21 March 2019
Diary of a Corbynista
The Whites of their Eyes
by Don Urquhart
As an Arsenal fan I have always been regarded by fellow gooners as too indulgent of the transgressions of such as Eboué, Arshavin, and more recently Mustaphi and Iwobi.
My son received a letter from Theresa Villiers, our Conservative MP. He had been away from home for some time but had applied to be allowed to vote in her and our constituency Chipping Barnet. Her letter told him his request had been granted. Even though it was just a pro forma letter sent out by one of her helpers, I was impressed. And indeed on the few occasions I have taken problems to her I have found her courteous and helpful.
Now if I look at her voting record and her political orientation, I as a Corbynista should surely regard her as the devil incarnate. Clearly I don’t and perhaps that means I am too tolerant of politicians I disagree with as well as error-prone footballers who are of my persuasion.
At the last count 49 people have been murdered in Christchurch. If you had to nominate a country as the least likely to experience such a tragedy you would probably say New Zealand.
Coming back from the Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern I walked the length of Platform 4 on the Blackfriars railway bridge. Over the way on the road bridge I saw a massive crowd of people blocking the northern end. I say people but more precisely it was children from 8 to 18 protesting climate change and I was proud to report this to anyone who asked what was going on. The Guardian reports that the demo was one of 2,000 in 125 countries. I am so pleased that the future belongs to this generation.
On the Andrew Marr programme Philip Hammond was not sure whether there would be a third meaningful vote as the government would only initiate this if they thought they had a strong chance of winning.
Andrew Marr asked him in several different ways whether he had attempted to bribe the DUP to obtain their support. He could not bring himself to say “No” but instead muttered on about upcoming spending reviews. You draw your own conclusions. In the week the DUP leader Arlene Foster remarked that towards the end of negotiations you see the whites of their eyes.
When you come to the end of the negotiation, that’s when you really start to see the whites of people’s eyes and you get down to the point where you can make a deal.
As she will not be meeting people from the EU I assume the eyes in question are those of Mrs May and Mr Hammond.
The Prime Minister will go to the EU summit on Thursday to request an extension to Article 50. She just might have succeeded in the third meaningful vote but if so it is certain that her majority will be miniscule. Something for the EU leaders to consider is that there is still plenty of legislation to go through in the UK Parliament and winning one vote is no guarantee that she will be able to pass anything else. My money is on a long extension.
I watched Newsnight in the hope that people like Nick Watt could unravel Brexit for me. Instead, like all political discussions of the topic it soon turned into people with entrenched views talking over each other. One consistent theme is the warning that if we do not leave the EU on March 29th there will be insurrection. If there is civil unrest it will have been whipped up by disappointed Brexiteers and by the media giving their consent. It’s OK because respectable politicians, newspapers, TV and radio personalities say it is inevitable and understandable.
It might have escaped them that a near neighbour already has massive civil unrest, not because of the EU, but the perception of the many that they are being exploited by the few.
Check the gilets jaunes Twitter feed if you want to know what might well be coming our way. But don’t blame Brexit, blame austerity and compliant media eager to convince us that it’s all down to foreigners.
In 10 days’ time we will be out of the European Union unless we can convince the 27 that we have a plausible reason for extending Article 50. At PMQ’s we should find out what rationale Theresa May is planning to present to them. If she goes for a short extension on the basis that she will be able to get her deal through parliament they will not believe her. The breaking news as I write is that an MP will introduce a motion to wrest control from the PM. It’s in a tweet from Sun journalist Tom Newton Dunn:
Anna Soubry reveals Alison McGovern tabling an SO24 emergency debate, which will begin the process of Parliament attempting to take control of Brexit extension length from PM.