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Was I gullible to believe in Tory cynicism?

Ever since Gove messed up the election of a leave leader, my confidence that the Tories would nevertheless deliver Brexit rested less on the belief that the parliamentary party contained more leavers than full-blown remoaners than on the conviction that it contained many who just wanted to win the next election. Cameron’s referendum to deal with the internal and external (UKIP) threat to Tory electoral prospects ended not as he intended, but it offered such MPs a very obvious path forward. Likewise, when May demonstrated her ability to reduce a poll-lead healthily exceeding 20% to a result just exceeding 2% (over Corbyn, of all people), my belief that the Tories would not risk another election under her leadership rested solidly on my faith in how many Tory MPs wanted first and foremost to win.

For now, it is all still to play for. Firstly, if there are as many letters written as rumoured, yet such as David Davis are still thinking about it, then Mogg’s “this week or next” remains on the table – and I quite see that the rule ensuring May a challenge-free year if she survives a vote is a very good reason for caution in the run-up to launching one. Secondly, when May’s incompetence made her dependent on the DUP for her majority, I thought it good for one reason; I now also think it good for another. Thirdly, if all else fails, reality could still prove wiser than parliament and deliver us a no-deal Brexit through their sheer inability to agree anything decisive in a timely fashion.

All that said, I am beginning to question my faith in the “focus on winning” cynicism of a sufficient majority of Tory MPs. It is one thing to think that enough Tory MPs to keep May as leader could betray their voters, their party, their principles and the most emphatic statements of their 2017 manifesto (and her leadership campaign), but it shakes me to the core to find myself wondering if they could choose the electoral death ride of May campaigning on this deal rather than follow a leaver. I’m glad that a majority of back-bench MPs seem to be interested in retaining the votes of the ‘swivel-eyed loons’ so derided by Cameron, Osborne, and now May, but just how many others would rather lose than be unfriended in SWI ?

Natalie once stated she would endure a Corbyn government rather than stay in the EU. I have always felt much sympathy for the wretched situation of Slavs who found themselves fighting for Stalin against Hitler as the only alternative to Hitler’s winning, and it is with similar feelings that I do see her point (if, that is, we could even rely on their being alternatives). However we should be able to do better than that.

21 comments to Was I gullible to believe in Tory cynicism?

  • Paul Marks

    First thing first – Mrs May and Mr Corbyn are actually on the same page on the European Union, the “sound and fury” of the Prime Minister’s Question Time really does “signify NOTHING” – it really is a Punch and Judy Show.

    Mr Corbyn used to be in favour of leaving the European Union, but he is not now (although he falsely claims to accept the referendum result) – and Mrs May has NEVER been in favour of independence and has been lying every day since June 2016, falsely claiming that she accepts the referendum result to leave, whilst doing everything she can to SABOTAGE independence with her friend Olly Robbins and the rest of the Civil Service, indeed the entire establishment.

    Mr Corbyn used to believe that the European Union was a “capitalist club” – but now he has finally got it into his two-A-levels-at-grade-E mind that the E.U. means ever more government power and control, he is (privately) in support of it. And Mrs May has never met a government spending program (even “HS2” or “overseas aid”) that she did not like, and is always in favour of more regulations (more government control) on everything, especially cracking down on Freedom of Speech (Mrs May detests Freedom of Speech), so the European Union is the DREAM of Mrs Theresa May – it is exactly what a Vicar’s daughter would like government to be – all powerful and with the people having no right to change the government or limit its powers. The choice between Mr Corbyn and Mrs May is truly a choice between Twiddle Dum and Twiddle Dee.

    “But the ordinary Conservative Members of Parliament” – as my own M.P. (Philip Hollobone) is fond of quoting “the problem with the Conservatives in Parliament is that so few of them are Conservatives” (this quote is so old that no on appears to know who first said it – which shows just how long term the problem is).

    They all know the facts – Mark Francois M.P. (the man I should have voted for to be President of the Federation of Conservative Students many years ago – I failed to vote for him, and I apologise again for my failure even though my heart told me that John Bercow was not a good man) held up the two documents in the House of Commons. And explained them to any Member of Parliament who did not already know.

    This 26 page document is the Political Declaration – it is very vague, and is legally unenforceable. And this is the 550 (plus) page Withdrawal Agreement – it is legally enforceable (unlike the Political Declaration) and, under a “harmonising” disguise it gives ALL POWER TO THE EUROPEAN UNION.

    Anyone who votes for Mrs May’s “Withdrawal Agreement” is voting, under a very poor disguise, a Scooby Doo style villain mask – which has been ripped off, is voting for ALL POWER TO THE EUROPEAN UNION – and THEY KNOW IT.

    So why is not Mrs May calling out “I would have got away with it, if it had not been for those meddling kids” as she is dragged off to prison (by the way Mrs May would LOVE prison – like her hero in philosophy Jeremy Bentham, prison is exactly how Mrs May would love society generally to be).

    The reason Mrs May is not out of office is because of those “Conservative” Members of Parliament. The Michael Gove types, who talk a good game – but when it comes to crunch prove to be gutless nonentities who are not really Conservatives at all. Ask Mr Gove anything about “Tony” Blair – he does not despise Mr Blair, he feels a deep kinship with him (which is all one needs to know about Mr Gove and people like Mr Gove).

    And remember Labour – they also MOSTLY (the Kate Hoey and Frank Field types are rare) privately support the rule of the European Union over the British people, just as Mrs May does. I do not think any of them are so insane as to claim that being under the rule of the European Union is like being a member of the United Nations, but they do support the rule of the European Union. The idea of a jackboot coming down on the face of the British people (for ever) fill them with perverted joy (just as it does Mrs May and her supporters).

    So are things hopeless? Is the Collectivist establishment so strong that the cause of freedom is without hope?

    I think there is one hope left – never forget that the British establishment are not just evil, they are also incompetent (to a quite extraordinary degree). They are the sort of people who would be quite happy gassing their opponents to death – but would then have accident installing the gas chambers and end up GASSING THEMSELVES. Yes that is a Black Humour exaggeration – but the spirit of it is true.

    It is quite possible that Mrs May and Mr Corbyn (who are really in agreement on this) will get so caught in the Punch and Judy Show of pretending to be enemies, that they will fail to coordinate in keeping the British people under the jackboot of the European Union. After all Mrs May and Mr Corbyn can not BOTH be top slave overseer – cracking the whip over the slaves for their masters in the European Union. Only ONE of these two people can be top slave overseer – and they may be so obsessed with the game of “I want to be boss! No not you – I must be boss!” that we will end up escaping the power of the European Union in spite of them.

  • Paul Marks

    Niall asks Conservative Members of Parliament not see that Mrs May is leading them to DEFEAT at the next election.

    Many of them really can not see it Niall – they put their faith in opinion polls, not understanding that socialist voters will (now) crawl over broken glass to vote, whereas Conservative voters are so sick and tired of Mrs May and her lack of any Conservative principles, that they will just STAY HOME.

    And, yes, there are the Establishmentarians – the Conservative Members of Parliament with such a fanatical hatred of the British people that they would lose the next election to Mr Corbyn rather than deliver independence.

    And, in spite of my previous comment, not all of the Establishmentarians are stupid – some of them have a horrible pig-like cunning.

  • Paul Marks

    President Donald J. Trump has many, and very grave, faults – and I doubt many people ATTACKED him as much in 2016 as I did (after all, the left only started attacking him from when it became likely he would be the Republican candidate – I was attacking Mr Trump from DAY ONE of the campaign).

    However, President Trump is a PATRIOT – a real one, he actually wants his country (the United States of America) to be an independent nation, with a free and prosperous population. He makes mistakes – but he has the right objective.

    People such as Mrs Theresa May are NOT patriots – it is not that they make mistakes in trying to ensure that their nation is independent and free, they DO NOT WANT THIS TO BE THE CASE.

    That is the horrible, utterly horrible, situation that we face.

  • Flubber

    And here’s the thing Paul

    The fact that Trump is a patriot when scum like May (and Obama) are not is the ONLY thing that matters..

    In the dreams of 17.4 million voters, we wish Trump was negotiating Brexit.

  • Julie near Chicago

    …Which prompts me to repeat my plaintive query:

    I have been seeing a few of our “right-wing” pundits Stateside saying that “the Brexit campaign of course was mendacious.”

    I don’t get it. Mendacious? What are they talking about?

  • Eric

    …but it shakes me to the core to find myself wondering if they could choose the electoral death ride of May campaigning on this deal rather than follow a leaver.

    Makes you wonder if the whole thing isn’t just a show for the rubes.

  • terence patrick hewett

    @Niall Kilmartin

    a masterly analysis.

  • bobby b

    @ Niall: “We may be stupid, but we’re venal!”


    (You’ve nicely encapsulated how I feel about much of our Republican Party.)

    Julie near Chicago
    November 25, 2018 at 1:02 am

    “I don’t get it. Mendacious? What are they talking about?”

    Let me give this a shot.

    It’s the never-Trumpers who are pushing this quasi-Republican theme. In their minds, Trump won by appealing to the deplorable racist rural racist toothless cousin-marryin’ racist islamaphobic racists on the conservative side, and they hate that he won and that he’s not one of them and won’t hire them or get them speaking gigs and makes them embarrassed for their side when they go to Beltway parties.

    And Brexit, of course, was won by dog-whistling all of the fears of the racist islamaphobic toothless soccer-hooliganistic racist British deplorables.

    So, to them, it’s all one thing. It’s like Deplorable Spring – our own Arab Spring.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, bobby, that seems a reasonable theory. Thanks for your take on it. Personally, the statement made me feel either stupid (all my libertarianish pals in the UK have been lying to me?) or betrayed (but I thought you guys were on our side: Go Independence!). Very discouraging.

    Thanks again, and I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. :>)

  • 1. The Remainers, including May and Hammond, have played a long game, taking full advantage of their position of power, to wear down their opponents. They’re now trusting in what they see as the complacency of the British public to get their deal through. (In this I hope they have underestimated thre British public.)

    2. They also used the tactic of not preparing properly for a No Deal situation, so that they can say it’s now too late for No deal, it will be a disaster, we have to pass the deal.

    3. They also think the threat of a hard-left Corbyn government will give them a win regardless of what they do.

    4. Finally, sad to say, a lot of Remainer Tory MPs would sell out their career, their party and their country for the sake of the EU.

  • Julie near Chicago (November 25, 2018 at 4:07 am), IIRC, on November 8th 2016, almost the last remark Trump uttered in his last major speech of the campaign was, “It’ll be Brexit plus, plus!” A few hours later, Instapundit posted the following single line:

    NATALIE SOLENT: “I think Brexit was the gateway drug to President Trump.”

    Insofar as they were not already, never-trumpers were thereafter disposed to regard Brexit as bad and to echo any talking points on it fed them by media manipulators.

  • Julie near Chicago


    Oh good grief. Well, first, to me that would be an item to put in the pro-Trump category.

    And second. I suppose I’ll be cast into the Outer Darkness for saying so, but … I’m not the hugest fan of Instapundit. I think the value is in the operation as an items-of-possible-interest clearing house. Nothing wrong with that, except that’s not quite what I thought it was supposed to be.


    Having followed the link, and the link, and refreshed myself on Natalie’s posting, what can I say. I liked it. A lot!

    Thanks for the info. :>)

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    It took me a long time to realise by how little the level to which insiders understand what is going on in politics exceeds the level to which I understand it.

    Those Tories may be willing to do whatever it takes to win, but simply have no idea what “whatever it takes” actually might be.

  • Jason D Callendar

    In the dreams of 17.4 million voters, we wish Trump was negotiating Brexit.

    On behalf of the EU, of course, as Kim Jong Un would readily attest.

  • Fred Z

    I wish there were a bit of Frog in you Brits.

    Go out and get some rocks and start throwing them, burn a few police vehicles, barricade a few streets.

    It’s time.

  • Horace Dunn

    The key thing to understand about Brexit is that it isn’t a tussle between the EU and the UK. It is a tussle between the governing class (on both sides of the Channel) and the governed. The governing class here in the UK has decided that it has to play lip-service to the idea of Brexit but it has no intention of letting it happen. And it won’t happen, in any meaningful way.

    I keep hearing that, if Brexit doesn’t happen, then there’ll be unrest. I like Fred Z’s comment ending with “It’s time”, but there’ll be no major unrest. I suspect there’ll be a few scuffles, but the people – forgive my generalisations but I think they stand – who voted Brexit are the working people and the taxpayers. The people who voted remain are students, public sector workers and the well-off middle classes. Leave voters have jobs, families, commitments. Remain voters have time on their hands. That’s why it’s only lefties who go out the streets when they’re annoyed about something. They have the luxury of safe jobs, no commitments to their families, friends and neighbours, and big fat pensions to look forward to (all paid for by the leave voters, of course). This is a contest between the tax-payers and the tax-consumers and the latter have all the power. The EU is the greatest engine for transferring wealth away from those who create it to the idle, self-serving rent-seeking class ever devised by man. The governing class and their public sector enablers are not going to give it up. And the wealth creaters are too decent to join this disgraceful struggle on its own terms.

  • Roué le Jour

    As I understand it the EU is an inter-bureaucracy project whose aim is to render elected politicians (and therefore the people who vote for them) powerless, mere ceremonial sinecures. This is how I understand the UK government already works. The appointment of, for example, Jacqui Smith as Home Secretary shows this is now a job that can be done by literally anyone who can hold a rubber stamp and apply it to the policies the Home Office has developed with their EU colleagues. I suspect politicians think the power of the bureaucracy isn’t going to fade any time soon and they’re better off appeasing it than opposing it.

    Rule by bureaucrats might not be such a bad thing if they had any idea how to govern, but it seems their only plan is to capture all of the created wealth of the nation leading inevitably to economic collapse. I’m not expecting any kind of unrest, the usual response of producers to rule by consumers is to quietly pack a suitcase and leave. (Assuming that’s permitted.)

    Drifting O/T for a moment, I expect immigration to be restricted in the not too distant future. I think the aim is not to replace the population but, in a sense, to gerrymander the electorate so that taxpayers (who are, of course, the bureaucrats true enemy) will never be able to elect a champion.

  • mickc

    You were wrong to attack Trump. It was apparent from the start he believed in the USA, unlike his opponents.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    They also used the tactic of not preparing properly for a No Deal situation, so that they can say it’s now too late for No deal, it will be a disaster, we have to pass the deal.

    Well said. This was a clever ruse, because by making discussion of a clean, WTO-based departure an issue that was not discussed, and not preparing, the Remainer-led government could then turn around and say that leaving is impossibly unpleasant. However, they may have been too clever by half, because scores of successful countries operate outside of transnational progressive clubs such as the EU, and operate under WTO rules, and so the terrors of making the shift are much exaggerated.

    The supposed desire of Tories to win is an odd thing, because it requires Tory MPs to have, at base, a level of stamina and cunning. And with a few honourable exceptions, they don’t. My local MP, Mark Field (Westminster), is a classic May ally: bland, ineffectual, and a fan of authortarian solutions on certain subjects.

  • Paul Marks

    Very good point Flubber.

    Juile – the “right wing” pundits who say that pro independence people were lying doing the referendum campaign, are repeating establishmentarian B.S.

    The liars were the pro European Union people – such as David Cameron, George Osborne, and THERESA MAY. The are still lying.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul — and Niall, and bobby — Works for me. (I do see that word cropping up a lot in Brit and EU sources.)