The referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU has been a magnificent way of causing push to come to shove all across the Westminster village, as in its aftermath politicians resigned, others knifed one another in the pursuit of power - or to prevent others pursuing it - and scores were settled. It was also an excellent way of scratching the itch of discomfiture for those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet.
Who might this mean? Ah well. Here we arrive at the Baby Shard bunker, home of the Murdoch mafiosi, where there is clear disquiet among those working away on the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, and specifically the paper’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who had for some time been suspected of having views on the EU which were at variance with those espoused by his paper.
After all, Newton Dunn’s father Bill served for many years as a Lib Dem MEP; there can be no more EU-friendly influence than that. He was recently fingered as a Remain supporter by Private Eye magazine, but it has been the last few days that have shown him to be in the wrong job - well, certainly at the wrong paper.
Perusing a post-referendum opinion poll which showed that some voters had regretted casting their vote how they did, he concluded “New Opinium poll: 7% of Leavers regret the way they voted, 3% of Remainers do. That would wipe out #Brexit's majority”. Well, only just. But that is not the kind of interpretation a good Sun man is expected to make.
And by yesterday, he was in full grouchiness mode, Tweeting “So three party leadership contests to cover at once. There goes the Lobby's summer holidays. Please don't go anywhere @timfarron”. Actually, he may have miscounted - with the Greens also electing a new leader to replace Natalie Bennett, that number could be four.
Then, this morning, the overwhelming frustration reached its inevitable conclusion: “So; banks' capital reserves to be spent, deficit to go back up, AAA credit rating lost. Six years of economics reversed in 12 days #Brexit”. It’s possible that he just had to pay for something in US Dollars or Euros, too. Either way, Newton Dunn clearly disapproved of what the referendum result had done to the economy.
Other Tweeters displayed a combination of disbelief and mild ridicule. Hadn’t his paper not just endorsed a vote to Leave, but done so in terms of maximum exposure and minimum subtlety? “I've never declared my personal views” he reminded his followers. Wasn’t this a case of buyer’s remorse? “Not if I never bought”.
Lauri Love accused him of cowardice, and warned of the years of uncertainty to come. To this, Newton Dunn gave just an enigmatic “charming Lauri, but if only you knew”. No wonder he tried to get himself that berth at BBC Newsnight: Tom Newton Dunn has effectively admitted he’s pro-EU and not happy at having been part of the electorate having been sold what is looking increasingly like a pup.
Will no-one in the media offer this lost soul a home? He’s clearly not happy where he is.
First Kelly McKelvinface admitted to buyer's remorse, now Tom. Would they have done this without Murdoch's tacit approval? Will we see the S*n calling for a second referendum soon as the consequences of the first become terrifyingly clear?
I tend to agree with Arnold but not just because of the consequences.
1. The level of direct personal abuse by EU politicians against the Brexiteers has been quite stunning (and welcome). Once the main politicos' careers are dead and buried they might start looking wider for culprits to go after. Murdoch has TV interests in Italy and Germany and no doubt plans for more. He can't afford to be on the hit list.
2. There is still the matter of Sky ownership. Next PM May might be very grateful if someone ran a campaign that got her out of the dodgy business of negotiating the leave terms. She could be laughing, she wanted to Remain and she wanted the job. The first vote created the situation where the vacancy was created and the opposition wiped out (it seems). The leave negotiation under last months public opinion would be a kiss of death to any future career but if public opinion could now be changed and everything went back to as it was then she's got the job for at least 2 terms (assuming that Corbyn isn't hit by a bus just as Dan Jarvis decides he finally ready for the job).
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