This week Boris Johnson – our very own Julius Caesar- has really got going. He is in a flurry, in a mad hurry to get out of the EU, with or without a deal. He means to shut down parliament in order to get his way. Behind the scenes are co-conspirators and so called ‘disrupters’, who have no sense of history, no respect for the slowly evolved, enduring political system. This is a coup and we would call it that if it was happening in, say, Nigeria.
Another concurrent plot is also unfolding: Jeremy Corbyn has invited opposition party leaders and rebel Tories to work with Labour to stop Boris Caesar. Shami Chakrabarty, a barrister appointed to the Lords by Corbyn, has written legal advice on the PM’s plans : …[This would] constitute the gravest abuse of power and attack upon UK constitutional principle in living memory’. We shall see if the coalition of the willing and unwilling can stop the Brexemists. Don’t bank on it.
How will historians see this tumultuous epoch? Who will they impugn? As journalism is said to be the first draft of history, here is my take. Six, self-centred, overweening men pushed the UK to the edge of calamity. Permit me a moment of feminist fury. The demolishers were ALL MEN. Inept, robotic Theresa May was easily kicked around in their hunger games. The list can be expanded, and was in the searing anti-Brexit polemic, Guilty Men by ‘Cato the Younger’ (Biteback). This anonymous analyst condemns thirteen western leaders – including two women- and goes back decades. I concentrate on our times and on key players, all deplorably reckless and lacking a sense of national responsibility. They believe in Me first, My Party next, and, then My Party Members.
So who are the guys in this A team? George Osborne, Nigel Farage, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson.
George Osborne, a millionaire’s son, punished the neediest in our country, weakened the welfare state and rewarded the richest. Those ‘left behinds’ who voted for Brexit were deliberately left behind by this coldly ideological, small state Tory.
Nigel Farage, got elected to the European parliament, got paid handsomely for not doing the job and blames the EU and migrants for all the nation’s ills. The right-wing press adores this charmer. His links with the hard right and white nationalists are never questioned. He is the people’s politician because he knows how to pull their emotional strings. Now he vows to work with Johnson to get a no deal through. The rabble rouser who has never been an MP controls all our futures.
The next baddie is Mr Cameron, so long, so quiet. Though he was a modernist who wanted his party to be inclusive, he did not rein back Osborne and, more abysmally, was too chicken to take on Farage’s duplicitous politicking. Agreeing to the referendum was, perhaps, politically necessary. But for the infamously chillaxed PM not to define its purpose and status was inept and grossly negligent. His Remain campaign lacked any conviction, passion or urgency. In that Etonian way he assumed plebs would follow his instructions.
Nick Clegg had only a bit part to play in this back story, but it was a vital bit. In 2010, had the LibDems not propped up the Tories, the government could not have pushed through austerity measures. But he and his MPs just loved the trappings of power. The party now wearing its Remain colours with fanfare, indirectly aided and abetted those who turned our citizens against the EU.
Jeremy Corbyn has been another unknowing collaborator. He still can’t find the voice or moral clarity to oppose Brextremism, and is worryingly beholden to his close, maniacally anti-capitalist advisors. He could come out clearly for Remain and let, say, Caroline Lucas lead a temporary government of unity. Won’t happen. Not even in our dreams.
Boris has Latin, humour and chutzpah and no principles. He was handed this premiership by reactionary Tory members. Now he wants to crush MPs. I ask Brexiters: Is this democracy? His Machiavellian special advisor, Dominic Cummings cares not a toss for checks and balances or the rules of parliament. This libertarian, right wing cabal makes Thatcher seem like a nice socialist.
These men have brought us to the abyss. Briton will crash down and not one of them will ever apologise or take the blame. The civil war started by Brexit will continue until the young take over. Alas, many of us will be dead by then.
i newspaper October 2019