Those on the Tory right have wasted no time this past weekend telling anyone who would listen that this was not the time for personal ambition to get in the way of party unity, that all the in-fighting must stop, and that the plotting was not good for the party or the country. This was delivered in the most sincere, patriotic and heart-felt manner possible. And it was a superb demonstration of humbug and rank hypocrisy.
Another day, another party headache
The first sign that the plotting and in-fighting had not died down, but had merely moved on from Theresa May’s leadership, came with the appearance on Peston on Sunday of (yes, it’s her again) Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries, who told that chancellor Philip Hammond should be sacked. This was duly and obediently reported by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog.
The Great Guido, who simperingly refers to Ms Dorries only as “Nadine” - pass the sick bag - claimed “There’s a case that Hammond is far more at odds with government policy than Boris or any other Cabinet Brexiter”, which, considering Spreadsheet Phil lives next door to the PM, is coming it a bit. And the fragrant Nadine was not the only one involved.
Bernard Jenkin, whose anti-EU track record stretches back to rebelling against “Shagger” Major over his signing of the Maastricht Treaty, has pitched in with an op-ed in the Guardian, whose political editor Anushka Asthana then observed “Philip Hammond’s Treasury has come under fire from a leading Conservative leave campaigner, who said that the gloomy outlook and ‘Brexit in name only’ approach of the department risked scuppering the UK’s EU exit”, before making a most telling addition.
Yes, we all know who you are
“Jenkin insisted that his intervention was not a personal attack on the chancellor, who he wanted to remain in place”. The Hon Member is talking bullshit. Jenkin is paranoid and deluded; Hammond is the one trying to stop the implosion of the UK’s economy as a result of the headbanging idiocy of those like Jenkin and the rest of the right-wing idiocy.
The delusion and paranoia can be seen as Ms Asthana tells “Jenkin argued that the EU had ‘coopted the CBI, parts of the City and, it seems, the Treasury’ to assist it in making the Brexit process difficult and damaging”. They’re all agin us! Infamy! Infamy!
As one cabinet minister retorted, “realism is no sin when it comes to Brexit”. For the Brexit hardliners, anything that does not accord with their Vision And Boundless Hope And Optimism is immediately denounced as “gloomy”, “trying to scupper Brexit”, and no doubt will, in time, become “unpatriotic” and “talking the country down”.
Meanwhile, these prize specimens seem unaware that they are screwing with the livelihoods of millions of their fellow citizens, who are unlikely to be in a forgiving mood if and when the sunny uplands of Brexit turn out to be the crock of crap that an increasing number of those experts, to whom we are not supposed to listen, warn it will become.
Philip Hammond may be a rich Tory who will not suffer personally from a post-Brexit meltdown of the UK economy. But he at least has the sense to realise that others are not so fortunate. Unlike the Brexit headbangers in their hermetically sealed bubble.