A former potato farmer turned Brexit-backing Tory MP, Andrew Bridgen is nicknamed Spud-U-Hate by his foes. It fell to him to clarify, in Tories at Battle (Channel 4), how he and his fellow uber tubers within the Conservative celebration elect their chief. First the candidates kind a circle. Then they take up their weapons. The round firing squad ends when the candidates are eradicated – leaving, Bridgen fancifully imagined, “a nun from the Outer Hebrides to turn into chief”. If solely. The issue, looking back, was that solely 11 Conservatives stood this summer season to steer their celebration. If solely all of them had stood, and been eradicated, we wouldn’t be in such a large number. Provided that the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency that features the Outer Hebrides elected a Scottish Nationalist final time spherical, most definitely that nun wouldn’t have prorogued parliament however revoked article 50, thus wiping the unbearable smile I needed to endure watching this present from the face of the par-boiled spudleiter of the Brexit celebration.
The purpose of this hour was to bear witness to how, since Theresa Could’s election, probably the most profitable democratic celebration on the planet (or so ex-minister Alan Duncan referred to as it) acquired blighted by potato politicians. The civil warfare would have been enjoyable to observe have been it not for the truth that the remainder of us are in its crossfire. Tories at Battle confirmed that Britons in 2019 are usually not a lot lions led by donkeys as sofa potatoes dominated by red-skinned, elite potatoes bred in high vegetable academies within the Thames valley.
Duncan, who began the programme in January as minister for Europe, ended it questioning if the lettuce in his sandwich was the final greenery he would eat as a consequence of no-deal Brexit. Just a little excessive, Alan: simply as there are academies for producing potato politicians, so there will likely be lettuce farms in Brexit Britain.
The issue of the programme is that the warfare isn’t over and the collateral harm has scarcely began. The pleasure of the programme was watching Tory grandees get it incorrect in hindsight. Nicholas Soames started the yr airily scotching the ludicrous risk of Boris Johnson as chief; he ended right here chucked out of the Conservative celebration by PM Johnson for defying the whip to stop a no-deal Brexit. Even Bridgen thought eradicating the whip from insurgent Tories was bonkers: Johnson, the “Midlands Machiavelli” reckoned, had left the “rats nowhere to run”.
There was an absence on the coronary heart of the present. It was David Cameron, who, we will now see, was to the Tory celebration what Marshal Tito was to the Balkans. Say what you need in regards to the authoritarian chief, however at the least, as civil warfare ravaged Yugoslavia, he was lifeless and so not round to flog his self-justifying memoir and offload his accountability for the debacle on to his successors.
There have been different voids too. The opposite two calamitous organ grinders – Could and Johnson – have been additionally unavailable, so we acquired varied monkeys – Rees-Mogg, Soames, Soubry, Spudleiter, Spud-U-Hate, Duncan. Because the final of those sobbed over Could’s Downing Road farewell, I felt like Oscar Wilde studying the loss of life of Little Nell: it could have taken a coronary heart of stone to not snigger.
Spud-U-Hate was good on the calamity if not its corollary. He argued that, as a result of the Tories’ ballot scores are scarcely in double figures, it’s crucial to ally with the Brexit celebration. Johnson shouldn’t be celebration to this mooted alliance, partly as a result of the Brexit celebration’s chief, perma-gurning Nigel Farage, has his quantity. There are individuals who enter politics to do one thing, others to be one thing, Farage defined. Johnson’s drawback is that he needs to be one thing. Farage didn’t realise his drawback is that he needs to do one thing.
It was a coup (however in a great way) to get the hedge fund billionaire and Johnson backer Crispin Odey on movie. I’m not saying Odey is one other red-skinned potato raised in elite vegetable academies within the Thames Valley, simply that he attended Harrow and Oxford earlier than turning into a hedge fund billionaire who makes cash from shorting Britain. What Odey stated right here would chill anybody with lingering hopes for British democracy.
The person who gave £10,000 to Johnson in June argued for prorogation thus: “Parliament has acquired to be minimised on this occasion. However in a brand new parliament [after a general election] by which hopefully he [Johnson] has a 100 majority, parliament comes again into being what it must be. However within the course of you could have destroyed a variety of the political class. However the political class way back forgot who their masters are.” Speak about constructive ambiguity. Odey could have meant to counsel that politicians’ masters are the individuals, or that they’re plutocrats like him and that our democracy dangers turning into as oxymoronic as its US counterpart.
Odey’s presence reminded us that there’s cash to be comprised of Brexit, simply not by the likes of you and me. He gained tens of millions betting towards the pound after the 2016 referendum and now, in response to the Sunday Occasions, has made a £300m guess towards British companies and stands to revenue from the woes of the UK economic system, of which there will likely be lots ought to Brexit occur with out an EU deal in October. No-deal Brexit, the stay campaigner Gina Miller advised us, fits his monetary agenda.
The programme concluded, fittingly given we’re in the midst of the shambles, with an unanswered query: “Will Brexit devour Boris Johnson simply because it did Theresa Could and David Cameron?” However, actually, who cares in regards to the fates of the uber tubers? The true query is what Brexit will do to us.