The most terrible fate for any politician who desperately seeks to be taken seriously and passionately feels that the fate of his party and his country lies in his wisdom is to become the butt of national ridicule. It is political death by a thousand cuts. And it is a gift that never stops giving. Poor Moggy. He had carved out a reputation as a rather eccentric but deeply honourable Parliamentarian. When the Mogg spoke the Commons listened. He was revered in the Tory heartlands as a philosopher king speaking to the faithful in words that they could thrill to. Thousands queued to hear the sage of Somerset orate at the party conference. Only he had the courage to expose the betrayal of May and her knavish tricks. And oh, what an English gentleman with whiff of moth balls, ready rubbed shag, distributing Werthers originals to adoring children in front of a roaring fire. Only he had the authority to decree, with the ersatz solemnity and sadness of a Cooperative funeral director on a bad day, that her time had come. With a beatific smile, like the brass plate on a coffin, he urged his ERGs to write their letters of execution. But the epistles of St. Mogg were a tiny trickle in what should have been a Tsunami of indignation. As some of us predicted, the grey beards had a peek over the precipice and failed see the promised rainbow cloud which would cushion their fall, only the jagged rocks below.
Old hands like Redwood, Jenkin, Paterson and Davis are not fools. Taking a wrecking ball to the agreement is one thing, but demolishing the government is quite another. A very, very dangerous path. And Raab with his Keith Josephian vein hammering away like an asp in his left temple knows that if he wants the top job he has to feign loyalty. And Bozo? Like a WW1 general he is quaffing champagne at headquarters seeing how many of his troops will be sacrificing their political lives for his own. He might be there for a while.
Well, it turned out to be an omnishambles clusterfuck of biblical proportions. It has boosted Madame in the polls amongst all wings of the party and the public. She is no longer seen as the hapless, indecisive, traitor of Brexit, but someone who is is single-mindedly doing the best for her country.
And then there was yesterday. A row of old men, triumphs of the morticians art, flogging a horse that had died a week ago after receiving a telegram from the Queen. But the killer moment, like so many in politics, was sheer happenstance, when a journo referenced Dad’s Army to Mogg. An astute politician would have ignored it. But it has given birth to a dangerous caricature which will stick. The front page of the Evening Standard must have caused much merriment on the commute home. And Patrick Kidd’s Sketch in the Times today is a masterpiece. Captain Moggering. Genius. He will never recover from it.
Have you noticed that photographers are now producing pictures of Mogg that makes him look mad and odd? They did it with John Redwood. Years ago then a Tory, Quentin Davies, employed a farm manager who was prosecuted for cruelty to sheep. Every time he stood to speak in the House there would be a chorus of bahs and other sheep noises. He never got over it. Now when ever an ERG gets to their feet every Dad’s Army catch phrase will be deployed. ‘Stupid boy…..don’t panic don’t panic…..they don’t like it up ‘em…..don’t tell them your name Pike……doomed, doomed we are all doomed’. And this is just the start. It will be a gift that goes on giving.
But don’t write the ERGs off yet. They are subtly changing the narrative to ‘if you don’t get rid of her she’ll lead us in to the next election’. Well, this may be no bad thing at all. In fact, looking at all the clowns who fancy their chances this would be a very wise move indeed.