. She would fulfil the manifesto promise. […] I imagined that the government would be sufficiently full of gumption to make a success of our departure, whatever happened, and that we would show the confidence commensurate with one of the greatest economies on earth. I am afraid I misread the government.” (paywalled link)
Personally, I find it very hard to believe that someone as astute as BoJo was fooled for such a long time! After all, we ignorant peasants out here weren’t – we knew, after Chequers, what was on the cards and said so.
Personally, I also am tired of BoJo’s oh-so-elegant play with words. I do not agree with his reverence for all those MPs who have been actively plotting to keep us in the EU with their amendments.
Personally, I believe that during the years of negotiations the Tory Brexit MPs have blithely taken their eyes off the Brexit ball, thus allowing the Coopers, Boles, Grieves to pick it up and run with their Brexit demolition proposals.
We dumb, uninformed peasants knew after Chequers what was being done to Brexit – but none of those lofty ERG types listened to us. Not even the resignation of two DexEU ministers (Davis, Raab) and their deputies (Baker, Bannerman) were warning lights to them.
So in all fairness we can ask them: “where have you been? What have you done except swanning around looking good on telly?”
Above all, we can ask them why they did not depose Ms May when they had the chance at the 1922 Committee meeting last year? Were they frit?
Whatever happens now – they’ve shown themselves up now for the knaves and scoundrels as much as as those on the opposition benches. They can only redeem yourselves, somewhat, if you get us out this coming Friday.
And for starters they should denounce the fraud perpetrated on the Nation by the well-financed Remainers with their fraudulent ‘petition’ and that ‘1-million-march’. Or are they afraid of losing the hundreds and thousands of votes by Idi Amin and Adolf Hitler, or the 8,000 votes of one (!) JRM?
I’ll write separately on the constitutional aspects as explained by Martin howe QC in his paywalled article in the DT this morning. Meanwhile:
In old-time reckoning, it’s 4 days to Brexit.
In new, EU-time reckoning, it’s 17 days to Brexit (if ever).
We will KBO regardless