Say what you like about Dominic Cummings, he knows how to get your attention:
Media now comes in many forms
Interesting times. Boris Johnson ‘on brink of Brexit deal’ after border concessions, reports the Guardian, making the best of what is for it a painful dilemma.
The Guardian, along with all the Remain side, has spent the last couple of years saying how apocalyptically dreadful it would be to leave the European Union without a deal. Now it looks like there just might be a deal. Opinions on the Leave side are likely to be divided as to whether this is a good thing, but spare a thought for those Remainers who must now choose whether to accept their salvation from what they said was the greatest peril imaginable, or continue their struggle for the ultimate prize of reversing the referendum entirely – at the very real risk of bringing about the very thing they most feared and finding it wasn’t so bad after all.
Just when the Remain side had got some traction for their line about the evils of inflammatory language with that embarrassingly crude tweet from Leave.EU that called Angela Merkel a “kraut” and invoked the two world wars, along comes this soon-to-be-viral nugget from the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator.
The Independent – not the Express, not the Telegraph, not the Mail, the extremely pro-EU Independent – reports:
The European Parliament’s Brexit chief has branded Brexiteers “the real traitors”, in a significant escalation of rhetoric from Brussels.
Speaking in a debate in the EU’s legislature Guy Verhofstadt accused Boris Johnson of blaming everyone but himself for the situation the UK found itself in.
“The real reason why this is happening is very simply: it’s a blame game against everybody. A blame game against the European Union, against Ireland, against Mrs Merkel, against the British judicial system, against Labour, against the Lib Dems, even against Mrs May,” he said.
“The only one who is not to be blamed is Mr Johnson himself, apparently. But all the rest are the source of our problems. That is what is happening today. All those who are not playing his game are ‘traitors’ or a ‘collaborator’, or ‘surrenderers’.
“Well in my opinion, dear colleagues the real traitor is he or she who risks bringing disaster upon his country, its economy, and its citizens, by pushing Britain out of the European Union. That is in my opinion, a traitor.”
Let us hope the Liberal Democrats invite him back soon to do some more campaigning for them, so we can see how that line goes down on the doorsteps of Britain. Even in Camden it might be a hard sell.
In theory I ought to like Independent MPs. In practice they are often cranks. So strong is this correlation that I begin to suspect that there might be causation involved. Perhaps the bites on the neck that the party Whips administer to all MPs weekly under the pretence that it is an “old Parliamentary tradition” actually transfer a dose of sanity serum. Without that saving vampiroid saliva, the derangement to which everyone in Westminster eventually succumbs comes all the sooner.
Philip Hammond, former Conservative Chancellor and current backbench Independent Conspiracist has claimed in the Times that
… he is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit — and there is only one outcome that works for them: a crash-out no-deal Brexit that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring. So they, at least, will be reassured to see no evidence at all that his government has seriously pursued a deliverable deal; still less that it has been pursuing a deal that could get us out by October 31. The time available means that the only deal with any prospect of delivering that outcome is the deal that they have already rejected and that many of them have voted against.
There is an excellent fact-filled response to this nonsense by Frances Coppola writing in Forbes: The Mythical Bets On No-Deal Brexit.
I read everywhere that Boris Johnson’s government is flailing and failing. They have been soundly defeated in the Commons. It looks like Boris will be forced to ask the EU for another extension, and according to the Times it has been pre-approved:
Rebel Tory MPs and opposition leaders received private assurances from European leaders that a request by parliament for a three-month Brexit extension would be granted in one last attempt to break the deadlock.
The Times understands that senior figures behind the bill to force an extension on Boris Johnson cleared their plan with EU capitals before it was published this week. They received reassurances that the European Council, which is made up of EU leaders, would not stand in the way of one final extension if it was approved by parliament.
“If Parliament is unable to decide on Brexit it would be better to have a snap General Election”
Average of 3 polls this weekend (Survation, Opinium, YouGov)
Lib Dem 18%
A Telegraph opinion piece by Dr Stephen Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs appears in the Telegraph titled: “An early General Election will confirm the total realignment of British politics”.
If and when this happens, this will be a realigning election. The Conservative Party would seek a mandate to leave the EU even if this meant leaving without a deal. Faced with this, a significant number of Conservative MPs will either leave politics or run on a separate ticket, probably with a deal with the Liberal Democrats and Greens. This alliance will be founded on an explicitly remain platform, placing the Labour Party under enormous pressure to adopt the same position – though it is not clear what Jeremy Corbyn will do.
The Conservative Party will then become the representative of one side of the new divide; both the party of leave and a kind of British nationalism that rejects the EU’s supranational politics. (Electoral incentives mean this will not be as straightforwardly free market as many suppose).
Meanwhile a new kind of centre left will be emerging on the opposite side. There will be a clearly Remain-oriented bloc of Lib Dems, Greens, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists and dissident Conservatives, that supports the supranational politics of the EU and a different vision of Britain’s identity and place in the world. If the Labour Party is not very careful and lucky it will be caught between these two new poles and the election will truly realign British politics. This will shape our history for decades.
You can see why the opposition does not want an election. They don’t know what to do with one.
The Guardian’s John Harris is a lefty, a Remainer, and a fine journalist. He saw Brexit coming, and, little though I agree with his political views, I think he sees a certain raw truth about our new Prime Minister in this piece:
Not a headline one sees every day. Mr Harris writes,
This is an increasingly familiar populist trick: encouraging a set of voters to relish taboo-busting as a kind of surrogate for a lost sense of economic agency and power. This version of taking back control is not to do with jobs, wages or houses, but the licence to say anything you want, whatever the consequences. Anyone who is offended is dismissed as a puritanical defender of joyless political correctness.
Punk spirit, cavalier style and wilful provocation will all inform the manner in which Johnson and his allies frame their greatest challenge of all: how on earth to deal with the very real crisis of Brexit and honour the Halloween deadline that the Tory party has so stupidly fetishised. And they look set to play a crucial role in gaining consent from those who have most to lose from crashing out of the EU. Faced with a set of impossible challenges, Johnson will present himself as the flamboyant, verbose, rule-breaking Englishman, positioned against the washed-out logicians of the EU machine, who were never going to help in the first place.
I heard they were going to get the bus out of mothballs, the bus, the £350-million-for-the-NHS battle bus that has caused such outrage, and drive it round the country all over again. Back in 2016, the only effect the suggestion that our departure from the EU would mean that we could pour yet more money into the black hole of “our NHS” had on me was to make me a fraction more likely to vote Remain. But upon hearing this news I still thought, yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah, please, dear Lord, let me be there when they take it through Cambridge city centre.
Oh God save history / God save your mad parade / Oh Lord God have mercy / All crimes are paid / Oh when there’s no future / How can there be sin / We’re the flowers / In the dustbin / We’re the poison / In your human machine
First time round, I wasn’t a fan. But it’s growing on me.
One of many drivers of the Great Realignment is that trying get hostile and highly partisan ‘old media’ to carry your message is now just an option, rather than the only game in town.
A case in point is the Brexit Party launching a YouTube based channel to get their message out themselves, disintermediating the likes of BBC and C4