by John Ward
The Cabinet having failed to get past Plan A (iii) on Brexit, the Bercow-Grieve empowered Commons foodies have been engaging in febrile sorcery. Plans B to F are the result. Together, they represent amendments demanding a seat at the already crowded Top Table. Sadly, they also combine narrow political agendas with minimal reality. We the People face a political feast alongside a deadly creative famine.
There was a wonderful moment on the televisual News channels this morning, when a wholesale pharmacist chap bringing yet more ‘medical supplies No Deal melodrama’ to the Brexit party, was asked, “So what sort of time delays are likely to be involved?” This was his response:
“Well, the time delays being impossible to forecast with any certainty, we don’t know exactly. But they could well be considerable”
On the uvva ‘and Squire, they could well be minimal. But this didn’t stop Sky in particular from featuring one obese gay diabetic saying he was stockpiling insulin because he didn’t want No Deal Brexit to kill him needlessly. Another talking head later said there were supply problems related to many drugs these days with or without Brexit….although insulin wasn’t one of them. But it was the narcissist stockpiler who made the lead impression.
Owen Paterson was the first MP of the morning to be interviewed by Adam Boulton, and in the light of the opening insulin shock-horror he really was a breath of fresh air. Paterson is one of a tiny band of Westminster MPs for whom I have respect. He took on fellow Tories Boris Johnson and Tim Yeo over their bogus taxi emissions scam when BoJo was London mayor and Paterson was in charge of the Environment portfolio. Regarding Brexit in particular, Mr Paterson has been the bollocks deconstructor sans pareil.
When asked about medical supply difficulties, Paterson answered “Why?” with good reasons. When challenged on Calais/Dover queues, he dismissed the nonsense with equally fulsome evidence. “Why?” he kept on saying to every half-baked fantasy put forward by Boulton. The EC says with No Deal there must a Hard Irish Border, Adam Adamant insisted. Juncker denies that, Paterson responded. “Why?” was followed by more “Why?” until an obviously irritated Boulton ended his cross-examination with barely disguised ill grace. The disguise was so thin, it was whatever comes flimsier than diaphanous: a cloak fashioned from graphene, perhaps.
In a more general sense, one is left wondering what Mrs May will announce next to the House of commons that she imagines might serve as a Brexit planning update:
“I should advise honourable members on all sides of this House that today I have had meetings with Messrs Sofology and Carpetright, both of whom confirm that the new furnishings and floorcoverings for the Official Brexit reception at Number Ten will arrive no later than October 11th”
On and off since late 2018, Mother Theresa has been insisting to her opponents – that is, pretty much everyone else but her and a few Whitehall gargoyles – that “there is My Deal or there is No Deal”.
The problem with Her Deal is that it bears all the hallmarks of a price struck by the dim banker’s wife with Harry Enfield in his memorable sketch series I Saw You Coming:
Since the PM’s narrow defeat by 230 votes on her spineless deal, the Meaningful Vote has spawned full-on anarchy. Whereas she left the House last Friday having received no rebuke at all about her statutory failure to come up with a Plan B, the legislature itself – revelling in its newly-acquired grip on the Cabinet’s collectively irresponsible throat – has been pitching in with Plans B, C, D, and E….with an unspoken F – aka, The People’s Choice.
These are (not in order of merit, as they are all equally devoid of any) the Labour Plan, the Yvette Cooper no longer Labour Plan, the Grievous Bodily Harm to Brexit Plan, and the Brexiteer No Deal Plan. In turn, they represent No Deal off the Table, My Deal new to the Table, Stuff Brexit under the Table, and No Deal Back on the Table.
They represent only a desire to eat à la carte at the Top Table regardless of price. Corbyn’s approach involves eating our best bargaining chip, Cooper’s is designed to save time for more dawdling over the menu, Grieve wants to eat Roast Brexit, and the Bill Cash legions just want to eat Brussels Sprouts forever.
My sympathies lie with Plan E, but there is no Westminster support for it – any more than there are backers for Jeremy Hunt’s Odd Irish Borders Plan A (iii). A WTO/Canada Plan F would I am sure win hands-down in a Second Referendum versus the Remain option as outlined in Plan D de Grieve, and as a reasonable chap I’d settle for that victory. But I and a majority of Brits don’t want a 2nd Referendum for all kinds of very sound Constitutional and “fair play” reasons. (The best way to achieve Karma in relation to this last dilemma is to blame David Cameron for immediately flouncing offstage after the Referendum…..having promising not to).
Where next? God alone knows. Jacob Rees-Mogg reportedly thinks Mrs May should prorogue Parliament in order to stop it making No Deal a legislative impossibility. Er….there are many ways for the Tories to be rid of Mother Theresa, but putting her in the Charles I decapitation line seems a tad harsh.
Finally, Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, has been giving evidence to a House of Lords EU committee. He said that May’s plan is “probably still the most popular of all the various Brexit options being discussed by MPs”.
We all have our own definitions of popularity. Losing a popular vote among 650 electors by 230 votes would not be mine. But then, I am a sensitive flower, and I lack brass of the neck.
Sanity on Brexit left the theatre around August 2016. Since then, madness has taken centre-stage – and achieved a succession of rave reviews.
I remain a cognitive dissident.