May must learn the lessons of history and bring Hammond into her inner circle. If not this government will be a smoking wreck within months

19 Oct 2016 at 08:18

If you want a playful analogy of the government’s position on Brexit you could do no better than revisit that wonderful movie, ‘who framed Roger Rabbit’. Half the characters are real people the rest are loony tune cartoon characters. Somehow they become interchangeable. A crazed Judge Doom has an obsession to destroy the Toons and we only understand why when it is revealed that he is a Toon himself under heavy disguise. Roger Rabbit is the star performer. A wacky show off Toon who has a passion for the the voluptuous, but darkly manipulative Jessica Rabbit. One of the the problems that Roger has is that he has no self control and cannot resist becoming wildly wacky. Judge Doom flushes him out of hiding by repeating the music hall knock. ‘Knock, knock, a knock, knock……’. until a half crazed Roger has to reply..‘knock, knock’. And the game is up.

Watching Bozo at the despatch box is like watching the inner turmoil of Roger Rabbit. Bozo wants to be statesmanlike, but it’s impossible for him not to show off. He tries to resist it and fails miserably. Yesterday it was speaking Marks Brothers Italian. The time before it was encouraging people to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy, which pretty stupid because you are not allowed to. If only he had an opposite number of wit and dexterity rather than the clunkily dim Thornberry, whom could tease out Bozo’s inner rabbit. But what has astounded me is the way that his Brexit supporters parroted the ludicrous line that his ‘semi parodic’ piece in favour of the EU was perfectly normal. I’m sure Abraham Lincoln wrote two pieces for his local paper, one in favour of freeing the slaves and another warning of the economic consequences. Oh, how he must have agonised. I give Bozo less than a year to explode in a mushroom cloud of off message tomfoolery. It will probably be at the time he realises that Brexit is an unworkable disaster and wants to jump ship pinning the blame on Fox, Davis and May and setting himself up to have another crack at the leadership.

But Bozo is a minor distraction compared to a potential disaster that is brewing gently in the corner. Philip Hammond. There is a golden rule in politics and it is this. If a Prime Minister falls out with their Chancellor over a major policy issue both are doomed. It was the beginning of the end of Macmillan when Peter Thornycroft resigned and for Thatcher when Nigel Lawson flounced off. And it was a former Chancellor, Geoffrey Howe, who finished her off. As for Blair and Brown? I am not a psychiatrist nor do I have the time to indulge in that psychodrama. Cameron was much more canny. When Osborne was being briefed against and the teenage scribblers were calling from his head, Cameron drew him even closer. They even shared an office. Cameron understands history? Does May?

When the Treasury and ‘friends of the Chancellor’ (which is code for him) say there is no question of him resigning, it is a very clear warning shot that something is very, very wrong. She has to involve him at every level of decision making. She is deeply unwise to rely on a tiny coterie of unelected advisors. And quite wrong to assume micromanagement of all government policy. It just won’t work. Hammond is neither personable nor charismatic and has the personality of a Nissan hut. But he is a powerful voice of reason. If she loses him she is finished.

Hammond needs to reassured, nurtured and brought into the inner circle. If she doesn’t this is a sore that will fester and burst. It is what the Brexiteers want. If it happens this government will be a smoking wreck in months.



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May has until the IDS of March to come up with a credible Brexit plan then she must allow Parliament to be sovereign and vote

14 Oct 2016 at 08:46

Well, the great ship of state sails on at full speed ahead. The captain is in her chair but her navigators are nowhere to be seen. But she has instructions from her shareholders set a course to an unknown destination known as the promised land. Nobody has worked out where it is. Every now and again a navigator briefly appears on the bridge. ‘What progress Davis?’ she barks.
‘We are so close. Just get there quickly. Have faith.’
By now the sunny skies have turned cloudy and their is something beginning to appear on the horizon. Is it the promised land or the rocks? Dorsal fins are circling the ship. Are they sharks or dolphins? The crew are muttering mutiny and are looking lovingly at the lifeboats.If the shareholders are sending us to certain death shouldn’t we have some say in which course to navigate? If our instructions are flawed don’t we have the right to save the ship and crew from destruction?

It is pretty obvious that Britain is on a collision course with reality. The warnings given to us by business and the financial sector are slowly coming to fruition. Prices are beginning to rise because of a weak pound and inflation will soon gnaw at the rotting bones of our economy. There is talk of us reaching parity with the dollar.

This morning we were warned by Tusk that there will be no special concessions for Britain. ‘There will be no cakes on the table’. We are either in the single market or out of it. No deals. Tariffs will slaughter our exports and food prices will rise. Any fool knows that if we are forced to trade under the WTO rules that in as inevitable as night following day.

But I don’t want another referendum. I want the Brextards to be given every opportunity to deliver their promises. I want them to go right up to the line. I want them to come before parliament and explain what they have achieved and then I want parliament to do what it is paid for. To decide.

I would be amazed if the Supreme Court did not rule in favour of parliament having the right to decide whether to trigger Article 50. It is settled law that referenda are merely advisory. It is settled law that one parliament cannot bind another. It’s called sovereignty. If the government is defeated, if May decided to call an election over it the electorate wouldn’t miss out. They would decide the issue of whom they want running a government.

But would May really want to risk going to the people on something so unpredictably dangerous? When people see their living standards fall, lose their jobs and face a decade of uncertainty they might just vote for change. Surely Corbyn or Farron can’t be as bad as the destruction of our economic base? It would be different if May could give us some evidence based answers. She can’t. It’s not her fault, but there will be a time when people will expect straight answers and not a leap of faith.

Corbyn played a master stroke by making Keir Starmer shadow Brexit minister. He is incisive, charming and bright. He will be in the spotlight and centre stage of the whole debate. He will make a very powerful name for himself. I know this is early day’s fantasy, but a party lead by Starmer would be a serious force to reckon with. I suspect that IDS was so unpleasant towards him shows the true fear Brexiteers have of him. For a genuinely decent guy to gradually turn into an arrogant condescending bully has quite shocked me. His boorish behaviour towards Farron on Marr last week was a disgrace.

So the high priests of Brexit have until March to come up with a workable plan. If they can people like me will support them. If they can’t then May is going to have to be courageous and say that this nonsense must stop and put it to a vote. The stock markets will go through the roof, the pound will recover and she will win a stunning mandate in 2020 as the woman who had the guts to save Britain.



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Breaking news.....Hunt gets a dressing down by May

30 Sep 2016 at 08:05

Theresa May’s unblinking eyes surveyed the gothic gloom of her study. She is seated in a steel replica of the Game of Thrones throne, generously donated by the Hinduja brothers. She is dressed entirely in black, resembling an Ann Robinson without the Botox. On her lap is a growling, dribbling bulldog. She tightens the studded collar whispering, ‘quiet Hannan, soon you will be fed.’ On her desk resting on an ancient bible is a battered Webley revolver. The room is littered with glass jars filled with a brackish liquid which in the eerie glow of the candlelight reveal the severed heads of Ken Clarke, Anna Soubrey and an assortment of faceless blobs. In pride of place bolted to the wall is a garish portrait of Geoffrey Boycott. The heavy iron clad door creaks open and a tall Rasputin like figure in flowing robes enters. A smoking brass ball of incense is swung on a chain in his left hand and a long rope attached to a mysterious shape in the other.
‘And who have you brought me today Nick’
‘Yow wanted to see the Health Secretary mistress’, he Brummied.
‘Ah, Jeremy’, she purred. ‘No need to get off your knees. Have you read the Times this morning?
’Oh, the Lesbian mum runs off with the sperm donor story? Er, tax relief for hedgehogs perhaps?’
‘No you fool. The “cut size of puddings says Hunt, story.” This is causing me grief. I had Soames weeping on the phone to me this morning. He is a broken man. And Boris is incandescent with rage. He becomes physically unwell unless he gets his muffin. Worse, Keith Vaz becomes quite unpredictable unless he has a regular supply of spotted dicks. Why didn’t you let me know of this nanny state policy?
‘Well, I did try to text you’.
’ how many times have I told you text it means text it you fool. Remember if this is to become a nanny state only I will be the nanny’.

The Rasputin like figure tugs on the rope. ‘Yam to take him away mistress? This ain’t giving the babby a frock and pinny.’
‘Oh get him out of my sight. And bring me Fox, you’ll find him in the cellar with the chief whip. It’s time he learned to play Brexit roulette.’
‘Brexit roulette mistress?’
‘Oh, it’s a bit like the Russian version except all the chambers are loaded.’
‘And mistress? That picture of Boycott has to go.’
A look of horror turning to anger spread across the prime ministerial visage.
‘Never, never, never over my dead…..’
‘But mistress it’s by Rolf Harris.’
Suddenly klaxons and sirens filled the air followed by an eerily calm announcement, ‘warning, warning doctor required at Prime Minister’s study.’
‘Nick,’ groaned May, her eyes swivelling and tongue lolling.‘Not fucking Fox.’



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Primark's knob, Street Porter's shame & my sacandalous behaviour on a train

25 Sep 2016 at 13:25

I haven’t made up my mind which is more shocking, Brooks Primark trying to copywrite photos of his todger or Janet Street Porter having to pay a former lover to give back a Polaroid of her performing a ‘sex act’. For those not in the know this is Fleetstreeteese for a blow job. It’s really quite a terrifying thought as Janet is blessed with a set of gnashers that could core an apple through a tennis racquet. The recipient of her favours must have ended up with a willy like a skinned rabbit; a bridge too far. At the very least the photo the Bobbitized little thing should been donated to the Royal College of Reconstructive Surgeons to be passed round at their Christmas drinks party.

I have never understood why people take photos of their cocks. It is quite widespread I am told. But it is bound to fall into the wrong hands. MPs are always flattered by the number of followers they have on social media. They think it is a sign of their importance. To a certain extent it is. The the press are not interested in the fact that they have just opened a school, visited a hospital or their thoughts on the war in Syria. We just lay in wait for that drunken rant that appears after midnight at party conference or the accidental favouriting of a porn site. Poor old Primark will never stop those pictures appearing. He can’t disinvent them. And he has just given a long forgotten story legs or I suppose texticles. How does he classify them? ’Primark’s penis at ease…..standing to attention….in the cold…..poking out of the Paisley Jim jams?’ Some old boy is going to have to go through the lot and catalogue them. Of course we won’t be entitled to see them, which is good news for the splendid Rod Liddle who is kept up at night with ectoplasmic nightmares of the Primark todger floating Casperlike though his bedroom ducking and diving like Marley’s ghost. But the little chap will be described in great detail to ensure what precisely we aren’t allowed to see. It will be a field day for lawyers and create quite a lot of subpoenas envy I fear.

But thank heavens there was no social media nor camera phones when I was an MP. There is one event that still sends shivers down my spine and turns my bowels to water when I think about it. I was on a train my way home after a refreshing dinner and was trying to read my Evening Standard but was being constantly interrupted by a couple of rather pissed girls who recognised me.‘Please let me read my paper in peace,’ I begged. ‘Alright then, just give us your autograph’. Well, that was an easy one.‘Of course,’ I benignly smiled whipping out a biro. Then to the squeals of their delight I realised I had fallen into a trap. ‘On our tits!!!!’ they giggled as they lifted their tops. And, do you know, I did. The thought of it.

Although not quite in the same vein let us turn to a knob to end all knobs, a prince within the Kingdom of the knoberatti, a testosterone fuelled bundle of blubber where women of a certain age swoon at the sight of the sizeable bulge in his wallet. Well, Paul Hollywood’s wallet is now bulging to the tune of £7 million. I can’t say I blame him for jumping on board Channel 4’s Great British Rake Off. He is only fifty and you only get that chance of a pot of gold once in a lifetime. But the MAIL has already made him a pantomime villain alongside Sir Shifty Green. ‘Greedy Rat’ coupled with a photo of a greedy looking Hollywood. Actually, I feel a bit sorry for him. But I suppose you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few egos.



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May's humour is no laughing matter and what happens if the infinite improbability drive is engaged

17 Sep 2016 at 12:28

I wonder how long it will be before Tory backbenchers will be whispering over large gins how much they miss David Cameron. He was one of those rare beasts; a politician comfortable in his own skin. Like Blair he commanded the Chamber with a mixture of arrogance and charm. Sometimes he would lose his rag. But when you have Peter Bone, Bill Cash, Nadine Dorries and Andrew Brigden who think that being on your side means behaving like political Millwall supporters, it’s a minor miracle that he didn’t leap from the despatch box and throttle them. He also made an effort to roam the bars and dining rooms to chat up his backbenchers. Even the most bird brained want the thrill of boring a comatose constituency audience of his last pearls of wisdom to the PM. But it didn’t always work. One SPAD from the Amish wing moaned to me over dinner how patronising Cameron was to them at a drinks do. ‘He actually thanked us for all our hard work’, he squealed in horror, a vein doing a tango on his forehead. Perhaps Cameron should have just told them to fuck off and die.

Theresa May is a rather a different personality. She is more of a laugh than Thatcher, but that bar was never set very high. But my heart sank when May made it a virtue that she wasn’t someone who would roam the bars and dining rooms. Worse, that she didn’t gossip about colleagues. Well, if she didn’t gossip she certainly had her Beria collecting information about them. The May team never forgets nor forgives those who have briefed against their mistress. That is why Gove will never ever return to the front bench. So she relies heavily on her convivial PPS George Hollingberry to charm and reassure the troops. Anyone who has had to have the police called twice in the night to a birthday party to tell them to keep down the noise can’t be all bad. Unless you live next door. However, those who are in public office and are either anti May or sleep walking through their jobs, beware. She has appointed a Snitch Finder General (actually a retired colonel) who will shortly present madam with a list of those to be culled.

If I was in Team May I wouldn’t be too worried that she is pretty awful at the despatch box. Yet. Thatcher was terrible to begin with, but after a few years she used PMQs as a personal entertainment to torture and pummel her opponents. But that was after she had won two elections, a war and enjoy large simpering majorities, which works wonders for self confidence. May should just come to terms with her limitations and turn them into strengths. She is not a natural wit, so cut out the dreadfully laboured attempts at humour. It’s not a good idea if you are a magician to keep pulling dead rabbits out of a hat. Just play it straight. Be yourself. Alright, you were elected not just because you weren’t that ghastly Loathsome woman but because you are competent, steely and know what you are doing. Have a few one liners up your sleeve, but Mrs May please no more jokes as I fear for the health of parliamentary sketch writers. Already attendants have instructions to remove ties, belts, shoe laces and ropes with nooses from the poor dears. At last Wednesdays PMQs poor Quentin Letts was found in a catatonic trance, his Mont Blanc frozen in the air, not even able to finish the t in twat.Nothing could shake him out of it. Only a cunning Patrick Kidd managed to briefly bring a flicker of light back into his eyes by whispering that Dacre had cleared last month’s expenses. But as soon as he heard May promise to defend Christmas he went out like a light. We may never see him again.

But then there is the other George, the Young Pretender Osborne. He is the last surviving big beast. He is not going to sit back and allow his legacy to be trashed. And he is still brimming with ambition. If she tries to water down the Northern Powerhouse or HS2, there will be serious repercussions. She would be very, very wise not to make any more of an enemy out of him. She may be a ‘bloody difficult woman’, but he is a professional assassin with an impressive kill rate.

What I find so confusing are the mixed messages coming out of No10. There were briefings that Hinckley C was to be reviewed for cost and security reasons which are actually valid concerns. But that just pissed off the Chinese and put into jeopardy the trade deals that we are grovelling for. Now it appears that we are going ahead. And what is the position on HS2? The chief executive read the runes and did a runner. This is a hell of a lot of investment and all the job implications that flow from it. If it’s going to be scrapped for heaven sake make a decision and tell us. But it would be a gift for Labour. And I see that Liz Truss has announced the green light for a British Bill of Human Rights. This wizard idea has had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. It will, of course, never happen as civil servants have warned every Justice Secretary that it is unworkable, meaningless, bollocks. But she has to go through the motions before it is thrown back into the long grass.

And then there is Brexit meaning…….‘er, um, can I phone a friend?’ Nobody has a clue. They know what they want and deep,down they know that they have as much chance of getting it as the Eagle sisters winning a gold in the coxless pairs. I wonder how long before the penny really drops.

When you walk into Downing Street there is a heavily guarded door on the right. If you manage to get through security you will find an enormous vault. And inside protected by criss cross of laser beams, poisonous snakes and a pool of crocodiles is a big red button marked Article 50. A few have broken in and tried to press it. A dreadful little man called Dyson who so strongly believes in Britain that he moved his work force to Malaysia in solidarity keeps on trying. The rest are a sad bunch who are always being sectioned. One day someone might just press it just for fun or Bozo fall onto it after a good night out. But what will happen? Nobody really knows, I suspect that it will be like the Infinite improbability drive in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Let me explain for those not in the know. When you press the button an incredible range of highly improbable things can happen. Known effects include the the creation and spontaneous upending of a million gallon vat of custard, the transformation of a couple of nuclear missiles into a sperm whale and a bowl of Petunias and turning a number of people into penguins.



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Fire up the Austen Healey May wants to drive us back to the fifties. But I expect she'll swap it for a Dodge

11 Sep 2016 at 10:41

I still can’t make up my mind why May has decided to launch a policy so flawed and so politically and socially divisive as resurrecting grammar schools. I have an infallible test for whether a policy is a turkey or not. Is Peter Hitchens in favour of it? Not only is the Hitch creaming in his jeans at this piece of lunacy, Emma Nicholson is re ratting back to the Tories because of it. This spells catastrophe.

I am glad the eminently sensible Nicky Morgan was the first of the former education secretaries to hold her hands up in horror. I now understand why May removed her. But it will make it easier for Michael Gove to put the boot in tomorrow when Justine Greening announces her green paper. Nobody will be able to make the charge of sour grapes stick.

We should celebrate grammar schools as centres of excellence. But don’t let’s pretend that they are engines social mobility. They are not. Just look at the studies made in areas such as Kent. They have become middle class ghettos. Property prices are always higher near a grammar school. What do they do to give a deprived kid a foot on the ladder to academic let alone employment success? Precious little.

And then there is selection, which I find deeply offensive. In the seventies I taught at a secondary modern school. It was a depressing experience. These kids had been thrown on the scrap heap and they knew it. Grammar schools will herald a new class system. We will be creating a new elite.

All the evidence points to the success of academies and free schools as the real engines of social mobility, rigour in exams, discipline in the classrooms and good academic results. This will now be thrown into confusion and turmoil. There is only a limited supply of money. The fear is that it will now be sucked away from the many to the few. Are the creation of new academies and free schools to be put on hold or do they spend limited resources to ‘upgrade’ to a grammar? Heaven knows. The key to a good education for all is a great head who motivates his teachers. The May proposals are about structure, not substance. It is a terrible distraction from policies that are beginning to work. Worse, the Conservative party and the country are still horribly divided after the referendum. This will split us even more. And there is no guarantee that there is a majority for it in the Commons. As this is not mandated as a manifesto commitment the Lords will be free to butcher any legislation. It will be a massacre as you can’t swing a cane in the place without hitting a former education secretary.

So why is May setting herself up for a humiliating battle which she won’t win? Is it a distraction from the deepening row over Brexit lite? Is it a growl to the Tory right (remember Brady was sacked by Cameron for proposing a similar policy)? I really don’t know. But what I do know is that Bozo is on manoeuvres whilst Davis and Fox are floundering around in the dark. Bozo is up to his old tricks. A supportive speech coupled with an explosive briefing. Then followed by a round media appearances pledging loyalty to his leader with mystified shrugs as to why anyone could think of him of having a disloyal bone in his body. This must make Gove white with fury and make Cameron snort with nostalgic mirth.

The May honeymoon is now over. You can appear to be tough slapping down the Brexit trinity a few times, but if you do it too often you aren’t in control. It’s going to get rough and dirty and as Tories tend to be a pretty spineless bunch they will start attacking May’s brain, Nick Timothy. Simon Walters has already compared him to Rasputin. As Nick doesn’t have the power to cure haemophilia nor have a thirteen inch penis it’s not a great comparison; but he does have a beard so this might stick. I hope he has the skin of a rhino as he should expect a piece in the Mail (probably by Glover) saying that he is unelected and has far to much influence. And lots of anonymous Tories saying that his wings should be clipped.

So it appears that May wants to fire up the Austen Healey and take us back to the fifties. I suspect that she is more likely manoeuvre herself into a Ford Dodge.


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The words of wisdom of loopy Loathesome who is destroying political satire

3 Sep 2016 at 09:54

I am not for the first time a little confused. The press are obsessed with squabbling Brexiteers Johnson, Davis and Fox which is all rather dull and predictable. Why should anyone get worked up about civil servants finding space for Mr Davis’s department in Penge? What is all this fuss about Mr.Fox’s office being in a disused foreign office coal bunker used to store French cheese? And want a splendid piece of diplomacy of Bozo to send the President of Turkey a copy of his book on Churchill bound in goatskin. Of course this is just a load of bollocks that I have made up, but in these comedic political times it is entirely believable. Come on hacks this is still the silly season. And none is more sillier that Defra secretary Andrea Loathesome. For the last hour (I’m bored) I have been searching the internet for her words of wisdom. Wow!!! You couldn’t make this stuff up. It is beyond parody. So let us begin our treat with a little trip down Loathesomeorabilia Lane. And I promise you all of it is true.

At the Guardian Brexit debate in May Miss L gave us a forensic insight into how British farming should be managed.
“It would make much more sense if those with the big fields do the sheep and those with the hill farms do the butterflies. That would make much more sense for the UK and it’s perfectly possible but only if we leave the EU and sort it out for ourselves.”
Poor old fell shepherds and their Herdwick flocks. Looks as if you’ll be relocated to some big fields near Basildon. Anyhow, farmers will be delighted that in her blog on the 28th February 2007 her informed view was, “subsidies must be a abolished.” Phew, bloody good job she is not in charge of farming then.

But the thoughts of Chairman L are not confined to farming. Oh, no. On the 27 October 2015 after David Cameron had had the genius idea of making her an energy minister, her address to the All Party Group on gas and oil was reported in that page turner of a magazine Drill and Drop.
“When I first came to my job one of my two questions was, ’ is climate change real?’ And the other question was is hydraulic fracturing safe?’ I am now completely persuaded.”
This clearly caused panic in the press office who came to her rescue.
“She was making the point that climate skepticism ( depressingly this is their spelling) still exists and that it is important to understand the facts.” Quite so.

And I wouldn’t have thought that she would be invited over for tea by David Davis too often after her revelation in 2006,
“The child of a single parent family is 70% more likely (than the child of a two parent family) to have problems at school and even be a drug addict or a criminal”

But her latest gift to us is that she is very keen ‘to un ban fox hunting…..out of concern for animal welfare.’ Those foxes will be deeply grateful to be ripped to pieces accompanied to the entitled braying of the monied classes. Never mind farming, this bloody woman is destroying satire. I can’t wait for the farming debate at party conference. The splendid Patrick Kidd will have a field day.



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Listen to the word of G'OD while the unholy trinity bicker. Brexit the constitutional position

29 Aug 2016 at 08:47

It is a very good idea if you are a politician to listen to GOD. I don’t mean in the Blair/Bush gift of tongues sense or the Amish Tories snake handling cult. I am talking about former cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell. He gave a structured and thoughtful interview to the TIMES the other day which is both pragmatic and realistic. It’s about whether May can trigger Article 50 without recourse to Parliament. His answer was probably, but warned that it was politically unwise. Yesterday I warned that there would be a constitutional crisis if May used a prerogative order to steam roller it through. There were screams of outrage and abuse from the usual suspects. Let me explain the constitutional and political options. They are pretty bloody obvious but there are a lot of people who really want shut their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears and sing la la la.

Firstly, May is no fool. She will not make any public utterances on how to trigger article 50 until the courts have ruled. And she will not make a public decision on when it will be triggered until cabinet has agreed a position on how to interpret the referendum. And that cannot be reached until the unholy trinity (Johnson, Davis, Fox) know what they want and if they can get it. At the moment they can’t agree on the basics such as staffing. Or quite how much they dislike each other. Then there is the Treasury. It is a naïvety to the point of drivelling say that they must be aloof from the discussions. Their duty is to protect and grow the economy which has to include financial services. The City is under serious threat from France and Germany.

The truth of the matter is that after decades of preparation the Brexiteers haven’t a clue what to do. The purists say that there is a great big red button which must be pushed NOW and all will be well. But this is blind happy clappy faith and not based on a shred of evidence. They don’t trust May and soon they will accuse Boris of going native, which he has with great aplomb. And anyway it was for GOVERNMENT to have a contingency plan. Really? When they warned that it would be a quagmire of shifting quick sands, impenetrable fog and nigh impossible to get a deal which was not damaging for the UK? In true Trumpian style they smell betrayal and establishment sell out at every word uttered from government. Their hatred of all things Brussels overrides any practical common sense. And compromise is a dirty word.

The constitutional position is easier than most people think. Parliament is sovereign. MPs are not delegates, they are representatives of their constituents. The people are only sovereign at elections. They elect their representatives to make decisions using their judgement and consciences. If the people don’t approve they hook them out. So although Parliament can ignore an advisory referendum which is not binding, but they would be unwise to do so.
So May can trigger the point of no return by prerogative order. In other words using the power of the Queen. She would have to sign it and she would be brought into a deeply unpleasant political row which could threaten the continuation of the monarchy. Of course, it is only convention that the Queen allows the government to use her prerogative powers. Technically she could refuse. But then she is brought into another political row. Best left well alone. I suspect that May will give Parlaiment a simple vote to trigger article 50. It will be government policy and heavily whipped. But will she get it though? It could be argued that this is a vote of confidence in the government. Failure could trigger an election. Tricky one.

It is impossible for Parliament to be bypassed over Brexit. They will have to vote on the abolition of the European Communities Act. They would have to vote on which Brussels regulations to bin or keep. They would have to vote on flotillas of orders, treaties and the very shape of any deal that may or may not be achieved. It is going to devour Parliamentary time for years.

GOD’s question is a good one. What if there is clear evidence that Brexit going to be an economic disaster a couple of years down the line? Should not the people have the right to have some say either in an election or a referendum? Of course. But now is not the time.

And do not underestimate the overweening vanity and ambition of Fromage. He will call the government to account. He will return. He will promise that only he can lead us into the promised land. At the moment UKIP is rudderless and pointless. The only way to breathe back life into it is to play the betrayal card. And then Tory backbenchers will do what they are best at. Panic.



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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.


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Today something momentous happened in British politics but nobody noticed. Watch out for More United and Paddy Ashdown. This could be a game changer.

24 Jul 2016 at 11:59

Something rather momentous happened this morning which went largely unnoticed. Whisked in at the last moment into the Marr studio Paddy Ashdown launched a new political movement, More United. Well, not so much as a launch as a cry for help. For now.

There have been whispers of a realignment of British politics since Corbyn and his goons hijacked the Labour Party. The sad truth is that Labour has died as a Parliamentary movement and has become an agit prop revolutionary cult. There is almost a Messianic belief that the only way to achieve real socialism is to take to the streets and social media. Well, that may not achieve anything much except to give a sense of purpose to the dispossessed with a visceral hatred for capitalism and Parliamentary democracy. And they are a scary bunch. That MPs and their staff face threats and personal abuse both physical and on social media from Corbynista henchmen is scary. That these people also stoke up anti semitism is terrifying. What I cannot make my mind up over is whether Corbyn is aware what his supporters are doing in his name. It’s all very well condemning threats, violence and anti semitism but it’s a waste of time unless you do something about it. The problem is that he lives within the bubble of the mob where he is feted. And the unofficial line is that this is a clever bit of PR from the Portman Group run by wicked Blairites. It would be laughable were it not so tragic.

It’s pretty damn obvious why the coup will be a miserable failure. MPs have not grasped that Corbynistas regard Parliamentary democracy as a means to an end. They honestly thought that by a mass resignation from the shadow cabinet it would somehow shame Corbyn to do the decent thing and go. Bonkers. He now has spokesmen in his own image. So then Eagle had a crack at the same psychology. Tom Watson went to see the unions to stitch a deal. Disaster. So now they are left with Owen Smith a former PR man for drugs companies who makes Tim Farron sound exiting. He will be lynched with his severed head placed on a spike outside Labour HQ as a warning. Conference will be stuffed with Corbynistas who will pass barmy motions making Labour unelectable. And then one by one moderate MPs will be thrown to the wolves. So what do they do? There is no point in waiting quietly for death and hoping to be spared. They are walking the red mile already as their constituency parties have been infiltrated. A split is inevitable. They have two choices. Set up a moderate party using the infrastructure of the Cooperative movement. Or they could have a close look at More United. And what about the Lib Dems? Don’t give them a second thought as they make Mickey Mouse look like a political colossus.

Then there is May’s Tory party. She strikes just the right note. She has had a good week where she dominated the chamber. But she has a majority of just sixteen. As I predicted it didn’t take long before the purists started making demands. Well, twenty four of them had breakfast (I imagine it was a full English with Wiltshire headbangers) in dining room B. So if you think that the Tory party would suddenly transform into a cuddly loyal bunch of May poodles you really need to get some counselling. The problem that Patrick McLoughlin has is to grapple with the uncomfortable truth that that the Tories only have about 150,000 members with an average age of sixty eight, with two thirds to the right of Genghis Khan. Somehow he (Patrick, as Ghenghis is sadly unavailable) needs to make them look moderate, relevant and in touch. Quite a tall order. So are we going to see any Tory MPs casting a sly glance at Paddy Ashdown’s ankle? Highly unlikely. At the moment. But they could leech Tory voters on the Remain wing.

We live in a age of distrust of professional politicians. And we have a bitterly divided nation. More United should not be written off as a gimmick. In many ways they resemble the old SDP. Pro European moderates with no party allegiances who want to heal the nation with motherhood and apple souffle. Before you scoff, remember that the SDP attracted about 30 Labour MPs to cross the floor when the Bennites took control. And they posed one hell of a threat to the Tories. We don’t know too much about them so far, but we will. Very soon.

Rather worryingly for Tim Farron, Ashdown did not rule putting up More United candidates against the Lib Dems. All this is is a long way off as is the election. But if you can hear a gentle grinding sound in the background it is the tectonic plates of British politics beginning to move. Any politician underestimates Paddy Ashdown at their peril.



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