The Tory hopefuls toying with a brutal, no-deal Brexit have just given us another year of needless austerity too

The nauseating battle of non entities we’re being treated to means government has formally ground to a halt

James Moore
Thursday 06 June 2019 13:05 BST
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Dominic Raab says go for no-deal Brexit if necessary

Remember when Theresa May came up with the phrase “the nasty party” to describe her fractious tribe?

Today that looks like a way to put a little positive gloss on what it’s become.

“I object to your description of us as sick, twisted, self serving, and destructive,” says the spin doctor. “We’re just nasty, ok? It’s official and we’ve trade marked it. See that you remember that or I’ll be sending a letter to your editor.”

What’s prompted this? Well, you know austerity? The single most destructive policy a political party has dreamed up since… well I’m not sure I can easily find something to compare it with given the misery that has trailed in its wake. Turns out we’re in for at least another year of it.

Hang on, you’re saying, didn’t the PM declare it was over just before she defenestrated herself? Wasn’t there supposed to be… well at least some sticking plaster to put on the worst affected sectors like support for the poor, local authorities, the court system, social care, come to think of it where do you start, courtesy of the forthcoming spending review?

Well yes, there was supposed to be. But Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, whose responsibility it was supposed to be, now says it has all been put on hold.

Departments will have to make do with another year of terminally short rations because the priority of the big beasts of the Conservative Party is competing with each other to demonstrate just how awful they are to a membership that apparently thinks Godzilla would make a fantastic occupant of No 10 Downing Street and failing that, Boris Johnson might do in a pinch.

And then there are a bewildering number of other Tory MPs who think that they can prove it is indeed possible to be more destructive than the Daily Telegraph columnist, despite the 1922 Committee’s attempts to narrow the field. Getting stuff done? That'll just have to wait.

I know, I know, Theresa May’s attempt to sell a shabby deal crashed into that mad desire of some Tory MPs to tip us off a no deal cliff and has meant very little has been done for the past three years. During that time the country’s problems have piled up like plastic beer glasses at an Iron Maiden gig.

But the nauseating battle of non entities we’re now being treated to means they’ve formally ground to a halt. What’s another year of misery and food bank trips for poor people when the prize is taking up residence at that SW1 address and completing the job of screwing up a once decent country?

What do constitutional norms matter when it comes to appeasing a few tens of thousands of angry reactionaries in the shires, who really have nothing to be angry about given how prosperous most of them are.

Yes, Dominic Raab aka Ghidora (Godzilla’s three headed alien of an arch enemy) is now seriously talking about suspending parliament to prevent it from stopping him burning the country. I guess it’s time to brush up on how to spell coup d’etat.

Do any of them have anything constructive to say or offer, and by that, I mean the main runners? I’m not talking here about Sam Gyimah, the only one with sufficient belief in democracy to promise a Final Say referendum, or Rory Stewart, the International Development Secretary who’s taken the novel approach of being honest about the “trade offs” Brexit will involve.

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Those stances mean the pair of them stand about as much chance of winning as a cart horse entered in a race at Royal Ascot in a couple of weeks time. Their party just wants to break things.

Its membership, at least most of it, now has much in common with the people who join riots with the sole purpose of causing as much mindless destruction as they possibly can while indulging in a little light looting on the side.

The difference is that business owners can mostly call on their insurers after real rioters have done their worst. There is no cover against what this lot want to do to the economy, and the business failures they’ve already caused are rapidly piling up.

Still, at least we might finally have discovered a use for that illegal water cannon Boris Johnson spaffed Londoners’ money up the wall to buy, because as Raab has proven, even the law won’t escape a roasting from this lot, and we’re going to need something put the fires out once they’re done.

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