Weekly Wrap-Up : BLAME GAME? NO SHAME

Well, we thought it was going to get messy. Lo and behold, this week saw the beginnings of what is going to be a truly horrendous election period.

An extension is now the most likely outcome on the 31st of October. As such, the desperate scramble by Boris Johnson’s team to defect blame away from them has started in earnest.

There was the scorched earth tweet sent from Cummings to a Spectator journalist, Leave.EU’s xenophobic and moronic anti-German tweets, and tweets aplenty from Leave-supporting MPs and commentators about the EU’s refusal to compromise.

It must be noted that the EU refused to “compromise” on Johnson’s attempt at a Brexit proposal, which amounted to the diplomatic equivalent of attending a Remembrance Sunday event and farting into the microphone.

This week marked the beginning of the end for this current phase of Brexit. Toxic, hate-baiting and literally illegal, Johnson’s stewardship has been nothing short of dangerous to society.

And yet he’ll probably win a General Election.

Democracy, eh?

Links to previous blogs are found in sub-headings, where available.


MONDAY

As I predicted in the blog linked above, the Arcuri scandal has now faded from memory. We probably won’t hear of it again. While investigations into Johnson’s mayoral conduct are ongoing by the Greater London Assembly, it is unlikely that they will achieve anything.

There is something tantalising about the fact that Boris submitted evidence but requested that the contents remain a secret, for sure.

But, again, unless he confesses, it is extremely hard to prove anything. While he might have personally intervened to improve Arcuri’s profile, he could legitimately argue that he thought she would benefit the trade delegations he put her on, or contribute to the British economy by giving her companies grants.

Favouritism for personal reasons is illegal. Favouritism for economic gain is encouraged. How can you tell one from the other without hard evidence?

Anyway. What we can all agree on is that Boris Johnson probably banged a blonde, 27 year old woman while his wife was suffering from cancer. He then also probably used taxpayer money to help her career, and she’s taken some of that money back to the US with her.

Sadly, we cannot prove it. But just the fact that you, reading this, know that it’s probably true, shows the character of the man who is our Prime Minister.

Monday also saw this:

The beginning of the blame game – election posturing come early, pitching the EU as the bad guys.

It’s only going to get worse from here.


TUESDAY

Last week, Johnson sent the EU his Brexit offer. It would have been more useful to send them a glitter bomb full of guinea pig turds.

Essentially, the proposal was to have two borders on the island of Ireland, away from the border, rather than one; to give the Northern Irish government a chance to veto the arrangements; and to tell the EU that this was their “Final Offer.”

Because of the fact that, historically, there have been a few small kerfuffles on the Irish border, the offer was a non-starter. It was divisive, pointless, and failed to learn from the last three years of negotiations.

In a phone call with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, Boris was told this in no uncertain terms. This led to No. 10 releasing a bad-tempered statement, saying that Merkel showed that the EU were never going to give way, so they should prepare for no-deal.

Toys? Pram? Thrown.

Then, Leave.EU popped this little gem out on Twitter.

Which led to a major backlash, not just from Remain-supporters, but a Brexit party MEP and Piers bloody Morgan.

A tweet, therefore, as misjudged as a photography contest by David Blunkett.

Then, that evening, Parliament was prorogued again. Legitimately, this time, in preparation for a Queen’s Speech, which will happen on Monday, 14th of October.

One can only imagine how thrilled Queenie must be to give a speech that lays out the framework for a government led by the man who openly lied to her.

Her majesty’s government will look to give vital funding to the NHS, our most vulner… oh sawd it, he’s a bloody twat, I’ve had enough of this. Charles, you’re up. Queenie out, I’m orf to bloody Benidorm.


WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY

With Parliament prorogued, nothing happened in the House of Commons. But the tone around Brexit did shift, quite significantly.

Leave.EU’s Arron Banks, funder-in-chief and epic shitbag, apologised for the anti-German images his group had posted online. He did, however, blame his team rather than take responsibility.

You stay classy, Baron Wanks.

I’d just like to say that I came up with that name on the spot, and I don’t think I’ve ever done anything that I’m more proud of.

Which says quite a lot about me.

Anyhoo, Johnson himself went to see Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taioseach or Prime Minister, yesterday. This was to try to clear the air between the Republic of Ireland, the EU and the UK – Johnson’s team had been quickly torn apart over its stupid blame game and so the tone was far more genteel.

And, to his credit, Boris managed to negotiate without it being a colossal tyre-fire.

This is surprisingly optimistic, and, in a time where all language is sensationalist, a welcome return to sanity.

But.

Yes, I know. There’s a but.

Varadkar’s statement requires a huge amount of shifting by Johnson, and conceding on points that many within the House of Commons will not support, least of all the DUP.

To concede too much to the EU is to lose his support in Parliament. To keep his support is to stonewall the EU’s requests for flexibility.

It’s a pure, almost beautifully-tragic Catch-22.

So even though the rhetoric has, mercifully, been toned down in favour of compromise, it is still next to impossible for an actual deal to be found.

And, once the election is confirmed, the rhetoric will, once again, be ramped up to 11.

Maybe Johnson will just step up to the House of Commons despatch box and call Jeremy Corbyn a withered old ballsack.

Maybe Jeremy Corbyn will call Boris Johnson an over-inflated colostomy bag that’s been dropped on the floor of a dog-groomers.

Maybe John Bercow will call everyone a bell-end, long-arm a can of Strongbow and set fire to the Speaker’s chair.

We will know next week.

COMING HOME TO ROOST : Johnson Loses Game Of Chicken With EU


A relatively short and simple one today. The deal, which wasn’t a deal, because it wasn’t agreed on both sides, was explicitly rejected yesterday, making it even less of a deal.

Because it was never a deal.

In fact it was barely a proposal. And now, here we are, with Johnson’s “brilliant deal” looking very much like a half-eaten pigeon next to a bin.

Remember when he said that the chances of a no-deal Brexit were “a million-to-one?”

Who, on earth, could ever have seen this coming?


Merkel ‘Merks’ Berk

Boris’ day started badly. In an early-morning call with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, he was unequivocally told that his deal was as good as dead. While not an official spokesperson for the EU, Merkel is a leading voice among them.

This was about as unexpected as a Southern Rail train being delayed – depressing, infuriating, yet inevitable. It was never going to be good enough (“A hard border is a bad idea you say? Have two instead!“), and today all hope of negotiations seemed to die off.

And, just to put some nails into the ashes that used to be a coffin before it was burnt on a pyre, Number 10’s office released a statement about the call without giving any advance warning to the Germans. In this statement, they openly derided Merkel’s position and tried to fan the flames of blame against them rather than accept how appalling their deal was.

Unfortunately, everyone has clocked on to Mr Cummings’ plans these days. What was meant to stoke the fires of oppression seemed more like a small man in an Austin Allegro honking his horn at an Audi R8 that overtook him on a B-Road.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission and a man with the patience of a thousand Tibetan monks, tweeted a truly wonderful response:

Quo vadis, so we’re clear, is Latin. Johnson studied Classics at Oxford, and so would know that it means ‘Whither goest thou?’

Or, in layman’s terms, “What the actual f*ck are you playing at, you vat of unpasteurised milk made human?

All of this means that Boris must legally ask the EU for an extension, unless a complete miracle happens before the 19th of October.

If he doesn’t, then things are going to get messy, as I wrote about yesterday.

And if you think that that’s alarmist…


Alleged Racists Act All Racist In Shock To Everyone

Leave.EU, the company that funded the Leave campaign, absolutely outdid themselves yesterday. I’m not going to link to the actual Tweet that they posted, lest they get more traffic than they deserve, but just observe the screenshot below and draw your own conclusions.

With the greatest of apologies, Verpiss dich, Sie rassistische Fotzen.

This has garnered a truly superb response in that not only did the likes of David Lammy, erstwhile Labour and People’s Vote campaigner, call the message disgusting.

Oh no.

Richard Tice, the Brexit Party MEP (!!!), explicitly called the Tweet “Stupid and offensive“.

To which Andy Wigmore and Aaron Banks, the two founders and funders-in-chief of Leave.EU, responded with this:

I almost admire the brash, Three Lions, oi oi, Inglund-til-I-Die, gutter-mob mentality that comes with this. It’s so utterly stupid and counter-productive that it’s almost beautiful.

Because this has shown how desperate the hard Leave campaign has become. Boris has raged against the machine and been crushed. He is now stuck between a rock of pure diamond and place where he must meet Lady Hale’s hard stare.

His choices now are to destroy this current manifestation of Brexit, destroy our Parliamentary democracy, or destroy the Conservative Party.

He will have to decide within the next ten days.

Tick tock, Prime Minister.

Tick tock.

FACTUALLY IN-ARCURI-TE : Poll Dancing and Parliamentary Democracies

We are in “Squeaky bum time”, to quote from Sir Alex Ferguson. If Johnson fails to negotiate a deal with the EU, based on the slim pickings he sent them last week, then we have an almighty clash on our hands.

The Benn Act, the piece of legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit, should legally force Bozzle Konks to go to the EU, cap in hand, and ask for an extension. But, despite the black-and-white, legally binding nature of the Bill, Boris insists that he will never ask for an extension.

So what instead? Will Boris break the law? Will he send a two letters, one saying he wants and extension and another saying he doesn’t? Will he and Nigel Farage man a Spitfire and do a sky drawing of a hip-loaded man-cannon over the skies of Brussels?

Unfortunately, we simply do not know. Boris’s team insists that we are leaving on October 31st, despite having no legal basis for saying so.

In this high-stakes poker game, they might be holding aces. Or, more likely, they might holding an expired cinema ticket and a receipt from Boots.

These next two weeks will decide it, one way or another.

But, speaking of squeaky bums and sliding down polls…


Arcuri Gets Grilled By Britain’s Best Journalist*

*Best, in this instance, judged by overall contribution to society’s eventual downfall.

This morning, Jennifer Arcuri appeared on Good Morning Britain, after they paid her around £20K to do so. She was met with intensive questioning by Piers Morgan, masculine insecurity made flesh.

Arcuri is the American entrepreneur who has been at the centre of another Johnson scandal, after he allegedly used his power as Mayor of London to help her businesses in the UK and grow her brand.

He is also alleged to have frequented her flat, which contained a massive stripper pole in the middle of the living room. Supposedly his visits were for “technology lessons.” One can only imagine she was teaching him how to delete his search history.

These visits, incidentally, happened while he was still married to Marina Wheeler, who was at the time suffering from a little illness called cancer.

Classy.

Anyway, Arcuri came out bold as brass, saying that she was being attacked for being a female businesswoman, there was no evidence of any affair, and that the whole thing was just a big ol’ dose of “Fake News.”

She even said the words, “Fake News.” I know you’re American, Jennifer, but come on. You’re so 2016, lol.

Morgan, to his credit, did as good a job as you’d expect him to do, which was crap. No cross-examination, very little pointing to actual evidence, just letting her get away with it. She specifically denied Johnson ever writing her a reference letter, even though one has been leaked to the press.

Credit to her for the brass neck. Johnson himself refused to comment, which was unusual : this Prime Minister who has faced just one PMQs in his premiership doesn’t seem like the type to hide away from scrutiny…

It’d be funny if it wasn’t so terrifyingly depressing.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that while this story has been a fun little side-show, it’s probably run its course. If there’s no actual evidence of anything more than “assisting” a friend, Johnson is basically untouchable.

While the Mayor’s office and Greater London Assembly is investigating and might ask Boris to personally give testimony, he will likely shirk any real answers. Without a smoking gun in his hand, he will get away with it.

Even though he’s covered in blood, is standing over the body and is wearing a sandwich board saying “I DID IT” on it.


Fudged the Judges?

In an interesting twist today, our legal system came out in favour of Boris Johnson. The same legal system that declared he had acted illegally just a couple of weeks ago.

Eh?

It’s actually completely normal, and expected. It also shows the judiciary really doesn’t get involved in politics unless it really has to, which has probably royally pissed-off the incel conspiracy nutters in Number 10.

Joanna Cherry’s team, who brought the complaint to the Scottish judges on prorogation, went to the judges again to get clarification. The issue in question was, ‘What happens to Boris Johnson if he refuses to obey the Benn Act?”

They were hoping that the judiciary might further spell out for Johnson how tied-down he was to the Benn Bill, or “Surrender Act”, as it is referred to by morons.

However, the judges refused – No. 10 had provided evidence saying that, if they failed to reach a deal by the 19th of October, they would ask for an extension. This came from Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, who is rumoured to have told Boris he will quit should the Benn Act be ignored.

This, to the judges, was sufficient evidence that the law will be followed, so they refused to wade in any further than they had to.

Now, will Boris actually do this? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, they have to take him at his word, because otherwise it sets a troubling precedent for what comes next. If he breaks the law, however, I imagine he will be crapped on from a height that can only be described as astronomical.

So, he cannot blame the judges.


But…

He will blame everyone else, according to a memo released by an “unnamed No. 10 source” yesterday evening.

Spoiler alert: it was Cummings.

Follow the link in this tweet below, and read the whole thing.

This statement, if really a reflection on upcoming policy, is The Charge of the Light Brigade. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends.” A furious thrashing inside a cage of their own-making.

By threatening to disrupt EU member-states and trying to bully them into vetoing an extension, it shows how desperate they are. No plans, no strategies, just angry, confused panic.

The EU simply will not buy it. The majority of UK citizens won’t either, I sincerely bloody hope.

Credit is due, in a way, for raging against the dying of the light. The Johnson administration is as broken as Arcuri’s stripping pole after BoJo had a go on it himself.

But, unfortunately, this rhetoric will incredibly damaging to societal cohesion, even though it’s politically pointless. It is, at its core, the mission-statement for the Tories for the upcoming General Election.

But the facts remain the same – no majority, no deal, no no-deal. An extension is the most likely outcome, followed by a General Election or a second referendum.

Strap in, team. It’s going to get bumpy.

Weekly Wrap-Up : LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND LOGISTICS


Don’t let the smoke and mirrors fool you. This has been yet another terrible week for Boris Johnson.

Despite his swashbuckling display at the Tory party conference, and praise for a toned-down rhetoric in Parliament yesterday, he’s still playing the same old game.

Bluster hard enough and maybe the idiots will actually believe me.

The truth is that all of Johnson’s power is gone. He is entirely reliant upon Parliament to support his new deal, which is, unbelievably, looking possible.

But his “deal” isn’t actually a deal. It’s an offer to the EU, and the offer basically amounts to a fart in a jar.

The EU has given Johnson an extra week to find extra concessions that don’t create not one, but two borders on the island of Ireland. They have rejected his offer, politely but firmly, and that is the real lay of the land.

Johnson will not be able to find a revised deal in the space of a week. And so he will push on with no-deal, even though it is illegal.

As in, to pursue it would be to commit a crime. Quite how he will get out of that little hell of his own making is, currently, anyone’s guess.

But that’s for next week. Let’s have a quick review of this past one then drink ourselves to oblivion.

Links, as ever, in the subheadings.


MONDAY

The Tory conference was in full swing, and Sajid Javid announced plans to raise the minimum wage. This policy, like the entire Conservative Party Conference, is irrelevant in the immediate future, because the Tories have no majority, and so cannot enact it.

If, as per the other parties’ conferences, this is merely a policy designed to win a future election, it is also irrelevant. A General Election will be dominated by Brexit, and nothing more.

So that, like most politics of this current era, was an utter waste of time.

Meanwhile, the PM was in the midst of yet another scandal after Times journalist Charlotte Edwardes alleged he groped her under a table.

These allegations have fallen by the wayside since Boris announced his new proposals for Brexit.

Who could have possibly foreseen that?


TUESDAY

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, looking every part the Bond-girl who actually turns out to be working for the baddies, announced to the CPC that the UK would be turning to a points-based immigration model, like Australia.

See above for why this is, at its core, irrelevant and pointless.

She also warned criminals that “We are coming after you.”

One can only assume that upon hearing this, Boris Johnson quietly shat himself somewhere.

Anyway, Boris vowed to give the EU a “Final Offer,” which made the Conference irrelevant again.

Sorry. More irrelevant.


WEDNESDAY

Boris gave his keynote speech to the Tory Party Conference, and was much more like himself. He made a joke about the Speaker of the House eating a kangaroo testicle, however, which is a rather unfortunate mental image.

He was rightly praised on his delivery, but the speech was also entirely lacking in anything remotely close to substance. No policy announcements, nothing definitive over Brexit – just the repetitive, meaningless mantra of “Get Brexit Done.”

To be fair to him, he then tried to do just that. Boris sent a proposal to the EU which included customs checks across the Irish border, as-yet uninvented technology, and giving the DUP, the Northern Irish hard-right party, full control over the entire system.

Which, as I’m sure anyone with a passing knowledge of Brexit will know, is almost offensively crap.

The EU didn’t reject it outright, but gave overtures about dissatisfaction with parts of it.

By the EU’s standards, this is the equivalent of flipping Boris the bird and screaming “TA MERE” at him.


THURSDAY

Boris gave a statement to the House of Commons about his new proposals. He struck a conciliatory tone, a stark contrast to last week’s balls-to-the-wall, borderline offensive rhetoric.

He was praised by morons for trying to be kinder. People who aren’t morons quickly saw through his new tone as being a ploy to try and entice support from Leave-supporting Labour MPs.

It has, to some extent, worked. The rebels in the ERG who rejected May’s deal have all come on board, and at least five Labour MPs have openly stated that they will support the deal.

So, the big question – is this it? Is this what will, finally, break the Brexit logjam and smash us through into the reservoir of national harmony, drowning a few major cities of reasonable, fact-based dissent along the way?

No, it’s absolutely not.

Because it’s not a deal.

A deal requires two sides to accept it. The EU will not accept this paltry attempt at a deal. While Johnson may have whipped up support within Parliament to try and force the EU’s hand, they absolutely will not accept anything that could threaten the Good Friday Agreement or damage the EU’s trade customs.

So for all the optimistic rhetoric you will see on the front covers of the newspapers today, do not be fooled for one second – Brexit is not even remotely over.


FRIDAY

The EU has given Boris an extra week to try and make his deal more appetising than vomit-glazed roadkill. The kind of concessions they are asking him to achieve, however, are almost certainly not going to be palatable for the ERG and Labour supporters he has just managed to convince.

If he fails to do so, then the EU summit on the 17th of October, where Johnson hoped to finalise a deal, will be moot. It will be case of extension, or, somehow, no-deal, despite it being illegal.

This is the infuriating thing about our politics – despite it being clearly illegal, by virtue of the fact that we passed a sodding law saying it was, Johnson has ignored it and has just kept waffling on about it.

However, a Scottish court is currently considering whether or not Boris could be literally jailed for enacting a no-deal Brexit.

Boris might go to prison, you guys.

We will, almost certainly, delay Brexit again. If Boris refuses to do it, the EU has said it will listen to another representative of our democracy, possibly the head of the Civil Service, Sir Mark Sedwill.

And what of Boris? Will he be forced to stand down through his inability to “GET BREXIT DONE”? Or will he use his failure as a strength, pitting himself against “the anti-Brexit establishment”?

We shall have to wait and see. But it’s going to be a vicious, snarling couple of weeks.

Also, Rory Stewart is running for London Mayor as an independent candidate, having been kicked out of the Tory party. Quite a strange decision, given that he could easily have joined a different party or stood as an independent MP, but it might prove to be a good one for his career.

Just think. A few weeks ago, he was competing against Boris Johnson to be our Prime Minister. Imagine, just imagine, what things could have been like if he’d succeeded.

…Still shit, probably. But most likely considerably less so.

BEYOND THE PALE : A Bad Day For Brexit, But Hope For The Future


Yesterday was like watching politics through a fairground mirror. While normality, and sensibility, reigned out the outside, proceedings were bizarrely distorted through the looking-glass.

Boris Johnson gave his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference and, in all credit to him, was far better than he’s been over the last few weeks. Watching him yesterday, you’d think that Brexit was all but resolved, a mere dotted line left to sign before we trotted off into the sunset, flipping the bird at Brussels on our way out.

But, a few hours later, that all flew out of the window. Johnson sent the EU what he deemed to be a “Final Offer” deal.

It hasn’t received the warm welcome that Number 10 might have wanted.

While the EU has not publicly responded negatively to the offer, it is widely reported to have been furious with it behind closed doors.

So while Boris’s speech dazzled his adoring fans, the optimism might well be short-lived.

And who could have predicted that?


Preaching To The Converted Conservatives

After a few weeks of weak public performances, when put in front of the home crowd, Boris began to show some of his old, indefatigable spark.

He made jokes about firing Jeremy Corbyn into space, how the SNP leaders of ironically-named Sturgeon and Salmond want to give Scottish fishing to the EU, and John Bercow eating a Kangaroo testicle.

Yes, Boris was far more like himself again. And, as you’d expect, the right-wing media loved it.

But, as per my article on Tuesday, it simply doesn’t matter. Not one jot. All the optimism, the bravado, the bluster – all irrelevant.

Because the fact of the matter is, despite the slogan of “Get Brexit Done,” it simply isn’t Boris’ decision to make. It is Parliament’s, based on the assumption that the EU will give them a deal and/or an extension.

A deal takes two to tango, however. And while the EU may or may not be ready for a ballroom dance, Johnson is currently acting like the drunken uncle at a stag-do having a stab at breakdancing.


Deal With It

This afternoon, the government sent a new offer to the EU for a Brexit deal. The messaging coming from the Tory media machine this evening is simple – “This deal gets Brexit done. Back it.”

And, according to reports, some MPs from both the Conservative and Labour sides who want to leave with a deal are ready to back it. Which is great!

Assuming the EU accepts it.

Sadly, yet predictably, this is desperately unlikely – the offer is nothing short of insulting.

It contains customs checks across the Irish border, a requirement of as-yet uninvented technological advances, and requires the Northern Irish government to approve it. The Northern Irish government, for clarity, hasn’t been sitting for two and a half years, so is very unlikely to approve it any time soon.

Because it currently doesn’t exist.

Considering that all of these issues were raised way, way back in the days of Theresa May’s premiership, the fact that Boris has sanctioned a proposal that entirely fails to resolve any of them is nothing short of embarrassing.

Or, at least, it would be, were it not a part of an almost more embarrassing plan.

Johnson is trying to blame the EU for failing to give any concessions in the spirit of finding a deal. This, despite the fact that the EU’s negotiating partner, us, has wibble-wobbled from every conceivable position about what “Leave” actually means since June 2016.

But Johnson’s premiership has never been about Brexit. It has only, ever, been about winning an election. By putting this nonsense in front of the EU, he has, for all intents and purposes, said, “This is it. Take it or leave it, and leaving it means No-Deal.”

The EU, through a mixture of damage-limitation and probably pity by this stage, would rather no-deal didn’t happen. It would be devastating to the UK, damaging to the EU, and no-one would win from it.

To be clear, it would not be a clean break. A no-deal Brexit would result in years-upon-years of trade negotiations with the EU, all from a weakened bargaining position.

Yet here we are. Joris Sodding Bohnson, throwing the ball in the EU’s court, ignoring everything that’s happened over the last three years, and claiming that it’s their responsibility to concede to it.

Pull the other one, it hangs lower and has bells on.


So What Happens Now?

The EU, unlikely to want to unilaterally call Boris a moron, will wait for Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland’s prime minister, or Taoiseach, to do it for them in pretty words.

Then, the EU themselves will say that the proposals are meaningless.

Johnson did, to some extent, precipitate this by stating that these proposals were “a broad landing zone,” allowing for more discussion to take place.

But you could consider slap-bang in the middle of the Atacama Desert as a broad landing zone, yet you’d still promptly die, no matter how much you pleaded with the sun itself for an oasis.

It was a final roll of the dice, and Boris will roll snake-eyes. Next comes the onslaught of “The EU didn’t like my decent proposal” bollocks, followed by an election campaign of lies, followed by a hung-parliament and yet more confusion and anger until the mid 2020s.

Assuming the EU don’t tell us to just piss off.

At this stage, it’s not unconceivable that they might just do that.


Christ. What Else?

Well, Parliament’s being prorogued again next Tuesday, which is always fun, as the government has learned.

This time, it’s only for three days, and is entirely defensible – for all of Parliament’s words, they haven’t done all that much scrutiny since returning.

Mostly because Johnson has been far too cowardly to face them, and is apparently too terrified of scrutiny that he refuses to stand before them and defend his views. By proroguing next Tuesday, Johnson will only have faced one PMQs in his entire 9-week premiership.

Tells you a lot about those who support the Prime Minister that they don’t want him to face even the most basic level of scrutiny.

But, hey ho, that’s the world we live in.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Is There Any Good News?

While our MPs have been back, they have been able to discuss a truly remarkable piece of legislation about domestic violence.

Theresa May had a pretty crappy premiership. This, I would argue, is uncontroversial.

But she did try to make a legacy for herself by creating legislation to protect those trapped in abusive relationships, which is unquestionably a dignified and much-needed proposal.

As such, because of prorogation being deemed illegal last week (*trumpet sounds*), a bill that she worked tirelessly on wasn’t dropped, but instead was reintroduced to Parliament. Yesterday, MPs debated it again, and it was a stark, much-needed reminder that, actually, our system does work.

May herself gave an impassioned speech on the Bill, full of care and emotion. As utterly crap as she was as Home Secretary and as tainted her reign as PM will be, what this writer considers to be her true colours came across during yesterday’s speech.

Additionally, if you can spare a few minutes, watch Labour MP Rosie Duffield speak openly, candidly, and heartbreakingly about her own experiences of an abusive relationship.

This is what our Parliament should be. A chamber full of people who care, deeply, about the issues and rights of their constituents, who are unafraid to speak out against injustices, and who work tirelessly against them.

What is heartbreaking is that this is what the vast majority of our Parliament already is. It is just a few, a sad few, who have driven us to the precipice of madness.

The ones who get the most screen-time and the most publicity through hyperbole and division are, in our current times, the ones who are most influential.

But, deep down, our system works. And it works well. Those who wish to distort the system for their own gains (Johnson) are told to piss off and stop being so stupid by the institutions (the legislature and the judiciary) that make our constitution, and our nation, Great.


We’re in the Brexit end-game now. There will be a colossal fall-out from it. Leave or Remain, Business or Community, Right or Left – there will be nationwide discontent, whatever the outcome.

But at our core, our very centre, is a room full of elected Members of Parliament, across both sides of the House, who really do care about the people, rather than themselves.

The days of those who lie and obfuscate for their own gain are numbered. How much damage they will do on their way out depends on what happens next.

There is a bright future out there, after Brexit.

How we get there is yet to be seen.

KNACKERED JOHNSON : Why The Tory Conference Is Irrelevant


The Tory Party Conference is currently in full swing, and you can imagine what it’s like.

A room full of crackpot old farts falling asleep to dismal speeches given by sub-par Ministers, Parliamentarians and commentators. You can imagine it is like this, because all party conferences are like this.

Labour’s one last week was an utter shambles, and it seems as though no-one really gave a moment’s notice to the Lib-Dems’ one.

Yet, every year, the media go and dutifully report on the conferences, from the flagship policies to the painfully-tedious debates. Every year, the parties themselves try to whip up a fervour for their party’s vision. And, by and large, there is usually at least something interesting said over the course of the conference season.

But this year’s Tory conference is pointless.

Not because of the fact that it was planned at the last minute. Not because of the fact that most of their policies had already been announced. Not even because of the fact that Boris Johnson’s womanising past is casting a shadow over the whole event.

But because Joris Bohnson (as per this unfortunate spoonerism during a vox-pop last week) is not the man who holds the power over the Conservative Party.

The 21 Tory Rebels, sacked from the Whip for defying his wishes, are the real arbiters of power.

Which is a touch ironic, wouldn’t you think?


So No Conference Analysis At All, Then?

Oh, go on then.

The Tory Party Conference has been, as you’d imagine, full to the brim of pro-Boris, pro-Brexit supporters. The messaging coming from the man himself has been a pledge to “Get Brexit Done,” and those around him have shown very clear and obvious support for their main man.

Seeing as the organisers choose who attends the event, this is unsurprising.

Many Tories have remained in London for most of the conference, which is unusual. This is not because they are so desperately anti-Boris that they can’t stand to be in the same conference hall as him, but because Parliament is currently sitting.

In response to Johnson’s illegal prorogation of Parliament, last week Parliament itself refused to allow the Tories to suspend Parliament for its conference, which is what normally happens.

So there’s been a bit of a strange feel to the conference. Because Johnson, Cummings et al all expected to be fighting an election campaign right now, most of their hands have already been played, with very few new policies being available to announce.

Not to say that nothing new has been said. Sajid Javid started a speech yesterday with a genuinely touching moment by speaking Punjabi to his mum, who was in the audience. He announced a raising of the national living wage from £8.21 per hour to £10.50 by 2024. This is a good thing in principle, and is actually also a Labour policy, but comes with risks.

This puts the burden of financing higher incomes on to businesses, rather than the government. Smaller businesses, in particular, might struggle to set the wage as defined by Whitehall.

But, it’s also worth noting that the standard inflation rate of wages would see a rise to £9.45 by 2024 anyway. So it’s a) not going to be that much more damaging to businesses’ overheads and b) not that exciting a policy.

And yet that’s the A-Grade takeaway from the conference thus far.

Except for this video of Esther McVey having all 4 of her brain cells stimulated by the idea of 3D modelling, which has been around since the late 1970s.


Give Me Strength. But It’s Irrelevant?

Yep. Because the Tories that are currently at the conference aren’t even the Tories who are in charge. Everything they promise, all the policies they reveal, are irrelevant, because there is no Parliamentary majority anymore.

The second that Boris expelled the 21 Tory MPs who refused to vote with him in favour of no-deal all those many months ago (it was only three weeks ago), he made it so that he is unable to pass legislation without support from opposition parties.

He also gave himself a brand-new enemy – moderate Conservatives.

In particular, one gets the impression that Dominic Grieve wouldn’t dive in after a drowning Boris Johnson so much as chuck him a cast-iron life-ring. And what’s becoming increasingly clear is that Johnson is laughably, hopelessly mismatched against Grieve’s considerable intelligence and unwavering commitment to decency.

To create such a powerful enemy would be unwise at the best of times. At a time of crisis, to immediately hand over one of your finest legal minds to the opposition, as he has done with Grieve, is what is known in politics as appallingly bloody stupid.

Grieve has been prominently on the same side as Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas, Ian Blackford, Anna Soubry and other prominent pro-Remain MPs in recent weeks. Not Corbyn quite so much, although they did unite to pass the Benn Act.

Together, they have been meeting and working together to prevent Johnson from carrying out his plans – as they now can essentially cast the deciding vote in Parliament, whatever happens next can only be approved by them.

…Unless the EU refuses to back another extension, which is possible, but unlikely.

Ish.

So while Johnson might stand before the faithful as their emperor and decree his will unto them, he is powerless to actually enact it.

He is like a wasp under a glass on a pub table: furious, railing against the sides of his imprisonment, and desperately trying to stab his stinger at his captors on the other side of the glass.

They won’t care, though. They’ve got him just where they want him.

And he’s not going anywhere.