Abbott lectures May on obesity. Bozo, Fox & Davis in the CBB house and whether Brexit really does mean Brexit
20 Aug 2016 at 09:10
As I have just returned from my beautiful daughter’s and her handsome husband’s fantastic wedding in Kephalonia I have quite a bit of catching up to do. The cheering news is that political satire is not entirely dead and buried. When I read that the well upholstered Diane Abbott is lecturing May over the dangers of obesity I rolled my eyes piewards. And then I saw the Guardian’s attack on the big bellied, wee weinered statue of the hideous Trump in NYC as, ‘ageist and body shaming’, I had to slip into a new pair of Calvin Kleins.
But apart from that bit of light relief and the good news at the Olympics the world is in a more dangerous place than I can ever remember. The intellectual flabbiness of the US elections is sphincter rattlingly depressing. On the one hand we have a sociopath demagogue and on the other somebody who is not always BFF with the truth. And all the while Putin is dividing Europe, undermining NATO (with a lot of help from Trump and Corbyn who don’t understand our Treaty obligations), outgunning and outdisinformationing us. To make matters worse the wonderful country of Turkey is in the grips of a Stalinesque purge by another dangerously sociopathic demagogue who is now close to Putin. Worryingly, the CIA have hard evidence that the ‘coup’ was set up by Erdogan himself. God know what they will do with it. Well, as I know about it I can guess.
One certainty is that Labour as a centre left, election winning, pro Parliamentary democracy party is dead. The Party conference will just be its obituary notice and the coronation of St Jeremy. The Trots have taken over and cannot be moved. A new grouping will emerge under Tom Watson who, if they become the second largest party in the Commons, will be the official opposition with all the cash and trappings that go with it. Corbyn’s mob will just become a little cult paid for by the Unions.If this happens alarm bells should start ringing at No10. Watson is a wily operator, will hire the soon to be purged officials, and would be seen as a brave warrior. Moderation of a sort will return as will the money men. The moderates are in the last chance saloon and its drinking up time.
I think that I am beginning to understand how the No10 operation is working. May gets her team to put out an announcement which we all think is bonkers and then we realise a few days later, after the press have had a feeding frenzy, that there is a cunning logic to it. First there was the appointment of Fox, Johnson and Davis to oversee Brexit. They all despise each other and are indulging in not too subtle character assassinations. May issued a warning that this must stop. This shows her as strong, determined and in charge whilst the Breiteers are just squabbling over status and staff. The Foreign Office is still a Rolls Royce operation and is experienced in seeing off these sort of turf wars.
A couple weeks ago I had lunch with some very senior FO mandarins. I asked them how Bozo was doing and their answer rather shocked me.‘After the initial shock he has gone down rather well. They all hated Hammond and thought Hague a bit of a waste of space. But Boris charms them, speaks languages and is being forced to use his formidable intellect.’ He has also won his spurs by seeing off the first power grabs by Davis and Fox. But don’t underestimate those two. Bozo has very little experience of the Whitehall Byzantium. Those boys know every trick in the book. And the cherry on the cake was putting them all in the CBB house of Chevening. Delicious. Who will crack first.
And then was the announcement that the creation of new grammar schools was being considered. This caused the Amish wing of the party to ejaculate into the air like crazed Jihadists with AK47s. I thought that this was seriously flawed as grammar schools do absolutely nothing for social mobility and have become ghettoes for the middle classes. And then a few days later there was another announcement. That if there were to be more grammar schools there should be no more than twenty and only in working class areas. Now that was good politics. I haven’t quite worked out the logic of the abandonment of our perfectly sensible anti obesity policy when we know that many kids will soon predecease their parents. My first instinct is that this is a costly error of judgement. But if my thesis is correct I expect to see something more sensible emerging in the Sundays.
Lastly, ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Yet does it? I would be amazed if article 50 is triggered before the French and German elections. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we waited until after a new Commission is installed in 2019. This could be to be the only way we can get a deal. But what if we can’t? What if the world just tells us to quietly fuck off. What if Nissan does pull out of Sunderland with 40,000 jobs? What if the economy really does take a nose dive? Nobody could criticise May for lack of commitment, effort and putting the most committed Brexiteers in control of our destiny. The truth is nobody has a clue whether a saleable deal can be done. And there is an outside chance that Brexit will never happen.