Well, there appears to be only only two grown ups in the Commons. Madame and Bercow. To the delusionists the Speaker is a class traitor. He is leading the Westminster elite bubble that is hand in glove with those who want Juncker’s tanks on College Green. He is part of a conspiracy to mock, undermine and destroy democracy. What is particularly interesting is that you won’t hear the likes of IDS, Jenkin, Cash, Redwood, Chope or Leigh agreeing with this analysis. It is left to the likes of young pups like the never knowingly undernourished Adam Holloway, who has the manner of a schoolboy who has nicked the last of the pork pies from the tuck shop and always keeps a spare one under his pillow. The reason the long marchers supportive is that they realise that Bercow, despite being mind bogglingly irritating, has done more for defending backbenchers against an over mighty executive than any Speaker in living memory. He allowed the long marchers every opportunity to be heard. And they remember in the good old days of Betty Boothroyd when they tried every procedural trick in the book to makes their points and wreck their own government. So deep down how can they blame Grieve and co for doing the same?
This morning I had the misfortune to watch Ether McVey on GMB. A terrifying confection of Farah Fawcett Major meets Hannibal Lector. Hair today but sadly not gone tomorrow. But boy can that woman blow. This was the launch of her leadership campaign. Dear God what sort of reptiles will a leadership election disgorge? Priti Patel? Penny Mordaunt?Liz Truss? I have never seen the point of these people except to make me feel decidedly unwell. I have never seen the political attraction of Truss. She strikes me as very odd. Unsure of herself on the media. Caught like a rabbit in the headlights. Terrified of being interviewed by the likes of Andrew Neil, which is fair enough, but bloody useless when she tries. And then she makes profoundly unfunny jokes about her cabinet colleagues. It’s the Adams family without their sense of normality. They won’t get anywhere but it will be fun to watch them crash and burn.
But back to McVey. She was in full unicorn mode this morning. ‘WTO rules are nothing to worry about. It’s what people voted for. The Irish border problem is just all made up. We have the technology. Anyhow, computers tell us in advance which lorries are carrying drugs and weapons’. It just borders on the psychotic. I wonder if she really beliefs this guff.
So tomorrow is a big day. There will no doubt be a competition for who will: pick up the mace. Shout abuse. Behave disgracefully enough to be thrown out.
Corbyn will demand a general election which he won’t get. There will be points of order which will just be a primal scream. Francois will say something stupid. Brigden will say something even more stupid. Boles will want Norway. Boris, if he has come up for air from his latest squeeze, will ape statecraft. And Skinner will be a grumpy old shit. Same old, same old.
The key to the puzzle is the Speaker. If the government is defeated in such a way that the deal is dead and cannot be revived. If it is clear that the Commons cannot reach a conclusion on any deal is he entitled to allow an all party Bill to extend article 50 and allow a referendum? The answer is he can. If the Commons votes against this ruling on a motion, then he can’t and would have to go. But if the executive has lost control a sovereign Parliament is the only way to save itself and the country.
My personal preference would be to vote for the deal. Another referendum has to be the very last resort. And it may not be conclusive. But that is where we may have to go.