Above: Boris Johnson arrives in Scotland.
Well folks, if it wasn’t confirmed already, then we’re now officially on our Summer breaks. Why?
Because our MPs are – five whole weeks of it.
It’s actually unfair to describe them as holidays, as many of those MPs will be leaving the Westminster bubble to return to their constituencies to carry out important local work.
The Westminster bubble, by the way, is less of a pretty, soap-sud bubble but more of a bubbling puddle of sulphuric acid these days.
And politics itself isn’t taking a break, thank goodness! Good heavens, no. Boris and his crack team of Brexit-beaters are cracking on with their tasks of managing civil servants and openly lying to radio interviewers.
Things are going to slow down over the next few weeks until Parliament returns, as might things at Between the Lines. We will be posting occasional opinion pieces and weekly wrap-ups, but gearing ourselves up for what will no doubt be an exceptionally tumultuous autumn.
My God. It’s going to be carnage.
But, in the meantime, let’s take a moment to have a quick look at what’s been happening since Boris took power.
Boris Receives a Traditional Scottish Welcome
Yep. That looks painful, doesn’t it…
The SNP have been slowly but surely eviscerating Labour and the Tories in Scotland, with pressure growing with every minute for a second independence referendum.
No, not independence from the EU. Scotland getting independence from the UK.
Somewhat ironically, the fate of a second referendum in Scotland hangs very much in the balance of a second referendum for the UK – if we leave the EU, the overwhelmingly Europhile Scots will almost certainly push for independence so that they can rejoin the EU.
So, bearing that in mind, it was down to Boris to go beyond the Wall (Hadrians), to visit the wildlings and parlay for peace.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, warned him against this. If you don’t know of Ms Davidson, I strongly encourage you to read about her. She is the rarest of rare things these days: a sane, progressive, likeable Tory.
She is also credited with the Tories making considerable gains in Scotland in 2017, making her an important power broker within the party.
Shame, then, that Davidson really, reaaaally doesn’t like Boris Johnson. She hates no-deal, she backed Sajid David in the Tory leadership race, and is clearly incredibly sceptical of his ability to lead. So, when she told Boris not to meet with Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, at Bute House in Edinburgh, he might have thought she was simply being demeaning.
As the above video shows, Davidson was completely right. It was a perfect media opportunity to reinforce Scottish negative opinions of the English Tory leaders, further demonstrate Us vs. Them, and galvanise the “indyref2” campaign.
Plus, afterwards, Sturgeon made a point of stating that she thought that Boris was going to go for a no-deal Brexit, calling it ‘almost inevitable.’
While this may be a clever ploy to rally the nationalists, it’s not going to help Johnson’s credibility above the border regardless of her intentions.
So far, so Boris. Can’t wait until he visits the Isle of Man and we somehow end up at war with it.
What Is Actually Going To Happen?
Well… Truth is, we don’t really know.
No-deal is more prominent than ever before as a possibility, but so is hostility to it. Boris and his team insist that they want a deal, and that no-deal is a “million to one” chance, but the arithmetic simply hasn’t changed.
It’s highly likely that it will be blocked, and then Boris will use that negative energy towards Parliament to try and win a General Election against a depleted Labour. However, underestimate a resurgent Lib-Dem Party at your peril – taking control of the centre ground will gain them a lot of support at the Tories’ expense.
The pound is at a 28-month low today, following toughened rhetoric about no-deal Brexit – Gove said that it was now the “working assumption” of the government. Businesses are pleading with the government to abandon no-deal plans, and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned that neither the UK nor the EU are ready for a no-deal Brexit.
The damage, while mitigated to an extent by proper planning, will still be vast.
Ultimately, the economic state of our country, which keeps people alive, is being used as a pawn for political power. As I wrote last week, this whole process is most likely being used as a tool for keeping Boris in power:
“With enemies from abroad and within laying siege to the “democratic will of the people,” which he has openly embodied, he will create a passionate, furiously-loyal voter base if he fails to pass Brexit by October 31st.
And then, and only then, will he call a General Election – he will have been prevented from achieving his goals by his political enemies, and so, will run on the understanding that “We can believe in Britain again, and make ourselves the great nation we should be, by voting for Boris.”
If he won an election, he would have a mandate to govern for five years.”
It’s going to be one hell of an autumn.
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