Sunday 24 March 2019

It has to be Michael Gove now

It has to be Michael Gove now. He is the necessary man to be British Prime Minister.

He is stunningly eloquent, as he showed in the House recently defending the government of which he is a member. He is a committed Leaver, which is absolutely necessary if he is to be credible painting the reasons why we are leaving the EU. I was angry with him for not resigning over Theresa May's proposals announced to a disappointed cabinet at Chequers but his loyalty means he can bind the party together.

Eleven cabinet ministers have told the Sunday Times that the present incumbent must go but today Remainers are rallying to her, scared I imagine that their man David Lidington will not succeed her and Mr Gove might. David Lidlington, no doubt an estimable man, would be no good. We know that because Amber Rudd and the other hardcore anti-Brexiteers want him to be Prime Minister. No-one knows who he is, though he was captain of his college University Challenge team, is churchy and disapproves of homosexual marriage. 

But Tim Shipman's long article makes it very clear that every man's hand is against Mrs May at least in private. Of many vignettes, this is the one that I cannot forget.  Almost three weeks ago all the whips went to see her
... to listen to a pitch on her plans for domestic agenda. Paul Maynard, one of the senior whips who voted leave, said: “I’ve heard enough. When I was told that we would have to come over and talk to you I began to cry. I said, ‘I don’t want to go over and talk to that woman any more. She’s betrayed Brexit, destroying our party. I want her gone.’”
May replied: “I’m sorry you feel that way . . .”
Maynard then said he hadn’t finished and “continued to give her both barrels”, a source said. One of those present said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. She has lost all authority in the party and is totally deluded about her ability to govern.
Robert Peston thinks a new leader would solve nothing and even Gove would be unacceptable to Brexiteers because likely to go for a soft Brexit or 2nd referendum. A 2nd referendum would destroy the Conservative forever IMO. A soft Brexit would be owned by Remainers and probably destroy them. At least a new Prime Minister could say we are happy with customs in Ireland. Ireland would then try to be helpful to us.

I am too far away to know much about arch-Remainer George Osborne. I never watch television so I have rarely seen or heard him and his views are very opposed to mine on leaving the EU, leaving  the ECHR and on immigration. I fear his influence and loathe the writings of his disciple Matthew D'Ancona. 

Still I can't help but like George Osborne because he is one of the few politicians who is very clever and - that very old-fashioned word - debonair. I like his 'resting bitch' face. He and David Cameron made a mistake in leaving the House of Commons.

In an interview yesterday on BBC Radio Four he said that Mrs May's deal is dead and was dead as soon as David Davis and Boris Johnson resigned from the cabinet. He of course called for a long delay to  Brexit (till the Greek calends, he intends) but he was candid enough to say that were he Leave he would be in favour of no deal and ripping the plaster off quickly rather than prolonging the pain. 


Boris has also come out tonight for leaving with no deal.  

Extend the implementation period to the end of 2021 if necessary; use it to negotiate a free trade deal; pay the fee; but come out of the EU now – without the backstop. It is time for the PM to channel the spirit of Moses in Exodus, and say to Pharaoh in Brussels – LET MY PEOPLE GO.
Boris's reasons are self-interested, to position himself to win the premiership, but he is no doubt sincere and in any case is right, unless the Norway option (not Norway Plus which keeps us in the EU customs union) is available. Boris spoils things by opposing a hard border in Ireland, which leaving with no deal would necessitate. Had we not promised unnecessarily that there would be no such border, the Republic of Ireland would have been our closest ally in the Brexit negotiations instead of our biggest problem. Theresa May made a whip for her and our backs by that silly promise. She is not intelligent enough to be Prime Minister.

Boris could probably be a reasonable Prime Minister if Mr Gove does not get the job, but he makes mistakes and his foreign policy ideas closely resemble Hillary's.

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