IT’S been a depressingly predictable week in the media, with stories about a lack of warehouse space for WTO Brexit precautions (none of the Remoaner commentariat has considered that possibly the warehouses are full because companies have already stockpiled, just like they did in January).
The Road Haulage Association trumpets that some of its members haven’t yet got the software they need to deal cross-Channel post-Brexit, ignoring the point that the existence of the software proves there is no problem. The BBC went all faint about Brexit Party MPs’ disdain for the EU ‘anthem’ while indulging the Liberal Democrats’ sweary T-shirts. And now, to cap it all, some chap called Iain Martin has called for the Brexit Party to shut up shop.
Mr Martin’s argument runs something like this: The Brexit Party won the EU elections due to social media; it didn’t win in Peterborough and therefore can’t win a parliamentary seat; Boris and Jeremy have promised to leave the EU so that’s OK; and if the Brexit Party doesn’t shut up shop, nasty Corbyn will win. A fifth-former would be embarrassed to advance such an argument; Times columnists have clearly sunk in quality and intellectual capacity.
The reality is somewhat different. Some 17.4million people voted to leave the EU and, having failed to leave, a large number of them voted for the only party trusted to deliver Brexit. Note the word ‘trust’.
‘Have cake, eat cake’ BoJo and Jeremy Hunt are at that stage of their protracted non-competition to be leader that they would promise anything to gain the keys to Number 10 (Boris has not only found a magic money tree, he also has a plod-breeding plan to give us more Bobbies on the Beat). These are people who were elected on a manifesto commitment to have left the EU three months ago. Only a fool or, it seems, a Times contributor would trust them now to deliver what they have failed to for so long. See that ‘trust’ word again?
The Peterborough by-election result was close (fewer than 700 votes between Labour and the Brexit Party with an abnormally large postal vote; the police investigation of alleged electoral fraud continues). For a party just 55 days old at the time of the vote that was a remarkable achievement. It is now in the process of selecting candidates from its pool of some 5,000 applications from more than 150,000 registered supporters. Mr Martin should rest very assured that the Brexit Party is already capable of campaigning in every constituency and its candidates’ argument ‘I’m not an MP so you can trust me’ resonates. I know, I’ve seen it in action in the real world outside Westminster. Up in t’North ‘never trust a Tory’ is a mantra learned at birth.
In the Telegraph, Charles Moore gets to the root of the problem, writing: ‘In the entire Brexit saga, however, the usual order has been reversed. The people “out there” have understood much more quickly than the people in the thick of it what is going on. Hence the utter shock of the Leave vote in 2016 to most of the elites who run the media and the country.’
Mr Martin, like the BBC, the Economist and much of the rest of Fleet Street, is part of the problem. The whole process of the referendum and subsequent fiasco has obliterated trust in politics. If a politician’s promise is as empty as the old saw suggests, it’s time to get better politicians – and you won’t find them in the current political parties. Which is why the Brexit Party has cast its net so wide.
And while the largely pointless BoJo and Jeremy Show continues to confuse platitudes with policy, and the idiocy of Corbyn’s economic ideas is finally exposed, the Brexit Party is preparing for a snap election. If the Tories can’t stand the heat they must get out of the kitchen. And Mr Martin and his ilk need to venture out of London and see what is really happening.