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« Golden Nanny Awards 2018 | Main | A tale of two countries »
Friday
Nov162018

Michael Gove, your country needs you!

Despite everything, a lot of people are crediting Theresa May for her ‘hard work’, ‘grit’ and ‘resilience’.

Pity that hard work didn’t include making proper preparations for a ‘no deal’ scenario.

That should have begun even before Article 50 was deployed. The shocking failure to do so removed one of the UK’s strongest bargaining tools and weakened our position with the outcome we see today.

If deliberately undermining the two Secretaries of State she appointed to handle Brexit is evidence of grit and determination, so be it.

As for her resilience, I saw very little on the question of the Irish border. Neither Ireland nor the UK want a hard border. If unelected EU bureaucrats want to impose such restrictions that’s up to them. We should have challenged them to do so and be responsible for the consequences.

Ploughing on when it’s clear you’re not up to the job (the General Election campaign was a clue) is not a show of ‘resilience’, it’s pig-headedness.

The election destroyed her authority and it’s been downhill ever since.

I don’t doubt Theresa May’s sincerity. I do believe she’s doing what she thinks is right. But so did Chamberlain and, like him, her strategy is to kick the problem down the road while waving a piece of paper - or, in her case, a 500-page withdrawal document.

To be fair to Chamberlain, some historians credit him with buying Britain time to prepare for war and that ultimately saved us from invasion, but you get my point.

I don’t want to overplay the Chamberlain analogy (which I appreciate may be a little crass) but if May’s strategy is to play for time so we eventually get the Brexit 17.4 million people voted I’d have a bit more sympathy. But I don’t think it is. For her, this is it, the ‘best’ we can hope for.

Take back control. A clean break with the EU. That’s what the British people voted for in the referendum. And the prime minister, a Remainer, has not delivered.

Then again the Brexiteers have been a shambles, a disunited rabble with no clear vision torn apart by raging egos (David Davis, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, even Jacob Rees Mogg, to name a few).

Today, Michael Gove must resign and coordinate the resistance to this Whitehall/Brussels stitch-up. We need a genuine Brexiteer to mastermind a new agreement (which the EU will resist) or have the courage to walk away.

But Gove can’t do it alone. He needs Boris to stop hiding behind his Telegraph column and return full-time to the political fray.

Yes, I still think Boris is the man for the hour in terms of selling this to the British public with his optimism and quirky eccentricities.

In that regard he could probably do a better job as PM while leaving Gove, his deputy, to handle the details of our withdrawal from the EU.

Gove also needs every other leading Brexiteer to put aside their differences and line up behind him. And he needs to challenge the prime minister to a leadership contest.

What we don’t need, at this juncture, are the ‘sensible’ but dull candidates, the ‘safe pair of hands’ offered by Hunt or Hammond.

Nor is it the moment for the likes of Sajid Javid or Dominic Raab who may be the future but are inexperienced and are no political heavyweights (if such a thing exists in Britain today).

After two years of muddle and misrule we need optimism, a clear vision, and negotiators who believe in Britain, in Brexit, and want to achieve more than damage limitation.

Go, Michael. Your country needs you!

Update: Ten minutes after I posted this, the BBC reported ‘Michael Gove decides not to quit cabinet‘.

Another politician with no cojones. Sad.

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Reader Comments (2)

I have to say that I think that the whole Brexit issue has really highlighted the ignorance and complete incompetence of all of our MPs to deal with genuinely important, nation-wide issues. In the wake of the Referendum, even the most fervent Remainer or the most hard-line Leaver must surely have sat back, aghast at some of the immature and uninformed comments that have emanated from those whom we had (or thought we had) tasked with the business of running the country. It’s been a real wake-up call for many voters. People have long moaned and groaned about our “out of touch” politicians, but I don’t think – until MPs actually had to do something as important as negotiate our way out of 40 years of complex integration with a political machine as far-reaching as the EU – many of them quite realised exactly how crass and small-minded our politicians had become.
It is my fervent hope that once the Brexit dust has settled – with no deal, a rotten deal or even a halfway-decent one – it will spell the demise of both (maybe all three) of our major parties. Only a genuinely “good” deal could save the Tory party now, but on current form that really does seem like a very remote possibility indeed. But at the very least the glaring ignorance and incompetence displayed by all of our MPs – from the dizzying heights of the Prime Minister right down to the most humble opposition backbencher – must surely decimate the current stranglehold that they have on power, which, in my view can only be a good thing.
It’s my view that the Tories won the last election in spite of May’s quite frankly appalling manifesto, because people still thought of them as the “sensible” and “down to earth” and “realistic” party who, like them or loathe them, certainly had business nouse and their feet on the ground. They might have lacked the cuddly-bunny idealism of Labour, but to many people they were the most likely of the two, to conduct the negotiations in a sensible, pragmatic and dignified way, which was what negotiations of this complexity and importance demanded. In that respect the people were right; in respect of the Tories still evidencing those qualities they have been proved resoundingly wrong. The embarrassing mess that the Tories have made of what should have been a golden opportunity to lead the whole country in a totally different – possibly scary, possibly exciting, depending on your viewpoint – but definitely new, direction has been a shocking illustration of how woefully far current Tory MPs at all levels have strayed from the standards expected of Tory MPs of previous generations. It turns out that their claimed loyalty to the Tory Party values of being business-friendly, freedom-loving, patriotic, conservatives with a small “c” has been nothing more than part of a huge act of hiding behind a reassuring reputation established by countless Tory MPs now long dead or retired. And nobody, least of all voters, likes to feel they’ve been duped. It tends to make them feel both betrayed – and angry.
But neither have Labour exactly covered themselves in glory in response to the whole Brexit scenario, in their role as Her Majesty’s Opposition. Their inability to put up a significant, convincing and practically-attainable alternative deal to the hashed-out rubbish that the Tories have come up with in response to Brexit spells, I think, beginning of a slow and painful death for them, too. They may get one more roll of the dice at the next GE, simply because it has now been so long since the public have experienced a real Labour Government (Blair’s NuLabour doesn’t count), that many younger votes have no idea of the unadulterated economic and social decimation that these always cause. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions as they say, and that pretty much sums up most, if not all, real Labour policies. So, just like us old ‘uns when we were younger, today’s younger generation of votes may vote for Labour once, and hoist them into power, but few will do it twice ... there’s a reason why Labour has spent most of its existence in opposition, and younger voters should ponder on that before they put their cross against the Labour candidate out of spite against the Tories. Even in calmer times, Labour have never found it possible to run the country in a way which doesn’t involve bloating public services almost to explosion levels, taxing money-making businesses into bankruptcy and then borrowing money from anyone and everyone who’ll lend it to them just to keep the show on the road, without the having the foggiest idea how they’re ever going to pay it back. Add in the inevitable chaos of Brexit and we’ll see political chaos in our Government such as we’ve never seen before. It may collapse completely, or they may descend into a multiplicity of warring factions, stabbing each other in the back and walking out, or it might simply ossify into a terrified mass of jabbering fools incapable of actually making any decisions at all, but whatever happens, it certainly won’t be pretty and we’ll all suffer as a result. On the plus side, however, it will probably spell the end of Labour as a political force once and for all.
Both of which scenarios, in my view – odd as it may sound – are good, albeit painful, ones. For far too long these two massive parties have held sway, both of them moving increasingly far away from their traditional values (and thus from their traditional voters) and moving increasingly towards a woolly, politically right-on, middle ground where the policies that each enacts once in power are virtually indistinguishable from the other’s, despite being thinly veiled by some “lefty-sounding” or “righty-sounding” weasel words, which fewer and fewer people actually believe. If Brexit achieves nothing else, it has at least shown these charlatans and poseurs up for what they actually are – nothing more than a bunch of people with parish-councillor mentality promoted way above their stations and way beyond their capabilities and fixated on one or two treasured hobby-horses, who view their election to Parliament not as an opportunity to help run the nation more efficiently and fairly, but merely as a chance to push those hobby-horses a whole heap further than they might otherwise be able to achieve. Disgraceful. If Brexit achieves nothing more than getting rid of these pompous, self-important little busybodies and casting them into the obscurity of a political wilderness, then that, in my view makes the whole painful process worth it.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 2:36 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

Sorry Simon - got on a bit of a roll there and couldn't stop! Apologies. It won't happen again (well, not for a while, anyway ....)

Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 2:45 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

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