Sunday 9 June 2019

Boris Invictus

John O'Sullivan described the Tory leadership election with the wit of his 1970s Commons Sketches in the Telegraph, my teenage reading over breakfast.
'The appropriate response to these candidates is Ray Clooney’s:
“Sergeant, arrest some of these vicars.”
'My main impression of the Conservative leadership race so far is of a repertory theatre that has advertised the wrong play: a small audience has turned up for a serious drama but a very large cast of actors is performing a light farce.'

I really hate British party leadership campaigns taking place in public. Leadership campaigns used to happen among MPs in private. The campaigns we are watching illustrate the decline of the House of Commons as a clubby organism, the increase in the power of the legacy media and the Americanisation of British politics. It's becoming a semi-presidential system, which is why people ask why the electors cannot decide who the next Prime Minister should be.

I detested Tony Benn for publishing his manifesto for the Labour leadership in 1976, but they are all at it now. 

How much better had the MPs made their minds up in five days a week or two ago. Boris might have been Prime Minister in time to meet Donald Trump, as the number two candidate would probably have dropped out. 

Boris Johnson is pretty sure to be the next British Prime Minister and for all his faults there is no-one else. 

It, obviously, has to be someone who campaigned for Leave. Former Remainers, if they are reasonable, agree with this.

Michael Gove is very substantial, clever and eloquent, but by backing the Withdrawal Agreement to prove his loyalty he is no longer papabile

Mr Johnson scares Labour and the EU leaders. Mr Raab, though principled and decent, does not.

Rory Stewart is lovely, conscientious and intelligent, but clearly not a serious candidate this time. Most of the others are pretty dire. Jeremy Hunt is appalling, but 'Matt' Hancock is much worse - simply a joke.

I quote the Sunday Times today:
'Referring to sea monsters from Greek mythology, Johnson said:

'“I truly believe only I can steer the country between the Scylla and Charybdis of Corbyn and Farage and onto calmer water. This can only be achieved by delivering Brexit as promised on October 31 and delivering a One Nation Tory agenda.”'
The Sunday Times is very dumbed down but still it is quite incredible that its political editor, Tim Shipman, feels he needs to explain to his readers about Scylla and Charybdis. 

This kind of thing, though, happens every day now. England is ceasing to be a civilised country.

Boris's plan is to leave with no deal - to scupper Farage and Labour - and then to use our strongest cards - first the Northern Ireland border, an issue that was used against us, thanks to the useless Theresa May - and then the £39 billion divorce payment. And to remove Olly Robbins and let Leavers take over the Brexit process. 

It might work.

What if Speaker Bercow ensures that the House of Commons gets the chance to vote on no deal and the House votes against it, as is very possible?

A second referendum?

That might work for Boris too, whatever way it goes.

If the EU compromise before we leave without a deal, so much the better, of course, depending on what they offer us.

I feel the time has come for someone with pizzazz - someone who can persuade and embolden us - a card, whose great cause is cheering us all up. Someone who is the opposite of the dreadful woman who has so overstayed her welcome. We also need someone with luck, which was what Cardinal Mazarin, not Napoleon, prized in people. 

We shall see if Boris has it.


  1. 'PETER HITCHENS: Preening politicians should have been banned from EVERY D-Day event'

  2. Our Elite is Corrupted by Drugs

    In October 2000, a whole platoon of nonentities from the then Tory Shadow Cabinet confessed to youthful marijuana smoking. This was an organised effort to undermine an attempt by the Shadow Home Secretary, Ann Widdecombe, to toughen the penalties for cannabis possession. It worked. Her plan was destroyed. The incident effectively put an end to her political career. Real opposition to drugs was not wanted in the new Blairite Tory Party.

    It also prepared the Tory Party for the reign of David Cameron. Mr Cameron’s lone significant political act as an MP, before he became Tory leader, had been to back a Home Affairs Committee report calling for the weakening of the drug laws. Why was he so keen on this dangerous policy? We can only guess. He has always refused to answer questions about his own drug use, inventing a rule that politicians are entitled to a private past. Eventually, those who still wanted to know were shushed into silence as if the issue was not important any more, or it was rude to ask.

    He got away with this, as Michael Gove will get away with his confession, because the Conservative Party is not in fact conservative, and probably never was. Even on issues like this, where its supporters long for some sort of resolve and firmness, it long ago went as soft inside as an over-ripe pear. Like all the other parties it puts individual selfishness far above the general good.

    Mail Online - Peter Hitchens

    1. I am not sure the present laws on drugs are conservative. They are pretty pointless. It might be better if drugs were available from the pharmacy.

    2. He’s repeated his profound regret, though not remorse, for taking a drug that can harm, not that does harm. He’s admitted he committed a crime that he could have gone to prison for. He’s said his past actions should not be held against him, arguing in vindication that ‘he’s worked to help others redeem themselves’. Several of his colleagues who have re-endorsed him clearly agree. That however, society’s politically correct liberal non-judgemental posture, with all due respect is for us to decide, not for him to assume.

      What this confession of cocaine-taking at ‘Notting Hill’ type dinner parties and assumption of public tolerance highlights – but fails to address – is the metrosexual liberal media and political elite’s casual disregard of the law; the gulf between this culture and these entitled attitudes and the rest of us. It reflects a divide that is no longer one between Left and Right but between the liberal cosmopolitan and the social conservative.

      The majority of the population do not inhabit the drug-taking world that they – Mr Gove and his parliamentary and media colleagues – find themselves in contact with either socially or at work; that clearly leaves them more terrified of liberal opinion than of moral censure; and in a terrible quandary about categorically condemning drugs, should they even want to.

      The cerebral Mr Gove cannot be entirely unaware of this social divide. The question is, what does he really believe and who terrifies him most? Whose approval does he need more? That of his libertarian colleagues like Crispin Blunt who shout hypocrisy at him, or the ignored but true one-nation Tories who still understand ‘the difference between male and female genitalia’, who don’t want their children taught to love gay sex nor to be educated into how to make ‘informed choices’ about their illegal drug-taking.

      His problem is not being ‘found out’ but trying still to walk the tightrope between the two cultures as the Conservatives’ pretence of conservatism becomes ever more tenuous.

      Tories who think tax breaks are enough to reclaim the conservative heights are in for a rude awakening. However radical the tax manifesto that Michael Gove suggests, economic liberalism cannot save a Conservative Party which is no longer conservative, which no longer represents the values of its voter base, and which simply ignores the huge tax costs to society of its otherwise socially liberal agenda.

      The problem is liberal attitudes to drug use. And they have to decide which side they are on, whatever their pasts. Liberalising drugs was and still is key to the culture wars, to the long destructive march we’ve witnessed though the institutions and everything of traditional value – right to the breakdown of family life and responsibility. Nothing better encapsulates the social liberal revolution since the 1960’s than drugs. And nothing more reflects modern Tory rejection of conservatism.

      Gove, cocaine and the death of the Tory Party
      By Kathy Gyngell - June 10, 2019

    3. Toma I enjoy what you post very much indeed but am a bit fearful. There are copyright laws and the excerpts you post, though always very interesting, are sometimes too long. Why not post a link instead, though I know there is no hyperlink in the comments? By the way, though I love Conservative Woman I don't agree at all with Kathy Gyngell.

    4. Thanks. No-one will care and I see one fairly famous site which copies whole long articles every day. I just make a point myself of keeping quotations short and thought I'd mention this.

  3. Tom Gallagher gave me permission to post his comment on this article.

    Not sure Paul that i would concur that Rory Stewart is lovely.
    He is trying to accomplish in Britain what his father in MI6 may well have been involved in when the secret service toppled Mossadeq in Iran in 1953.

    He's a nicer more outgoing version of Peter Oborne in some (though not all) ways.

    like Dan Snow (calling for a second Scottish referendum) , Nick Cohen etc.

  4. ' It might be better if drugs were available from the pharmacy'

    Marijuana’s Black Market 2.0

    Though advocates claim that one of the benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana is that the black market will disappear and thus end the destructive war on drugs, the opposite is happening. States that have legalized pot have some of the most thriving black markets, creating new headaches for law enforcement and prompting some legalization advocates to call for a crackdown—in effect, a new war on drugs.

    Legal-pot states are attracting international criminal cartels. Mexican drug gangs have smuggled illegals into Colorado to set up growing operations, former U.S. prosecutor Bob Troyer wrote last September, explaining why his office was stepping up enforcement. Rather than smuggle pot from Mexico, the cartels grow it in Colorado and smuggle it elsewhere...

    In Nevada, which legalized pot by ballot initiative in 2016, violence surrounding pot has increased. In 2017, homicides related to an altercation over drugs grew by 21 percent, compared to 2016...

    Steven Malanga
    June 10, 2019 Politics and law

    1. LOS ANGELES (AP) — The legal marijuana industry urged Los Angeles City Hall on Monday to get tougher with illegal shops that are gouging their businesses in open sight.

      Illegal pot shops are widespread throughout Los Angeles and typically look like the real thing. And they’re thriving — they sell cheaper products than their legal rivals because they don’t charge hefty state and local taxes.