2 Feb 2017 at 15:42
Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Bozo is the white rabbit always scuttling off to to a very important date. Liam Fox is the dormouse and the Red Queen is clearly Theresa May. ‘Off with their heads’, she screams if anyone contradicts her. The Mad Hatter is a tricky one to cast as there are so many of them. Yet the lasting image, hanging over the whole wonderland of Brexit is the rictus smile of Andrea Loathsome, which makes the Cheshire Cat look rather miserable. Her perpetual grin reminds me of Princess Christina’s first attempt at a face lift. This was just before the First World War when plastic surgery was in its infancy and left her with a permanent smile. The poor thing had to have it let down for her husband’s funeral.
The popular question that is often asked by those who should know better is, ‘why did a sensible popular and pragmatic fellow like Ken Clarke never become Conservative Leader?’. You might as well ask why a sensible, popular and pragmatic fellow like Sir Alan Haselhurst was not supported in his bid to become Speaker. And if you are really feeling dopey ask yourself why a complete fuckwit like Andrea Loathsome nearly became Leader. The answer is simple. A significant proportion of our backbenchers border on the deranged, viewing every issue and every person through the damaged prism of Europe. And with some notable exceptions the rest are a supine bunch of greasers and chancers terrified of their constituency associations who are run by Colonel and Mrs Mad.
It is convenient to blame Cameron for the referendum, but most people forget the febrile state of the party at the time. Most people were demanding a referendum. Many backbenchers were running around like headless chickens because of what was thought to be the unstoppable juggernaut of UKIP. Some were in secret talks with Fromage and quite a few were demanding deals with him. And look at the Kippers now. A rag tag army without any sense of direction. A wasted vote.
There is a lot of talk about Stoke Central and there is a fighting chance that the Tories will win. Unthinkable a year ago. But what about Copeland? Let me give you a bit of history. When I was elected in 1983 one of the first people I met was a man in an abject state of misery. He was Cecil Franks, the Tory member of Barrow in Furness. I know it’s hard to believe and he only lasted one Parliament. The reason for his misery was that he stood as a paper candidate without a hope in hell of winning. He now had to move to London as the victor. Why did he win? Because they make nuclear submarines in Barrow and dear old Albert Booth led a CND march through the town. An act of political self harm. And Copeland? Sellafield, the guys who process nuclear waste are the biggest employer. Oops. The Tories have a chance of winning this one too. I would imagine UKIP will be knocked for six.
But back to Malice in Wonderland. I’ve just read the the White Paper. A good workmanlike set of aspirations. So what is our policy? Shut your eyes, jump out of the window and you will be saved from being smashed into a bleeding pulp by an enormous white bunny who will cushion your fall. And when you land there will be rainbows, butterflies. And the lingering grin of Loathsome. As that great philosopher Donald Trump would say, ‘it will be beautiful’. Well, bloody good luck.