Beware the ids of March
When the news first broke about IDS last Friday, I found myself so confused I didn’t know where to start. So (wisely for once) I didn’t; instead, I wrote about the leaked TTIP/EU clauses, and how they will be agreed by the crooks in the EC without letting the crooks in the EU Parliament get at the trough. Even for the European Union, this plumbs new depths of corporate fascism, and it will prove to be – in the long term – a far more important story than what does or does not drive Irritable Dunkin’-Stiff.
Saturday afternoon I went to Cahors for the weekend, looking for interesting UK political analyses online while taking some snaps in Puy L’Eveque – of which more later. Then after a belter of a supper at the Old Labour House of Aylett the Painter, I typed some ramificatory thoughts into Wordpad, and slept off a sensational bottle of Chateau Grezels before returning this morning. If ever there was a case of the important coming before the urgent, this was it.
Enough with the throat-clearing, already: all I can do is offer an opinion about how constitutionally serious this situation is for Britain – for me, a more profound issue than any political question or Party split – and then focus mainly on how the disadvantaged can capitalise on the fallout.
The situation Britons face this weekend is the most serious since 1940 – and I say this without any attempt at hyperbole.
To sum up, we have a Government peopled overwhelmingly by liars, chancers and the terminally thick; elected by a mere 25% of the electorate; facing the secession of Scotland; engaged in a bitter Referendum about its biggest trading partner; fiscally managed by a drug abusing weirdo whose economic strategy is and always was infantile; mismanaged to the extent of both unnecessary welfare cuts and and 50% more debt than it had six years ago; part-proprietor of a banking sector riddled with liabilities; running an economy in which physical exports have decined 23% in four years; trampling on the rights of citizens to protest about the level of disenfranchisement; and split right down the middle by a noxious brew of revanchist history alongside the EU question.
If this were not bad enough, it faces an Opposition within which the Liberal centre has been emasculated, the Labour Party wiped out in Scotland, and the PLP’s MPs are engaged in a civil war between cynical reformers and neolithic fundamentalists…the latter of whom represent easy meat for a largely Right-wing media set towering over a declining liberal press sector.
Yes, but apart from that…
Sadly, there’s a lot more than that. Looking behind the scenes, there seems little doubt that IDS not only loathes the entire Cameron set, he holds Osborne in particularly low esteem because yes, even the Welfare Secretary thinks Nobsore is cutting too much, and displaying far too much relish in so doing. But infinitely more important than this, there are hurt pride and bruised egos involved here.
From being just a wet behind the ears new MP, Cameron befriended former leader IDS’s greatest rival, Michael Howard. He played a key role in shafting IDS, and installing Night Mover Howard – who, even by Conservative Party standards, is renowned as an utterly vicious shit.
Osborne was also (as with Mandelson after guesting on Murdoch’s gin palace) foolishly indiscreet in telling a colleague that Duncan-Smith “really isn’t bright enough to be a Cabinet Minister”. Smith is not a man who rebuffs grudges, and in doing what he did three days ago, the nvb bloke has very probably done for Squeaky the Draper.
Even the Tory press accepts that this has been an atrocious week for Osbollocks. Over the last year, oldies (like Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) used to Westminster Whoppers have finally began to use the M for mendacious word. Across the UK media last Wednesday, Little Osborne received a mauling from the live media, and diehard peasant-crushers like James Kirkup wrote in the Maily Torygraph about the Chancellor’s very slim chances of retaining his job….let alone a credible leadership challenge. No less a dinosaur than the archetypal old before his age columnist Fattie Heffer headlines his piece today with “Osborne’s downfall is now a certainty”.
While such deaths are often exaggerated, I do now believe that – whatever the outcome of the Brexit referendum – Cameron will face a leadership challenge, by the Autumn at the very latest and more likely well before then. Thus the Eurogroupe Troika (even if it gets a Stay vote) could well find itself dealing with a British Viktor Orban, rather than tender fillet of Cameron.
All of which obviously raises the tricky question, who’s next? Boris Johnson may seem like a shoo-in to many, but he is still miles away from being that. In his favour is the myth of BoJo the Good Ol’ Boy, beloved of those from the highest to the lowest…ie, broad electoral appeal. Against him is the still-powerful feeling among influential Conservatives that the retiring London Mayor is much too far from shy, is capable of doing anything with minimal warning, and is a man doomed to clouds in both his past and future.
Beyond Mayoral politics, Johnson lacks a clear political pedigree. In the cynical electoral values of our media-skewed 2016, this is very much an advantage; but in the contemporary Tory Party, other things matter more. There, it is important to know which camp one is in.
On that measure, Michael Gove fares better than most. He more than anyone has risked everything to be rid of the EU. Further, he has (in Tory eyes) a solid Ministerial track record. And last but not least, he has the Digger Seal of Approval.
Mr Gove also has the bruised ego motive, having been dumped by Cameldung as Education Secretary….a role he had always seen as his life’s work.
To confuse matters further, however, Gove and Johnson are seen by many as close political allies….a sort of chalk and cheese double-act that could be very effective: Gove the passionate and effective legislator, Johnson the populist publicity-seeking missile…the latter also being acceptable to Murdoch while at the same time the chosen son of the Barclay twins.
In the short term, however, for once the hackneyed term ‘disarray’ really does apply to the Camerlot Government. And this offers a perhaps never-to-be-repeated chance for the WASPI Campaign Women to press home the obvious case they have for the restoration of all their State Pension rights…with absolutely no compromise. The WASPI’s only reward for running a decent, well-mannered campaign has been a cavalcade of DWP and Treasury lies and indifference. Now the enemy is in hot water, the time to strike has arrived.
As for where this leaves the Opposition to a disastrous Conservative hegemony, it’s far too early to say. One among many of the myriad ironies of uniquely anarchic UK politics is the one thing that ties Burnhamites, Corbynistas and the ScotNats together: their blind spot when it comes to the corporacratic Trojan Horse now standing at the gates of the European Commission in the shape of America’s TTIP demands.
In this, the age of quality-free quantity of choice, we are all seekers after the least vile option available. Whether that is really any kind of genuine democratic choice, I leave up to the reader in the light of this Webster’s Dictionary definition: