IT’S BEEN a sensational week in politics, Andrew Marr stated at the top of his all-star cast Remainer show – more BBC in-your-face bias which ignited howls of fury across the Twittersphere after the line-up was announced on Saturday.
Unfazed, Mr Marr himself seemed happy to get off on the buzz of ‘the Prime Minister at last agreeing to set a timetable to choose her successor in Downing Street and on cue, Boris Johnson limbering up in the race to succeed her’. If you wanted confirmation of an out-of-touch Westminster elite then look no further.
Reviewing the newspapers for him, Daily Mail columnist and wife of Michael Gove, Sarah Vine, opined that six months ago the leadership concern of the Tory party would have been ‘who can deliver Brexit’. Now she believes it is who can win a general election. Convenient. Can we forget her husband’s party’s non-delivery of Brexit then?
‘The party need to balance who is popular with the wider country and ordinary people’ with ‘someone who can also unite the party – that’s the most important thing’, she said.
How wrong. If the Tories are to stand any chance of survival it won’t be with a leader who thinks party unity takes precedence over getting the country out of the EU as voted for and promised. That will take a leader who can and is prepared to lead. Like Nigel Farage does. Then the party will follow. That’s what people do. Cabinet hopefuls soon know which side the ministerial bread is buttered on. They fall into line soon enough under a strong leader.
At the moment neither of the two main contenders, Raab and Johnson, are giving any hint of how they’d lead their party or the country, let alone any sense of true leadership. Where have their ‘I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him’ speeches been in this political crisis? Will they vote for May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill or not? Who knows? That’s not leadership. That’s fence-sitting, and it betrays a lack of conviction or principle. Carry on that way and they will leave the field open to Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party in that general election Mrs Gove talks of.
How do we know they won’t be voting for the BRINO that would accommodate Mr Jeremy Corbyn and his party? One which would allow the free movement of people between Britain and the EU to continue after Brexit, which looks to be his next condition of co-operation with Mrs May.
And will either of them be condemning those Tory grandees and commentators who’ve been branding Nigel Farage (and by extension the millions who now support the Brexit Party) ‘extremist’ and who demand an end to the ‘virus of extremism’? An own goal if there ever was one for the Conservatives.
Every day they fail to do so means more votes for Nigel and another nail in the coffin of a party already on death row.
If they are so lacking in innate judgment on this as to need guidance, then they’d do worse than read Sir Roger Scruton in these pages on this ‘futile attempt by the comfortable elites to denounce the extremism of the people whose inheritance they have stolen . . . [and that] merely exacerbates the reaction‘.
A stern response would be welcome, too, to those members of the Cabinet who in their infinite wisdom said yesterday they want No Deal to be outlawed. You’d have thought you couldn’t make it up, but we heard it – Ministers of the Crown declaring war not just on their own grassroots but on their country. Minutes after the Brexit Minister, Steve Barclay, had sensibly told Sophy Ridge that MPs should ‘face facts’ and accept that preparations for a no-deal Brexit must resume ‘at pace’ if Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement does not pass the Commons in a fortnight, the increasingly out-of-touch and ‘I know best’ Rory Stewart, the international development secretary who’s hoping to succeed Mrs May, said that if he were prime minister he would ‘like to legislate’ to rule out a no-deal Brexit. Some of his colleagues agree. Silence so far, however, tweet-wise, from BoJo and Dominic.
When will they wise up and take the only route to Tory survival that Tim Bradshaw sets out in TCW today, which means toppling Theresa now, stopping her WA and electing a categorically pro-Brexit PM?
We continue to count the days.
Today is Day 46 . . .