Because I am that type of sado I have been paying attention to the first week of the proxy war that is the Tory party leadership election and I have to ask whether any of the minor runners have actually been inside of the chamber of the House of Commons for the last six months or so? If they have then they clearly weren’t paying attention as they all seem to be offering unicorn solutions to the ever increasing political and constitutional crisis that is Brexit. Some of the highlights from the weekend include these great pearls of wisdom:
Sajid Javid offered a unicorn solution to the EU/Northern Ireland border whilst at the same time managing to sound ever so patronising to the Republic of Ireland. His solution is that the UK Border Force, a Home Office function, should take over policing the border and put in place the non existent digital enforcement technology. As a sweetener he offered for Britain to pay for the whole lot. Now I am not sure whether this man has ever visited the border or has even the first clue as to the complexities involved but apparently it would mean that there wouldn’t have to be any technology/border checks actually on the border. So that is nice but I don’t think that he understands that the Republic of Ireland’s border with Northern Ireland is the European Union’s and so it is with the EU that any border policies have to be agreed not the Republic who I am sure are so happy that the Brits are willing to help them out of their little local difficulty;
Andrea Leadsom has decided her solution is to rebrand No Deal Brexit as a Managed Withdrawal or something like that. Her plan is that a British ministerial team will visit all EU 27 countries to sort this mess out, thus by passing the EU altogether. At the same time she would place a number of bills on the floor of the House of Commons to put in place local fixes that have been agreed as part of the Withdrawal agreement with the EU. So on the one hand she wants to deal with the EU and at the same time by pass the EU. It is logic like this that allowed her to be beaten last time around by Theresa May;
Rory Stewart’s unique answer is to form a citizen’s council or group to replace the deadlocked House of Commons to listen to the experts and then put forward their recommendations that the House of Commons would then unquestioningly put into action. This novel approach will take ‘…about 5 weeks…’ to be put in place. Disregarding the fact that the House of Commons has got to agree to this, less than zero chance I would guess. We then have to select 100 good men and women to represent the whole country, sounds a bit like the House of Commons to me but only 1/6 the size, during the summer holiday period when of course everybody is available at the drop of a hat. Rory does sound plausible until he starts to go beyond his well rounded back story when he too seems to have an attraction to mythical creatures;
And finally we come to Dominic Raab who is clearly going for the Alan Bas’tard vote. He seems to not have noticed that the world has moved on and there isn’t that many votes for the Tories being the nasty party. (I might be misrepresenting what he has been saying but that is the overall impression I get everytime he says something).
The two front runners, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, have kept a relative low profile, if you don’t count Boris being prosecuted for his part in the referendum campaign and given the less than impressive showing by some of the other candidates that would seem the best strategy.
So to recap, the last three years haven’t happened and all of the candidates seem to think that the British only have to put on stern faces and the EU will roll over and give us everything we want. None seem to be aware that this is all just nonsense and are clearly refusing to face the realities: Brexit has changed everything; The EU 27 has are much more united as a result of Brexit; the 31st of October is not that far into the future to achieve anything substantial and to try and force anything through this parliament will cause the biggest constitutional crises for over 100 years and most probably lead to the collapse of the government. Given the current identify driven, Remain or Leave, sentiment of the electorate the likelihood of a Tory party being reelected with anything other than a small rump of MPs doesn’t seem to have crossed the minds of any of the candidates minds at all. Even thinking that trying to play the Corbyn card isn’t going to help as many of the disgruntled voters will go to the Brexit Party, Lib Dems or Greens rather than Labour (See Euro elections for guide). The outcome would be that we would have an even more divided parliament than before.
Still at least we’ll have all those unicorns and the giant baby Donald Trump blimp. So that is nice.