This is it — the moment we’ve been waiting for. The moment when the Brexit rebellion finally began.
“Enough of this pissing about. Enough lawyerly excuses and Civil Service prevarication and Remainer politician manoeuvrings. We voted Brexit. Now give us Brexit. Give us Brexit, strong and hard, Boris!”.
That, in a nutshell, is what the people of Britain have been saying this week. Except that the way they have expressed it is in the context of another issue entirely. Instead of talking about Brexit, everyone has been preoccupied with two other “b” words — Boris and the burqa.
But make no mistake, it is Brexit that is the underlying reason as to why Boris Johnson v the Burqa has been dominating the British media’s news agenda with such extraordinary persistence all week.
Muslim women are having their burkas pulled off by thugs in our streets & Boris Johnson's response is to mock them for "looking like letter boxes." Our pound-shop Donald Trump is fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his grubby electoral ambitions.https://t.co/51YTjIdT4x
Former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson just gave the best and most important speech of his life: the one that might, with luck, save Brexit.
It definitely wasn’t his funniest speech or the most fluent. Boris actually referred to notes which, as an experienced debater and master of the off-the-cuff quip, he almost never does. But then he has never made a speech quite like this important before. At stake, as he addressed the Commons, were not just a lifetime’s personal ambitions but also the future of Britain and the credibility of democracy itself.
Just to recap, in June 2016, the people of Britain were offered a choice: whether to Remain in the European Union or whether to Leave.
By a significant majority, they voted Leave.
But now — despite official assurances given beforehand that the referendum vote would be honoured — the political class and its fellow travellers in big business, in the City, in the law firms, in academe, in the media and, of course, in the rampantly pro-Remain civil service have conspired to frustrate that expression of the democratic will.
So this was the purpose of Boris’s speech: to try to hold Prime Minister Theresa May true to the promise she made to the British people that “Brexit means Brexit”.
“Boris Johnson’s a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me, very supportive. And I maybe well speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson, I’ve always liked him.”
This is what diplomats would call a “gaffe.” May, after all, is the leader of the nation to which Trump will shortly be making his first official visit. Johnson, meanwhile, is May’s new public enemy number one. Having just resigned as her Foreign Secretary (in protest at her watered down Brexit plans), he no longer has any status within her government. Yet here is President Trump, publicly proposing to humiliate her by promising face time to a nobody she considers persona non grata.
Sure, Trump found time for some kind words about May too.
“I get along with her very well, I have very good relationship.”
But that’s just polite formula. It’s the Johnson comments that will be noticed – as of course, Trump intended them to be.
President Trump just dropped the Mother of all Brexit Bombs on Theresa May.
His Sun interview – warning that if the UK Prime Minister goes ahead with her watered-down Brexit plans then she probably won’t get a trade deal with the US – has poured nitroglycerine on an already explosive political issue which threatens to destroy May and possibly even bring down her government.
His fiercest criticism came over the centrepiece of the PM’s new Brexit plan — which was unveiled in full yesterday.
It would stick to a common rulebook with Brussels on goods and agricultural produce in a bid to keep customs borders open with the EU.
But Mr Trump told The Sun: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.
“If they do that, then their trade deal with the US will probably not be made.”
In truth, Trump was doing no more than stating the obvious. As May’s Brexit White Paper stands, Britain would indeed remain so shackled by Euro regulations it would be quite impossible to negotiate a meaningful free trade deal with the U.S.
But it’s the symbolism of Trump’s comments rather than the substance that matters here.
ENGLAND face Croatia tonight and though I don’t know much about football there’s one thing I can say for sure: if we play this game anything like Theresa May’s Cabinet plays Brexit, we’re going to lose big time.
If only May’s Cabinet possessed a few or indeed any of those qualities we might not be in such a dire state with regard to Brexit.
All that joy and optimism we’ve been feeling about England’s performance has been cruelly tempered by having to live under a Government so hopeless and craven and insecure it can’t even deliver on the biggest mandate in British history: the vote to leave the European Union.
The rot starts at the top. Team manager May seems to combine the aimlessness and poor decision making of, say, a Steve McClaren, with the dogged intransigence and ruthlessness you find in countries such as North Korea or Gadaffi’s Libya when players fail to perform.
Just when it seems May can’t mess it up any more badly she comes with something like last weekend’s Chequers fiasco.
That moment when she strongarmed the Cabinet into agreeing a Brexit negotiating position which Boris Johnson rightly described as a “turd” was the absolute nadir for me – when all hopes of a full Brexit faded.
In fact, it gave me the same feeling I got just after an England player called Southgate (whatever became of him, anyone know?) had fluffed his penalty in the Euro 1996 semifinal.
Or when Maradona knocked us out of the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals as a result of that wretchedly dodgy (where’s VAR when you need it, eh?) “hand of God” goal.
President Trump really couldn’t have picked a better moment for his first official visit to the United Kingdom.
He likes a fight and when he steps off the plane in South East England tomorrow he’ll walk straight into the biggest brawl since Brexit. Britain is in turmoil. Democracy is at stake. And rather than do the polite, mimsy, diplomatic thing, Trump has already rolled up his sleeves and weighed into the fray by coming out on the side of Team Brexit.
Team Brexit, as I reported yesterday, is currently being led by Boris Johnson – the most senior politician to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s despicable Bremain sell-out by resigning as her Foreign Secretary.
Trump’s intervention will have given a huge boost for Boris, who at that stage was looking fairly isolated. Sure his cabinet colleague David Davis and a few other Conservatives had resigned too. But most of the Cabinet, including leading Brexiteer Michael Gove, had expressed their loyalty to the prime minister. So it looked as if a Brexit coup might have been averted, with Boris left flapping like a beached basking shark.
Since then though, the forces of Brexit rebellion have swollen. They now include Brexit’s kingmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg who, in alliance with fellow backbench Brexiteers, has lodged four amendments which should kill Theresa May’s proposed EU trade bill stone dead.
Brexit is dead – strangled at the weekend by Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabal of Remainer cronies.
It was a brilliant coup, masterfully conducted with a sadist’s attention to detail.
All the ministers in the Cabinet were hauled up to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, where their phones were confiscated, as though they were naughty children. Then the stubbornly pro-Brexit ones who were rightly disgusted by the shaming sell-out deal May had cobbled together with her virulently Remainer civil servants were given the same choice Rommel was in 1944: cyanide pill or slow career death.
The cyanide pill option would have involved resigning immediately on principle: but then being ritually humiliated by having their official car confiscated and having to walk to the train station via the mile-long drive, or catch a cab, with a £67,000 pay cut.
A letter to each minister, leaked to the press, warned them of this beforehand. Petty, but given how vain ministers are, very effective.
Sinister foreign powers have been caught meddling in the elections of a Western sovereign nation, using nefarious threats to undermine the democratic will of the people. And the corruption goes right to the very top.
So why aren’t the Guardian and the New York Times over all this scandalous abuse of power?
Maybe because the culprit, on this occasion, is not Vladimir Putin but one Barack Obama.
This morning, on BBC Radio 4, former White House staffer Ben Rhodes confirmed what had long been suspected: that in 2016 Remainer Prime Minister David Cameron had persuaded his friend Obama to participate in his Project Fear propaganda campaign designed to scare the British people out of voting for Brexit.
The giveaway was when Obama warned that Britain would be “back of the queue” in any post-Brexit trade details. As an American, he would have said “line” not “queue” – so the phrase had clearly been fed to him by an Englishman, probably one called Dave.