By Aaron Deering
It’s been a dramatic couple of weeks in the topsy-turvy world of Brexit. For those of us, like myself, that are political junkies, it’s been brilliant entertainment. Westminster has become a reality TV soap opera, with Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Blackford, Jo Swinson and John Bercow all playing the lead roles. You’d almost forget how serious the situation is and what is at stake. Boris Johnson was supposed to be the Prime Minister to deliver Brexit and bring the country together, but instead he’s only further divided the country, united the opposition against him and suffered setback after setback. Johnson’s first mistake was to hire Dominic Cummings as a special advisor to the government, as, between the two of them, their Brexit strategy has been calamitous.
They completely underestimated the resolve of the ‘Remainers’ within the Tory party and, instead of working with them, they only further alienated them and forced them to rebel, by stripping them of the party whip. This led to the Prime Minister’s first and second setbacks as he lost, not only his first vote in the House of Commons as Prime Minister, but also 21 Tory MPs, who have become known as the ‘rebel MPs’. The 21 MPs included some long-standing Tory stalwarts, such as 2 former Chancellors, Ken Clarke and Philp Hammond, and Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, who, ironically, is Boris Johnson’s political hero.
With the help now of the 21 rebel MPs, the opposition were able to seize control of parliament, as the government lost its majority. Johnson would go on to lose a total of 6 votes in 6 days, in comparison to Thatcher, who lost 4 in 11 years, or Cameron, who lost 10 in 6 years. How Johnson and Cummings thought they could simply bully the likes of Ken Clarke, who has served 49 years as an MP, was ridiculous, especially considering many of the rebel MPs had nothing to lose by voting against the government, since many are not standing in the next general election. Just when Johnson thought it couldn’t get any worse, he suffered another setback and, in my view, the most significant, as his own brother Jo Johnson quit his cabinet and announced that he is not standing in the next general election, due to his brother’s strategy on Brexit and treatment of the 21 rebel MPs. How can the Prime Minister expect the opposition or the public to trust him when not even his own brother does? Then came Amber Rudd’s resignation as Minister for Women and Equalities, just to add insult to injury.
Then, on to Johnson’s election campaign press conference, where he used police cadets to stand behind him for the duration of the conference. One poor police officer nearly fainted, just to cap off an embarrassing and damaging week for the Prime Minister. One thing Johnson has succeeded in is rejuvenating Jeremy Corbyn into a competent leader of the opposition again. Like many, I’ve been so disappointed with Jeremy Corbyn in the last two years, after he showed so much promise in the 2017 general election, but, recently, he looks like the old Jeremy Corbyn, who’s got his mojo back. The main reason for this rejuvenation is down to Johnson’s incompetence and recent poor performances, both in Westminster and in public, which makes Corbyn more statesman-like. The prorogation of parliament for 5 weeks by Johnson has only given further ammunition to the opposition and highlights his reluctance to be scrutinised by parliament, as we tick down to the 31st of October. The seven days from the 2nd – 9th of September could well go down as a defining moment in what is the Brexit saga, where Boris Johnson could well be the shortest ever Prime Minister after this week from hell. One thing that I can confidently say for certain is, even with all this confusion surrounding Brexit, when the British Parliament returns on the 14th of October for the Queen’s Speech, it will be entertaining and only add another episode to what is an ever-growing soap opera, that’s called Brexit, that all us political junkies love.