Both Theresa May’s government and the Labour Party leadership are now being threatened with a haemorrhage of their MPs. Both groups poised to revolt are posing as the beleaguered custodians of the centre ground which has been taken over by extremists in both parties.
Let’s boil down to essentials just what they’re all saying. The Times (£) reports:
“About 100 members of the Brexit Delivery Group, which comprises Remain and Leave Tory MPs, warned the chief whip Julian Smith in a letter that they were prepared to force the government to delay Brexit if Mrs May could not reach a deal.”
These MPs include two ex-Cabinet ministers, former Education Secretary Justine Greening and the former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve, who are threatening to exit the Tory party if Mrs May fails to rule out leaving the EU with no deal.
Said Greening: “I don’t think I would be able to stay part of a party that was simply a Brexit party that had crashed us out of the European Union”. In similar vein, Grieve said he would “cease to take the whip” if he thought the government was “about to take us into a no-deal Brexit”.
So let’s get this right. Grieve, Greening and the rest of the Tory 100 are holding a political gun to the Prime Minister’s head – if she refuses to rule out adhering to the act of parliament for which Grieve, Greening and the rest of the Tory 100 all voted, under which Britain leaves the EU on March 29 regardless of whether or not a deal has been agreed. It is an act which enshrines in law the democratic decision taken by the British people in the 2016 referendum to leave the EU – the commitment to honour which was contained in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, on the basis on which Grieve, Greening and the rest of the Tory 100 were elected to parliament in the first place.
And these MPs call themselves “centrists” while those promising to honour the referendum result and their manifesto commitment are supposed to be “extremists”? Seriously?
Meanwhile the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been told that dozens of Labour MPs will join the Independent Group – currently consisting of eight Remainer Labour MPs who have left the party over extremism, antisemitism and Brexit, and three Remainer Tory MPs – unless he backs the demand for a second referendum. The Times (£) reports:
“They are demanding that he support a proposal by two of his backbench MPs in which Labour would agree to pass legislation underpinning Mrs May’s deal in return for a public vote. If the deal were rejected by the electorate, the government would be obliged to withdraw Article 50 and remain in the EU.”
Get that? Bad enough that these MPs want to ignore the actual people’s vote for Leave and try to reverse it by running another referendum. Worse, the second vote they would impose would not even be, as was the first, a choice between Leaving the EU and Remaining. It would be between Mrs May’s deal – which is Remain-by-stealth – and Remaining in the EU!
In other words, the “people’s vote” they are demanding is a choice between Remain and Remain. It’s thus an offer that, by definition, the British people simply couldn’t refuse.
These mafia-style tactics are being threatened against not the undoubtedly extremist, hard-left, institutionally antisemitic cabal that has seized control of the Labour party machine but against the British people.
And these Labour MPs call themselves “centrists”!
What’s becoming ever clearer is that the Independent Group is not a principled stand against Corbynista extremism or the party’s endemic antisemitism. It is a Remainer front, whose founding principle is to resist the democratic decision of the electorate.
If it does grow into a force which helps reconfigure British politics altogether, as some are now predicting, the most likely outcome will be this.
The Conservative party will end up standing for historic British national and cultural identity, democracy and independent self-government. The party formed from the Independent Group will stand for the end of historic British national and cultural identity, democracy and independent self-government. And the Labour Party will cater for the Marxist/nihilist crowd who aim to bring about the latter project through intimidation, bigotry and violence.
The Conservative party would thus become the only party upholding the spine of British centrism, democracy and decency. The real symmetry here is between the Corbynistas and their ostensible nemesis in the Independent Group – an unholy alliance against the values that made Britain the unique force for good that it once was in the world, and its last slim chance of becoming so again.