Knowing what’s coming doesn’t necessarily ease the pain. Watching a bomb as it hurtles from ‘way up in the skies into your living-room doesn’t mean it’s any less shattering when it hits. This week has been a long time coming.
Today in Westminster will separate the boys from the men and the girls from the women. A number of Conservative MPs will be asked to put their political lives on the line and vote against their own party. Because it will have consequences: Boris has promised that any who oppose him will find themselves deselected and kicked out of the party. That’s a tough one emotionally when you’ve worked for the party for maybe twenty years or more. It’s also a tough one financially in that you’ll be out of a job. (Yes, Virginia, I do know some Tory MPs have more money than sense but surely not all of them?)
However, if they take their courage in their hands and block Boris’s path towards the cliff-edge, they’ll have served their country – and a lot of us outside their country.
That hurdle overcome, the House of Commons will then face another problem: do they support a snap general election. Boris will call one if his no-deal Brexit route is blocked. But for a general election to happen, Biris must get two-thirds of parliament to agree that it should happen. This means the Labour Party must vote for a general election.
While Tony Blair has declared that for Labour to agree to a general election would be the “elephant trap” that Boris wants Labour to fall into, because then he, maybe with help from Nigel Farage’s ghastly Brexit Party, will pulverize Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
Maybe he will. Or maybe he won’t. Corbyn has made it clear that he’d jump at the prospect of a general election, which he believes he will win.
The snag is, not many commentators agree with him. The upside of that is, all the commentators forecast he’d be trounced in the last election against Theresa May, and in fact he increased the Labour seats and left Theresa dependent on the DUP. Whether that’s something we should be thanking him for or not I’ll let you figure out yourself.
But there is one upside. It’s hard to believe that any election will put the DUP in the king-makers’ seat they currently have their collective butts planted in. Their day in the sun is coming to an end and there are a lot of people, in Britain and in the north, who are looking forward to giving the DUP the kicking of their lives for their encouragement of Boris.
Assuming things go the way that’s anticipated – and lately they’ve a habit of twisting sideways and surprising us – this should be a historic week.