They say ‘start as you mean to go on’, and rather than kickstart a new, united image of control, the Tory’s have continued to demonstrate a level of farce that would have John Cleese bowing down in awe.
It hadn’t even started before professional turncoat Boris Johnson had attempted to undermine May’s efforts by once again ridiculing her (ridiculous) Chequers plan and presented his own totally unworkable ‘Super-Canada’ dream. It is both worrying and a true joy every time Boris publishes a new post to his lucrative blog posing as a news publication. Reading like the delusions of a madman, a manifesto you see published before an atrocity, you’re reminded that this self-serving sycophantic careerist still has influence and sway over public opinion. Yet, by the same token, every post further strips him of authority, reveals his hypocrisy, and highlights his lack of sincerity or integrity. If supporting a cause will get him what he wants, he’ll promise the Earth, damn the consequences. His ‘Super-Canada’ plan, much like his leadership bid, have been widely scorned, not least because it seems to lack an understanding of what the Canadians actually have, and how that can’t be applied to our situation. Any deal that introduces a hard border in Ireland is a no-go, and his suggestion of a technical solution is laughable.
It would be, indeed has been, a derided suggestion from the start, but it deserves an extra level of contempt after news broke on Friday that the Conservative Party conference app - built as part of this image overhaul to appeal to young voters - let everyone access personal details of attendees, including the personal phone numbers for MP’s. Here is a party that can’t create an app to allow rank-and-file members to comment on speeches without leaking confidential information, and the EU are expected to believe we can oversee a huge digital border that will prevent the importation of non-compliant goods? And do so in six months?
We then got the news that Theresa May has plans for a “Festival of Brexit Britain”, a celebration of all things British, in the vein similar to the Great Exhibition of 1851 or the 1951 Festival of Britain. Call me a cynic but if a no-deal situation occurs in 2019, I don’t see many British businesses celebrating in 2022. That being said, I can envisage some similarities between 1951 and 2022. Firstly, the food rationing, which didn’t end for a further three years. Or the influx of colony workers who were brought into an environment of hostility to bolster the depleted workforce, only to be catastrophically failed by their government down the road. And, only 10 years later, we were desperate to enter the EEC having previously decided we were too important to be involved. We were denied entry. Twice.
The announcement did however succeed in uniting the people and lifting the spirits of the nation… as they joined together on social media to ridicule it and its £120m estimated price tag.
Then, Jeremy Hunt. I had momentarily forgotten that he existed, having been moved from Health to what seems to have become the playpen of the Foreign Office. Yet, there he was, using the opportunity to aggrandise in what some are - probably correctly - viewing as a leadership bid. He spent his time talking big of taking the ‘fight’ to the EU if they dare to continue their ‘uncompromising’ position of not letting Britain dismantle the EU. He states that the EU risks becoming a ‘prison’, and makes the unforgivable suggestion that there are similarities between it and the Soviet Bloc. It’s hard to believe that our Foreign Office has been reduced to questionable and uncouth diplomacy by insulting everyone we wish to work with down the line. It is especially tasteless to compare the EU, which is perhaps the single largest and most successful peace project ever, to the thuggish Soviet Bloc - the vestige of which as recently as this year oversaw a nerve agent attack on British soil.
His provocative language does somewhat raise the question of why we are fighting so hard to secure a deal with EU - I rather doubt it’s Stockholm syndrome. To butcher his analogy, perhaps it’s because this ‘prison’ is more akin to house arrest, where the white collar criminal receives all the same luxuries his previous life afforded and more besides, but with a slight curb to their freedom as a compromise. Indeed, Mr Hunt’s whole comparison fails when you stop to consider that Britain finds itself in this mess precisely because we exercised our freedom to leave. The EU aren’t stopping us from going - I rather think at this point they’re counting down the days - but they are preventing us from tearing down their union on the way out. The EU is a achievement in political unity. Here are 27 individual countries all agreeing to common laws to create the single largest trading bloc in the world. They aren’t going to undermine that by letting a ‘belligerent’ UK (Hunt’s words, not mine) try and cherry pick the benefits. But that was made clear even before the referendum, and two years later Brexiteers are still insisting it will eventually become reality. It won’t.
The Tory Party conference is only halfway through and already they have demonstrated their complete detachment from reality, and far from singing from the same hymn sheet, they aren’t even in the same church. Rather than provide solutions to this impending crisis they are too busy trying to outdo each other in ever increasing outbursts of absurdity to demonstrate their competency to lead the party. It truly is a case of the blind leading the blind, and that’s not a reassuring image when we are so close to the cliff edge.