17 January 2019
Diary of a Corbynista
The Country of the Blind
by Don Urquhart
14 year old Jayden Moodie was stabbed to death in Leyton on Wednesday. If only the House of Commons showed as much outrage about this as they demonstrated when one of their own was verbally abused.
For me Project Fear just kicked in. Business Secretary Greg Clark in an emollient speech yesterday studiously avoided showing any enthusiasm for May’s withdrawal deal, while making conciliatory noises to Labour MP’s. Will any of them be dim enough to take the bait?
“This Week” is a political TV programme hosted by Andrew Neil. We record it every week and watch it if there’s nothing else on the planner. In December the programme was heavily criticised on Twitter for its right wing bias, perceived or otherwise, so I was surprised to see professional lefty Owen Jones on Thursday’s show. Neil started out by complimenting him on the dignity and courage with which he had dealt with a group of fascist bullies in the week. This was to prove ironic as Neil and Michael Portillo spoke over his points at every opportunity. Portillo dragged out the Labour Party anti-Semitism mantra for no apparent reason. I suspect that it was all he had. Jones spoke of Islamophobia in the Tory Party. Portillo was not a member of the Conservative Party. Nothing to do with me guv. Neil was at pains to shut Jones up, which provoked the latter to question, as he saw it, fascist and racist viewpoints supported by The Spectator. Neil’s defence was that he was only the Chairman of The Spectator and had no influence on editorial policy. Nothing to do with me guv.
Watch it all here.
We have just got round to seeing Brexit: The Uncivil War, which focuses on Dominic Cummings and his influence on the referendum outcome. I was not convinced that the key to his success was some kind of algorithmic identification and manipulation of people who had never voted before. It was when he stood on the table and enjoined his followers to shout 350 million and Turkey at every opportunity – a master class in how to win an election in a country run by third-rate politicians.
The EU appears to be willing to agree an extension to Article 50. The PM says she is not interested. I am not surprised given her efforts to convince MPs that it’s no deal on March 29th if they don’t agree her deal.
I have been worrying about Jeremy Corbyn’s rationale in proposing a motion of no confidence in the government. Such concerns fell away yesterday as the Prime Minister time and again refused to countenance an extension to Article 50. She is up a blind alley and is herself blind if she cannot see that.
Someone, possibly Theresa May, must pull the Commons together to achieve a majority for one of the many options.
It seems that the biggest unknown is the number of Labour MP’s who will insist on leaving the EU on March 29th.
Jeremy Corbyn’s best chance of consensus in his party at this stage is the “stay in the customs union” policy. We shall see whether the Prime Minister asks him what his MP’s will support and then whether it is something the Tories will vote for.
Mutual respect is called for and with that in mind:
In last week’s Shawsheet the Diary entry for December 30th was:
Yesterday a good friend told me of a front page article in The Telegraph where an anonymous civil servant claims that we are superbly well-prepared for a no deal Brexit and to suggest otherwise is to slander the Civil Service. To me the article screams fake, and it concerns me that there might still be some people in the paper’s diminishing readership who consider it to be fine journalism.
My friend has asked me to point out that he does not consider the article to be fake news.
Further he points out that the actual statement by the Civil Servant included the comments “Every day there is some fresh claim in the press – backed up by people who should (and perhaps really do) know better – that we must accept whatever outrageous terms we are offered by an intransigent EU because we are not prepared for a no deal and it would be a disaster. If true, it would be a terrible indictment not only of this government but also of our civil service. And it is absolutely untrue.” ‘