Richard North, 04/09/2019  
 


"A continuous blast of incoherent bellowing rage. Up in the gallery, it was now impossible to make out a single word from any of them". So writes Michael Deacon in the Oaf's fan magazine, of the close of proceedings in the Commons yesterday.

I don't know whether the image of the jabbering buffoon should serve to commemorate the evening but, by common accord, yesterday was the day when Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson finally lost it. But for me, the enduring image is the one of Jacob Rees-Mogg recumbent on the green benches, displaying all the arrogance and ignorance of his class.

As to the proceedings, you'd expect John Crace of the Guardian to put the boot in, which he does with verve. "There are shitshows and there are shitshows", he wrote. "And this one was something else. If there have been worse performances from a prime minister at the dispatch box in the last five years, no one could remember them". He adds:
This was the day Boris Johnson was stripped bare. Exposed as the Great Pretender. A mere carapace of vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself and falls on th'other.

Johnson had come to the Commons to give a statement on the G7 summit; he left half-broken, his reputation in tatters. Long before the end of his 90-minute appearance, most of his Tory MPs had left. Even those who clung to their careers enough to vote with him later in the day would now do so only under sufferance as it dawned on them just how badly they had been miss-sold. The PPI-claims hotline for duff prime ministers would soon be in meltdown.
I am strangely comforted and certainly feel vindicated. If I have ever been totally consistent in my life on any things, it is on the absolute unsuitability of this posturing buffoon to be the prime minister of this great nation of ours, and my certainty that the great Johnson experiment could only end up as a train wreck.

This has been that obvious from the start and what is so very dispiriting is that many apparently intelligent people could not see through the charade and know that his tenure would end in tears.

The drama isn't yet over, of course, and we are a long way from knowing the nature of the final outcome.

We don't even know yet whether there will be a general election, and under what terms – although it does seem as if we must have one. Johnson is a busted flush and whatever authority he had to lead evaporated yesterday, to merge into that "continuous blast of incoherent bellowing rage".

In what has been described as "the day of the remainer purge", another person who hasn't come out well from it is Dominic Cummings.

A man whose "intelligence" is vastly over-rated, and whose political cowardice in rejecting the idea of a coherent exit plan as part of the Vote Leave offer, he is as much responsible for our current crisis as his political master. Although it would have been difficult, the right leadership could have carried off the idea of a plan, but Cummings chose the coward's way – and we're all paying the price.

Yesterday, it seems, he finally over-reached himself, doing what he does best – ranting, swearing and being obnoxiously rude to all and sundry. That is what he does. What he is, therefore, is a bully and a braggart, full of his own importance, untempered by his vast ignorance on matters to do with the EU – a man so profoundly ignorant that he was so completely unaware of his own limitations.

It is a measure of the lack of judgement of the politico-media nexus that this man was ever given house room – accepted on his own estimation of his worth – people who could not see through the charade and actually hailed him as a political genius.

But that is not to say that the shambles of what is currently the House of Commons comes out any better. Stuffed with lightweights and political carpetbaggers, the MP collective is a disgrace to humanity, consistently missing the points and failing to get to grips with the technical issues. It is not only the prime minister in office who has suffered a fatal loss in reputation.

And still, that collective doesn't seem to have got its collective brain round the single fact that Johnson's "negotiations" have been a charade. Johnson complains that the move to neutralise a no-deal would "chop the legs off" the government's negotiating strategy, despite the fact that a no-deal Brexit is Johnson's only strategy.

There are no negotiations – there cannot be any negotiations and there is not going to be a new deal, not in October or in January – the date which the idiot MPs are proposing for an extension.

It says something about the ineptitude of the collective that, on this one thing, Johnson has got something right. Seeking an extension is indeed a "pointless waste of time". It will achieve nothing, other than extend the agony and uncertainty of a nation which is waiting for a decision from its political leaders.

At least we hear that a group of 17 Labour MPs is planning to table an amendment to the rebel bill today, demanding that the latest version of Mrs May's Withdrawal Act be re-presented to the House for another vote. This is the first clue that there might still be a glimmer of intelligence left in Westminster. At least some MPs have come to the (correct) conclusion that the only way to stop a no-deal is to vote for the deal on the table.

But if there is one good thing to come out of yesterday it is the very real prospect that the Oaf could become the shortest-serving prime minister since the office was created in 1721. Should that happen, we cannot complain that we are leaping from the frying pan into the fire. We were never given a choice in the first place.

Nevertheless, as I remarked earlier, the game is not over. To see Johnson deposed is not automatically to be rid of him as prime minister. Unless, through the formal process of a vote of no confidence a new government can be formed, the man remains in office while parliament is dissolved, while he gets to advise the Queen on the date for the general election.

In these circumstances, with the man hunkered down in the Downing Street bunker surrounded by his acolytes, anything could happen. Short of a real military coup, where troops are sent in to root him out, there doesn't seem any other way we could get rid of him.

And after all this, it is perhaps appropriate that yesterday was the day Farage chose to call off his party hounds as long as Johnson pledged to a no-deal Brexit. Farage said he was ready to put "country before party" and "help in any way we can" if a snap poll is triggered.

Given the fractured nature of UK politics, a combination of the rump of Eurosceptic Tories and Farage's supporters could be enough to give Johnson a working majority out of a general election.

Completely discredited though he might be, the prime minister in office could still end up with the last laugh, despite – given a mid-October election - not having yet delivered on a "no ifs, no buts" Brexit.

That said, today is another day. The only guarantee as to what might happen that we could safely make is that what should happen probably won't, while things that are supremely irrelevant will be hyped to death. 

But never let it be forgotten though that none of this need have happened if we had gone into the referendum campaign with a plan. Instead, the "genius" Cummings chose to rely on the personality appeal of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. At least we will have plenty of time to reflect on where that got us.






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