I guess they really do believe we’re stupid. True, if one were to gauge the IQ of the masses by, say, monitoring click-bait and being unsurprisingly struck by the insensible numbers who find half-naked synth-faced freaks on red carpets inexplicably interesting, it’d be hard not to come away concluding that we are stupid. But the powers-that-be couldn’t regard us as less retarded than they already do even if each and every one of us signed-up to worship at the altar of the Kardashians.

Jeremy Corbyn has indicated it will now be official Labour Party policy to back an amendment for a second EU Referendum if MPs vote down its plans for an alternative to Theresa May’s dead Brexit duck. This uncannily timely move, following a week in which nine MPs left the party – eight of them lining up alongside a trio of renegade Tories – is a blatantly opportunistic tactic when Brexit was the driving force that spawned the Independent Group and Corbyn badly needs to shift the spotlight away from anti-Semitism accusations. Desperate to stem the haemorrhaging of more MPs, Jezza – or those pulling his strings – has belatedly nailed his colours to the Remoaner mast, appeasing the dominant Remain faction that has yet to quit the party and sticking two fingers up at the sizeable amount of Labour constituencies that voted Leave. Emily (Lady Nugee) Thornberry could barely contain her excitement, though we already know what she thinks of the plebs anyway.

Having apparently abandoned tiresome demands for a General Election it still probably wouldn’t win, Labour is now hedging its bets on the Second Referendum factor as a means of improving its pitiful position in the polls. It’s probably not a wild, unrealistic assumption that most of the fresh recruits to the party who (so we were told) joined in their millions during the height of Jezza-mania a couple of years ago are in favour of a Second Referendum; these are no doubt the Bright Young Things that Polly Toynbee hopes will slip cyanide into the cocoa of the demented elderly racists and xenophobes who voted Leave. In the same way that the leading three sci-fi franchises – ‘Star Trek’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Doctor Who’ – have alienated their loyal hardcore audiences to chase the Woke vote, with Labour it now seems to be a case of sod the constituents that have supported the party through many a lean decade.

Just as well things aren’t as bad on the blue side of the Commons, eh? Er…well, with Theresa May’s endless fruitless trips to Brussels making her look more and more like a rejected suitor who still insists on serenading the object of her affection even when that object has repeatedly told her to f*** off, the Cabinet is once more doing whatever the hell it likes while the cat’s away. When it comes to exercising effective authority, the Prime Minister is akin to a supply teacher fresh out of training college, thrown in at the deep end with a classroom full of surly Easter-leavers exploiting her timidity; it would appear the suspension of collective responsibility that Cameron introduced for the EU Referendum in 2016 has now become standard practice.

In the wake of the three amigos’ defection, half-a-dozen members of the Cabinet have flexed their muscles and delivered yet another raspberry in the direction of May’s ‘authority’, threatening mass resignations if the Prime Minister doesn’t extend the Article 50 deadline and rule out No Deal. Has there ever been a PM with such a staggering lack of control over her own Ministers? For those of us who can recall the clout that Blair or Thatcher wielded, it really is a remarkable situation to witness. Of course, with May having declared she won’t fight the next General Election as Conservative Party leader, there’s clearly jostling for future leadership going on, though one suspects there’s something a little more personal in Amber Rudd’s contribution. Maybe it still rankles that she lost her job and carried the can for the Windrush scandal when most of the damage had been done by her predecessor at the Home Office – though Rudd would do well to remember she retained her seat at Hastings and Rye by a mere 346 votes in 2017, making the foundations upon which to build a bid for No.10 decidedly shaky.

Corbyn’s Second Referendum announcement, the Remainer revolt in the Cabinet, and the Independent Group – all symptoms of the same thing that has been going on at Westminster for the past two-and-a-half years; and the reason this issue is still dragging its rotting carcass across the front page of everyone’s lives in 2019 – indeed the reason Parliament has made such a God-awful bloody mess of the whole issue – appears obvious. Parliament on the whole does not want what the majority of British people voted for and is determined to prevent it from happening. If it achieves this aim, God knows what will happen the next time the electorate has an opportunity to intervene; it would be extremely unwise for our elected representatives to imagine their actions will not have serious repercussions both for them and for the widening fault-lines running through society.

As stated in a previous post, I voted Remain in 2016 and have subsequently altered my opinion on the subject solely as a consequence of my disgust with the blatant disregard of democracy that has been taking place at Westminster ever since. Most of the prominent MPs who retained their seats at the last General Election were elected on the basis they would honour, respect and (if in government) implement the Referendum result. They did so to a man and – surprise, surprise – they lied. Their real intention seems to have been to prevent Brexit from happening, and they’re more determined than ever to do so as we edge closer to D-Day. It’s no use now claiming that a Second Referendum is the only solution to breaking the deadlock. Why is there a deadlock? Because they have engineered it in order to bring about their hoped-for solution.

You can’t always get what you want, as someone once said. I might have preferred the UK to remain in the EU in 2016, but I accepted the result, as one does – or should do. The people that voted Leave are not to blame for the current crisis; MPs are. And, like the teenager whose response to a parental edict to tidy their bedroom is to keep repeating ‘I’ll do it in a minute’ in the hope they won’t have to, MPs seem to believe if they delay the process indefinitely the public will get so sick of the whole business that they’ll eventually stop caring and will accept the betrayal with a resigned shrug of the shoulders. At this rate, the whole sorry saga seems set to make Jarndyce v Jarndyce resemble the career duration of an X-Factor winner.

© The Editor


As tribute acts go, I’ve probably seen worse, though it’s hard to think where off the top of my head. Let’s compare: Roy Jenkins – twice Home Secretary, once Chancellor of the Exchequer, a man on whose watch homosexuality was decriminalised, abortion was legalised, capital punishment was abolished and archaic divorce laws were reformed; Chuka Umunna – Shadow Business Secretary…and…er…well, that’s it. And yet, at the press conference held to announce the resignation of seven Labour MPs this morning, Umunna did his best to remix the speech Jenkins made at the launch of the SDP in 1981 so that it could become a defining signpost along his own path of vainglory.

When a mere four ‘moderate’ MPs staged a similar split from a Labour party that had been seized by the hard left thirty-eight years ago, the quartet consisted of the aforementioned Jenkins as well as a former Foreign Secretary (David Owen), a former Education Secretary (Shirley Williams), and a former Transport Secretary (Bill Rodgers). Rodgers was perhaps the only member of the quartet whose public service didn’t quite resonate with the heavyweight cache of his partners, though seeing today’s events on TV made me think of legendary US rock critic Lester Bang’s response to the question, ‘Are Slade the new Beatles?’ – to which he had replied, ‘Sure; they’re all Ringo.’ What we witnessed today was seven Ringos who hadn’t even formulated the concept of an actual political party, merely a ‘group’. The Gang of Seven, perhaps.

Various reasons were served-up as motives for the split, varying from individual to individual. The case of Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree) seemed the most understandable, subject as she has been over the past five years to unpleasant anti-Semitic abuse that the leadership of the Labour Party appears either incapable – or unwilling – to get an effective grip on. Her resignation was perhaps the most anticipated and probably would have happened with or without the simultaneous walk-out of six fellow Labour MPs. But while dissatisfaction with the direction of the party has been brewing amongst those who graduated from the Blair academy ever since Corbyn took control in 2015, the shadow of Brexit hangs over the whole affair like the ‘I’d give it ten minutes if I were you’ post-toilet warning of an unwelcome houseguest.

Three or four Tory MPs are currently facing threats of de-selection thanks to their Brexit stance and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to picture them joining their ideological cohorts who have just exited Labour; and, somewhat predictably, the Mr Barrowclough of British politics, Vince ‘I sold the Royal Mail’ Cable has offered the hand of friendship to the ‘Independent Group’, echoing as they seem to do his own perspective on Brexit. Whether or not this means all three strands will coalesce into a new third party remains to be seen, but – a bit like Jacob Rees-Mogg’s melodramatic misfire re Theresa May’s leadership last year – the timing of this decision could well prove to be somewhat ill.

One of the criticisms levelled at Jenkins & co in 1981 was that they should have remained in the Labour Party and engaged in a battle that could have seen them eventually wrestle control from Foot and Benn; their exit was viewed in some quarters as a cowardly cop-out, being all-too aware that the structure of the British political system meant their Social Democratic experiment was destined to ensure a further two Election successes for Mrs Thatcher. The last time a third party was able to command more than 100 seats in Parliament was way back in 1923, and since then the role of a third party has essentially been to prop up the winners, most notably in 2010. At the moment, this Independent Group haven’t even got to the stage where they can call themselves a party, which makes their little collective more reminiscent of an even older Parliamentary model, one that stretches all the way back to the eighteenth century, when Whigs and Tories were ideological groupings at Westminster rather than organised political parties as we would recognise them today.

It’s hard not to be cynical towards the motives of Umunna in particular. He quickly threw his hat in the ring following Ed Miliband’s resignation as Labour leader after the 2015 General Election defeat and withdrew it just as quickly, suggesting he lacked the bottle to push himself forward as a potential Prime Minister when he belatedly realised the level of scrutiny he’d be subjected to. Since his hissy-fit departure from the frontbench in the wake of Corbyn’s 2015 election as Labour leader, his evident irritation with being shoved to the margins of Labour has rankled with his ego, something that’s been on constant display during his regular television appearances over the last couple of years. He’s also had to stand back and watch his own elitist outlook take battering after battering across the Continent, yet his denial over precisely how out of touch he is with the prevailing European trend echoes his guru Tony’s equally deluded sermons on the subject of Brexit. The world has moved on, but these people simply will not accept they are now standing on the wrong side of history.

Along with his kindred spirit in the blue half of the Commons, Anna Soubry, Chuka Umunna has been prominent in doing his utmost to block Brexit progress, emerging as one of the leading cheerleaders of the ‘You plebs didn’t understand what you were voting for’ mindset. In Chuka’s world, the Third Way approach that worked in the 90s is still relevant, whereas most of the electorate see it as meaningless an approach to today’s problems as the Gold Standard or any other archaic political foundation stone upon which to build a system of governance. Few are arguing that a satisfactory successor has taken hold of this century; so far, there seem to be a series of competing ideologies, all of which are fighting to make themselves heard without any emerging as a distinct frontrunner. Such a climate is commonplace in the prelude to war, though that’s hardly a comforting thought.

All seven members of the Independent Group have fairly secure majorities from the last General Election, so it’s no wonder they’re reluctant to call on their constituents to endorse their walk-out via a series of potentially fascinating by-elections. Many hail from Leave constituencies, which (considering their shared stance on Brexit) is no doubt another factor in hesitating to put it to the people – unless it’s a second Referendum, of course; that’s different. Oh, well. We’ll see what happens in the days and weeks to come. At least if they’ve achieved anything, they’ve prompted me back into action; and that’s an achievement in itself.

© The Editor