Richard Littlejohn: Brexit has become about politicians
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Stephen Crabb? Remember him? No, he wasn’t that famous frogman who went missing, presumed dead, while spying on a Russian warship in Portsmouth harbour in 1956.
That was Buster Crabb. Nor was he the copper-turned-chef played by the late Richard Griffiths in the BBC show Pie In The Sky. That was Henry Crabbe, with an ‘e’.
Anybody? I’m sorry, we’re out of time. Stephen Crabb was, in fact, the Conservative Party’s great white hope as recently as last year.
Stephen Crabb was once the Tory Party’s great white hope after the resignation of David Cameron last year
Following Call Me Dave’s resignation, Crabb put himself forward as leader and, by extension, Prime Minister. For about five minutes, after the Brexit referendum, he was the future.
The Boys In The Bubble got terribly excited. Young-ish, born in Scotland, brought up by a single mum on benefits in a council house in Pembrokeshire, MP for a Welsh constituency, fashionable beard. What’s not to like?
Crabb was the polar opposite of the privileged, metrosexual, public-school Cameroons — just the chap to drag the Tories screaming and kicking into the 21st century. OK, so Crabb was a Remainer and the country had just voted conclusively to Leave the EU. But you can’t have everything. It was even claimed absurdly that because he’d been on the losing side he would be a perfect ‘unity’ candidate.
He actually managed to attract the support of 34 MPs — that’s more than former chairman Grant Shapps could muster for his abortive coup against Theresa May last week.
Sadly, it wasn’t enough to make the cut. After the first round, Crabb withdrew from the race.
Just as well, as it turned out. A few days later it was revealed he had sent a series of sexually explicit texts to a young woman not his wife — which rather flew in the face of his carefully-cultivated image as a devout Christian believer in family values.
Following David Cameron’s resignation, Crabb put himself forward as leader and, by extension, Prime Minister, only to be pipped by Theresa May
Crabb resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary — a job very few people outside Westminster knew he had — and that was the last anyone heard of him.
Oh dear, how sad, never mind. Everybody back on the battle bus.
I’m only disinterring his body to illustrate the ephemeral nature of politics and the warped priorities of the self-obsessed political class.
In the wake of the biggest popular vote for anything in history, the story quickly ceased to be about Brexit and became all about the politicians themselves.
The people had spoken, but the political class seized possession of the result. Even though most of them had been on the losing side, they decided the will of the 17.4 million who voted Leave was at best a secondary consideration.
Fifteen months on, it’s still all about them. Sack Boris. Sack Spreadsheet Phil. How long can Mother Theresa cling on? Who is going to take over? Is Amber Rudd positioning herself for a challenge? Will it be Ruth Davidson, the kick-boxing lesbian?
Who bloody cares? Enough of the political psychodrama.
Don’t they realise that the 17.4 million weren’t just voting against the EU, they were passing a vote of no confidence in the whole rotten lot of them?
The only thing that matters now is getting Britain the hell out of the EU as quickly as possible. While the Tory Party is playing silly buggers, the Eurocrats and the embittered Remoaner saboteurs are making hay.
Those determined to derail Brexit can smell weakness.
Even before Mother Theresa had formally issued her feeble ‘the ball is in your court’ warning to the EU yesterday, Brussels had lobbed it back over the net. Pick the bones out of that, pet.
Why wouldn’t they? Members of the Cabinet appear more worried about their own futures than the future of the country. Project Fear is still in full swing.
Over the weekend, professional Establishment stooge Howard Davies — formerly of the Europhile CBI and the man who brought you Gordon Brown’s disastrous banking reforms — was wheeled out everywhere, warning that tens of thousands of jobs in the City were about to migrate to Europe.
No, they’re not.
Why does anyone pay attention to Nick Clegg, who is pushing the idea that Brexit can still be stopped?
What you have to remember is that Davies is part of the same lying crowd who warned that if we voted Leave, there’d be an emergency Budget the next day, millions of jobs would be lost and World War III would break out.
Then up popped Nick Clegg, all channels, all day, pushing a book on how Brexit can still be stopped. Why does anyone give him houseroom?
After losing the referendum, he fought the last election on an anti-Brexit ticket and lost his seat. How many more goes does he get?
If you take any notice of most of the self-interested merchants of doom, we are at the mercy of the EU and must be grateful for whatever scraps they throw us.
Not that Brussels is in the mood to give us anything. We’ve been walking up a one-way street so far. We offer concessions, which they swallow and then refuse to budge an inch. Pathetic.
Sorry to sound so negative, but just because you’re paranoid and all that. The Great Brexit Betrayal began the moment the result of the referendum was announced. The grave danger now is that it all gets Lost In Transition.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Faced with EU intransigence, the only sensible option, as I’ve maintained all along, is Just Walk Away, Mrs May. They’ve got more to lose than we have. But that’s not going to happen.
It’ll all come down to Angela Merkel, we’re told. Why? She’s just had an even worse general election than Mother Theresa.
Why the hell should a woman who could only poll 33 per cent in Germany dictate Brexit terms to a woman who won 42 per cent of the vote in Britain?
Yet all the parochial Boys In The Bubble are bothered about is who Theresa should sack. For what it’s worth, I’d have shot Spreadsheet Phil back in the spring after his disastrous, hubristic Budget — and said so at the time.
They’d rather she sacked Box Office Boris, the one man who has consistently put forward a positive vision of Britain’s future outside the EU and about the only proven match winner the Tories currently possess. Dumping Boris would be like Portugal dropping Cristiano Ronaldo because he’s not a ‘team player’.
‘It’ll all come down to Angela Merkel, we’re told. Why? She’s just had an even worse general election than Mother Theresa,’ write Littlejohn
Boris should have got the job when Cameron fell on his sword, but the petty jealousy and resentment of so-called colleagues stopped him in his tracks. He might have screwed up spectacularly eventually, but he had earned the right to give it his best shot.
Ah, but he’s driven by personal ambition, his critics say. And the others aren’t? Grow up. They are all driven by ambition. They’re politicians.
What was the unnecessary and calamitous ‘Vote Theresa May’ vanity project general election all about otherwise?
Why has the appalling, sour-faced Look Back In Amber just hired an expensive pollster, if not out of ‘personal ambition’?
Are you seriously going to tell me that life under Boris would have been any worse than we’ve had to endure over the past 15 months?
It wasn’t Boris who dillied and dallied for months over invoking Article 50, or who called an unwanted election, blew a 23-point opinion poll lead, lost the Tories’ parliamentary majority, and condemned us to the prospect of the Marxist menace Corbyn next time round.
If it had gone pear-shaped, at least — like Arnold Bennett’s Card — he’d have cheered us all up, not tried to scare us to death or filled us with gloom every five minutes.
If not Boris next, then who? Ruth Davidson, young-ish, Scottish, etc, is the bookies’ favourite. The name on everyone’s lips, we’re told.
Well, I was in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago — Old Firm game, Horseshoe Bar, usual haunts — and unless I’ve gone completely mutton, no one, but no one, was talking about her.
At best she’s small-time, the Tories’ version of Wee Burney. She’s not even a Westminster MP — and, anyway, is a fervent Remainer who would keep us locked in to the Single Market, free movement and the European Court of Justice.
I wonder what Stephen Crabb’s up to these days.