Tuesday 17 September 2019

Sarah Carey: 'Seeing Brexiteers whipped so soundly was deliciously gratifying'

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg

Sarah Carey

I know Brexit poses an existential threat to Ireland; but there's no getting away from the fact it's also wildly entertaining.

Serious people with serious responsibilities can't be caught sniggering, but I'm unimportant enough to relish the thought of Dominic Cummings firing 'The Art of War' across the room screaming profanities. Sun Tzu never had to deal with the Irish. Sorry, Dom.

Perhaps the supposed political mastermind might have been better off reading those dreadful books about Mr Gray and his sadistic predilections. I shunned the '50 Shades' genre myself, but found it so deliciously gratifying watching BoJo and his nasty friends endure one humiliation after another this week I wondered if I should give the discipline scene a try.

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Still, a friend observed that since those Tories are rumoured to pay fortunes to dungeon-style clubs in London to recreate the thrashings they got in Eton, perhaps they are enjoying the beatings in some perverse way.

They kicked off on Monday when one couldn't have been prouder of the Taoiseach, tall and tanned in his tight-fitting suit slapping Boris around with Greek mythology. The prime minister looked a holy show, squat and sloppy as his bumbling inarticulation failed to charm.

With his bottom smarting from that encounter he was packed off to Westminster to get his comeuppance where, inevitably, the bill to block a no-deal Brexit was given royal assent. And then Corbyn refused the election for a second time.

Meanwhile, the Good Dominic - Grieve - got a motion passed that cracked the whip twice more on Boris's buttocks. The first part demanded that Number 10 publish all correspondence relating to the prorogation. This may turn out to the deadliest blow of all.

The prime minister had advised the queen that parliament was being suspended to allow for a new legislative agenda, when we all know perfectly well it was done to prevent it stopping Brexit. The fact the strategy appears to have failed is neither here nor there. If the correspondence shows Jacob Rees-Mogg flew to Balmoral and lied to Lizzie, well it's off to the Tower with the lot of them.

Shades of grey: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings in Downing Street. Photo: PA
Shades of grey: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings in Downing Street. Photo: PA

When Scotland's court ruled on Wednesday that this is precisely what happened, David Allen Green of the 'Financial Times' proclaimed its declaration the prime minister had misled the queen a judgment of "profound importance".

The second part of Grieve's motion demanded the publication of 'Operation Yellowhammer' - the papers admitting exactly what a no-deal Brexit would mean for the United Kingdom.

This obliged Johnson's cabinet to take to the airwaves claiming there was plenty of time to get the army involved in maintaining order if civil unrest broke out in supermarkets emptied of Dutch onions. You'd be morto for them.

But for sheer sadism it was John Bercow, the heroic speaker, who dealt the Brexit cabinet a particularly painful blow. Similar to the manner in which the Cathaoirleach is elected automatically to the Dáil, it's customary for the speaker to run unopposed for their seat.

Cummings thought he could nobble Bercow by arranging to contest his seat in the coming election. Instead, Bercow announced he would stand down, but crucially before the parliament was dissolved. This means the current House of Commons - not the next - will elect his successor. The front bench sat stony-faced as the penny dropped.

Even if the worst comes to the worst and the Brexiteers get back in power, they will not have a friendly speaker.

In short: the strategy to goad and control the House of Commons failed completely. The attractions of a leather corset and thigh high boots increase by the hour.

But the highlight for me was MEP Mairead McGuinness on ITV's news on Tuesday evening. Elegant as always, the glint in her eye screamed political dominatrix.

That morning, Saxon princess European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, announced Phil Hogan would be a "determined" Trade Commissioner. This is the man behind the elevation of two Taoisigh - Enda Kenny and Varadkar.

Irish Water excepted, Phil tends to get his way. A king of pragmatism who refuses to indulge fools, appointing him to lead negotiations for a UK trade deal creates a circle of hell for the Brits worthy of Dante.

ITV's correspondent put it to McGuinness that this was a provocative appointment particularly since Hogan had referred to Johnson, Rees-Mogg and Farage as the "three stooges". "Well I know Phil Hogan and he is a straight talker," she replied, stoically attempting to keep a straight face.

You've got to hand it to the Blueshirts - they are having a good week.

By the week's end it was becoming accepted the Northern Ireland-only backstop - Ireland's original demand - was back on the table.

Now, while we'd take that any day over a no-deal crash-out, to be perfectly honest, things are going so well I'm inclined to believe we can go the whole way.

The right and sensible thing to do is for Britain to remain in the EU. That is the only solution which saves British people, whether they want it or not, from the tragedy of Brexit. Because despite the laughs this week, it is a terrible tragedy.

The risks are still great. Sinister forces remain afoot but, God, it was good to see the Brexiteers whipped so soundly. Long may it continue.

Now, someone fetch me my riding crop. I've got a new hobby.

Irish Independent

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