It’s funny, but 2016 already seems like a long time ago – much further back in time than a mere three years, anyway. Yesterday, I skimmed through a few posts on here from the moment at which Theresa May moved into Downing Street and there was mention of her mini-‘Night of The Long Knives’ reshuffle. I can barely even remember that now, but there it was in black-and-white, describing how the post-Cameron clear-out of the Cabinet saw P45s handed to the likes of Dave stalwarts Osborne, Gove, Morgan and Whittingdale; yes, the last name has all-but vanished from memory, though I seem to recall talk of liaisons with an ‘escort’ making the headlines at some point. Perhaps the fact that Mrs May fired a few Ministers when she grabbed the poisoned chalice has been utterly forgotten due to the record number that left of their own volition during her brief tenure in office; some of them have now come in from the cold at the behest of Boris.

Following the now-customary exercise in sentimental insincerity that accompanies the farewell performance of a Prime Minister at the dispatch-box, Mrs May was swiftly dispatched to the past tense by her successor – as were most of her Ministers. The speed that the new PM employed was undoubtedly necessary; after all, he only has 99 days to keep his most important promise; but the scale of the ‘massacre’ perhaps reflected the urgency he exhibited during his rapid-fire inaugural address before the press yesterday afternoon. He doesn’t have the luxury of test-driving Ministers with L-plates; it makes much more sense to assemble essentially the same ‘Team Boris’ he would have put together three years ago had his anticipated coronation not been postponed and he’d had a little more breathing space than he has now.

Some of the most inflexible Remainers – Hammond, Stewart, Lidington, Gauke – walked the plank voluntarily, whereas Jeremy (he’s an entrepreneur) Hunt decided to jump rather than face demotion. All would have been obstructive obstacles to Johnson’s intentions, yet a notable Brexiteer such as Penny Mordaunt has also been shown the door, presumably because she supported Hunt in the leadership contest. One of the first to sign-up to the Leave side in 2016, the incomparably incompetent Chris Grayling, has gone too – though I was quite looking forward to seeing which Ministry he’d be let loose on next. Plenty of Ministers whose names are so forgettable that their faces are impossible to evoke have been axed as well, the kind like Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley or Culture and Digital Minister Jeremy Wright (no, me neither), whose lack of interest in (or qualification for) the posts they were awarded mirrored the cluelessness of the woman who awarded them.

Back in March, the avalanche of resignations left 15 ministerial posts vacant; it began to look like either nobody wanted them or the dearth of talent within the Conservative Party meant there was nobody to fill them. The return of Amber Rudd to the Cabinet, a year after the former Home Secretary had been forced to carry the can for Windrush policies instigated by Mrs May, highlighted the PM’s desperation. Now Rudd is one of the few survivors of the cull, having shrewdly amended her opposition to the No Deal option. She breathes a sigh of relief alongside Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Liz Truss and Matt Hancock. Amongst the notable returning ex-Ministers are Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Nicky Morgan, Theresa Villiers, and that crafty Gavin Williamson, creeping back in with the stealth of a certain tarantula after a mere 84 days in the sin bin. Brother Jo is back too.

Swapping the Home Office for the Treasury is not the most optimistic of moves when one is made aware of Sajid Javid’s somewhat questionable grasp of figures. In his senior managerial role at Deutsche Bank before he entered Parliament, Javid enthusiastically embraced a tax-avoidance scheme that resulted in a courtroom defeat when it was exposed; as Business Secretary, he ended the Business Growth Service, a much-needed and profitable sponsor of small businesses; and he also gave the green light to the sale of Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe branch to a company with a disastrous track record, a company which upheld its reputation with the swift slide of British Steel into administration. Let’s hope he remembers to pack his calculator when he moves in to No.11. Like the resurfacing of Priti Patel’s previous (?) views on capital punishment now that she has been promoted to Home Secretary, Javid’s present will inevitably be viewed through the prism of his past if he buggers it up.

Ironically, for all the talk of the hard right and its rigid racial/social elitism having seized control, some have pointed out the accidental ‘multicultural mix’ at the very tip of the Tory iceberg. On Twitter, journalist Tom Harwood asked if this was the most ‘Woke’ the four great offices of state have ever been – ‘The grandson of a Turkish Muslim, the daughter of Indian-Ugandan Hindus, the son of Pakistani Muslims, and the son of a Jewish Czech refugee.’ Or is this backdoor diversity, achieved organically and without any inclusivity committees, shortlists and affirmative-action initiatives? Of course, the ethnic origins of those mentioned should be irrelevant to the skills required for the job, but it’s not difficult to imagine how the Labour Party would have made something of a song-and-dance about having a ‘Diversity Cabinet’ and milked it to the max.

The Ministers May fired in 2016 were expected to be troublesome from the backbenches, though Mrs May found those actually in the Cabinet (certainly after 2017) far more troublesome than the odd Rees-Mogg outside the tent pissing-in. But May’s concerns were initially eased by the fact she inherited a working majority from her predecessor; the same does not apply for Boris. If the Tories lose the upcoming Brecon and Radnorshire by-election to the Lib Dems, Johnson’s majority will be reduced to two. There’s no doubt the absence of time before a certain deadline has prompted the new PM into acting with such ruthless swiftness, but I suspect a motion of no confidence emanating from a Labour-Lib Dem alliance will only come when/if a package from Brussels sprouts before the Commons. However, if the Tory ‘rebels’ will be sufficiently irked at losing their jobs and sufficiently dedicated to the Remain agenda to vote down their own Government, the General Election to follow could well make real their recurring nightmare of a Corbyn administration. We shall see.

This week’s heat-wave may not last as long as the dry spell that made last summer so uncomfortable for those of us averse to a tropical climate, but I’ve a feeling the temperature will remain extremely high in Westminster until the autumn. Boris knows he has to deliver and deliver fast. If he’s to avoid presiding over the shortest tenure at No.10 in history, he needs to keep the knotted hanky mothballed and work through the holiday season. He’s made a start.

© The Editor


I’ve still never set foot in a betting-shop. Even though I know the old image of the grubby dive inhabited by seedy, dirty old men smoking dog-ends has received a facelift in recent years, I remain resistant to the premises’ questionable charms. The only time I ever considered it was during the Blur Vs Oasis chart battle of 1995. For those too young or too indifferent, this was the moment when the nation’s two rival Britpop bands rearranged their release schedules for an ingenious PR exercise that saw their new singles simultaneously hit the record-racks. I would have put money on Blur reaching the top spot because I figured your average pop fan would buy ‘Country House’ as well as hardcore Blur fans, whereas I correctly guessed only Oasis devotees would invest in ‘Roll With It’. What this odd example is supposed to represent is the fact that you can’t get to No.1 on the strength of your fan-base alone; you need the support of the masses too.

It’s something Hillary Clinton failed to appreciate during the 2016 US Presidential Election campaign; dismissing a vast section of blue-collar, working-class voters as essentially illiterate idiots and then expecting to be elected without their votes was a measure of her delusional arrogance. She drove them into the arms of Trump and then couldn’t understand why she didn’t win. It’s fine to be seen signalling your virtue by standing next to Beyoncé on a podium, but you can’t get elected unless you cultivate an appeal that cuts across all the divides that Mrs Clinton’s attitude exacerbated. Even if you think great swathes of the electorate are morons, you don’t say it out loud; you pretend to be their friend. Once you’re in office, f**k ‘em; but not before. Trump laid a trap for Hillary and she walked right into it; I can’t help but feel he’s playing the same game at the moment as well.

His typical Twitter baiting of the so-called ‘squad’ of four Democrat Congresswomen last week resulted in the unedifying spectacle of a crowd chanting ‘Send her back’, displaying openly racist rhetoric in a political context like we haven’t seen in the States (outside of a KKK rally, anyway) for half-a-century. The worldwide condemnation of the shit Trump stirred even caused the President to backtrack a little; but not much. As has been pointed out by various commentators, in choosing to take on a quartet of Democrats not necessarily representative of Democrats as a whole (one of the four has apparently expressed distinctly anti-Semitic sentiments in the past), he is cunningly re-branding the Democratic Party as a kind of Identity Politics pressure group, something that will alienate floating voters come 2020 and could well contribute towards a second term for the Donald.

Trump’s new counterpart on this side of the Atlantic didn’t require the electorate to be promoted to the top job, but he’ll need to court their favour before long. Boris Johnson’s inaugural lectern speech will probably be delivered in a way we can predict in advance, crammed with the standard vapid platitudes – just as Mrs May’s was three short years ago. He will no doubt declare his intention to ‘unite the nation’, for the tiny majority he inherits from his predecessor will necessitate a General Election sooner rather than later and he will still have an appetite for electioneering after the interminably prolonged Tory leadership contest. He may also imagine relocating to Downing Street wipes his previous pitiful ministerial slate clean; after all, the main focus during the leadership campaign was on his stint as London Mayor – though claiming Boris delivered the 2012 Olympics is a bit like saying Harold Wilson delivered the 1966 World Cup.

The outcome of the Tory leadership contest was the most foregone of foregone conclusions, akin to being bloated by a hearty meal and knowing the following day will inevitably open with a lengthy stint on the throne. We all knew Boris Johnson would become Prime Minister, and now he is. Just think of what that says about where we are. Anyway, the understandable outrage over the fact that the new tenant of No.10 was elected by a miniscule section of the electorate isn’t that big a deal if your political memory predates Brexit. Boris got the gig like Theresa May did in 2016; and Gordon Brown in 2007; and John Major in 1990; Jim Callaghan in 1976; Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1963…and so on. It’s hardly unprecedented. The only unique aspect to this contentious succession was how desperately Mrs May dragged it out, stretching her lame duck status simply because she wanted to be PM for a few days more than Gordon Brown managed.

Other than Brexit, Boris’s in-tray is interesting. The rather shameful state of the nation’s maritime traditions has been highlighted by a certain incident involving Iran’s piratical Revolutionary Guard; memories of how similarly swingeing cuts intended for Jolly Jack Tar’s fleet were only prevented by the actions of some Argentine opportunists planting their flag on Falklands soil back in 1982 probably don’t help in that this time round the cuts have already happened. And now we’re paying the price. As Boris doesn’t appear to believe in bugger-all but Boris, it will be fascinating to see how he responds to external events that are part-and-parcel of what a PM has to deal with. He has enough internal events on his hands with the odd ‘look at me’ resignation on the eve of his coronation, suggesting we should expect a Cabinet of yes-men and women. However, perhaps it’s no surprise when one thinks of the collective irresponsibility of the unruly rabble his predecessor was surrounded by.

Somewhat under the radar, there’s been further changing of the guard with the election of Jo Swinson as leader of the Liberal Democrats. A casualty of the electoral cull of Coalition Lib Dems in 2015, Swinson bounced back in 2017 in the same way the man she replaces did. The most striking contrast between the Party’s first female leader and the guy she’s succeeded comes with their respective birth certificates, however: Old Mother Cable is 76, whereas his successor is 39. Swinson seizes power at an opportune moment for the Lib Dems, fresh from their repositioning as The Remain Party and conscious that Tory voters on the left and Labour voters on the right are reasonably in their sights; Swinson’s intention to ‘stop Brexit’ may be refreshingly honest – most politicians hide behind the Second Referendum smokescreen – but the leader of a party with ‘Democratic’ in its name declaring her determination to overturn a democratic mandate has all the undemocratic irony of the world’s most totalitarian regimes ruling countries that also boast ‘Democratic’ as part of their title.

At least Remoaners have a Party leader they can flock to now, anyway; threats of a ‘No Deal’ Halloween are causing a fair few sleepless nights, I should imagine. Yes, it goes without saying that much amusement has been had via the Woke brigade’s tearful tantrums in response to Boris’s upgrade; it’s always entertaining to see them sob. But it’s as much a depressing sign of the times that a dick like Boris Johnson is the best the other side can rally round simply because he winds up the enemy as it is to have Katie Hopkins sold as a champion of free speech. We should be able to do better, but we can’t. Oh, well. At least it won’t be boring.

© The Editor


Okay, I don’t doubt our favourite pocket Trotsky Owen Jones has already expressed the same sentiments; but it’s pretty hard to avoid remembering there were no public tears for the 72 lives lost in the Grenfell Tower inferno, no public tears for the pensioners deported to the West Indies after half-a-century as British residents, and no public tears for the sick pushed to the brink by benefits sanctions. Instead, Theresa saved her public tears for Theresa. I don’t believe public tears have a place in public life, anyway; but if you’re going to cry on camera, at least do it for something other than self-pity. Perhaps the soon-to-be ex-Prime Minster belatedly realised her own limitations and the shocking realisation overwhelmed her. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

As was confirmed by a scientific study earlier in the week, those cursed with overconfidence severely overestimate their own abilities. Not only that; they are also incapable of recognising incompetence in themselves and instinctively blame their own failings on those around them. Theresa May’s tunnel-vision persistence in repeatedly pushing her Brexit bill through Parliament and paying no heed to the fact that the majority of MPs kept rejecting it was an action characteristic of an individual afflicted with this syndrome, one so prevalent in her profession.

May’s bunker mentality the day before finally putting the country (and her career) out of its misery also spoke volumes; the prospect of being confronted by colleagues telling her what she couldn’t even admit to herself was something she evidently couldn’t handle; and so she shut up shop until eventually emerging before the machinegun-fire of the flashbulbs yesterday to announce she was resigning. It was a bit like someone rushing up to you and excitedly telling you the final score of a football match you’d watched on TV months ago. We were all there long before she was.

Theresa May is now poised to take her place on numerous unenviable lists. She joins the likes of Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Alec Douglas-Home, Jim Callaghan and Gordon Brown as being a Prime Minister whose tenure at No.10 numbered three years or less. She also joins the likes of Ted Heath, Margaret Thatcher and Iain Duncan Smith as a Tory leader forced to fall on her sword by her own party. And, of course, she joins several names featuring on both lists as arguably the worst holder of her office in recent history. Even Prime Ministers whose most notable legacies are extremely contentious ones – Heath taking us into Europe and Cameron kick-starting the process of taking us out, to name but two – still managed to achieve something, regardless of how divisive those achievements remain. Theresa May has achieved nothing other than making a bad situation even worse than it was when she began.

There’s been much talk of ‘pressure’ via the media post-mortems over the last 24 hours – and when one thinks of Mrs May’s haggard appearance and borderline Bonnie Tyler rasp, it’s undeniable the stress of the job has left its mark on her. But we shouldn’t forget Theresa May didn’t become Prime Minister by accident; she went for it; she wanted it. It was her choice to run for the Tory leadership, knowing she would be PM if she won it and that the chalice passed on by her predecessor was so poisoned it was practically radioactive. Sympathy should be reserved for those who have no part to play in their misfortunes, not those who actively put themselves in a position that serves as an invitation to misfortune. One can only really pity Theresa May to any extent if one believes her delusional faith in her capabilities to do the job she grabbed with both hands is a character trait worthy of pity.

The limitations of this personality-free zone lacking the charisma and communication skills so crucial to leading both a political party and the nation were never better exposed than during the memorable car-crash of the 2017 General Election campaign. It was clear then that here was a person incurably shy, awkward and uncomfortable when under the unforgiving media spotlight; fair enough – not everybody is suited for that spotlight. But, as with a member of the public voluntarily standing before the Cowell panel, Theresa May knew the rules when she entered the game; she can’t then court sympathy when she’s caught out. An unimaginative box-ticking book-keeper happier maintaining mystique and avoiding public scrutiny can function fine in the Westminster shadows, but you can’t switch on the lights and expect them to suddenly transform into a showman like Tony Blair. You might have been able to get away with it a century ago, but in this day and age?

For a vicar’s daughter who once stood before her own party members and belatedly informed them that everyone outside Conservative circles viewed them as ‘nasty’, Theresa May’s six years as Home Secretary didn’t demonstrate much in the way of Christian charity. In 2013, lest we forget, she sanctioned those infamous vans bearing advertising hoardings ordering illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’, touring London boroughs with a high ethnic population in the same way the National Front used to target specific neighbourhoods to march through. This was scaremongering on a scale even Nigel Farage has never managed; we should remember Theresa May has played her own not-insignificant part in fostering the current hostile climate politicians are now so prone to decrying as if they were entirely blameless. Her disastrous three years as PM and her humiliating, undignified exit could be seen as a form of payback; and the supply of sympathy for her is probably as short in clubs that cater for golfers as much as clubs that cater for working-men.

One could try to be magnanimous in the face of an individual’s evident anguish as her failings finally catch up with her – especially when those loathsome members of the Cabinet issuing hollow tributes to the boss whose dwindling authority they undermined at every opportunity have been openly (and shamelessly) jostling for her job for months. But the closing chapter of this sorry saga was written the same day as its author proclaimed ‘Once upon a time’. Watching a Remainer like May pretending to implement something so opposed to her ideology was akin to watching a match-fixing goalkeeper trying to make the goals he throws in the back of the net look like accidents. She’s got another month-and-a-bit as our alleged PM, but the reign is over; and in the event of the favourite winning the race to step into her kitten heels, we have the prospect of a tenant at No.10 from whom no one in their right mind would buy a used car. To paraphrase a far more distinguished predecessor, this ain’t the beginning of the end – more like the end of the beginning.

© The Editor


I suppose a turd can only be polished so many times before it’s worn down into nothing, even if the turd that Theresa May has been polishing for what feels like a lifetime wasn’t exactly a prize-winning stool to begin with. You have to hand it to the Prime Minister, though; she keeps polishing away with her duster and can of Mr Sheen, determined the whole country will see its reflection in it sooner or later; trouble is, that turd has only ever shown her reflection, which is apt for a woman who is undoubtedly the shittest holder of her office in living memory. Well, if you can’t be blunt now, eh?

On Tuesday, just 48 hours away from another anticipated annihilation at the polling station, the chronically deluded Mrs May unveiled her revised strategy for finally getting her useless EU withdrawal deal through Parliament; and she’s surpassed herself yet again, alienating everybody she desperately tried to woo with another series of opportunistic promises that will never be delivered and everyone can see through. At times, her behaviour reminds me of a doomed gambler owing a fortune to a mobster that the debt collector knows cannot be paid, offering everything but the kitchen sink in the absence of cash. ‘Take the HD TV set – I’ve only had it six months and it cost a fortune; take my car – it’s worth five grand, easily; take my watch, my mother’s engagement ring, the shirt off my back…’ BANG!

Ironically, Theresa May has at last achieved something that has seemed impossible for the past couple of years: she’s actually united the Commons. Unfortunately for her, she’s united it in opposition. Labour, the SNP, the DUP, the Lib Dems, the Greens, and the majority of her own party – all united against what must surely be the final despairing throw of the dice for this embarrassingly hapless and hopeless Prime Minister. Brexiteers and Remainers alike have turned their noses up at the latest add-ons to the same old deal, the deal that has been rejected so many times that it’s hard to remember which occasions promised which bribes. On one of them, she said she’d quit if it got through; on another, she said the magic money tree in the Downing Street garden would sprout a few notes for deprived communities Oop North if it got through; now, she’s even stooped so low as offer a vote on a second referendum if it gets through, one more U-turn for the book. And nobody is buying it.

After six futile weeks of beer & sandwiches chinwags with Labour that resulted in bugger all, May has publicly announced Corbyn-flavoured compromises I suspect she tried out behind closed doors – workers’ rights, environmental protection, customs union, and (of course) second referendum – yet the response from the Opposition is the same. John McDonnell had a valid point when he compared entering into an agreement with this Government to signing a contract with a company poised to go into administration. Their word is no bond at all because they are on the verge of collapse, and any agreement would be null and void before the ink had even dried. Everyone bar our lame duck leader can see it. She has changed nobody’s mind with this week’s model; by the evening following yesterday’s announcement, not one MP who was opposed to the deal last time round had declared their conversion to the PM’s way of thinking and promised to vote differently.

All of this was pretty inevitable, however. The disastrous gamble of the 2017 General Election was evidence enough that Mrs May was out of her depth on a scale unseen since old Turnip Taylor’s memorably woeful stint as England manager in the early 90s. The Tories did not like that, but when they had their opportunity to oust May last December, they bottled it; the absence of an outstanding candidate to replace her and perennial fear of Jezza grabbing the keys to No.10 persuaded the party to retain a leader too obstinate and perhaps too stupid to realise its decision was not motivated by any faith in her ability to get the job done. Most of this could have been prevented, but the Conservative Party is now paying the price for its failure to show May the door.

The Ghost of Referendums Past in the shape of Mr Milkshake himself has returned to haunt the Tories and send them plummeting to the bottom of virtually every poll published over the last month or so; May had already alienated the party’s blue-rinsed backbone with certain polices outlined in the 2017 manifesto, but diehard Tory voters are now abandoning their traditional voting preferences handed down like family heirlooms and are flocking in their droves to a party that wouldn’t need to exist had Mrs May and her unruly underlings honoured the Referendum result as they told us they would two years ago. Should Theresa May’s pitiful premiership ever lay claim to a ‘legacy’ once it’s put out of its misery, chances are that legacy will be the Brexit Party.

Right now, there appear to be just two parties unashamedly honest in their intentions – Farage’s lot and Old Mother Cable’s wet blankets. The Lib Dem’s ‘Stop Brexit’ posts dotted around suburban grass verges – or indeed their attempt at wooing the proles, ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ – is a rare example of plain-speaking in a political culture wracked with doublethink rhetoric. At least the Lib Dems aren’t masking their Remoaner agenda in unconvincing pretensions to a ‘Brexit for all’ fantasy; that’s been half the problem with May, not to mention Corbyn’s crowd, which is why both are being deserted by once-loyal constituencies that voted Leave in 2016. This is a mess entirely of the political class’s making, and the fact so many members of it still don’t understand – either by demanding a second referendum or simply pretending nobody can discern the fact they’re Remainers in Leave clothing – not only shows they have learnt nothing but that they are utterly incapable of learning anything.

The political class and their ideological allies, the media class, can see the writing on the wall, but they don’t want to read it; so, they resort to clutching at any straw they can magic-up. Indulging in daily smears against their opponents or ordering an investigation into the Brexit Party’s funding that has found no evidence of wrongdoing any different from the far-from saintly way most political parties are funded – none of these tired tactics are working for anyone other than Farage. Every dairy-based beverage aimed in his direction only serves to guarantee another dozen votes for his party come tomorrow; the political and media classes are pouring petrol on the bonfire and can’t figure out why their actions aren’t putting out the flames.

Presiding over the longest unbroken parliament since the English Civil War, Theresa May and her rump rabble will one day give us a cracking six-part Sunday night serial, for the Watergate factor of government-in-meltdown makes for a far more engrossing drama than one about an administration winning landslides. There’s never been a shortage of dramatisations of Thatcher’s fall from power, for example; but who would want to watch one based around the 1987 General Election? At this moment in time, however, we aren’t watching the meltdown of May from the distance of decades and wondering if they picked the right cast to play her motley crew; it’s happening for real right in front of us – and the only definite outcome of this drama is that Theresa is toast.

© The Editor


It pays to flick through past posts if approaching a topic I’ve written about on previous occasions, if only to avoid repetition. Past posts can also be handy ways of assessing not necessarily predictions, but attempts at guessing where we might go next. Well, few knew before and fewer still know now – that much is true today. The talk at the end of last year and the start of this was anticipating a move by restless centrist politicians from both left and right meeting in the middle to form their own SDP-like breakaway party that would allegedly appeal to moderates alienated by the warring factions on either side of the Brexit barricade. That appeared to be the only change on the cards; and though it eventually happened, any new party dependent on oily Umunna and sour-faced Soubry is facing far more of an uphill challenge than the one formed by Jenkins, Owens, Williams and Rodgers almost 40 years ago.

What began as ‘TIG’ and has now been rebranded Change UK isn’t exactly taking the country by storm. Whereas the SDP peaked at a 50% poll rating in the autumn of 1981 (less than a year after its formation), the apathy greeting Change UK is a consequence of the conceit of its founders. All are second division strikers, with not one of them having scored one of the great offices of state; but their high opinion of themselves and belief that their outdated approach remains relevant has blinded them to a sea-change in the public mood that is seeing an even newer party steal the headlines and soar way ahead of them in the polls. The Change UK attitude is to dismiss Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party as a right-wing rest-home for bonkers old Tories and ex-UKIP fruitcakes; their smug arrogance in dismissing something they should be taking very seriously will be their undoing, but will they listen? What do you think?

The BBC’s archaic attempts at impartiality saw last Friday’s scheduled edition of ‘Have I Got News For You’ pulled at the last minute because one of the guest panellists was Change UK’s Heidi Allen. The reason given for this abrupt, eleventh hour cancellation was Allen representing a party intending to participate in the upcoming European Elections, which seems strange; Britain’s late entry into the contest was already known on the day the programme was recorded; could not another guest have been chosen? After all, a tub of lard once famously deputised for Roy Hattersley on the show a few years ago. The BBC has a history of panicking when politics risks being treated lightly – infamously axing ‘That Was The Week That Was’ at the end of 1963, when a General Election was imminent – and is terrified of being seen as favouring one political party over the other, despite its pro-Remain stance being pretty indisputable.

Then again, the BBC (as with all London-centric mainstream media outlets) belongs to the same exclusive gentleman’s club as the Westminster set, burying its head in the same sand and pissing in the same pot. Ignoring something in the hope it will simply go away is not good enough at this moment in history. That’s precisely what the two major parties have been guilty of for far too long. In 2017, the Conservatives and Labour enjoyed the largest share of the vote the two major parties had managed since 1970, seemingly ending the fragmented era of fringe parties stealing their seats. Now, less than two years on from the last General Election, their failure to honour the 2016 Referendum result (not to mention deliberate efforts at outright prevention) has seen their hard-fought recovery utterly trashed; they’ve blown it, quite possibly for good.

A new poll published in the Sunday Telegraph puts the Brexit Party one point ahead of the Tories; the poll, by ComRes, is taking a hypothetical survey in the event of a snap General Election, but the findings should shake even the most blinkered, deluded Tories who still cling to the fallacy that Theresa May’s repeatedly rejected deal is the only way out of this impasse. The PM herself has told the 1922 Committee she’ll finally walk the plank if her deal passes when she drags it before the Commons one more time – the same promise she made last time it faced the firing squad; it didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

The catastrophic recent local election results from the Conservative perspective – losing over a thousand councillors – saw most of those seats go to the Lib Dems and the Greens; those two claimed they were on the side of the electoral angels in the wake of the results, but there were a record number of spoiled ballot papers in the absence of any Leave candidates. It’s a bit like justifying the questionable appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent Manchester Utd manager on the strength of his results as caretaker, when the team had an easy run of winnable fixtures against lower opposition. They ended the season by losing at home to relegated Cardiff.

If the Tories should be on red alert following the findings of the poll in the Sunday Telegraph – and those of a similar poll by Opinium – Labour have no cause for complacency either. The pressure by the membership to adopt the Second Referendum route whilst traditional Labour voters in the diehard northern and midlands heartlands remain Leave-inclined has left poor old Jezza looking more at sea and less in control of the party’s destiny than ever before. And if the future looks bleak when one contemplates the likely contenders to succeed Mrs May, there’s no less despair when one thinks of Tom Watson or Keir Starmer seizing the Corbyn crown. Take two weak leaders surrounded by mediocre wannabes, add a shameful determination to overturn a democratic mandate, throw in dismissive contempt for the concerns of the plebs – and you have a recipe for potential disaster.

If one at least tries to take the long view, it’s possible to conclude that a single-issue party run by a man adept at generating publicity and more than capable of exploiting widespread disaffection with the political process is one it’s difficult to see being relevant beyond its moment, like a particular pair of trousers fashionable for a solitary season. Closer examination would no doubt uncover not much substance beneath the surface and one could argue Farage’s response to an admittedly piss-poor grilling from Andrew Marr was to resort to tried-and-trusted Trump-like tactics, crying media bias and avoiding awkward questions. Yet, the Brexit Party has timed its moment to absolute perfection, and as long the big two keep their fingers in their ears, that moment will retain its relevance.

The need for a new party that can – to paraphrase Roy Jenkins – ‘break the mould of British politics’ and end the century-old Tory and Labour stranglehold has been pressing for a long time; and though Change UK are (in their minds) attempting to do just that in the old-fashioned way, nobody is interested. It’s hard not to feel we’ve moved on from that now. God knows where we’ve moved on to or where we’re going; but I can’t help thinking the old-fashioned way is over. And it’s over because those who prospered from it fatally failed to detect the people had had enough. You can only push them so far, and then who knows what they’ll do? Just ask Monsieur Macron – or maybe one of his distant predecessors, Louis XVI.

© The Editor


I must admit, it is hard to attribute anything approaching a heroic act to a member of Theresa May’s Cabinet; one cannot avoid being suspicious and seeing self-promotion as the motivation behind every move made in public. ‘Will it help make me look good before the electorate and boost my impending leadership bid if I’m photographed alongside an autistic adolescent in pigtails who has somehow become the poster-girl for climate change?’ and so on. It’s so difficult not to be cynical about politicians today that even when one of them might actually have done something for purely selfless reasons, crediting them with it is a tough call tinged with suspicious reservations.

The sacking of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been officially justified because he was named as the source of the leak surrounding the National Security Council’s discussion over the Chinese Government’s telecommunications wing, Huawei, being invited to get its feet under the UK’s online table. Williamson denies this rather serious allegation whilst Jeremy Hunt has become the latest Minister to undermine the PM’s (non)authority by suggesting a police investigation wouldn’t be out of the question, contradicting Mrs May’s own decision not to pursue the matter beyond firing Williamson. If the ex-Defence Secretary is guilty, why did he do it when he must have realised the potential damage it could do to his political ambitions? Could it actually have been that extremely rare Westminster beast, a case of conscience over career?

Let’s face it, Gavin Williamson is not an easy man to warm to; then again, name me a member of the Cabinet who is. I know we’re all born with the face God gave us, but Williamson’s ego does seem to be etched on his smug countenance; I may be doing him a disservice, but to me he has the arrogant air of an office-worker celebrating promotion with a trip to a lap-dancing bar, where he probably waves a wad in a young lady’s face in expectation of a blowjob. His attempts to cultivate a Mandelson-like ‘Dark Arts’ image have been cringeworthy from the off. From his pet tarantula to his ‘ooh, you’re hard’ boast that he had ‘made’ Theresa May and could therefore just as easily ‘break’ her, Williamson’s role as the mastermind behind May’s leadership election and then organising the bribery of the DUP gave rise to his reputation as Kingmaker, and he appeared to be a man May couldn’t manage without – until now.

The Tory Chair of the Defence Select Committee, Dr Julian Lewis, was one Williamson ally speaking up for the deposed Minister last night. Dr Lewis pointed out that Williamson wasn’t the only member of the Cabinet to express reservations over the wisdom of awarding contracts to corporations answerable to a Communist regime not averse to keeping tabs on its citizens. Unsurprisingly for someone who has enthusiastically embraced any form of internet snooping since her days as Home Secretary, the PM was in favour of allowing Huawei to play a part in this country’s 5G network – something no other western leader has even contemplated; by all accounts, Williamson was appalled by this development and appears to have risked his role in Government (and possible rise all the way to the top job) by passing on his concerns to Fleet Street.

I would hesitate to call the information leaked a ‘sensitive state secret’; it appears to be more a case of where the information was leaked from – a body established during Cameron’s tenure, somewhere Ministers and officials could discuss clandestine topics free from the public gaze; and what could be more clandestine than offering the Chinese a chance to buy into Britain’s internet system? No wonder they wanted that one kept under wraps. But, as Julian Lewis rightly stated, the nature of the information Gavin Williamson is alleged to have leaked hardly places him in the same treasonous league as Kim Philby or George Blake. What Williamson has done – if indeed, he has done it – is to spill the beans on just how shamelessly willing our senior elected representatives are to flog anything to the highest bidder, free from any principles or sense of scruples; as long as they can make a mint from outsourcing, they’ll do it. Just look at who replaced ATOS with the contract for the notorious DWP disability assessments – an equally loathsome US corporation short on sympathy for the ill and infirm called Maximus; and the less said about Grayling’s ferry fiasco, the better. Should ISIS put in a bid to run all primary schools in England and Wales, they’d probably be in with a shot if their bid was juicy enough.

Williamson’s promotion from Chief Whip to Defence Secretary seemed to begin the process of his gradual detachment from the PM’s inner circle, especially when he became a tad prone to the odd gaffe and earned the nickname of ‘Private Pike’ among some of his less generous colleagues. If he was responsible for the NSC leak, it’s hard to see what he had to gain from his actions being uncovered other than alerting the rest of us to the seriously worrying shit that goes on behind closed doors at Downing Street, as opposed to the silly in-fighting and backstabbing we’re used to hearing about. And, if that was what happened, he deserves credit – however begrudgingly we give it him.

Another Tory MP, Adam Holloway, made a wider point in relation to Williamson last night, stating how he believed contemporary politicians just aren’t up to it, whatever the challenge presented to them might be. Ministers find themselves in positions of power they simply aren’t qualified to do justice to, lacking both leadership skills and any talent beyond generating sufficient hype around them in the manner of a band desperate for a record deal; how else can we explain so many ‘name’ MPs who have risen without a trace in the past decade? A former military man, Adam Holloway said most of the current Cabinet would be ‘very unlikely to rise to the rank of General’; it’s certainly hard looking across both benches in the Commons and seeing anyone with the heavyweight clout of a Benn or a Thatcher. Or perhaps past politicians were forged in different ages that deserved different leaders; despite the grimly serious issues facing the country, we appear to have reaped the harvest of the 90s, when style triumphed over substance in all facets of public life.

The fact a figure as friendless as Theresa May can fire someone who was once such a vital ally suggests the embarrassment of this particular leak must have been acute for the Prime Minister, even when one considers the Cabinet Office has shown itself to have the consistency of a sieve over the last couple of years. Williamson’s dramatic dismissal and possible breach of the Official Secrets Act may well be as ‘unprecedented’ as media folk kept claiming yesterday, but the leak is merely emblematic of a chaotic Cabinet environment with a grasp of authority reminiscent of St Trinian’s. The timing of this latest unwelcome headline from the PM’s perspective, on the very eve of possible obliteration in the local elections, suggests Williamson’s alleged crime is a little more serious than some that have resulted in sackings of late; but yet another enemy on the backbenches could be just one more nail in the Maybot coffin. Not all bad news, then.

© The Editor


‘We’re becoming a very petty nation!’ So declared the officious Inspector Pratt on a 1972 episode of ‘Z-Cars’; he was incensed by the attitude of two long-haired scruffs in custody after they refused to co-operate and sign statements on the subject of their arrest. They’d been nicked driving a digger away from a building site, having missed the last train home; and they’d missed said train due to being held up during a pub raid conducted by Inspector Pratt barely a minute after the towels had been draped over the pumps. It was a quiet evening on the night-shift (not so much knife-crime in early 70s Newtown) and Inspector Pratt decided to undertake an operation that ironically echoed his own sentiments in all its intransigent pettiness. Clever writing in a TV series from almost half-a-century ago nevertheless makes a still-relevant point about hypocrisy and double standards, how one side can see pettiness in the other whilst simultaneously being blind to its own.

He’s been labelled an arrogant narcissist more than once, and Julian Assange resembling the rediscovered Radovan Karadžić with his big white beard as he was dragged kicking and screaming back onto British soil by the Met at their most camera-conscious could be seen as a sign of where we are on so many levels. The dramatic end of Assange’s unique Ecuadorian experience was a piece of Performance Art entirely in keeping with his seven-year tenancy of that distant nation’s London embassy. I would imagine conditions for Assange during his self-imposed incarceration probably resembled your average Daily Mail-reader’s fantasy of the conditions enjoyed by everyone detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure; but it was a prison, all the same – and Assange knew his sentence wouldn’t be indefinite.

The Aussie shit-stirrer took up residency at 3 Hans Crescent in Knightsbridge in June 2012, ostensibly to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault; whether grounded in fact or fiction, these allegations conveniently appeared in the wake of the whistle-blowing of the web-based organisation Assange is credited with founding, WikiLeaks. A sequence of clandestine classified documents were let loose in the public arena by WikiLeaks in 2010/11, most of which related to unpleasant American activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. With Assange’s appetite for self-publicity, it didn’t take a genius to calculate that the US Government wasn’t going to let him get away with exposing their misdeeds, so the Swedish allegations could be seen as a marvellous stroke of serendipity.

There’s no doubt WikiLeaks have released information that certain injured parties would rather wasn’t made public; the catch-all ‘National Security’ excuse works wonders in keeping such unflattering information under wraps, though there has been criticism over WikiLeaks’ reluctance to probe Russian documents in a similarly forensic manner to that which they’ve probed American ones. To most folk worn down by revelations of all powers-that-be being rotten, corrupt and generally pretty horrible, however, it’s hard to see how anything they might uncover on Putin’s regime could shock anyone in 2019. And whilst Donald Trump certainly wasn’t complaining when the organisation helped derail the Clinton campaign during the 2016 US Presidential Election, Mr President now professes ignorance over WikiLeaks. Regardless of a change in administration, the American Government as an institution finally has its opportunity to attempt extradition of Assange, something many have long predicted – including Assange confidant Pamela Anderson, who claimed the UK is ‘America’s Bitch’.

The former ‘Baywatch’ pin-up made an observation that has regularly been expressed with varying degrees of terminology since the humiliating forced withdrawal from Suez in 1956; but this week has also seen embarrassing events exceeding our poodle status to Uncle Sam. No longer a purchaser of a physical paper, I’m not aware if any of Fleet Street’s cartoonists have depicted Theresa May in the role of Oliver Twist holding out a begging bowl to the Brussels mandarins, asking for more; but it seems such an obvious open goal that I’d be surprised if any of them passed up the chance to hit the back of the net. After all, the last day of this working week was the second of the meaningless Brexit D-Days, following the no-show of March 29. Now we’ve had to pencil-in Halloween for third time lucky.

There shouldn’t really be anything left to say about Mrs May’s atrocious performance as PM; the lady’s for turning, lest we forget – and she’s done little but go back on every public statement on the subject of Brexit she’s made since 2016. Whether simple obstinacy from an unimaginative plodder or a deliberate delaying tactic of a Remainer representing a Parliament of Remainers in order to prevent the votes of 17 million from being enacted, who knows? Almost three years on from the decision of the majority, the UK now faces the bizarre prospect of selecting candidates to stand for the European Parliament when we shouldn’t even be there. Never a man to shy away from the spotlight, Nigel Farage unsurprisingly chose April 12 to launch his Brexit Party, which will probably compete with TIG under their new ‘Change UK’ title to exploit the most headlines from the Elections the UK was never supposed to contest. Short-term gain may be the aim, but if Farage’s latest venture can drain votes away from the BNP-lite that UKIP has finally descended into via the recruitment of Tommy Robinson as its mascot, good luck to him. He won’t be getting my vote, but neither will anyone else.

Anything more to report this week? Well, the philosopher Roger Scruton suffered a stitch-up at the hands of the New Statesman, whose interviewer rearranged Scruton’s statements to portray the former Tory Government adviser as a racist anti-Semite – though anyone to the right of Dave Spart is Hitler to the New Statesman; and the knee-jerk vigilante justice of social media is so entrenched as a legitimate judge and jury by now that Scruton was destined to be executed online the moment he agreed to the interview. At least Scruton had the balls to stand up for himself during the engineered outrage and not kowtow to the consensus.

At the other end of the scale, a young actress on ‘Emmerdale’ also received the chop and was forced into the obligatory online apology for tweets she apparently issued as a teenager. She was sacked for the crime of ‘Historical Offensive Tweets’ – yes, this actual term was used as a reason for her dismissal; Twitter has now been with us long enough for tweets from six years ago to be regarded as ‘historical’. One could say let this be a lesson to the Kids not to share their every intimate thought with their followers; but in a world in which an online footprint is now part of the fabric of life from the moment one emerges from the womb, how can it be avoided in future – even if one wonders how much an adult can be held responsible for what they said as a child or adolescent. Isn’t it all a bit…oh, I dunno…North Korea?

The same year the aforementioned ‘Z-Cars’ episode aired, I caused minor consternation amongst teaching staff at my first school when I drew a picture of Pinky & Perky at Christ’s crucifixion; if it had been preserved online had online existed at the time, would I now be regarded as anti-Semitic? Pork! Jesus! Call the cops! Oh, well – at least there’s a spare room at the Ecuadorian Embassy if I need it. Hmmm, if we weren’t a petty nation in 1972, we appear to be one today.

© The Editor


And there was me expecting Friday’s ‘Newsnight’ to come live from the white cliffs of Dover, whereupon Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris, Nigel and Tommy Robinson were scheduled to link arms at 11.00pm and treat us all to a rousing chorus of ‘Jerusalem’. It didn’t happen. I should imagine our lords and masters across the Channel were poised to give us nul points in the event, but there’s always 12 April. Don’t bank on it. Not tweaked quite enough and still not convincing enough for 344 dishonourable members, it was third time unlucky for Mrs May’s deal earlier in the day and, after a week in which Parliament ‘took control’ from the executive only to prove itself just as inept, the day that should have been the day ended in one more damp squib.

Theresa May’s tactic of dragging this out till the last minute so that the only alternative to her deal is no deal has proven to be as disastrous as all her other tactics. But is anyone really surprised anymore? Few fell for her crass offer of throwing money at deprived communities ‘oop north’; few fell for the carrot of knighthoods and peerages; and few fell for her announcement that she’d quit if her withdrawal agreement passed. Yes, even the ultimate sacrifice that most in her party crave failed to bring in the required numbers. The PM has tried to wheel and deal, but she’s no Harold Wilson.

According to some reports, May is going to try again next week; if it fails, she’ll probably give it another go the week after…and the week after that…and on and on and on until we all take the route recommended by the Reverend Jim Jones. Our Glorious Leader doesn’t yet seem to have realised she’s not running an administration with a vast majority, one that gives her cart-blanche to do what the hell she likes without having to acknowledge any other views in her divided house. I suspect some have attempted to point that out to her, but I’ve a feeling she probably stuck her fingers in her ears and went ‘Blaah blaah blaah blaah.’ I don’t believe a second referendum will resolve this bloody mess, nor do I believe a General Election will; but at the moment, the latter option seems absolutely essential, if only as a political laxative to end Westminster’s constipation and prompt a much-needed evacuation.

I became conscious and aware of the institution of Parliament and the office of Prime Minister perhaps around the time of the two 1974 Elections; kids ask questions, especially when they get a day off school and it’s not a Bank Holiday. Therefore, I’ve lived through quite a few different Governments of different colours over the last 40-odd years and I’ve occasionally done my bit at the polling station. But I can honestly say this staggering shambles that keeps defying the odds by outdoing itself is unprecedented in my lifetime. It simply cannot go on for much longer in its current incarnation, and neither can the Conservative Party with a leader capable of giving IDS a run for his money as its worst ever.

But then what? Looking at the prospective replacements for May feels like swiping through the world’s worst dating app, whereas Corbyn’s frontbench is about as appetising as the ‘reduced’ goods past their sell-by date on a supermarket shelf. Could any of them really do any better? And even if one takes the egos of the worst offenders into account, what madman or woman would really relish stepping into May’s hideous shoes right now? Theresa May won’t be packing up the nation’s troubles in an old kit bag when she exits Downing Street; they’ll all still be here when she’s gone. A General Election won’t magically wave them away, but I suppose it might possibly serve as a de facto referendum in terms of the electorate having their say on how their elected representatives have handled things since the last time the hustings were active. It’s hard to see an imminent General Election as anything else at this moment in time, despite the backlog of other pressing issues that are gathering dust and languishing in a criminal state of neglect.

A friend of mine recently spoke of how he had gradually reduced the amount of time he spends inhabiting the parallel universe of social media and feels all the better for it. Indeed, the more hours in a day one spends within the realms of that facsimile reality, the more one loses touch with the fact that its daily howl barely registers beyond the borders of cyberspace. ‘Are trans-women real women?’ isn’t necessarily the question on the lips of people juggling limited finances and deciding which bill takes priority this month; perhaps those with the luxury of debating trivialities regard them with such importance because they’re not plagued with moribund concerns. The thought that identity politics mean anything to those outside of the context social media junkies operate in is laughable. If one were to take Twitter as a microcosm of the real world then Titania McGrath would be Prime Minister.

While the brilliant spoof account of Titania McGrath satirises detachment via inherited privilege and/or bourgeois metropolitan comfort, one cannot help but see Westminster as a similarly detached bubble – with the significant difference being these living, breathing caricatures are affecting the lives of real people. The actual issues that have had a traumatic impact on the lives of those on the other side of that bubble have barely touched those inside it, hence the absence of empathy and absence of conscience when continuing to inflict them upon the rest of the populace or outsourcing them to some useless private company only in it for the profit. Perhaps empathy would be rated a little higher if the eye-opening experiment Matthew Parris took part in for ‘World in Action’ in the early 80s, living off the minimum benefits his government declared sufficient for living off, was compulsory training for every prospective MP.

The disconnect between elected and electorate that probably dates from the Expenses’ Scandal and Hackgate has only been intensified by Brexit, but the deliberate policy of delaying tactics which all colours have been guilty of seems to demonstrate the political class has learnt nothing from the last ten years. Events of the past week-and-a-bit have done little to alter my opinion of our elected representatives or their celebrity cheerleaders. Much is made of the ERG school of rich Brexiteer; but what of the loudest voices from the other side? Whether residing in the nicer parts of London, the nicer parts of the Home Counties, or simply wealthy ex-pats, these voices are not unlike those of the Hollywood-based Scots that the SNP flew over for the 2014 Independence Referendum, before swiftly depositing them back on Californian soil after the vote so they could avoid paying backdated UK tax. Weariness with endless lectures from wealthy chaps is something both sides of this divide share; but at least it means we’ve got something in common. Maybe we should use it to our advantage.

© The Editor


What a voice. The rich, booming baritone of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox resonated in every crumbling crevice of the Commons this week, conveying the kind of old-school aural authority our ears have rarely been massaged by since it was rendered unfashionable. At one time, a voice like that would have read the news headlines on Radio 4 or at the very least delivered the football results with sonorous sonic expertise. Quite a contrast with the fingernails-on-a-blackboard croak of Our Glorious Leader; even before she lost it, Theresa May’s voice was always a reedy, hectoring whine of a sort that conveys no authority at all – which is pretty fitting because she has none.

The members of her Cabinet piss all over the naughty step on a daily basis; they’re like kids running riot in some grotty family featured on a Channel 4 documentary probably called ‘Unruly Britain’ or something of that nature. And like children with a weak, compliant parent incapable of administering any form of discipline, they know they can get away with murder. They can vote against their own government or publicly abstain from voting at all, despite the neutered entreaties of the whips. It must be great being a member of the Cabinet at the moment. Mind you, you don’t need to be in the Cabinet to take the piss out of the PM to her face.

When the Maybot tried to serve up her already-rejected motorway service-station meal to Parliament for a second time, adding a sprig of Irish parsley fooled nobody and she received another chorus-line of moonies for her efforts. Undeterred, she’ll probably emerge from the kitchen with the same dish next week and plonk it back on the table. It may give her diners indigestion, but she’ll remind them it’s better than no dinner at all, which is the only other option available to them.

Delaying D-Day may have been voted for this week, but apparently this typical tactic of a Parliament overwhelmingly opposed to the Referendum result is still dependent on the approval of all EU colonies – sorry, member states – so actual Brexit remains the default outcome on March 29. It would seem, however, that the PM will snatch a sorry victory from the jaws of defeat with such a sword hanging over Westminster. A rotten deal twice rejected by massive majorities could well pass third time round because May has consistently stuck her fingers in her ears when anyone has suggested anything else. She has ground down dissenting voices by refusing to budge as the minutes have continued to tick away.

In some respects, it’s a remarkable achievement on her part, though hardly one worthy of celebration. She’ll finally persuade all the knockers within her shambles of a party to vote her way even though they know her offer is shit; but the persistent propaganda of Project Fear has scared so many that they’ll no doubt fall into line in the end; and she’ll genuinely believe she’s led the nation out of the dark. It’s like settling for a loveless marriage because it’s preferable to being a sad singleton. Promoters of the so-called ‘People’s Vote’ have advocated a similar absence of choice with the proposed Second Referendum options of a) Remain or b) May’s deal, AKA a) Remain or b) Diet Remain.

As the PM offers a fresh pair of Brussels handcuffs rather than the key to the ones we’re already wearing, one of her more notorious predecessors cosies up with Macron behind closed doors, and the Remain righteousness of the media mafia mirrors the smug smile of a Guardian columnist’s profile picture; social media sneering and jeering at a pro-Leave protest march setting off on the long road from Sunderland to Westminster sums up a kind of despondent capitulation to the way we were and will always be. Everything appears to have changed, but when the dust eventually settles, maybe nothing will have after all.

Two and-a-half years ago, I guess I was one of them, but it still amazes me how many smart, intelligent people who rarely suffer fools gladly are content to defend a privileged coalition whose policies were responsible for the 2008 crash and who have imposed a decade of austerity upon everyone outside of their cosseted bubble whilst either outsourcing or effectively abolishing public services the majority depend on. But when the alternative is portrayed as some post-apocalyptic far-right racist state run by Old Etonians and policed by gammons, I suppose it’s no wonder, really. And those whose laurels must stink due to being sat on for so long continue to pedal the favoured narrative as long as they’re listened to; I don’t imagine comfortable comedians whose last funny joke was laughed at sometime in the mid-90s are that concerned with towns in the North East or Midlands that mean no more to them than obscure names on a pools coupon.

There are probably still a few out there who would like to see Mr Blair tried as a war criminal; but if any former PM deserves a public flogging, it’s that absentee ex-resident of No.10 who plunged us into this bloody mess, Mr Cameron. I heard his swift resignation described as ‘honourable’ this week, in the context of his successor’s refusal to fall on her sword; but heading for his caravan barely a year after winning a General Election and leaving the nation to fend for itself like an abandoned puppy seems pretty criminal to me. Maybe he sees us as leftover volunteers for his Big Society project and figured we all had unused brooms knocking about.

Gallows humour, satire and sarcasm serve as a way of enduring this daily grind. I used to be an optimistic romantic, whereas now I’m a hard, cynical c*** without an iota of love left in me, so I need to employ some coping mechanism. I always thought I was a man out of time, but it would appear I’m very much a man of my time. Life is full of surprises, but it could be a hell of a lot worse; we realised that on Friday. Back for more next week, no doubt.

© The Editor


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