AN ALIEN tuning into British state TV’s flagship news programme on Monday night could have been forgiven for shaking his head in wonder, before heading off to check out the night life on Mars.
What on earth were those people going on about?
There were the great, the good, the mediocre and the just wildly outspoken, rambling on incessantly about something called Brexit – but generally not making any sense whatsoever.
Hey ET – is there room on your spaceship for two? Count me in.
Discussing ‘what next’ for Brexit on Newsnight were Leaver-in-chief Jacob Rees-Mogg, Remoaner-General Hilary Benn, BBC Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban and various other worthies including French PM Emmanuel Macron’s major factotum, the wonderfully-named Alexandre Holroyd.
And, sitting in the same generally bewildered studio, was a bald, middle-aged relic of some dinosaurial age, who clearly wanted to grab everybody by the lapels and give them a good shaking (a kick up the arse actually, but this is the BBC so let’s keep it polite. But oh, how I wish).
With Westminster back from an extended summer holiday this week and the clock literally ticking to the imminent deadline for a Brexit deal, Newsnight producers decided it would be a good time to take stock; to weigh up the pros and cons of the various options for getting out – most of which would cost us £40 billion just to be forced to our knees and told to kiss Angela Merkel’s ring. And there’s a thought.
“We need a Norway style package” … “Canada-plus is the way to go” … “Park the bus in the EEA for five years until we can negotiate proper terms” (Really! Five years!) … “Chequers is dead” … “I think the EU will go for a Chequers-plus-plus”.
Lord, give me strength.
Eventually the desperate old bald guy blew his top. Here’s what he (I) said: “I think the people are sick and tired of this whole, very unfunny, two-and-a-half-year pantomime and they just now want to know what’s on the table from the other side.”
Because that’s the point absolutely no-one seems willing to acknowledge. The EU isn’t playing. They are not interested in any kind of deal. End of – for now, at least.
It’s like kids arguing about what colour bike they want for Christmas, when Santa has them on the naughty list. They’ll be lucky to get the cold sprouts left over from his turkey dinner.
In the Green Room before filming, the wondrously droll Rees-Mogg was explaining to so-called ‘Supermum’ city trader Nicola Horlick how earlier in the day EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had agreed with Brexiteers – and virtually everyone except deluded TM the PM – that her Chequers deal was as dead as Monty Python’s parrot.
Well, well. With Mrs May’s latest of many ‘red lines’ being shoved back down her throat, we might as well call an election now. But she won’t. She’ll capitulate quite a bit more yet. Barnier and the EU know that.
Every political brain inside the M25 (which may be a contradiction in terms) is going round and round in ever decreasing circles arguing over what kind of an exit deal the UK can agree to.
Pssst. Listen up, folks.
There isn’t one – and not just because we can’t agree on one. I mean, as in, there isn’t one. In the political parlours of Brussels, Paris and Berlin, they are wetting themselves nightly, guffawing their sides sore at the stupid Brits, who are still working themselves up into a frantic lather over something they have zero control over.
Barnier, Juncker, Merkel and Macron have a Plan A and a Plan B.
The first is to sow such chaos and mayhem amongst UK politicians that May falls, this Parliament fails, and all roads lead back to a second referendum which – like before – the EU and traitor snowflakes are convinced they will win.
I dread to think of the civil strife that would ensue, but there you go.
Plan B, in the barely believable eventuality of May not having a mental breakdown and somehow dragging this process over the line, is for the Brexit terms to be so punishing and catastrophic as to make Britain a vassal state.
French mesdames would all be giving their toy poodles English names like Davy and Georgie, Terry and Jeremy and probably Boris, to symbolise the abject humiliation of our country.
And this coinciding with the centenary of the Armistice in 2018. Such bitter irony, the ambitions of Napoleon, Kaiser Bill, Mussolini and Hitler, finally gift-wrapped and delivered by Theresa May.
There’s only one way to get a reasonable deal. Stop talking, start gearing up to slam the door and bank our £40bn. Because you know what?
The world won’t collapse into economic armageddon on D-Day+1, that’s just yer good old Project Fear II, there pal. So just throw the hand grenade back onto Barnier’s desk because the EU needs us lots more than we need them.
Not that you’d have an inkling of that from Newsnight, apart from the ravings of that frothing Yorkshire lunatic.
And you know what’s worst? There wasn’t a pub open after 11pm in that there London on a Monday night.
IT’S quite amusing being the subject of rabid hatred, from people you have never and will never meet; who haven’t a single clue about how kind a person you might be, but who, based upon a few sentences on a tv show, shower you with venomous vitriol.
Newsnight tweeted out a clip of my “unfunny pantomime” quote straight after the show, complete with my Twitter handle. Thanks. They could have given me a tin helmet on the way out!
Wow, those armchair warriors are a piece of work. Set them on Merkel and Macron and we’d be thrown to keys to the Reichstag and the Elysee Palace in minutes.
It’s water off a duck’s back to me, obviously – can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen – but no less amusing, and somewhat troubling, for all that.
If the Leave-Remain battle were fought with mobile phones on social media, it would be the armageddon that Cameron, Osborne and the vested interests of the city elite threatened for June 24 2016. I suspect that if stick ever came to lift however, that the Snowflakes would soil themselves at the prospect of actual face-to-face confrontation.
WOULD there, could there, be an outbreak of violent conflict, civil unrest, between Leave and Remain diehards in the event of the 2016 Referendum being betrayed?
I don’t doubt it for one second. My closing aside to Newsnight presenter Evan Davies as the credits started rolling was that I’d be marching down the M1. It might have been taken figuratively by him, but actually I would. Enough is enough. Time to put up or shut up.
I think in such a scenario, reneging on the Leave vote, the established political order would be shattered once and for all, much as European states have already witnessed with new parties overturning the establishment in rapid style.
Macron’s party En Marche didn’t exist a year before he won the elections; Italy’s ruling Five Star party was literally a joke – founded by a comedian – but in a few short years was in government and had the mayors of Rome and Turin.
Greece has seen similar political turmoil, Austria too and Germany is on the brink.
And when you look at the fragile states of both Labour and Conservative today, and if they betray 17.4 million people, the time will be ripe for new voices to rise afresh.
Nobody in their right mind would have anything to do with far-right fruitcakes like Britain First. The problem a new centre-right patriotic party under someone like Jacob Rees-Mogg (left) would face is the rabid far left of Momentum which already has its violent, balaclava-clad Antifa thugs.
The Moggster is an appealingly down to earth chap, those plummy public school tones notwithstanding. He strikes you as a bloke very comfortable in his own skin and not at all too taken up with himself. I liked him.
The days have gone – thank God – where the ruling classes kept we plebs in place by filling foreign trenches with our bloodied bodies; today’s youth would turn on any government that tried and that’s as it should be.
But if there’s one last battle to be fought on home soil to preserve this nation for future, hopefully more intelligent generations, it might be all that that we old buggers can do is answer the call.
Figuratively speaking, of course.