Once again the common sense pragmaticism of Ruth Davidson will give the country a life line. A second referendum is risky but inevitable
15 Dec 2018 at 13:38
Mercifully, none of our tribunes have treated us to that well worn sound bite, that, ‘lessons have been learned’ after the trouncing of Mogg and his barmy army. There is only one lesson and it was learned many years ago. These people will never be satisfied unless they have everything they have demanded. And then they will demand more. They will not make compromises, they will not make the slightest move towards party unity and they would be perfectly content to see this government come crashing down and replaced by a Corbyn/McDonnell junta. What is so troubling and rather strange is that after years of banging on about democracy, they didn’t want Parliament to have a meaningful say over any deal. And rather than gracefully concede defeat on the vote of confidence, they demanded that Madame should resign. Mogg has transformed from an eccentric faux gentleman who was respected, into a bitter old curmudgeon spitting venom at anyone with whom he disagrees. It is not a pleasant sight. Meanwhile, Owen Paterson Spode tries to rally his back shorts to down tools. To go on strike. To paralyse government business. Some regard him as a ‘true Tory’. The world really has gone mad.It saddens me to say that the time has come when someone is going to have to make a decision about what to with these people. They don’t care about their party or their government and are under a dangerous delusion that they have a higher duty to deliver something that cannot be delivered rather than turn their guns on the horror of Corbyism. Being a Conservative is about tolerance and compromise. They have lost the right to even call themselves Conservatives.
The vote against May was higher than I expected, but I am not surprised. Votes against leaders are rarely about single issues. And it’s rarely about confidence. Some of the 117 would have been Remainers, many Brexiteers, some who have been sacked and a few have been overlooked. It was like that with the first vote against Thatcher in 1990. Mike Brunson and I predicted it within single figures because we didn’t divide it between wets and dries. We took into account the pissed off and the very pissed off.
So where are we now? Sadly in no man’s land. The deal is dead. Norway was never a runner, Canada plus a fantasy and no deal is Armageddon with a cherry on top. Which is sour. And this has been the easy bit. We haven’t even started negotiating about trade deals or our relationship with the EU.
Madame has been dealt an impossible hand where every card is a Joker. She had to offer the Rampton Wing red lines to try in the vain hope that they would settle down. But this is what the EU thrives on. National difficulties weaken that party in a negotiation. And they stand together united as the Club. As Britain will always put Britain first the Club will always put their own interests first. Does anyone honestly believe that they would allow us to have frictionless trade with them, allow us a say in the rule making and give blessing for us to do trade deals with the rest of the world? Or on the backstop who do you think they will support us or Ireland? And do you really think they are going to support us against Spain over Gibraltar? Even yesterday Nigel Evans was on Sky saying that the Italians will still sell us their Prosecco and the German’s their cars. BUT WITHOUT A DEAL THEY WONT BE ALLOWED TO. Sometimes I could weep over the selective ignorance about what a trade deal is all about.
Against all my previous thoughts Inow see no other choice than to have a second referendum. And what will clinch it is Ruth Davidson’s Tories. They will announce next week that they support one. For Scottish Tories it’s good but risky politics (think SNP and what they want). For Parliament it will be a lifeline. The Brexiteers will scream betrayal and the Telegraph will become even more of a deranged hate sheet than ever before. The rest of the press will be more sanguine. As that great European compromiser, Margaret Thatcher once said, there is no alternative. Strange isn’t it that for generations Brexiteers fought and won the battle of Exit. Now it looks like that their collective incompetence and tunnel vision will let it fall from their grasp. What stupid, venal, selfish fools. They should be cast into the outer darkness of Parliamentary hades. The eighth circle of hell, which is every politician’s room 101. Risible irrelevancy.
And once again it will be the Scottish life boat captained by the good sense of Ruth Davidson who will provide the party and the country shelter. It is a very risky strategy. But wasn’t this first suggested by Bozo and Mogg? Have a second vote once people know what was on the table. They are now saying that it was not quite what they meant. Well, we’ve all heard that before.
A referendum is almost the last thing that Madame wants to contemplate, but I suspect and profoundly hope that she sees the inevitability of it. She has fired the starting gun for a leadership election and when she finally bows after the final curtain her legacy will be that she did her damnedest to save the country. But nobody can save the Conservative Party. In its present form it has decided to head off to EFTA, but it’s finall stop will be the Dignitas Clinic for a final farewell. A tragedy in the making.