Et tu quoque?

Parliament demands to see all the private messages sent between nine advisers since 23 July relating to the prorogation of parliament (or to Yellowhammer), claiming there might be constitutional issues.

Suppose Boris demands to see all private messages sent between remoaners and the EU, under a similar claim?

Of course, it may not matter in either direction.

– On the one hand, even May only yielded to a similar demand after parliament, in a second vote, held her in contempt (one of the few sentiments I share with them). In Boris’ case, such a vote cannot now happen for weeks – and if it finally does, he might ignore it anyway. Meanwhile, he may exploit the humour of insisting that EU law (GDPR and/or similar) means he cannot comply. It makes an obvious introduction to a speech echoing Churchill on how the 1930s parliaments were

“adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent”

– On the other hand, Boris may already know whatever a counter-demand could tell him. In the days before Corbyn became its leader, instead of the kind of backbencher that worried its leaders, the Labour establishment, whenever it won an election, was delighted to discover that the UK security services were keeping an eye on their wilder backbenchers (whom they could then head off from their wilder antics before public embarrassment ensued). I don’t see Barnier and friends as the men to keep secrets, despite their passionate belief that there are many things the masses do not need to know, still less decide on.

So I’m more interested in the ‘why’. Mostly, I’m assuming (and hoping) that it’s just a standard insolent PC establishment fishing expedition.

“Perhaps the outrage over the fact that Parliament is to be prorogued – something that normally happens at about this time each year – tells us more about the Remainiac establishment’s state of mind coming to terms with Brexit, than it does about our constitution?” Douglas Carswell

If you want to insist that something that “normally happens at about this time each year” (and is now, abnormally, a year overdue) is an unconstitutional outrage then you need to gather a lot of material to have a chance of finding something you can misrepresent.

However – although I would be glad to think otherwise – it is just possible that the people who are so sure they are the clever ones found themselves on Monday feeling the need of some intelligence. Last week, 102 amendments were tabled to help time out the wrecking act in the Lords – standard parliamentary tactics which the remoaners well understood. But then No. 10 said, “Don’t bother – go get a good night’s sleep”. (Other ways of timing it out or delaying it were likewise left unexplored.)

As regards public opinion, I can see the benefits.

– Now, not just the remoaners but Labour – and Corbyn personally – are incredibly on record: no letting the public decide, no election, and in Corbyn’s case, no more plausible pretence of being different, still less of being brave, but just doing what Tony Blair and the spin doctors tell him like a good party hack.

– Boris, by contrast, now has the perfect out for the negotiations. If he’d negotiated for 5 weeks without the EU-advised act shouting “ignore him” to the EU negotiators, then failure to present a Canada++ deal on October the 14th would be something he’d have to explain. Now, he can throw it in parliament’s face (which won’t bother them but will destroy any traction they might otherwise have had with the public). If he already felt sure the EU’s stubborness meant we’d have to leave before they’d negotiate for real, it was very much in his interest to have the act to blame. And if he already felt sure he’d have to leave on absolute no-deal to reel in the Brexit voters or ally with The Brexit Party, it was wise to make that parliament’s fault, not his choice in rejecting some no-backstop-but-still-smells-fishy deal.

Remoaners and Corbynites may not realise just how big a political price they have paid, but they surely know they need their procedural win to be a real win on October 31st to make it worth it. I hope they feel lazily sure they have Brexit boxed in and it’s all over bar the shouting – that’s their rhetoric – but is it possible that, as Monday progressed, they found themselves really wanting to know what the despised Dominic thought and why Boris didn’t sound more panicked?

(Of course, they’re not alone in that. 🙂 )

Updated: 10th September 2019 — 8:24 pm


  1. Well, maybe if those private messages are made public, we might find out that someone somewhere actually has a plan for what to do on the Day After Brexit. Let’s hope so!

  2. Well, maybe if those private messages are made public, we might find out that someone somewhere actually has a plan for what to do on the Day After Brexit. Let’s hope so!

    Right now it is not “The Day After BRExit” that worries me, it is “The Days Leading Up To BRExit”. Like many others in Dominic’s Vote Leave team of 2016, I’ve worked too long and too hard for this to fail over some parliamentary mumbo-jumbo.

    Can we leave already?

  3. John — Don’t worry, Brexit is inevitable. The rest of the countries in the EU are tired of the pearl-clutching flouncing about; they mostly want rid of the UK. The bureaucrats in the EU of course don’t want to see their empire shrink, but the nations in the EU are quite capable of getting the result they want, i.e., please get the bouncers to toss those guys out already!

    The big risk within the deeply divided UK is Buyers’ Regret after Brexit. And the way to prevent that Buyers’ Regret is to have a popular action plan with broad support ready to go on the Day After Brexit. Some Brexiteers may be happy returning to the rather dismal status quo ante — but they will probably find out that their numbers are much more limited than they believe.

    Remember — Brexit is the beginning, not the end. And time is running short to prepare for the next stage.

  4. Yeah Independence Day plus 1 needs the psychological appearance of momentum towards a glorious future.
    A general election and continuing announcements of trade agreements going in to effect……

    Also some thing to unify the Remain / independence divide…. Besides contempt for politicians….

  5. If the Scots’ law view prevails at our ‘Supreme Court’ (it should be ‘Final Court’ (esp. – ECJ/ECHR), then it seems that judges can decide when Parliament doesn’t sit (or doesn’t sit at all, why not?), so a Mr Meaner Giller, private citizen, could wake up and sue Parliament for sitting (or not sitting) and seek a court order to shut it down or open it up, and query the advice given to the Queen.

    How wonderful! Our judges will protect our Parliament from the government it supports.

    And we may have more Parliamentary antics to watch in the forthcoming weeks (after the Supreme Court decides), and a woeful precedent

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