Westminster is imploding. If you are across the pond or elsewhere in the world and unaware of what is going on in the UK right now, it is nothing short of crazy. The recent TV docudrama on Channel 4, starring Benedict Cumberbatch – Brexit: The Uncivil War – detailed the hugely influential aide Dominic Cummings (a libertarian blogger of sorts, amongst other things) and his rise to power in masterminding the Leave campaign winning the referendum. Now he has been involved in an ironic coup d’étât. Ironic because Leave campaigners long rallied behind the idea that the EU were a bunch of unelected bureaucrats wielding too much power. Cummings is now the unelected aide to the PM (unelected by the general public) who has planned and carried out a five-week suspension of Parliament in order to frustrate the democratic will of the MPs. Not only that, but he got another aide sacked from a different department and had her taken away by an armed escort.
You couldn’t make this up.
The situation is that most MPs don’t want a No-Deal Brexit. If we leave the EU without doing a deal, we will go onto third country terms and have to endure very costly tariffs in accordance with the WTO (an unelected group of bureaucrats within which we have, unlike the EU, no democratic power). To stop this disaster from happening and throwing us into a recession, destroying out economic power, the MPs are seeking to leave the EU with a viable trade deal with the EU to satisfy both parties.
Johnson, ruled over by eurosceptics and rabid right-wingers, is not looking like securing a deal because, you know what, you can’t leave Europe and expect no border to be put back across Northern Ireland to separate it from the Republic of Ireland. It’s like no one really thought hard enough about this. There are huge arguments over what to do about the Irish problem (summed up I arguing over the “Backstop Agreement” – a failsafe to try to get around this).
I am simplifying hugely here.
Anyway, long story short, Johnson is PM and is not having a good time of it, being harangued by all sides and generally losing the plot. Worse still, he lost, live in Parliament, his slim majority of one when MP Philip Lee defected to the Lib Dems.
Matters got worse when a bill in Parliament was tabled to make sure was backed by Tory rebel MPs who were threatened with expulsion. It happened.
Boris Johnson has expelled 21 Conservative members of parliament, including two former chancellors and Winston Churchill’s grandson from his party, after they helped inflict a major defeat on him in his first House of Commons vote as prime minister.
The prime minister was defeated on Tuesday evening by a coalition of opposition parties and senior Conservative rebels, many of whom were former ministers, on a motion designed to pave the way for Brexit to be delayed.
In the aftermath of the vote, a senior government source confirmed that all 21 MPs, including the former chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, and Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames, would lose the Conservative whip.
There is now the very real chance of a looming general election.
Boris Johnson has often been described as Britain’s Trump. He’s far more intelligent, but potentially as dangerous to his own nation.
He was sacked a couple of times, once by a previous Conservative leader, and once by The Times. For lying.
Today, on BBC 5Live, someone who previously worked as his deputy produced some absolutely scorching remarks about him. Sonia Purnell has written an unauthorised biography and her remarks are well worth listening to.
What I think was a really interesting question was when she asked what he seeks to gain from his lying, self-aggrandising antics. What is his endgame? “What’s it all for, apart from the greater projection of ‘Boris Johnson’?”
He’s PM now, so what is he seeking to gain from his behaviour and rhetoric because it certainly isn’t helping the British public.
The man is not up for the job, though he is held up as some kind of saviour in certain Brexit quarters. Personally, I would take someone like Keir Starmer over him every day of the week.
Now, what would happen in a general election nowish? Well, there’s another question that I’m sure I’ll write about soon.
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