Well. That was fun, wasn’t it? After more than two years of toing and froing to Brussels, the British prime minister has constructed a deal which the House of Commons has booted, not down the road, but into outer space.
Incredibly, some of May’s ministers seemed taken aback by the rejection of Theresa’s cunning plan. Andrew Neil aimed taser question after taser question at British Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who looked as though he’d been emptying the contents of his stomach into a sink in the Men’s, and couldn’t wait to get back thre.
But even that wasn’t a patch on the Channel 4 interview in the busy hall at Westminster, after the disastrous defeat of the May withdrawal bill. Krishnan Guru-Murthy had three people lined up: Jacob Rees-Mogg, Joanna Cherry of the Scot Nats and Sammy Wilson of the DUP.
Rees-Mogg tried, in his usual languid manner, to draw distinctions between the legality of indicative votes and other kinds of vote in the House of Commons. I expect you knew what he was talking about. I fell asleep after the first five words from his cherub lips.
But I wakened up when Guru-Murphy turned to Sammy Wilson. You’d have thought Sammy would have been pleased, doing hand-stands round the Westminster Hall now that Theresa’s bill, with its hated backstop, had been defeated. But no. Sammy looked and sounded nervous. Things reached a pitch when Guru-Murphy asked him if he’d be content for the UK to crash out of the EU.
Crash out – Sammy gave Krishna a little lecture explaining that Channel 4 were biased, using words like “crash out”. The UK would be a healthy, independent organization, doing deals with America and other places, no bother. Guru-Murphy told him that just wasn’t true, at which point Sammy got a bit red in the lugs and insisted that it was true. It was at that point Joanna Cherry intervened.
She explained to Sammy that what he was saying was, in so many words, rubbish. And that if the UK insisted on its suicidal rush to the cliff-edge, Scotland would be saying sayonara, slan, Adieu, adios. Scotland had voted as a majority to stay in the EU and it would be going its own way. Then, as the interview ended, she leaned in to the microphone and reminded Sammy that the majority of people in the north of Ireland had voted to remain, so he wasn’t even representing their views.
There were other unmissable moments over the course of the evening but I expect you saw them.
Looking at them, it;s hard to believe that these people think we Irish are incapable of governing ourselves without a
steadying hand from Westminster.
I know I should be responsible and treat this terrible economic, political and social threat with the gravity it deserves, but I have to tell you: I haven’t enjoyed an evening’s television as much since back in the 1970s when the Watergate hearings were being aired and Richard Nixon was being dismembered.
Yipee – here’s the link to the video… https://youtu.be/SR7JwVjWByM