by John Ward
I’d been off-grid since Sunday evening, and was therefore a little phased to see the news (on the way back home this afternoon) that Theresa May pitched up and told a packed PMQs Commons audience how a Brexit deal is 95% of the way there – save for a teensy matter of Irish backstops….and got away with it.
We have a leaden-footed Opposition to thank for that nightmare miracle – and its leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose feet (hewn as they are from clay) tread not so much ponderously as tentatively, in the manner of a man picking his way barefoot through a medical recycling site for AIDS-infected needles. Poor Jezzer: much as he would prefer to lambast the Prime Minister for grovelling to a bunch of unelected statues (and then move on the vilify the New Labour exiles for being even more appalling) the unfortunate reality is that his “Party” sees the European Union as the Überbau bulwark against nasty capitalism….and thus the place to stay, come what May.
What May’s fate is (in the light of the 1922 Committee session of earlier tonight, and the Tory Party straw poll this afternoon) cannot be ascertained beyond ‘zero chance of success with a fair chance of intrepid survival’. The 1922 gave her a warm reception this evening, but the earlier poll showed rather more than half of all Tory MPs convinced that leaving her in position could only end in tears. My own view is that there is a world of difference between expressing a rebellious attitude shortly after a good lunch, and the actual behaviour of voting to remove her from the top job. 1922 Supremo Graham Brady is deflecting all questions about the number of MPs now demanding a leadership contest.
As ever, it’s all a bit of a mess.
To discern that it’s really a mess of potage requires the Old Media to lift its gaze from the trees in order to see the state of the wood in the EU as a whole.
In a survey commissioned by Friends of Europe to be published tomorrow (Thursday) by a Brussels-based think tank, it emerges that close to two out of three Europeans aren’t convinced life would be any worse without the European Union. 49% called the EU “irrelevant”.
The study found that 64% of the 11,000 respondents weren’t sure their lives would be any worse. Pascal Lamy, a trustee of Friends of Europe and a former European trade commissioner, says the findings of the study show that, “Without change and reform, the EU will become increasingly irrelevant to its citizens”.
The overwhelming answer to the question “what kind of reform?” is more direct voting on matters of Europe-wide policy making.
Just fancy that. This will require massive breath-holding powers on the part of European electorates. Voters are advised not to try this at home.
If you want to know just how daft the scare stories are about post-Brexit travel in the EU, please read the following paragraph.
Today – for the 19th time in four years – I crossed an EU border in a motor vehicle. There has never been any passport control in any single case. Nobody has ever asked to see my drivers’ licence, passport or carte vitale. Not once. Ever. They have no idea whether I’m from Dundee or the Dominican Republic. You come to a péage, you stick a credit card in, the light turns green, you go through. That’s it.
The idea that you’ll need a visa to be stamped at any port beyond those facing the channel is ridiculous, because Freedom of Movement demands that daily traffic simply can’t be held up while knuckle-dragging cops check every passport of every passenger in ever car. The Swiss do not face any visa challenges, and they have never been in the EU.
Alternative realities sit comfortably side by side among the avian-brained Remaindeer Scaredycat Frankenstein masses marching here there and everywhere to insist that No Deal Brexit means The End of Travel As We Know It and mass starvation within months.
Yet just a week after an isolated Theresa May is greeted in stony silence by an obdurate audience of EU Summiteers – following which her own Chief negotiator admits No Deal is a near certainty – at PMQs the Labour Party cannot nail a single part of the PM’s anatomy to the mast….let alone to a cross or, even after that, into the lid of her political coffin.
For these are the same Soros-sympathising nitwits who see no madness at all in the installation of 30,000 illegal migrants in St Denis, and over a million migrants across MittleEuropa. The same airheads who see no template in the destructions of Greece and Cyprus, the perfidious Brexit bullying style of Brussels, and the determination among Italians to get themselves out from under the disastrous Single Currency.
It is bizarre. But after two days away from all this, it is beyond belief, parody or contempt.