You won’t wanna read this. The Prime Minister doesn’t want you to read it either. But the dreaded ‘B’ word ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. As our Political Correspondent Peter Spencer reports, Christmas break brilliant, but 2020? Every bit as bonkers.
In the old days when the BBC went to black a rather makeshift card used to pop up on the screen saying ‘normal service will be resumed as soon as possible’.
And, come the Queen’s Speech on Thursday, it looked like all was hunky-dory again in Westminster. Or, rather, that’s how it looked like it looked.
All that sweet old-fashioned parli stuff, fancy costumes and fanfares and Her Madge parroting the Prime Minister’s speech like she’d written it all by herself.
Though the fact that this was the second time in under three months the poor dear had to go through the rigmarole was a reminder of the turbulent times behind – and ahead.
Still, Bojo did get himself an 80-seat majority in parliament. So a bit of an up-yours moment was only to be expected.
Yippee! Good show, chaps! We got Brexit done! To paraphrase that lovely song from his posh school, ‘jolly gloating weather’.
Lest anyone be in any doubt, he even popped in a paragraph in his list of laws, making it illegal to let the getting out of Europe timetable slip.
Bizarre, really, the idea of a Prime Minister telling himself what he can and can’t do.
More of a memo to Johnny Foreigner, actually – ‘my dad’s bigger than your dad. Get used to it’.
He always did want to be king of the world, and now it seems he reckons he is.
The point being, to be boring about this, he’s written into law the UK’s commitment to complete the transition phase out of the EU by the end of of next year.
So what the beastly Brussels brigade say it’s so complicated it can’t be done in that timeframe?
So what, if they don’t kowtow to brilliant Britannia, we’ll be crashing out without a deal in twelve months’ time?
So what the Brexit department will be officially wound up at the end of January?
So what there’s a Downing Street edict that bans the word Brexit from government communications?
Teensy bit Stalinist, all that, but hey ho, what looks all right is all right, surely?
Shame about annoying reality nonsense getting in the way.
But the fact is stocks and shares shot up when Bojo got his decisive win, on the grounds Brexit uncertainly was over, only to tumble back when he made it clear he was still up for no-deal.
Oh, and just to add a little salt in the wound, a couple of other bits have been pulled out of his new, er, superfast legislation.
Gone is the commitment to strike a deal with the EU so child refugees can be reunited with their family in the UK. A lovely Christmas present for all concerned.
Gone too is the bit on workers’ rights, which was added specially to win over Labour MPs in Brexit-voting constituencies.
You wanna argue about that? You pesky parliamentarians? Forget it.
When the new Withdrawal Agreement Bill comes into law in a few weeks, MP’s won’t need to worry their pretty little heads about talks sur le continong. Because they won’t get a say anyway.
Still, they will at least be able to chew over other stuff. Like the extra money for the NHS promised in the Queen’s Speech.
Though they needn’t worry too much about that either, as Bojo’s penned another memo to self on the subject.
He’s making it a matter of law that the promise of nearly thirty-four billion pounds a year more for the health service by 2024 will be kept. Another smacky botty for Bojo if he doesn’t, obvs.
Shouldn’t be that hard to keep to it though, as it’ll turn out to be loads less when adjusted for inflation and increased costs of equipment and staff.
Also, it’ll be a considerably smaller investment than the six per cent average yearly increase managed under the last Labour government.
Hence, in part, that sorrowful little bleat from the next not Labour Prime Minister, that the PM’s pledges mimicked the ‘language of Labour policy but without the substance’.
Poor old Jezza.
Of course, British general elections aren’t supposed to be presidential, but a YouGov poll after Boris Johnson’s glorious victory gave him a net popularity score of minus eleven. And Corbyn? Minus fifty.
Oops. No coincidence, surely.
Jeremy Corbyn is sincere. He is kind. But he does, oddly enough, like taking photographs of manhole covers. And the election tipped him down a mineshaft.
But why? And what next for his totally pissed off party?
Hats are gradually trickling into the ring for the forthcoming exercise in mutual defenestration otherwise known as Labour leadership contest.
During the hate-in otherwise known as post-defeat Parliamentary Labour Party meeting, one newly elected MP tried to look on the bright side.
Okay, we did get the worst result since 1935, she conceded, but at least we’ve now got more women, and black, Asian and minority ethnic MP’s.
Soon after, one MP emerged from the wood-panelled committee room muttering ‘it’s f***ing ridiculous’.
Sort of says it all, really. Though Tony Blair put things in more family-friendly language.
Our side, he said, ‘pursued a path of almost comic indecision’ over Brexit during the election, and ‘alienated both sides of the debate’.
‘The Labour Party, by its self-indulgence – and that’s what it was in the end – was the effective handmaiden of Brexit’.
Family but not very Jezza friendly. Though the comrades right now make ferrets in a sack look like pacifists on heavy-duty-fruity marijuana.
But at least they’re still in the game, just.
Spare a thought, please for the People’s Front of Judea, the Judean People’s Front, the Judean Popular People’s Front and the Popular Front of Judea.
I’m sorry, I’ll read that again.
Spare a thought, please, for The Independent Group, Change UK, Change UK The Independent Group and The Independent Group for Change.
So many names, so little time. Then came the election, and then there were none.
Goodbye the brave little band of Labour and some Tory MP’s who didn’t like the direction of their respective parties and sallied out on their own.
Those who didn’t sally off somewhere else sallied into history. Just like the SDP almost thirty years ago.
Shutting up shop was a detail. The only odd thing being there was anyone around to board up the windows.
Brutal business, politics. Just because you’re on the telly and everyone’s talking about you for five minutes doesn’t mean you won’t melt like snow in sunshine.
But at least Bojo’s having a cracking Christmas. Popping the champers and giving the dog a treat.
Picture the scene. Dear little Downing St dog Dilyn licking his bum first, then his master’s nose.
And next – for all we know he’s a politically astute Jack Russell-cross, with a particularly clever thought he’d so love to share with the stand-ups.
‘Brexit’s like a puppy, my dears. Not just for Christmas’.
Silly fantasy, of course. Not something our newly elected Prime Minister need fret about too much.
After all, maybe he really will scare those Euros into submission next year. Maybe a giant V-sign really is all they need.
And maybe there really are fairies at the end of the garden.
Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, working with London Broadcasting and Sky News. For more of his fascinating musings on the turbulent political landscape, follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
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