If you haven’t started watching Sky’s Chernobyl yet, I’d strongly encourage you to do so. In a nutshell, it’s a drama based on the explosion at the nuclear power station in northern Ukraine during the days of the Soviet Union, back in 1986.
In the first episode, politicians and other political figures frantically try to ensure that they are not blamed for the disaster, with each trying to demonstrate their loyalty to a corrupt and creaking government. Each one is in their own personal state of denial, telling experts that they are wrong: “Do not criticise the Party.”
As a result, the lives of the millions of people affected by the disaster are put in jeopardy. The politics outweighs the practical, and as a result, innocent citizens are doomed.
It is gripping telly.
That being said, it’s on Sky, so you’d need to pay for a subscription to watch it. If you fancy watching a free compelling political drama which has:
- A cock-up of monumental proportions caused by ineptitude;
- Yellow-bellied politicians denying reality and pledging blind loyalty to a crumbling regime;
- And a handful of Communists who don’t know what they’re doing;
then I’d recommend sticking on BBC news.
Ooh, Spill The Tea
Right, let’s get started with the Conservative Party, who are in the first throes of a leadership contest.
On we stride towards a new Prime Minister, chosen by the votes of the 125,000 or so Conservative Party members and the Tory MPs themselves. Between the Lines will be covering all the candidates in more detail in the near future, but for the purposes of this article we’ll be looking at some of the more prominent candidates.
Many candidates, following the drubbing by The Brexit Party at last week’s EU Parliamentary elections, have forthrightly come out and said that “No-deal is back on the table.” Well done chaps, that’ll stick it to Farage, said no political strategist, ever.
Boris Johnson has proclaimed his swashbuckling idea to go back to Brussels to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, particularly the backstop, then go for no-deal if that fails. He is not the only candidate to do so. However, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, has again come out to say that the deal will not be renegotiated, no-way, nuh-uh, never.
So that means no-deal.
However, Jeremy Hunt, survivor of one of the worst Freudian spoonerisms possible when he was Culture Secretary, has declared that no-deal would be “political suicide,” which in these strange times has lost him support. Michael Gove, the unfortunately-faced Environment Secretary, has benefited from this, as he positions himself as a “Leaver that Remainers can talk to.”
So why is no-deal actually political suicide? Why would Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, and other assorted Conservative leadership hopefuls all declare that they would leave without a deal on October 31st when they know it would be bad news?
Because nothing has been learnt from the May years. Theresa May’s premiership was a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of “Let’s promise this impossible and damaging thing now because it’s what voters want to hear, then we’ll find out a way to do it afterwards.”
It is worth remembering that no-deal is not a good thing – it would cause massive economic disruption to the UK and should, by any rational account, be avoided if at all possible.
Additionally, a no-deal Brexit is not as guaranteed as the Tory candidates would have you believe.
Enter Speaker of the House, John Bercow.
What’s He Done Now?
First of all, like Jordan Belfort, “HE’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE.”
Bercow told The Guardian that he isn’t going to step down in July, as he had previously been touted to do, because of the ongoing situation with Brexit. “It doesn’t seem to me sensible to vacate the chair,” he said.
This would likely make the hearts of the no-deal Tories sink, as it was essentially his interventions during the last frantic scramble to resolve Brexit that allowed Yvette Cooper to pass a bill ruling out no-deal.
And he’s ready to do it again, too. In a speech to the Brookings Institute in the US, he said that “The idea that parliament is going to be evacuated from the centre stage of debate on Brexit is simply unimaginable.”
He has a point. It is quite absurd to think that these Tory candidates are all campaigning as though they are about to be elected supreme overlord of Britain. If they say they will go for no-deal, that does not mean that no-deal will automatically happen.
It will have to be approved by a Parliament that will most likely refuse to let that happen, much as it did the last time. Johnson and his rivals would do well to remember that – the Parliamentary arithmetic is the same, no matter your policy, so you can’t just get what you want without passing it through Parliament.
But for now, they will continue to spout platitudes about “taking the fight back to Brussels,” or “leaving without a deal for a brighter future for Britain,” all the while hiding the fact that these claims are either next to impossible or economically damaging.
And Now That Labour Are In Favour Of A Second Referendum, They’ll Finally Be In A Place To Lay Down A Real Challenge, Right?
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Labour Party expelled Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s spin-wizard and prominent People’s Vote advocate, for voting Lib Dem last Thursday.
This has caused a furore about the speed at which they expelled him compared to the speed in which they have dealt with antisemitism cases, with other lifelong Labour politicians coming out and saying that they also voted Lib-Dem or Green – they have challenged their party to expel them, too.
The timing was also about as ideal as a giggling fit at a funeral, as The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into Labour’s handling of said antisemitism cases. Prominent Labour voices have condemned their party, calling it abhorrent that racism has become something of an accepted norm within it.
Corbyn, meanwhile, has remained tight-lipped about whether or not Labour will actively support Remain if there was a second referendum, further alienating a large swathe of Labour voters (though not all, it must be added).
So Who Can We Turn To?
How about one of the real winners from last week, Vince Cable?
Oh wait, no, he’s stepping down.
Nigel Farage? He’s said he’s going to challenge in a General Election, but the First Past The Post system means that he probably wouldn’t get many seats.
Let’s just make Bercow sort it out. It’ll at least be funny to watch everyone collectively lose their shit over it.
Please do help support Between the Lines by:
- Liking, commenting on or sharing articles;
- Following or recommending us on Facebook;
- Following us on Twitter;
- Donating on Patreon;
- Or following Between the Lines via Email.