Another Monday, another week gone by, another seven days of no progress. Yesterday saw the publication of a study which showed that 75% of the population reckon that politics is “broken”. Less than 5% of the people in the survey had any confidence in our current political system. And it’s all the fault of Brexit, according to this research.
I remember when David Cameron announced the referendum that there was much discussion about its impact. Several commentators said it would be divisive, that it would lead to the destruction of the Tory party and that it could even lead to the break up of the United Kingdom. Those commentators were told they were “scaremongering”.
Last night saw the first debate amongst the Tory leader hopefuls – minus Boris the Bonker. He is clearly running scared because even though he is in the lead, he only has to do one of his regular gaffes and all will be lost. Quite why he has such a commanding lead is baffling. This is the man who fellow politicians say is useless. All he is able to do is quote his “record” as London Mayor – failing to point out all his mistakes and waste of money that happened during his reign.
There was tremendous applause last night when fellow politicians and leadership contenders pointed out his absence and that he, like them, should have been there to answer questions. He would certainly have livened things up. All the debate revealed was that there are four cabinet ministers and one former cabinet minister often agreeing with each other, saying similar things. Only one of them got consistent applause – Rory Stewart. He was saying something different, but he will not win because the Tory membership reckons he’s really a Lib Dem in Tory clothing.
At least Rory was prepared to admit that the approach to Brexit from the other contenders was a non-starter. They are all claiming they will renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, which the EU has said is its “full and final settlement”. And if they can’t do that, the leadership hopefuls say they will leave with “no-deal”, which Parliament will block. During the debate, they were pushed on this and no-one, except Rory Stewart, had an answer. The problem is, his answer is to push through the existing agreement, which no-one wants either.
Meanwhile, they are all claiming they must get Brexit completed by 31st October because of the “instruction” provided by the people. They seem to forget that the courts have already ruled that the referendum was not an “instruction” but merely “advisory”. They also seem to forget that they were elected on a manifesto which included the promise to make TV licenses free to the over-75s. They were “instructed” at the General Election in 2017 to carry out that manifesto promise. The Government has decided that this “instruction” doesn’t have to be followed, but they are determined to follow the other “instruction” to Brexit. Bonkers.
Of course, the TV License promise was not in their gift as the decision to support the free scheme for over 75s was not in their hands, but determined by the BBC. Similarly, the promise to ensure Brexit happened was also not in their hands because it depended on the EU and other political parties. In other words, the Government is trying to keep promises it made which it could not ever deliver on. The lack of thought in our political system is astonishing.
This nonsense is going to go on for several more months. By the time it is over in the Autumn, we will already be glued to our TVs on a Saturday evening because “Strictly Come Dancing” will have returned to our screens. The next crop of celebrities to be on that contest will be announced in just a few weeks. Mark my words – there is always a surprise in the line-up. And there is one “Dancing Queen” who will be out of a job in a few weeks and looking for a new challenge.
Nothing will surprise me any more. If the USA can elect a self-confessed sex abuser to be President and if the UK believes that Boris is leadership quality, then there is every possibility that a former Prime Minister could end up on a dancing show. You heard it here first.