Guest Post: “Slinker, Trailer, Snorter, Failure, Rich Man/Poor Man, MI6? Meep!”

Many thanks to BJ Approved Foreign Correspondent Tony Jay:

BJ International Presents: The Brexit Follies
An Alan Smithee Production

I think it was the late, great Glenn Medeiros who said, in reference to his third manager and fifth confirmed victim (WWE wrestler and pianoforte aficionado Danny “Hot Grease” Famagusta) “He couldn’t sing and he couldn’t dance, but if you didn’t want him applying a Figure-Four leg-lock and rabbit-punching your liver into patè, lying about it was always the smart move”. Wise words, Glenn, wise words. I’m sure that if he were here with us today and even passingly interested in the slow, grinding travesty that is this season of ‘Britain’s Got No Political Talent Whatsoever’, there’s no doubt that Mister Medeiros would look at the remaining Tory Leadership candidates and see the very clear analogy I’m drawing. Then he’d nod and he’d walk away, slowly, along the beach, sand between his toes, hair glistening, quietly satisfied.

Yes, it’s week two of the Contest of Charlatans and this evening the four remaining losers, plus Boris Johnson’s knuckle-cracking spokespeople, will once again ask the Parliamentary Party to throw their support behind their clear-sighted and not-at-all-ludicrous candidacies for the job of fucking up Brexit and everything associated with it in order to drag the corpse of the Tory Party a little bit further towards an inevitable General Election. Delusional optimism and naked ambition aside…. well, there’s not much left to cover, but we’ll try and drag this out for a few more pages so I don’t have to do any – actual – work before going home.
When we left them last week, the candidates had just emerged from the first round of Conservative MP’s votes and the ones who had cracked the magical 16+1 qualification score were:

Boris Johnson -114
Jeremy Hunt – 43
Michael Gove – 37
Dominic Raab – 27
Sajid Javid – 23
Matt Hancock – 20
Rory Stewart – 19

Andrea “Gaffetacular” Leadsom, Mark “Who? Why? Who again?” Harper and Esther “Black-Sheep of House Bolton” McVey were all dumped out for lack of popularity (look at my oh so very shocked face why don’t you), with Health Secretary and Yoof Outreach maestro Matt “Door” Hancock dropping out under his own steam a day later citing the need for a leader who could unite the Tory Party around the issues that Hancock felt were most important. Considering that Hancock had based his campaign on avoiding the self-inflicted mutilation of a No-Deal Brexit you would, of course, expect that he’d throw his support behind Stewart, or maybe to be more practical, Gove or Javid, but you would, of course, be quite wrong. Hancock immediately declared himself loyal to Boris the Brexiteer, proof, if needed, that the only thing more duplicitous and self-serving than a ‘One Nation Tory’ is a ‘One Nation Tory’ in a hurry to nail down his Cabinet job before the real fighting starts. Hancock’s 20 supporters were now up for grabs, and since very few of them would be expected to back one of the Brexit Uber Alles crowd they could provide a less overtly extremist candidate with some of the 33 votes needed to get through the next round of voting.

Before the voting the candidates were scheduled to have their first Leadership Debate live on Channel 4. I say ‘the candidates’ but there was a huge Johnson shaped gap in the proceedings as the Bard of Brexit was dutifully following the advice of his Australian campaign advisor, Lynton ‘I sell sheep-shit to sheep” Crosby and keeping himself locked in a gaffe-proof box until after everyone else dropped out and/or the BBC’s ever-so-friendly political editors could manage proceedings in a manner he’d be comfortable with. Prior to that the latest instance of Trumpian sabre-rattling in the Gulf of Oman gave the other candidates an opportunity to play the macho hardmen by affirming their unqualified support for whatever lunacy the Autonomous Amerikan Oblast was tweeting out as official policy. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was first out of the blocks, displaying his level-headed calmness in a crisis by insisting – without a shred of evidence – that the Foreign Office was almost (like, 99.9% and a bit more) certain Iran was responsible, and rounding on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn for daring to suggest that maybe we should keep our rockets in our pockets until actual evidence emerged that didn’t stem from badly photoshopped stills lifted from CoD: Modern Warfare 3. The other candidates (sans Boris the Silent) followed along, waving fists in the general direction of Tehran and castigating Corbyn for being insufficiently loyal to Imperator Smallgloves. The Media started lubing up to ride this latest instance of Corbyn Rules deep into The Narrative, but were caught flat-footed when the Rest of the World (other than the Likud-Saudi Axis) confirmed that they were very much with Red Jezza on this and frankly didn’t believe a word emanating from Mike Pompeo’s pie-crust of a face or, by extension, from Blue Jezza’s mysterious Intelligence sources. Oooooh, that’s gotta sting. Funnily enough the topic didn’t come up during the Channel 4 debate and the candidates were spared an embarrassing climb-down, concentrating instead on domestic issues revolving around the omnipresent B-Word.

Opinion after the debate basically boiled down to a few essential truths. Hunt was a bit dull and would probably have been much happier standing in front of a mirror practicing variations on Blue Steel. Gove wanted to base his whole campaign around that one time he was rude to Corbyn while standing in for May at Prime Minister’s Questions (probably out of his face on three lines of Bolivian Devil, that stuff’s proper Bo). Everyone ganged up on Raab and bricked him for his talk about proroguing Parliament (translation – telling Parliament to go and stand in a corner and count to a hundred, no peeking) to prevent MPs from stopping the UK from crashing out of the EU without any kind of withdrawal agreement in place. Javid hoped his humble non-Oxbridge background would make him the obvious choice to take on the Aristotle of Eton in the final round of voting (just don’t mention Chase Manhattan or Deutche Bank, yeah?). Stewart had a good debate and stood out as the only candidate with a couple of toes and maybe part of a heel still firmly planted in the Real World, enabling him to slam the others as macho poseurs without a clue how to make good on their promise to force the EU back to the negotiating table. Johnson was (of course) declared the real winner by the Media, since his empty-chaired absence kept him in everyone’s mind while simultaneously sparing him the irresistible opportunity to say something disastrously empty-headed and borderline offensive every few minutes. Now that’s some privilege on display right there.

In between the Channel 4 debate and the BBC extravaganza where Johnson’s programmers were planning to unveil their shiny new product came the second round of voting. As noted, only candidates who could garner 33 votes or more would get through to the later stages, and whoever got the fewest supporters would be dropped regardless of the number. In the lead-up various bombs were half-heartedly tossed around while the political world waited with bated breath for The BoJo Show to finally debut, hair trimmed and tassels a-whirling.

Rory Stewart’s post-University links with MI6 were somewhat oddly ‘revealed’, like potentially being an operative of Her Majesty’s Secret Service in your early 20’s would count against a Tory candidate? Seriously? All Stewart had to do was state – accurately – that he could neither confirm nor deny (wink wink) the claims and reap the benefits of being within a Kevin Bacon of Daniel Craig. Not bad for a man who looks like a pre-pubescent garden gnome in his uncle’s best interview suit.

Jeremy Hunt dropped his campaign right in it by agreeing ‘150%’ with the sentiments expressed by your own National Embarrassment when Tang Toad Wang retweeted onion-eyed hate-spout and Ann Coulter wannabe Katie Hopkins as part of his disgusting racist attack on London’s Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan. After initially trying to style it out Hunt soon realised he was being abandoned by Downing Street and outflanked by his intermittently Muslim rival Sajid Javid and so beat a hasty retreat by clarifying that, while he had been totally right to agree with the offensive sentiments, that didn’t mean he agreed with the sentiments that gave offense, or something. Ladies and gentlemen, our Foreign Secretary, on a one-man mission to remind the world that Boris Johnson wasn’t exactly an outlier when it came to privileged dildoes with microphones.

Johnson himself got a bit of a working over when it was revealed that much of his support was based on – and you may need to be sitting down with a stiff drink to hand while you digest this bombshell – his willingness to promise different factions completely contradictory things in order to secure their votes. Imagine that! Boris lying? Who would have thunk it? Telling the Brexiteers he would utterly rip up May’s withdrawal agreement and its hated Backstop provisions (which even steroid-necked peanut head Dominic Raab wasn’t willing to do) while simultaneously promising more moderate MPs that of course the already agreed withdrawal agreement would form the basis of his negotiating position, with a few tweaks. Oooh, Boris, purred the political press, you dashing rogue, you. Honestly, as an example of how infuriating it is when the Media unilaterally shield their favoured candidate from blowback, their treatment of Johnson is a towering phallic monument to the style. They keep on wondering if the crap he pulls might possibly hurt him, then in the next line they turn around and declare that “for some unknown reason” it’s not damaging him. No shit, Sherlock. It’s almost like he can knife a man on Carnaby Street and get away with it, isn’t it?

[Breaks for a spot of heavy breathing and snapping pencils. Gets splinter. Curses. Returns]

The second round of voting occurred yesterday against back-and-forth whispers that Johnson might be instructing some of his supporters to vote for Hunt in order to inflate his numbers and weaken the others. In the event that didn’t seem to happen, but the results were a bit of a shocker all around.

Boris Johnson – 126 (+12)
Jeremy Hunt – 46 (+3)
Michael Gove – 41 (+4)
Rory Stewart – 37 (+18)
Sajid Javid – 33 (+10)
Dominic Raab – 30 (+3)

For all the talk of the inevitability of Boris and the near certainty that scores of Tory MPs would start flocking to his banner out of ambition and a very real fear of being labelled an internal enemy once his substantial arse gets poised above the Number 10 hot-seat, he’d still only picked up 12 new voters, which I’m pretty sure is fewer than the combined votes confirmed Brexiteers Leadsom and McVey had in the first round. That’s not a great showing, not even close. Dare I say it Johnson is hovering around the crazification factor for the Conservative Parliamentary Party which you can estimate by seeing how many voted against May last December when the ERG group was manoeuvred into trying to remove her from the Premiership at the worst possible moment for a leadership challenge. He’s still the prohibitive favourite, probably, but as far as momentum goes, I don’t see it.

Jeremy Hunt has been the official winner of the Runner-Up Trophy twice now, but he’s also having a momentum problem. To me he gives off a very strong “British Mitt Romney” vibe and his essential privileged dullness seems to be working against him. People keep dropping out but he’s not picking up many of their voters. The same is true of Gove, he’d like to be the guy who can unite Brexiteers and moderates in opposition to Johnson, but the truth is not many people like or trust the slimy little turd, which is doable if you have the institutional power to command obedience through threats of retribution (let’s call it the Trump Doctrine) but is a real handicap when you’re trying to become Primes inter Pares of a group as reflexively vicious as Tory MPs.

Rory Stewart was, of course, the big surprise of this round, picking up the most new voters and winning plaudits for rejecting the groupthink on Brexit and negotiations with the EU. OTOH there have been wobbles, with the ‘Not really that Tory for a Tory’ gloss being tarnished first by some overdue attention to his voting record (loyal to the Government on all of the policies that have hollowed out public services and social care under the banner of Austerity) and then by his vote against Labour’s motion to rule out the No-Deal Brexit he’s supposed to oppose and his flip-flopping between “I’d never serve in a Johnson Cabinet” and “Oh yes I’d definitely serve in a Johnson Cabinet”. Defenders would point out that he’s fighting for the votes of Tory MPs and Tory Party members, so voting with Corbyn’s Labour on a motion so contrary to the opinions of the radicalised Party Base would be suicide, and that’s a fair point, but politics isn’t fair, is it? And vacillating about a Cabinet post just made him look shallow and easily moved about. You’re supposed to be the principled Tory that can win votes from Labour and the Lib-Dems, dude, not a fucking weathervane.

Sajid Javid just scraped into the running for the next round of votes, which is rather surprising considering his policies. I don’t know what it is about this devoted Thatcherite who dragged himself up by his own bootstraps to make a shitload of money in international finance and then gave it all up to become an MP comfortably on the Right of the Party that the bulk of his fellow MPs can’t get behind. It’s really odd. Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but a person could be forgiven for thinking that it might just be a teensy-weensy tiny little bit to do with the institutional Islamaphobia that is absolutely rife within the Conservative Party, so much so that the vast majority of Tories who would otherwise see Javid as the perfect Stop Boris candidate if his name were, say, Simon James, can’t see the point of getting him to a run-off where the electorate are openly and increasingly prejudiced against ‘those people’.

Dominic Raab was the biggest loser, falling below the 33-vote threshold and going out of the race. Not that surprising. He’d tried to define himself as the arch-Brexiteer, but with Johnson staying out of the media spotlight and working the Westminster factions by promising everyone whatever they wanted, Raab was forced to compete with a phantom. That’s what his gaffe about proroguing Parliament was about, staking out an extreme position where he thought Johnson ‘might’ not be willing to go and paying for it when he had to justify it in front of the cameras. His people complained after the fact that Johnson stole away his natural constituency of ERG-branded Brextremists even before the contest began by making outlandish promises Raab couldn’t match, but that simply makes him look like an idiot for persevering with his candidacy. Goodbye, peanut-head, I’m sure we’ll see your altogether too pleased with himself for no discernible reason face again soon enough.

The real jaw-dropping event of yesterday was the release of a YouGov poll of Tory Party members that… well… I’ll just drop these here and let them stand as a tribute to what the ‘Natural Party of Government’ has become.

“For each of the following scenarios say whether you would rather Brexit did or did not take place, even if Brexit led definitely to the scenario becoming a reality.”

Scotland leaving the United Kingdom
Do Brexit = 63% Drop Brexit = 29%

Significant damage to the UK economy
Do Brexit = 61% Drop Brexit = 29%

Northern Ireland leaving the United Kingdom
Do Brexit = 59% Drop Brexit = 28%

The Conservative Party being destroyed
Do Brexit = 54% Drop Brexit = 36%

Fucking hell. It’s officially a cannibal cult.

There is one scenario where the cultists would let their precious drop into the fiery heart of Mount Doom, though. Can you guess what it is?

Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister
Do Brexit = 39% Drop Brexit = 51%

Oh, and there’s this.

“Would you be happy or unhappy if Nigel Farage became leader of the Conservative Party?”

Happy = 46% Unhappy = 40% Neither = 13% Don’t Know = 1%

Now, there has been a lot of talk, officially poo-pooed by the Conservative Party’s mandarins, of large-scale entryism into the Party from UKIP and even further Right. Some estimate up to 30% of the membership are basically agents of the Brexit Party (which doesn’t have its own membership rolls, being in fact a limited company selling shares in the Nigel Farage brand) on a mission to either drag the Tories with them or force the ‘moderates’ to split off so that they can wear the Party’s skin like a onesie. But even so, these numbers are absolutely fucking horrifying. I can only imagine the seismic shift in openly hostile media coverage that would follow any similar kind of polling amongst Labour Party members, but since it’s Tories happily casting aside the Union, the economy and their own Party in pursuit of Brexit unicorns… one day wonder and a plunge down the memory hole for you, inconvenient facts.

And these are the people who will get to choose the next Prime Minister. We’re doomed.

On to the BBC leadership debate itself, which by all accounts was a bit of a damp squib. I didn’t catch it myself, being out with my partner while she pitched for (and won) funding for a Community Garden she’s setting up in our area, but I’ve caught the highlights and I can see what they mean. Johnson was as you’d expect, blustering and evasive, with no grasp of issues or even his own policies. You’d be forgiven for thinking he really wasn’t that enthusiastic about winning the contest, which wouldn’t be all that surprising, given the insane Party he’d be leading into nailed-on disaster.

Stewart came in for a kicking from the other three also-rans who have clearly decided that he’s getting above his station with this ‘Nice Guy’ campaign and needs to be reminded that David Cameron patented that line of bullshit roughly a decade ago and he won’t be allowed to make the rest of them look like shitbags by comparison.

Hunt and Gove didn’t do much to move the needle either way, with the former promoting decrepit and out-dated pro-business, anti-regulation quackery as the solution to all Britain’s ills and the latter trying to thread a needle between claiming Brexit as his baby while also shedding tears for the poor and the marginalised. Javid got a good moment when he pivoted from Johnson and Hunt’s really cringingly bad responses to a question about Islamophobia and the racist language they’ve used to a call for a full-on independent inquiry into how prevalent it is in the Tory Party, but then you remember what Party it is he’s trying to win the leadership of and it don’t look so much of a win.

In the aftermath, the usual polling took place. Some of the highlights include:

Amongst Tory voters Johnson was declared the winner, with Hunt second and Stewart third, while amongst Labour and Lib-Dem voters Stewart was the runaway winner with Hunt second and Johnson way back. That’s not good news for Saint Rory, but very good news for the Johnson campaign. He could drop a turd on the stage and as long as he turned to camera, smirked, and muttered something about “Miffle piffle…. Corbyn’s head” his support would still rocket.

There is something very, very wrong with these people.

So currently it’s about halfway through the next round of voting. I expect that the bulk of Raab’s support will go to Johnson, which should elevate him over the 150 mark, and maybe even to over 50% of MPs. Short of a scandal even he couldn’t shrug off (Dead girl, live boy, undead panda) he’s going to go into the final round as the favourite of the nutbars who make up the Tory Party membership. The only question is which of the other candidates will join him there. Hunt looks shaky, Javid looks doomed, Gove looks stuck, Stewart may have shot his bolt after the results of the polls. I really do not know what is going to happen. One thing is for certain, though, whoever wins this election will be feted by the Media as a fresh new start for the Conservatives deserving of a chance to solve the Brexit Problem, and they’ll fail.

General Election before the end of the year, semi-official Tory/Brexit Party pact, and we’ll see how the last three years of epic fusterclucking has changed the opinion of the electorate.

******

Post Vote Addendum

So, the votes came in while I was on my way home and Stewart is out on his bony little arse.

Boris Johnson – 143 (+17)
Jeremy Hunt – 54 (+8)
Michael Gove – 51 (+10)
Sajid Javid – 38 (+5)
Rory Stewart – 27 (-10)

It looks like either Stewart’s supporters decided he was done for after the last debate or – more likely – a big chunk of his 2nd Round vote was ‘loaned’ to him by Johnson’s faction who wanted to ensure that Raab was picked off to free up his Brextremist voters for the front-runner. Now Johnson is within touching distance of 50% and the suspicion will be that he’s artificially propping up one or more of his opponents to orchestrate who his final opponent will be. Of course, he and his team may not be doing any such thing, but the suspicion is there, and you can be damned sure Team Bozo will be fanning it like mad.

What now? Well there’s another vote tomorrow and obviously there’s going to be a ton of pressure on Sajid Javid to fold up his tents and either bring as many of his supporters as possible across to one of the other Not Boris candidates or, since he’s an ambitious fellow with Brexiteer credentials, do what most of the other defeated candidates have done and bend the knee to the Lord of Misrule in return for a nice Cabinet post. OTOH it’s entirely possible that Johnson would prefer to have Javid with him in the final two (for obvious reasons) and might prop him up with spare votes over the next two rounds, which puts yet more pressure on Javid to drop out and take away Johnson’s ability to meddle.

Gove and Hunt’s teams will likewise be communicating to see what kind of deal there is to be done, but I don’t think either man will be willing to budge unless they have to. They’ll both be looking to see where Stewart’s 27 supporters go tomorrow and how their own vote totals hold up.

Bloody hell, these Tories, it’s never simple. That’s why I prefer reading about American politics. It’s all happening safely far, far away and to someone else. s/






89 replies
  1. 1
    Tony Jay says:

    Thanks, Anne-Laurie.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    There is one scenario where the cultists would let their precious drop into the fiery heart of Mount Doom, though. Can you guess what it is?

    Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister
    Do Brexit = 39% Drop Brexit = 51%

    Hahahahaha. Party over country.

    Sadly, they don’t really fear this scenario.

  3. 3

    @Tony Jay: I find your posts informative, but I find myself shaking my head over what they report. At least I can understand racists and the Fox News audience (is that redundant?) voting for Trump, and others secretly intrigued by his promise to disrupt the system. Britain also seems to have a similar faction, who are in favor of Brexit.

    But why Boris Johnson? The guy seems even dippier than Trump, and upper-class condescending as well. Also, you all are getting (well, some are getting) to vote since we have seen the utter sh*tshows on both sides of the Atlantic. So one might expect there to be some reconsideration to the effect that well, maybe we should act like a responsible nation.

    Of course, we’re worrying that our electorate will repeat the Trump fiasco, so there may turn out not to be that much difference at all and both of the major English-speaking nations mired in insanity.

  4. 4
    Mary G says:

    I love your writing, Tony, and feel a bit better that there is another national party as far out of its mind as our Republicans.

    PS Congratulations to your partner on the garden 🌴☘🌿🍃

  5. 5
    J R in WV says:

    So proud of the international qualities of Balloon-Juice in these days of dystopian future tense news breaks!!

    Thanks Tony! I know so little of British politics, [ Torys? ] that even this clear and reasoned description of what’s going on in Great Britain leaves me more confused than I was before. The tone of hysteria Mr. Jay presents is nearly perfect, though!

    The poll:

    Scotland leaving the United Kingdom
    Do Brexit = 63% Drop Brexit = 29%

    Significant damage to the UK economy
    Do Brexit = 61% Drop Brexit = 29%

    Northern Ireland leaving the United Kingdom
    Do Brexit = 59% Drop Brexit = 28%

    The Conservative Party being destroyed
    Do Brexit = 54% Drop Brexit = 36%

    is misleading, as I expect most or all of the negative consequences presented will happen. Who will be happy then??

  6. 6
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Tony Jay: what’s your day job? I’m guessing either barrister or writer for “the Graham Norton show”.

  7. 7
    Tony Jay says:

    @Baud:

    Sadly, they don’t really fear this scenario.

    I’m not so sure about that. General Elections are pretty zero-sum over here, and the obligation to provide each Party with equal time cuts through a lot of the Media bias if (and that’s a big if) the policies on offer are popular, which Labour’s are and the Tories’ aren’t. They’re in a really bad situation and their vote is going to be split with the Brexit Party, so however badly Labour’s negatives have been pumped up by the Media they still have a very good chance of emerging the biggest Party, and I think the Tories are very well aware of that. That’s one of Boris Johnson’s main selling points. He’s an untrustworthy prick – but – the Media love him and that gives them at least something to cling to.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Thanks. That’s good to hear.

  9. 9
    Tony Jay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I think it’s basically the same thing as someone very perceptive here said about Trump and his base. They know he’s lying, and they know he’s considerably less than the sum of his parts, but as long as he tells them the lies they want to hear and lies in service of what they – really – want (Brexit) he’s their candidate.

    And the people voting here are Tory MPs, who are every bit as venal as their Republican cousins, and the Tory Party membership, who are likewise as delusional and racist as any Deplorable. That’s Johnson’s audience and he’s playing whatever tune they want him to.

  10. 10
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Speaking of British people, I caught a few minutes of the movie “the danish girl” this morning. Eddie Redmayne, when dressed as a woman, looks very much like late ‘80’s Molly Ringwald.

    Did not see enough of the movie to know if there was a Long Duk Dong lookalike in it as well, but I imagine there had to be.

  11. 11
    oatler. says:

    Y’all should check out Peter Cook’s 1969 film “The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer.”

  12. 12
    Tony Jay says:

    @Mary G:

    PS Congratulations to your partner on the garden

    I’m huggingly proud of her. Never seen anyone so nervous as she was pitching in front of 40 people, but she did it. I do my part printing out the speech and things with spades.

  13. 13
    James E Powell says:

    Thank you for this Tony Jay. I was wondering about this and couldn’t find a short, sweet summary.

    Is there any chance that Labor will go into the next general without Corbyn at the helm?

  14. 14
    MomSense says:

    Tony Jay, this brexshit mess is tragic but you are a seriously gifted writer.

  15. 15
    Tony Jay says:

    @J R in WV:

    Tories = The Conservative Party. It’s a nickname from back in the day when they were the Royalist Party going up against the Whigs (precursor to your own Whig Party that went down the tubes in the 1850s) and their bastardy won them comparisons with a family of Irish pirates based on Tory Island. The nickname stuck.

    As to the poll, the scary thing is that they Do Not Care. They want Brexit so much (and think failure to carry it out will destroy the Party anyway) that they’re willing to wreck everything in order to achieve it. It’s single-issue voting taken to the furthest extreme, and it’s only getting worse.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    Tony Jay,

    Appreciate your analysis and explanation.👏👏👏

  17. 17
    chris says:

    As always, Mr. Jay, good show! Thank you.

  18. 18
    Tony Jay says:

    @James E Powell:

    Is there any chance that Labor will go into the next general without Corbyn at the helm?

    It’s possible, and there are factions within the Party that would love to force him out, but I hope not. I voted for Corbyn in two leadership elections because I agree wholeheartedly with his policies, and the absolute tsunami of shit aimed his way from inside and outside the party only makes me more convinced that it’s the policies, not the man, that those shit-flingers want to remove from the sphere of possibility. Fuck that for a game of soldiers. I’ll vote for someone else when that someone else convinces me they can champion the same or better policies in the face of the same open hostility from the Media and the Right. So far, that person hasn’t emerged.

  19. 19
    Tony Jay says:

    @MomSense:

    You’re too kind. I’m not happy with it. Not nearly enough bestiality-based analogies.

  20. 20
    FelonyGovt says:

    This is fascinating and you are a wonderful writer. It seems like both our countries have been infected with a racist and xenophobic fever.

  21. 21
    Tony Jay says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Dude, no. I do Administration for a…. you know what, I’m already boring myself. 8-)

  22. 22
    Sloane Ranger says:

    Brilliant writing and excellent analysis Tony. Our long national nightmare continues. I get more and more depressed when contemplating the future of our nation.

    The worst thing is talking to people who initially seem perfectly normal and rational who start spouting jingoistic slogans with a smug, self satisfied look on their face when you point out any of the practical problems involved in a no deal Brexit.

    James E. Powell – The only way Corbyn will not lead Labour into the next election is if he’s dead or seriously incapacitated… and even then I wouldn’t be too sure.

  23. 23
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @FelonyGovt: whatever do we have in common—could it be Murdoch?

  24. 24
    chris says:

    @FelonyGovt: Canada and Australia aren’t far behind on the racist and xenophobic front.

  25. 25
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Tony Jay: The only problem is that Corbyn wants Brexit as much as any Tory. His vision of Britain may be radically different but that doesn’t change that basic fact

    Look at what happened when Tom Watson dared to suggest Labour back a 2nd referendum.

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Bingo. He is one of the worst things to happen to humanity.

  27. 27
    Wakeshift says:

    What’s that game?
    Shag*
    Marry
    Kill

    This post: ALL 3
    I need a cigarette, god damn.

    Bravo, Tony Jay. Bravo.

    * Am I doing this right? ;)

  28. 28
    Baud says:

    @Tony Jay:

    I think Corbyn might get an unfair rap here from being portrayed as a British Bernie.

    ETA: or maybe not.

    @Sloane Ranger:

    The only problem is that Corbyn wants Brexit as much as any Tory. 

  29. 29
    Tony Jay says:

    @FelonyGovt:

    It’s not just Britain and America. The virus was tamped down after it flared up in the 30s and 40s but it”s in the blood and was always going to come back mutated just enough to sidestep our out-of-date defenses. Now it’s up to us to find another treatment before it gets too embedded and we have to do what they did last time and rely on extreme surgical procedures to cut out the infected tissue.

    I am not a doctor. I only think those analogies work.

  30. 30
    FelonyGovt says:

    @Tony Jay: Sadly, you’re right. The worst of human nature is out in the open again, worldwide.

  31. 31
    Doug R says:

    @Tony Jay: I hear that Corbyn was squishy on Brexit. Probably because he doesn’t like the way the EU is run, but also I hear he’s hankering for the old glory days before Thatcher.

  32. 32
  33. 33

    @Steve in the ATL: I was thinking that Tony’s a Master in a S&M club, but that doesn’t exclude being an attorney.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    How’re your cables?

  35. 35
    Tony Jay says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    The only problem is that Corbyn wants Brexit as much as any Tory.

    Nope. Not getting into this because it’s so late here and I’m up in less than five hours but that’s just not even a bit true. He’s ‘respecting the referendum’ but any possible Brexit or Lexit or variation on the theme is going to a public vote. Politics isn’t pretty and you can’t always go the straight route to your destination. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.

    And Tom Watson can eat a bag of salted but still rotten dicks.

  36. 36
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: it’s a fine line

    @Doug R:

    I hear that Corbyn was squishy

    Take your homophobia back to the frozen north, hoser!

    @FelonyGovt:

    The worst of human nature is out in the open again

    I really don’t post that often.

  37. 37
    Tony Jay says:

    @Wakeshift:

    Yes, you are doing it right.

    For certain values of right. 8-)

  38. 38
    Betty Cracker says:

    Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ. We’re all screwed!

  39. 39
    Doug R says:

    @Steve in the ATL: When Labour members are solidly in favour of Remain, Corbyn really isn’t serving them the best by being in favour of getting out himself.

  40. 40
    FelonyGovt says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Us attorneys aren’t THAT bad.

  41. 41
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Regarding the polling, the conservatives want the party to drive the car off of the cliff but only if Corbyn isn’t put behind the wheel as it plummets to the bottom of the cliff. Is this a fair way to look at it?

  42. 42
    Tony Jay says:

    @Doug R:

    Christ, doesn’t everyone? Wouldn’t you hanker for the way things were before Reagan?*

    * Except for the improvements in social attitudes and quality TV, we’re not going back in all areas!

  43. 43
    Tony Jay says:

    Right, really have to go to bed.

    You’re all wonderful people, there’s wine in the fridge, don’t binge on the cheese and I’ll see you tomorrow.

  44. 44
    Baud says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Wouldn’t you hanker for the way things were before Reagan?*

    Obviously, in a number of areas, yes. But in general, no. I’m not one for nostalgia.

  45. 45

    @Baud: I’m having a problem with one of the cables linking to one of my hubs, but things are up and running.

    ETA: I found a lot of dust and a number of mystery cables back there behind my monitors.

  46. 46
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Tony Jay: It’s late here too as I suspect we’re in the same time zone and country.

    So, where is this promise of a public vote on Brexit written down? Please don’t say the call for a general election as Labour will campaign on a “Jobs Brexit ” whatever the hell that is.

  47. 47
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Wouldn’t you hanker for the way things were before Reagan?*

    Like bell bottoms and wide lapels and really big sideburns? Fuck that shit!

  48. 48
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    You forgot disco. The weed sucked too but the acid was really good. :)

  49. 49
    Another Scott says:

    Thanks for this, Tony Jay!

    Twitter:

    Nicola Sturgeon Verified account @NicolaSturgeon

    More Nicola Sturgeon Retweeted Business Insider

    I think he’ll probably find we think the same about him.Nicola Sturgeon added,

    Business Insider Verified account @businessinsider

    Boris Johnson said Scottish people should not be allowed to be prime minister

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....ter-2019-6

    8:14 AM – 17 Jun 2019

    Heh. :-)

    I have the impression that the idea Scottish independence is less popular than it was around the time of the first referendum, but would Boris help drive Scotland away?

    Were Scotland to vote to leave, wouldn’t Northern Ireland be there with them, given the NI/I border issues, the Good Friday agreement, and all the rest?

    It seems to be such an obvious disaster that it is still flabbergasting to me that the Tories are so determined to rush over the cliff. “ButButBut the Referendum was Sacred and we must Respect the Will of the People!!11” Surely, there’s a way to remind the voters about the laws against false pretenses

    :-/

    (Yeah, it’s a stretch, and IANAL, but it’s worth a shot. Parliament is Sovereign, also too.)

    Thanks again.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  50. 50
    Tony Jay says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    Okay, actually in bed now, but couldn’t leave you hanging.

    He said it again today. It’s in the paper. Any kind of Brexit deal that gets through Parliament (not just a Tory Brexit) will go to a public vote that is fair to Remain and Leave voters. Short of a full on new referendum (which isn’t getting through Parliament) that’s the ball game right there.

    Sleep well, fellow Remainer, there’s hope yet. 8-)

  51. 51
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    You forgot disco

    Thanks for undoing years of therapy.

  52. 52
    James E Powell says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    The Clash was still together.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Scott:

    Were Scotland to vote to leave, wouldn’t Northern Ireland be there with them, given the NI/I border issues, the Good Friday agreement, and all the rest?

    The DUP and Protestant extremists would never want to leave the UK.

    Part of the problem is that the DUP want the impossible as part of BREXIT. They insist that there be absolutely no arrangement that treats Northern Ireland different than the rest of the UK.

    But the EU and the Good Friday Agreement says that there cannot be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

  54. 54
    smintheus says:

    @Tony Jay: Corbyn won’t lift a finger to stop Brexit, any more than Pelosi will stand down and allow impeachment to go forward, unless their hand is forced. Both of them are disastrously blinkered leaders in a time of crisis that requires real vision.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Before Reagan and Thatcher? There was this.

  56. 56
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Brachiator:

    Protestant extremists

    I’m totally not wearing orange right now.

  57. 57
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Tony Jay:

    That’s why I prefer reading about American politics. It’s all happening safely far, far away and to someone else. s/

    That’s the exact reason Why I only watch Euro TV News and avoid U.S. MSM completely

    Question, I thought “paid up dues paying members of the Conservative Party” had a direct role?

  58. 58
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: and this

  59. 59
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    My condolences. :)

  60. 60
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I picture you with an Oscar Gamble hairstyle

  61. 61
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Just One More Canuck: I *literally* laughed out loud. Well done.

  62. 62
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Tony Jay:

    I voted for Corbyn in two leadership elections because I agree wholeheartedly with his policies

    How does his support for Brexit fold into that? My understanding is he’s for it because EU’s neoliberal regs would prevent him from implementing his intent of re-nationalizing parts of the economy. But I guess with FPTP voting rules choices need to made

  63. 63
    Peale says:

    @Another Scott: post Brexit, the problem for Scottish leavers is that they couldn’t be grandfathered in to the EU and Spain would block their entry. They could not be a full member. They’d have to negotiate something like Norway has, but I don’t think the Scots are any better than the English at negotiating. They just assume they can get what they want and keep the pound and their pensions and everyone will go along.

  64. 64
    Kent says:

    As an American political junkie, read through this one time over and try to understand EXACTLY what is happening over there in the UK. Confused? Just a little bit?

    That is basically what it is like for the average, un-curious, not-so-smart, barely ever votes, American to understand our electoral system and where our 23+ Dem candidates stand and what that has to do with Iowa and Super Tuesday and PACs and dark money and the Census and the Supreme Court and all the rest of it.

    Just saying. Those of us who live and breathe this stuff really don’t understand how complicated and distant it is for a lot of Americans who really don’t bother to follow politics. Trying to dive in and follow UK politics for just a little bit is a reminder of what that is like.

  65. 65
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I’m figuratively blushing

  66. 66
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Another Scott:

    Boris Johnson said Scottish people should not be allowed to be prime minister

    Well some Tory had to insult the Scots, another one already noted that “the Irish should know their place”. And Priti Patel has proposed blockading food supplies to the ROL. They’ve insulted all the other EU countries, I guess Canada is next

  67. 67
    Redshift says:

    @Tony Jay:

    You’re all wonderful people, there’s wine in the fridge, don’t binge on the cheese and I’ll see you tomorrow.

    Woohoo, we’ve got the okay to binge on wine!

    Thanks for the entertaining write-up. We have to laugh or we’d cry.

  68. 68
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Redshift: don’t get too excited—it’s boxed wine.

  69. 69
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    The Poll, at the end of Mr. Jay’s review of the state of politics in Old blighty!!

    I made a huge mistake discussing that poll, when I said that this result would be negative:

    The Conservative Party being destroyed
    Do Brexit = 54% Drop Brexit = 36%

    In reality, that outcome may be the only thing that saves Great Britain, rather than producing the individual nations of England, Scotland, Wales [or as Trump spells it: Whales!] and Ireland, with three of those nations rejoining the European Union, leaving England to starve on its own. Or would that be positive, also? Now I are cornfused…

  70. 70
    Matt McIrvin says:

    That’s why I prefer reading about American politics. It’s all happening safely far, far away and to someone else.

    American politics happens to everyone eventually.
    British politics was like that, once…

  71. 71
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Wouldn’t you hanker for the way things were before Reagan?

    The way things were before Reagan led to Reagan. The older I get the more I’m reminded that you can’t make the system stand still.

  72. 72
    J R in WV says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Tories = The Conservative Party. It’s a nickname from back in the day…

    I knew that much… it just struck me as amusing that we ran the Tories out of this country in the late 1700s, and now we have the Deplorable Republican Racists all over again. And you’re dealing with your own Tories, who don’t give a damn what the QE II might want them to do. So not Royalists any more, just racists all over again.

    Hard to tell who is in the worst spot — us USAians or you Britons.

  73. 73

    BJ International Presents: The Brexit Follies
    – An Alan Smithee Production

    Omg fucking hilarious

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    @James E Powell:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    The Clash was still together.

    The Dead were still touring. Bob Dylan IS STILL touring!! And so are the Stones, now that Mick has a new heart valve!

  75. 75
    Jay says:

    Thank you very much, Tony Jay, for writing this, entertaining and infuriating,

    Thank you, Anne Laurie, for posting this.

    One of the things that always strikes me about the Brexit coverage in Western Media is that the EU is always treated as if it’s not involved in Brexit and has no agency.

    Given the Brexit Follies of late, it looks like October 31st, Britain crashes out, no matter who’s in charge.

    Looks like the UK was a nice idea while it lasted.

  76. 76
    Fred Fnord says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Don’t worry… in 50 years, it’ll all be standing perfectly still, until the end of time.

  77. 77
    Sean says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Because its dues-paying party members making the final choice, which is only a small subset of the general Tory voting electorate and the party rolls have become a bit stuffed with rabid Brexit loons. Boris doesn’t particularly sit well with a significant percentage of Tory leaning voters but with Jezza as the oppo, he’s a bit safer than he should be.

  78. 78
    Tony Jay says:

    @Doug R:

    When Labour members are solidly in favour of Remain, Corbyn really isn’t serving them the best by being in favour of getting out himself.

    Awake again. Dead thread, but it would be rude not to tidy it up.

    It’s not that Corbyn in ‘in favour’ of getting out of the EU, it’s much more that while a large majority of Labour members are solid Remain a substantial chunk of MPs, members – and – voters are Leavers. The Referendum was a compromised disinformation operation but it still gave political legitimacy to the Brexit movement that, as Leader of the Opposition, Corbyn had to respect. If he hadn’t then the 2017 Election would probably not have seen the Tories lose their majority (in which case Brexit would already have happened) and the Labour Party would have split, leaving the Tories unopposed.

    Shorter – Labour’s membership agreed its Brexit policy at Conference last year and Corbyn has stuck to it.

  79. 79
    Tony Jay says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Regarding the polling, the conservatives want the party to drive the car off of the cliff but only if Corbyn isn’t put behind the wheel as it plummets to the bottom of the cliff. Is this a fair way to look at it?

    Yes. It makes no sense, but it’s fair.

  80. 80
    Tony Jay says:

    @smintheus:

    Sorry, but no. Lots of no.

  81. 81
    Tony Jay says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    Question, I thought “paid up dues paying members of the Conservative Party” had a direct role?

    When it gets down to the last two candidates it goes over to the membership for a postal vote.

    Unless all the other candidates drop out and leave the winner unchallenged (as happened in 2016 when May won) in which case they don’t bother going to the membership.

  82. 82
    Tony Jay says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    How does his support for Brexit fold into that?

    I wouldn’t say support. I’d say it’s more an acknowledgement that the referendum result gave Brexit political momentum and his job as Opposition leader was to come up with a form of it that would inflict the least damage on the country, regardless of whether or not this form of Brexit ever had a unicorn’s chance in hell of happening.

    My understanding is he’s for it because EU’s neoliberal regs would prevent him from implementing his intent of re-nationalizing parts of the economy.

    I’ve heard that argument too, and it’s not something I agree with. The EU’s rules on direct Government propping-up of nationalised industries would be a factor, but there’s nothing in the EU’s constitution preventing the renationalisation of the railways, energy suppliers, etc etc.

  83. 83
    smintheus says:

    @Tony Jay: Pretending as you do that Corbyn has been a hostage in this crisis doesn’t make it so. He was useless during the Brexit campaign and he has been useless ever since. What matters to him is the prime minister’s office, not the EU.

  84. 84
    smintheus says:

    @Tony Jay:

    his job as Opposition leader was to come up with a form of it that would inflict the least damage on the country, regardless of whether or not this form of Brexit ever had a unicorn’s chance in hell of happening

    That is inane.

  85. 85
    Daoud bin Daoud says:

    Thanks, Tony, wonderful reportage. I’ve been following the Brexit mess in horrified fascination – it’s like watching an airliner crash and burn. It looks like you Brits are about as fucked as we Yanks – goddess help us all!

  86. 86
    DHD says:

    I can’t get enough of these posts! And I thought our Tories (sorry, now they are just “Conservatives”) up here were loony…

    Given that I am generally in favour of the destruction of the Conservative Party, as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving the UK (although, maybe not the last one given the potential for actual bloodshed) should I be rooting for Boris?

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @Tony Jay:

    Shorter – Labour’s membership agreed its Brexit policy at Conference last year and Corbyn has stuck to it.

    I guess this makes a certain sense, but it says that both the Tories and Labour care about party first. Both parties also think that they can manage BREXIT, or simply ignore the problem.

    People who want to remain in the EU have no clear champion to represent their interests.

    ETA. We are down to 3 Tory leadership candidates now and in a few hours we may be down to the final two. It may come down to Johnson and Gove.

  88. 88
    Panurge says:

    @Tony Jay:

    If social attitudes were really that much better now, Donald Trump wouldn’t be President and the U.K wouldn’t be facing Brexit. Even the improvements we’ve had have been trying (mostly unnecessarily, if you ask me) to “lean against” the Big Retro that gave us Reagan and Thatcher.

  89. 89
    Panurge says:

    @Fred Fnord:

    Eventually the problems will be worked out, but in the way Winston Churchill noted–after every possible measure has been taken to avoid having to change things. In the meantime, great and totally unnecessary damage will be done, as it already has.

Comments are closed.