In which I revivify this blog to tell you why—appallingly, horrifyingly—Boris Johnson might be the best bet we have

Yes, I know. Boris. He’s the worst politician the UK has seen in a very long time. He’s a hideous stream of self-centred cat’s piss, without a single moral bone in his body. He’s despicable. He’s contemptible. But bear with me on this.

There is no way to force a general election before October. And even if there were a general election, there is no reason to believe that it would result in a more sensible government. It’s unthinkable that any party could form a majority at present, but whereas one can envisage the Tories forming a coalition with Farage’s ragbag of shits and racists, one cannot envisage Corbyn accepting a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, partly because we all know he’s a barely-covert Brexiter himself, and partly because he can’t even compromise within his own party. So the likelihood is there will be a Tory PM in October, when the extension runs out.

May’s deal is obviously dead in the water—it was obviously so six months ago, but hey, let’s offer MPs three chances to change their minds while steadfastly refusing to allow the public the same courtesy. Come October, then, there will be three possible Brexit events: no deal (and always bear in mind: this is the default if nothing else is done), no Brexit, or beg for another extension; these possibilities to be enacted under one of three potential Prime Ministers: still May with no elections, a new Tory PM (through internal election), or a Tory PM—whether May or another—following a general election.

I think it truly foolish to presume another extension. If it’s post-general election then we are lost, because the government will in all likelihood be a Tory government in hock to the Brexit party: the request will not be made. In the alternative scenarios, I think that if the request were made, it would not be granted. There were powerful voices against an extension last time, and their case will be bolstered. If there has been no leadership election and the PM is still May, the narrative within the EU27 will be: we gave her an extension, and she spent it trying to pass exactly the same deal that had failed three times already. Why should we let her try a fifth, sixth, seventh time? And if it’s a new PM following a leadership election, the narrative will be: we gave them an extension, and they spent it perpetuating their internal fights. So I strongly doubt a second extension will be granted. It only takes one to veto. The only circumstances under which I can see a further extension being granted is to give the UK the time to conduct a second referendum, because the level heads in the EU27 will see that this is, really, the only way to close this mess one way or another.

So I think that in October we will inevitably have a Tory PM having to make the final decision between no deal, another referendum, or no Brexit. And that’s why, if May is to be unseated, I think Boris might be the right man. But he’s a venal, dishonest, self-serving shite, I hear you cry. Yes. Yes he is. That is why he supported Brexit in the first place. But that is also why he, of all the potential replacements for May, is the only one who might take the actions that would lead to revocation of Article 50.

All the other potential leaders are True Believers. They will take the no deal option. But Boris is not; Boris is a Brexiter of Convenience. And Boris wants to be loved, and has laughably absurd Churchillian fantasies of Greatness. He is also not stupid, merely intellectually lazy. So when he sits (and yes, I shudder at the thought) at the head of the cabinet table, with the choice between no deal and no Brexit before him, is he going to go for the option that will make him hated within his party but cause a huge sigh of relief throughout the country, or will he go for the option that will make him fêted within his party, but then make him PM over the biggest economic downturn the country has ever seen, and the quite likely breakup of the United Kingdom? Either tine of this fork would be very unsavoury for the man who seeks, above all, public adulation. Would this lazy, venal man take this difficult decision? Or would he take the cop-out route of throwing it back to a second referendum which, whatever the outcome, would allow him plausible denial of responsibility for the consequences? It’s precisely because he’s a feckless opportunist, desperate to be adored, lazy as sin, and eager to remain immune to the consequences of his actions, that I think that this is what he would do. With any of the others, there is no chance of that.

The only surefire way of stopping Brexit now is a second referendum. The preferred option to gain this is May staying on: I think when her deal fails again (unless this as yet unveiled “bold offer” is genuinely something new, which seems unlikely given her view of negotiation seems to be “giving you another chance to agree with me”), she will quite likely enact a second referendum—her rhetoric around this is notably less emphatically opposed than it used to be. But if she goes, then Boris is the only alternative who would also implement this.

The thought of Boris getting what he’s wanted for so long is horrendous, but I can suck that up if it means the disaster of Brexit is ended. He won’t last long, anyway—his incompetence and laziness will see to that. But all the other possible leaders in October would reach, unhesitatingly, for the No Deal button; or have their hand forced over it by dependency upon a different, but equally hideous, shower of shites than those they are currently dependent upon.

That’s why, if there is to be a Tory leadership election, my vote is [retches, chokes] for Boris.

Image of Boris Johnson

The man of the hour?

 

I’m sorry, Brenda, but the only moral thing to do is to have another election

It doesn’t matter that I despise the medieval social views of the Democratic Unionist Party, their creationist and climate-change denialist leanings.

It doesn’t matter that another election would, with any luck, wipe out the Tories and bring in the first truly socialist government of my lifetime.

Were Arlene Foster the fluffiest of bleeding-heart liberals, were the Tories committed to the redistribution of wealth and social welfare, I would still hold a new election necessary. Should the Queen’s speech not pass and Jeremy Corbyn thus have an opportunity to form a government then he, too, would be beholden to refuse and precipitate another election.

The simple arithmetic of the make-up of the House of Commons as it stands is that neither of the main parties can form a working majority without the support of the DUP, and this cannot stand. The Good Friday Agreement—which we are now so accustomed to that we forget quite what an extraordinary achievement it was—is predicated upon the Westminster government acting as a neutral broker ensuring effective power-sharing in the devolved government of Northern Ireland. It is blindingly obvious that dependency upon sectarian votes in any way compromises this.

No government should be formed in Westminster that is reliant—whether through formal coalition or looser agreements—upon the votes of any of the sectarian Northern Irish parties for its majority. It so happens that the only such party that both has seats and the intention to take them up is the DUP; but I would hold this position for the SDLP, the UUP, Sinn Féin (were they to take up their seats), excepting only the non-sectarian Alliance party.

Any kind of dependence in Westminster upon sectarian votes imperils the peace process—which is still a process, not an established fact—in Northern Ireland. The irresponsibility—to put it mildly—of the Tories in even entering talks with the DUP would be breath-taking were they not already, clearly, lacking a moral compass of any kind. Theresa May is attempting to cling on to power at the risk of imperilling twenty years of progress towards peace.

This is bigger than austerity; this is bigger than socialism. This is way beyond party politics, Brexit, or the extreme annoyance and waste of public funds that yet another election would be.

On Saturday I will be protesting this coalition in London. I urge you to do the same, or to write to your MP (especially if they are a Conservative) urging them to vote down the Queen’s Speech, and to do the same should Corbyn attempt to pass one.

We need to talk about Theresa

In the wake of the latest senseless act of terror by warped and vicious individuals, the Conservative party may have officially suspended campaigning officially but one cannot help but note that Theresa May’s response qua Prime Minister—that greater regulation of the Internet is needed to fight terrìorism—aligns nicely with her campaign manifesto.

But we need to talk about Theresa, and about terrorism. And we need to talk about money.

One of Theresa May’s showcase “Global Britain” visits was to Qatar, where she made a speech the day before the Brexit negotiations began, stating (not a week after the Westminster attack):

The relationship between the United Kingdom and our allies in the Gulf is not just of great historic value – but also fundamental to our shared future. It is fundamental to our shared security because Gulf security is our security, and together we face the same global threats from terrorism and extremism, as we saw again so tragically in London just last week. Already the United Kingdom is Qatar’s number one destination for foreign direct investment, with investments worth over £35 billion ranging from the iconic Shard to new housing in the Olympic Village in East London. And Qatar is already the third largest market for UK exports across the Middle East and North Africa, with over 600 UK companies already benefitting from the opportunity to support your growing infrastructure and provide goods and services to your people. But this week I hope that we can go further, by laying the foundations for a bold new chapter in this partnership between our nations. Last night we signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding to support Qatar’s 2030 National Vision […] As a global Britain, I am determined that we will be the most committed and most passionate advocate of free trade in the world – and I look forward to continuing these vital discussions on growing our trade and investment as part of hosting the Gulf Co-operation Council in London later this year. […] Through this enduring commitment between our countries and our peoples, let us meet the shared challenges to our security; grasp the shared opportunities for our prosperity; and build a brighter future for the United Kingdom and Qatar, today and for generations to come.

Inspiring stuff.

Putting aside the fact that we are jumping into bed with a state whose economy is basically built upon slavery, the Qatari government openly funds Hamas—precisely that organisation that the Tories are seeking to damn Corbyn for having “friends” in. The Qatari government has also long been accused by experts of supplying arms (some of which, no doubt, were purchased from the lucrative arms deals which May and her predecessor were so eager to line up) and possibly even direct finance to extremist groups in both Libya and Syria, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and possibly even ISIS itself. Islamist fund-raisers operate openly in Qatar. In 2014 a bipartisan letter from US Representatives raised the permissive environment for terrorist fund-raising with the US government. Qatar, the country which Theresa May chose to make her flagship post-Brexit “Global Britain” co-operation partner is, in short, Terror Funding Central.

Theresa May has also recently visited Saudi Arabia to promote arms sales—arms sales which she claimed “keep people on the streets of Britain safe.” Once again, let us put aside the hideous, medieval nature of the theocratic dictatorship that is the family of Saud; let us forget that precisely the arms that we sell to Saudi Arabia are used in a brutal and vicious war on Yemen; and let us focus solely upon terror groups. Of course, this goes right back to 9/11, and the 15 out of 19 of the hijackers who were Saudi; but as Al-Qaeda have waned so ISIS have waxed and the Wahhabist extremism which is the idealogical centre of the Saud dominance is utterly committed, as are ISIS, to the destruction of Shi‘a Islam—the links between them run deep. Minimally, alongside Qatar, Saudi authorities have turned blind eyes to the substantial flow of private money from these countries into the coffers of ISIS. One of Hilary Clinton’s leaked emails exposed the reality as it is actually understood by our leaders: “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.” In the news just today is the fact that the Home Office is trying to suppress our own report into terror funding exactly because it focuses upon Saudi Arabia. Theresa May’s own love affair with Saudi Arabia—a country where she only manages to appear in public uncovered and without a male family member because she is a foreign dignitary—is not a new affair either. Back when David Cameron and Chris Grayling’s hideous policy of selling the services of our own Justice Department to the Saudi state—whose “justice” includes floggings and public decapitations—was becoming so obviously toxic that they were forced to drop it, Theresa May was one of those who sought to persuade Cameron to keep the policy in place.

Theresa May offers one solution to extremism: surveillance, surveillance, and more surveillance. She would have us living in a Big Brother state, the Internet entirely regulated because of a minute proportion of the activity on it. Yet she has taken 22,000 police officers off the streets, and seeks to reorient Britain’s economy to be further entwined with precisely the two states most directly accused of funding the extremist Islamist groups. She would sacrifice our safety—as she will our well-being, our welfare, and our health—at the altar of corporate gain.

Theresa May has made you less safe, not more so. Theresa May is a friend of the friends of terrorists. A vote for the Conservatives on June 8th is a vote for placing British arms deals above the security of British citizens.