Brexocalypse and the Revenge of the Corbynator.
Step by stumbling step, this country is being destroyed by feckless Tory chaos.
It began with David Cameron’s manifesto promise to have a referendum on EU membership. That manifesto was written when all signs, all polls, indicated a hung parliament. It was included in order to mollify the eurosceptics in the conservative party, a group who had been a constant thorn in John Major’s side during his similar tenure as a Prime Minister with a slim majority in the commons.
The feckless Tory chaos continued in the aftermath of their EU referendum. Cameron, after promising he would not, resigned. At first it seemed obvious that Boris Johnson would be Prime Minister, but due to the Cuckoo Nest Plot he failed. There was a risk it would be Michael Gove for a moment, then a bizarre nineteenth century throwback called Andrea Leadsom, then Theresa May won by default after every other conservative party leadership candidate quit.
But May’s honeymoon lasted, and the brutality of the gutter press toward Corbyn was undeniable. By last month Labour were at a catastrophic low according to the pollsters and the conservatives would waltz to a three figure majority if they called an election. May, after promising she would not, did.
I would like to pause for a moment to remind you of this:
This was what they thought they were doing. This is what they thought was going to happen. This is what they think of everyone who disagrees with them, and they are so utterly, caustically pompous they will never understand that’s not the case.
The public evidently disagreed with this sentiment. Now yes, there are nuances here. The election in Scotland was a completely different animal for a number of reasons, the Labour Party did not ‘win’ by any stretch (though Jeremy Corbyn’s ideas, leadership qualities and campaigning style have all certainly been vindicated), the Conservatives are still the largest party in the commons. What is absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that Theresa May is finished.
At the time of writing there are less than two weeks before the Brexit negotiations are due to begin and there is almost no chance this government survives until they finish. They have little confidence in May, poisonous, racist Boris Johnson is on manoeuvres and things are about to get much, much worse.
In a functioning democracy, with responsible politicians trying to govern in the national interest, the Prime Minister would reach across the aisle and try to come to some sort of agreement. There would be tensions, true, but collegiate debate with the opposition would replace the tribalism our political system encourages, at least while the crisis of Brexit is dealt with. This has not happened and I very much doubt it will happen.
The fact of the matter is that the Tories are incapable of viewing themselves as one political party among many. They see their philosophy as ‘common sense,’ not a point of view, they see the country as property of the Conservative Party and view any opposition to their policies as unpatriotic sedition. They are not democrats, they are demagogues.
This is the only explanation for their decision to get into bed with the vile, spiteful DUP. After running a large part of their campaign castigating Jeremy Corbyn for his past association with Sinn Fein in, he (believably) claims, his attempts to work towards peace in Northern Ireland they have thrown in their lot with a party that doesn’t believe in dinosaurs. Four years ago one of its candidates was jailed for bombing his catholic neighbours’ house. Right now they are mired in a corruption scandal so deep that Stormont has broken and direct rule from Westminster may have to be re-imposed. They wrote to the Scottish government to demand gay Northern Irish couples be denied access to equal marriage rights. They have worked hard to keep abortion illegal in Northern Ireland even in cases of rape or incest. Last week, less than two weeks after a man was shot dead by the UDA in front of his daughter in a car park they had a jovial meeting with UDA members. There are rumours that they will demand the Orange Order be given the right to march through various catholic areas in exchange for their cooperation with May.
If all of that wasn’t enough to let any sane person know that these people should be kept as far away from power as possible; this is a flagrant breach of the Good Friday Agreement. The government in Westminster is bound by its terms to remain neutral when it comes to the parties in Stormont. How could a government claim to be impartial if the DUP is part of it? If it clearly puts itself in debt to the DUP? If it signs any kind of agreement that grants power over the whole of the UK? And when direct rule is imposed again, as it will be very soon, the insanity of this deal becomes even more acute.
Do you remember the troubles? I remember the tail end. I remember kneecappings, bombs and terrified children on the news. I remember the IRA, and the UVA, and the rest of the blinkered, fundamentalist thugs who pretended their cause was just while they bought their semtex from Gaddafi. I don’t think it would all come flooding back at once, not full bore, but the idea that Theresa May has the negotiating skills to prevent an upsurge in tension spilling into violence feels equally unlikely.
And yet still the Tories chose this path over trying to reach out to Westminster parties. The arrogance of it. The gall it takes to view your own attempts to cling to power as being more important than peace in Northern Ireland. Not one Tory has come forward to suggest this is a bad idea. Not one has raised concerns about the peace process. This government of failures cannot possibly last, and these toxic, Brextremist, feckless Tories deserve the hell the electorate will rain upon them.
In the meantime I have no idea what happens next. It feels like something big is brewing, people are tired of politics and constant upheaval. The Queen’s speech at the opening of parliament has been delayed for the first time ever because this Tory shower can’t get it’s act together. There is no way, at all, that we go another year without another general election, and it’s all the Tories’ fault.