By Russell Bruce
Which is puting it mildly. The ERG is going for the first strike nuclear option whatever the cost to the country. After months of trying to bring her unhinged party together, threatening No Deal to the former remainers and threatening staying in some part of the EU to the No Deal zealots, Mrs May fired her own Cruise missiles, scoring direct hits on Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.
A five hour cabinet meeting stretched out to an 8 hour lock-in with no access to the outside world for warring ministers. As the PM headed to the Downing Street studio to talk to her nation [England] her ministers were kept in class to do after hours homework. It was pretty unruly according to Newsnet sources. Erasers, pencils, waste buckets stuffed with the Civil Services head’s 14 page letter were hurled with venom.
Suggestions that Leave women cabinet ministers and Soft Brexit women ministers were dragging each other by the hair round the Cabinet office may be a slight exaggeration.
EU elections planned
One item that got less coverage is that Mrs May plans to get EU elections under way on 11th April. Electoral Returning officers round the country will need to get their staff prepared and issue the usual timetables for what happens by a particular date, parties will need to select candidates and organise lots of printing. Mrs May has a ‘Backstop’ in mind in case her ‘deal’ miraculously gets agreed and the UK leaves by 22nd May.
“Congratulations on being elected as an MEP. As the UK left the EU yesterday nobody is expecting you in Brussels”
England: land of the low comedy theatrical farce tradition
They do like to keep those peculiarly English traditions alive with waves of nostalgia sweeping over a lost past. Back in the 1920’s until 1933 the Aldwych Farces were all the vogue. The tradition was picked up by actor and theatre manager Brian Rix in the 1950s and 1960s with his long running Whitehall Farces. It was a time when England could laugh at itself and the other nations in these islands could enjoy laughing at English incompetence.
No theatre writer could have written the Maybot Farces a year ago. The point of a good farce is to stretch credibility until it becomes uncomfortably funny. The Maybot Farces fail two important tests, they are not funny and they are not England laughing at itself. Meanwhile the international community looks on in disMay at a country that has completely lost the plot and looks on in horror.
The Maybot Farces don’t quite fit the literary genre of Tragicomedy that blends aspects of tragic and comic forms, but neither is it quite full blown tragedy. The UK has never had a prime minister like Theresa May before. Tragihorror Farce is waiting in the wings to take centre stage in the form of Boris Johnson. Boris the joker rebel without a cause, other than the Boris cause, exploding onstage will destroy what little is left of England’s shrinking credibility.
The Conservatives tearing themselves apart is no bad thing. The Cabinet briefly discussed the idea of a general election and dismissed it immediately when Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, ran the numbers past sore heads. That doesn’t make a general election impossible as the whole withdrawal process is where it has been for three years, heading for meltdown, but what and who survives remains the drama mystery of the century.
The Scottish Government and SNP MPs cannot stand by and watch the conflagration without attempting to rescue England from itself because Scotland’s economy will be severely damaged by Brexit, whatever happens.
Scotland leaves the EU with the UK as the UK is the member state. We might not be able to save England from its delusions but try we must, because collateral damage will be inflicted on Scotland. SNP MPs have gained a lot of respect with some in other parties by their willingness to explore possible solutions. More important. the team have won admirers beyond the Commons with increased understanding and goodwill towards independence that was not the case in 2014.
They will continue to face abuse within and outwith the chamber but it is important not to underestimate the connection made with other MPs, especially between women MPs from different parties, who have been subjected to intolerable abuse and threats from out of control political elements.
This stage of full English Brexit is surely drawing to a close – finally – and Scotland can turn its attention to an independence referendum so that it can make its own European future. Frustrating it has been, but if England is actually about to crash out or reach some vague relationship with the EU, the Scottish Parliament mandate is achieved and will be quickly grasped. There was and is no option for Scotland to remain.
Somewhere in a darkened room…
Two Leave supporting parties are meeting to find if they can make common cause to take the UK out of the EU. A deal that builds a new Political Declaration to go along with May’s ‘deal’ and form, supposedly the basis for the real negotiations with the EU. Yes folks there are years of this to come. Most people in Scotland understand this but it will be a big surprise to many south of the Border. All that has been agreed is the exit bill, rights of nationals in UK and EU and the backstop.
No deal does not change any of that because the UK must arrive at a new relationship with the EU at some future unknown point in time. Leavers think they can just walk away from the exit bill and the UK’s obligations from our period of membership. Irresponsible Tory politicians pedal the ‘won’t pay’ line whilst knowing full well to default would lead to both legal action and a downgrading of the UK’s credit rating.
Scotland will be long out of this and making our own arrangements following a successful independence referendum whist England is tied up for years with its never ending Brexit