If you prefer me writing country notes, or you’re American, and you’re not too interested in British or European politics, do give this post a miss! Though there are a good few parallels with Trumpery.
Also, if you’re expecting me to be mild-mannered, and avoid personalities, well, not this time. There is some pretty egregiously bad behaviour out there.
If you read the press and indeed listen to the BBC news you can get depressed, even feel beleaguered if you support staying in the EU. Michael Heseltine’s demolition of Boris Johnson yesterday, primarily over his linking the EU and Hitler’s ambitions, was featured in the Times, but not in the popular press. Heseltine would be ‘very surprised’ if Boris ever became the leader of the party, and that of course is an implicit part of the Brexit agenda. (How left-of-centre Brexit supporters can justify to themselves facilitating a Boris premiership I don’t know.) So however absurd Boris gets, he remains untouchable – and he is of course aware of that.
I don’t believe for a moment that Michael Gove shares Boris’s view of European history. I wonder (to myself only so far!) whether he might just change sides at the last. He is already tainted by association.
I also wonder what will happen if Boris does, after a Cameron resignation, become PM. Would all his party fall into line? I somehow doubt it – the party is badly split.(Just how far will all this mutual abuse extend?) So he wouldn’t of course command a majority in the Commons, and in the event of an election there’s a very good chance that a pro-EU parliament would be returned. Would the Tories be able to campaign as a single party? If they did and they’re returned as the largest party, but well short of a majority, would they then still try and force through Leave legislation?
Another scenario: Nigel Farage asserts that, if the result is small Stay majority, there will be a clamour for a second referendum. I haven’t heard it from the Stay campaign yet, and I guess they’re too wise to make the comment – but if the result is a small majority for Leave, I expect there will also be a big clamour for … a second referendum.
Oh the joys of uncertainty and chaos!
If we weren’t all so deeply involved, if a potential Brexit hadn’t got calamity written all over it, these would be fascinating times. They will make good history ….