Thursday, 10 August 2017

A break in the Brexit front.

Three tweets:

"Past time  for sensible MPs in all parties to admit Brexit is a catastrophe, come together in a new party if need be, and reverse it."

"Let's be honest, if we had an effective electoral law leading Brexiteers would now be in jail."

"[The main parities are] paralysed and they are terrified of being called saboteurs, wreckers and people defying the will of the people."

(As reported here.)

These very apt  comments on our present political scene come not from an enthusiastic and bewildered Europhile such as myself, but from the very heart of the Brexit team.  Their author, a James Chapman, is a former political editor of the Daily Mail, (gasp); special advisor to George Osborne, (gasp gasp); and has spent a whole year as chief of staff  for the Brexit Secretary David Davis in the clumsily-named Department for Exiting the European Union (it beggars belief).

It would be kind to suppose that Mr Chapman has now seen the light, but rather, I suspect, he has decided to "come clean."  This is clear evidence that the Brexiteers know all along that Brexit will not be the raging economic success they proclaim, and  that they achieved their narrow lead in the referendum by peddling a catalogue of gross exaggerations if not downright lies (of which the extra £350m a week for the NHS was the most blatant and influential). Their real motive remains  open to speculation.

The question is, when will "sensible MPs"  (and I like to think most are sensible) recognise that in their supine pretence that they are implementing the "will of the people" they are doing a grave disservice to the people they are supposed to represent, put their judgement before their job-security, and put a stop to this folly before any more time is wasted?

Then they can concentrate on our real problems: housing, health service, social care, climate change, a prison service which shames a country which claims to be civilised, the north-south divide. . .  All of these, and more, are being put on the back burner  as the present self-harming nonsense fills the agenda..


  1. I fear that they know it will be a disaster but are afraid to say so for they have not the courage to admit they were wrong. They are searching for a way out

    1. The key Brexiteers presumably have their own agendas: we can only speculate as to what they are. (For Johnson, who agonised up to the last minute on which side to come down, it is presumably to best position himself for a bid for the Tory leadership. As for the others, who knows?) Our real problem, as I see it, are the rank and file MPs of both major parties. The overwhelming majority are, or were, Retainers, and yet they lack the courage to grasp the nettle and do what they know is best for their constituents and the country.

    2. But if they did rebel, they would just all be voted out and replaced by Eurosceptics, and the next government would leave the EU; so how would that change anything?

  2. I complained to both the Advertising Standards Authority and the Electoral Commission about the Leave campaign was told that people are deemed to be able make 'informed decisions'. We have to be protected when we think about buying washing up liquid but not deciding the fate of our country.
    It has sent a message to young people (who will be most affected) that it is ok to lie and cheat to get your own way.
    And when it all goes wrong us Remoaners will be blamed for sabotaging the great future they promised us

    1. Agreed. This is just one aspect of the incredible sloppiness with which the Act enabling the Referendum was set up. There should have been provision for the 1983 Representation of the People Act (or something similar) to apply as this makes statements which are wilfully misleading illegal as "corrupt practices." Also, on a matter of this importance, there should have been some form of "super-majority" (say two thirds of those who voted in favour) for any change to be valid. It is amazing that none of the parties, in either House of Parliament, bothered to insist on these things. That is why I believe that Parliament got us into this mess by its carelessness,(or complacency), so is duty bound to get us out of it.

    2. The 'Remain' side had the entire machinery of government behind it, the funding of the civil service, and its own whole set of wilfully misleading statements (punishment budget? Third world war? immediate recession?) which the most high-profile politicians in the land, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, used their media profiles to pump out incessantly.

      The playing field was already heavily unfairly weighted against Leave winning. Tilt it any more — or instance by requiring a super-majority — and the referendum would rightly have been seen as totally illegitimate, a stitch-up by the EU-phile elite to get the result they wanted like when the Irish were told to vote twice when they voted against the EU the first time, or when the French had the EU constitution imposed upon them as the Lisbon Treaty despite having voted against it.

      Coming to think of it, if we had been give a vote on the Lisbon treaty, as we had been promised when it was called the Constitution, this all probably wouldn't have happened: we could have rejected that treaty without having to leave the whole EU (I believe at that time the Lib Dems were calling for an in/out referendum, which makes it a bit rich now for them to say we shouldn't have had one: it was Lib Dem policy before it was Cameron's policy).

  3. special advisor to George Osborne

    That would be the George Osborne who hates the current administration with the firey passion of a thousand burning suns, and who has been doing his best for the past year to undermine it in any way he can?

    And his former special advisor is now briefing against that administration? The one his former boss hates more than anything in the world?


    1. Thanks for pointing out the connection, though I'm sure Mr Chapman is capable of thinking for himself. I can't see why he should any longer want to act s Osborne's "poodle" - unless, of course he wants a job as a journalist.

    2. If you listen to Chapman being interviewed:

      From about 6 minutes in you can hear him describe the Evening Standard as 'now the best newspaper in Fleet Street'. To be willing to bend reality to that degree suggests at least some residual affection for his former boss.

      the main point, though, was that you seemed to be suggesting that Chapman had done some kind of revealing reverse ferret here, which indicated the wheels coming off the Brexit express if even those who have previously been leavers were now calling for a new party to stop it.

      It rather changes that picture once you realise that Chapman has been a remainer all along, and was right-hand-man to one of the Remainers-in-Chief, and the plan he's suggesting it pretty much exactly what that Remainer-in-Chief was calling for just after the referendum, doesn't it?

      the story is no longer, 'Leaver admits he was wrong, calls for Brexit to stop', it's 'Remainer continues to think what he always did'.

      Which is a bit of a 'dog bites man' story.