Friday, April 12, 2024
HomeNewsStewart is right about only one thing – the system is kaput

Stewart is right about only one thing – the system is kaput


SO Rory the Tory wants his own Parliament, eh? I can just see him seated in the carver’s chair upstairs at the Westminster Arms, surrounded by the Army Council, while Guido and The Spads play stirring revolutionary numbers in the bar below. If someone had been plotting that in the Seventies his MI6 father would have had them watched.

Stewart R must decide whether he wishes to play The Coming Man or Rory the Red, remembered for single-handedly finishing off the British Constitution. Surely he knows that HMG has the right to prorogue Parliament, and has previously done so for political reasons. The 1948 case was to break the deadlock between Commons and Lords; this time, should it happen, will be to overcome Parliament’s resistance against the People, for most of our MPs have fought tooth and nail against their own word and honour to subvert the nation’s decision.

About one thing Stewart is right: our system is dysfunctional. The evidence for that is not only the slithering and weaselling we have been forced to watch for the last few years, but the fact that the Referendum result came as a shock to our representatives. It seems they had no idea what their constituents were thinking. Even Burke would have balked at the notion that an elected Member should not just freely exercise his judgement in his voters’ interests, but be stone deaf into the bargain.

And it’s continued even after that loud blast. Farage mopped the floor with Stewart and Adonis at the Oxford Union debate (‘This House Supports The Deal’, 8 March, defeated by 55 per cent to 45 per cent) a few days before the Commons itself rejected the Withdrawal Agreement yet again; and still the TerMaynator came on, eyes a-gleaming. Now that she has been defenestrated – though stuck in the window frame and doing as much expensive damage as she can before she finally falls out – Rory persists in imagining No means Yes.

I think the TV people are less captivated by his intellect than by his distinctive appearance and ability to be controversial. They have added his Mop-Headed Starveling to the other amusing figures on St Stephen’s Green – Victorian Fogey Rees-Mogg, Perma-Intense Soubry etc. But it’s not just entertainment, is it? And the disconnect is deadly serious.

Jonathan Swift offers a good analogy. On the flying island of Laputa,  the rulers are so absorbed in their rarefied interests that one has to flap their mouths and ears with bladders to turn their attention to the concerns of their subjects in the land below.

Our Government is about to come down to Earth with a bump. While a world recession is brewing, the EU is determined to cause difficulties in trading arrangements with us. If anything like May’s WA goes through, we’re shackled into what Farage reminded the Oxford Union was called ‘taxation without representation’, sine die.

Yet WTO Article 24 is not as simple as Nigel represented, either – both sides have to agree a temporary arrangement. The uncertainty is not just a threat to British business: Germany’s car industry is already shaky. 

A key question is whether the Laputans of the EU are happy to cut off Germany’s nose to spite Britain’s face. Quite possibly they are, so long as their own ‘privileges and immunities’ (including taxation matters) are secure, up there in the clouds– ‘I’m all right, Jacques,’ as it were.

We need to stop the clowning, get Parliament reconnected, and get real. Whoever is chosen to succeed May has a hard fight ahead.

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Rolf Norfolk
Rolf Norfolk
Rolf Norfolk is a former teacher and retired independent financial adviser.

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