The Plastic Hippo

July 16, 2017

Tears of a clown

Only a complete fool would dare to suggest that extracting the fifth largest economy on the planet from the largest single market on Earth would be a simple undertaking and such a daunting task would probably freeze the blood of even the most skilful of negotiators. To similarly imply that the still just about United Kingdom remaining within the European Union can be achieved without endless rancour, hostility and the potential for civil unrest is as credible as a sexed-up dodgy dossier as a justification for war. Given that the set of negotiations to remove the UK from the EU are perhaps the most significant and consequential of dialogues since the Second World War, Her Majesty`s government seem intent on making a complete and utter hash of the whole thing.

We need only to consider those entrusted with the process of negotiation. David Davis is to competence what Liam Fox is to honesty and Boris Johnson possesses all the tact and diplomacy of a hormonal Gloucestershire Old Spot boar. It is almost as if Her Majesty`s government, as usual saying one thing and meaning another, wants the negotiations to trail on out towards infinity and then fail and then start the process all over again. Buying time is as high on the agenda as buying parliamentary votes in the desperate hope of clinging to power.

For all her obvious failings, Theresa May is a figure to be pitied rather than loathed. The foolish judgement that persuaded her to believe her own spin and her disastrous decision to go to the country in the vain hope of securing a mandate has left her and the nation as objects of derision, weakness and, with almost poetic irony, instability. What started as a spat within the ranks of Tory MPs some 40 years ago has now triggered the fragmentation of Europe and the likely break-up of the United Kingdom. Security and prosperity has been sacrificed in what still remains a spat within the ranks of Tory MPs. Mrs May is trapped and will not be allowed to go until every last scrap of blame has been laid at her door and some opportunist will be allowed to inherit the shambolic mess currently being created.

The Prime Minister recently attempted to appear human when cajoled into revealing that she shed a tear when the magnitude of her election folly became clear. We can only wonder if there were tears before bedtime for the number of families made homeless that day, or the number of untreated patients in overcrowded hospitals or the number of suicides caused by the Department of Work and Pensions. Perhaps the Prime Minister might appear more human if she held hands with a child refugee or a victim of fire rather than holding hands with Donald Trump and her tears might be more sincere if they were shed for others rather than her own misfortune.

The result of the snap general election obviously gave more votes and more seats to the Conservatives but in terms of what the election was supposed to prove, turned out to be a defeat bordering on humiliation. Desperate to retain power, Mrs May and her cabinet had no second thoughts about jettisoning the Good Friday Agreement and bribing the Democratic Unionist Party with lots and lots of money. It would be too easy to remember the attacks on Corbyn during the election campaign for his support of terrorists but imagine for a moment if the positions were reversed and Labour, with an unworkable majority, bribed Sinn Féin to not only attend parliament, but also vote with Labour. Interestingly, the spat within the ranks of Tory MPs some 40 years ago led to the defection of a certain Enoch Powell who, after being dumped out of Wolverhampton as a Tory, continued his political career with the Ulster Unionist Party as MP for South Down. It seems that Ian Paisley and the Democratic Unionist Party were too extreme even for Enoch Powell.

The Good Friday Agreement might well be one of the greatest achievements of the time in history when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. With open borders, a fragile peace and something approaching normality, the late Mo Mowlam deserves recognition for her remarkable success and legacy. Strange then that former Prime Minister Tony Blair should once again rise to the surface of the political cess pit to throw in his two penneth worth on the state of exiting Europe.

Blair claims that his pals in Europe have told him that a compromise might be on offer regarding the free movement of people across European borders and that the UK might not need to leave the EU at all. Sadly, Blair`s pals in Europe are not actually named and the people in Europe actually involved say that the four freedoms, including freedom of movement, are definitely not negotiable. We cannot be certain as to Blair`s motives in this latest and at best irrelevant intervention from a former Prime Minister but we can be sure that Blair is displaying more bare-faced cheek than a hormonal Gloucestershire Old Spot boar on the rampage.

His latest exhibition of jumping up and down to attract attention comes shortly after Sir John Chilcot broke silence to suggest that Tony Blair was “less than straight with the nation” in deciding to go to war in Iraq. The Chilcot Inquiry cost an estimated £13 million over the eight years it took to complete which is longer although cheaper than the war itself. Factor in the costs of the investigation surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, the Baha Mousa Inquiry and the Al-Sweady Inquiry, and we have a magic money tree that allows inquiries to silence debate for years and reach conclusions that are meaningless.

With an ambition that continues to burn even though influence and respect have long disappeared, Blair`s attempts to appear as statesmanlike remain as laughable as Theresa May`s attempts at empathy. For all their crocodile tears, very few real ones will be shed at their passing.


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