YESTERDAY Nigel Farage hijacked the Brexit script. The story moved from Westminster to Coventry in a sudden and unexpected burst of optimism. Who said a week wasn’t a long time in politics?
Suddenly no one seemed to have the slightest interest in what had horrified them a week ago, namely Mrs May’s decision to collaborate with Labour rather than listen to advice from her own party. No one paid the slightest attention to a meeting that would have warranted a front page splash a year ago.
Yesterday Right-wing (before he turned SJW) Michael Gove met positive John (a referendum is on the table) McDonnell who, according to that youthful sage of the New Statesman, George Eaton, was meant to be leading a surprise rebirth of British Marxism. Their session, for anyone who hadn’t noticed, was billed by the BBC as ‘The Conservatives and Labour continue talks’.
A year ago it would have prompted amazement. Had Gove gone mad? Was McDonnell a closet Tory or double agent?
Now it suddenly seemed almost irrelevant. Nothing could have underlined how little there is to choose between the two main parties of our broken and out-of-touch political system more than the launch of a new democracy party. Also surprisingly irrelevant seemed the ‘busted’ Government’s denial that they had cancelled No Deal preparations (no, really?). Predictably depressing, however, was the limp acceptance by various ERG members that it was ‘only’ Operation Yellowhammer that had gone. As though that was all right, then.
Good to hear that planning for leaving without a Withdrawal Agreement continues & only the short term contingency arrangements that were put on stand-by have been stood down. Sounds like the reporting didn't tell the whole story @JamesCleverly https://t.co/ZAUvIzdvUq
— Marcus Fysh MP (@MarcusFysh) April 12, 2019
Except it was not. The fact that neither the Cabinet nor Parliament had been given time to consult on this sudden termination was not all right. Nor were the shenanigans involved in altering the Statutory Instrument (a dubious mechanism at the best of times, used to force undebated or under-debated laws through) to allow for an extended delay to October 31 with only retrospective debate and therefore ‘allowing’ an undiscussed and summary ending of Yellowhammer. No, that was not all right either.
It needed a bright torch shone on it which fortunately Melanie Phillips did, as you can read here.
This is the type of constitutional chicanery which needs relentless questioning; instead is being normalised by torpid Tory MPs’ acceptance of it and the media’s supine coverage.
A Parliamentary Conservative Party that fails to challenge such actions will soon cease to have relevance. It may survive under May’s zombie Labour in Name Only Government (LINOG) till the 2022 election; then the party of the 20th century will finally flicker out.
This is the future the onetime leaders of Vote Leave have to look forward to. Establishment commentators like Daniel Finkelstein @Dannythefink say ‘What difference would a new PM make? . . . It doesn’t change the arithmetic.’ Rest assured, it would change everything. The alternative is a slow suicide note.
When will their survival instinct kick in? We at TCW are counting the days.
Today is Day Nine . . .
Editor’s note. We have just had it pointed out by an observant reader that Mrs May’s Government is not a ‘Labour in Name Only Government’. We should have written a ‘Labour in All But Name Government’. The latter is what we meant!