“The British Supreme Court (a dubious constitutional innovation if ever there was one) appears to have killed Brexit stone-cold dead. Between the Court and the Fixed-Parliament Act, the Remainers seem to have had all the cards when it counted: the lawyers and political class have trumped the referendum.
Hard to see what happens next. Prime Minister Johnson is a Tory Prime Minister in theory only. Unable to deliver Brexit, which his Party only allegedly wanted, he seems destined for an early disappearance. But what does that mean for the Conservative Party? Most of their voters wanted Brexit. but their donors didn’t. The donors have won for now, but this Parliament has to allow an election sometime. Not sure I’d want to be a Tory officeholder then.
The whole sorry episode shows that when the voters want one thing, and the elites another, the elites win, eventually.”
Unlike a dissolution, which is governed by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, proroguing Parliament is a Royal Prerogative power exercisable by the Queen, (who, by convention, follows the PM’s advice). This doesn’t require the consent of the Members.
This effectively makes “Brexit” unstoppable. As David Jaroslav explains:
“Parliament is scheduled to return from recess on September 9. Now they will be prorogued from the . . .12th until two weeks before the exit date set in the Withdrawal Act. This formally ends the parliamentary session so all pending business dies unless there is a vote in the old session to carry it over to the new session. On October 14th there will be a new Queen’s Speech opening a new session and little to no parliamentary time for the Remainers to play games.
“Even if no confidence were tabled AND voted on the first day of the session (highly unlikely), the 14-day period for a new government to receive the confidence of the House would end right around the exit date, during which the current government would remain in office. If no confidence passed and no new government formed, there would then have to be a general election, but it wouldn’t happen until after Brexit, and again the old government would remain in office until the election concluded.”
Trump and Boris are at a working breakfast August 25th on the second day of the annual G7 Summit accompanied by representative of France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan. Trump and Boris are laughing and joking and having a great time, while further down the table various EU representatives look a lot less happy. You can really tell who’s winning.
I remember having an argument about this once at a dinner thrown by Rees-Moggâ€™s old school chum William Sitwell. A fellow guest insisted that Mogg was far too posh to reach the highest levels in politics. But the person making this claim was a middle-class Remainer who was essentially projecting his liberal elite prejudices. Out in the country at large, however, people just donâ€™t have this chippy attitude. Just as squaddies in the Army still often prefer it if their platoon commander is a Rupert with a proper public school accent, so constituents â€” as is certainly the case in Jacobâ€™s North-East Somerset parliamentary seat â€” have a sneaking fondness for an old-fashioned, lord-of-the-manor type with impeccable manners, a mastery of the English language, and a respect for Britainâ€™s traditions.
This is one of the things that has been so enjoyable about watching the Boris Johnson administration in action. Itâ€™s like watching Odysseus returning to Ithaca and clearing his court of all the wastrels, louts, and spendthrifts who have taken over in his absence; itâ€™s like witnessing the Restoration of Charles II after years in which Britain had been in thrall to hatchet-faced, Christmas-and-Maypole-banning Puritans; itâ€™s like Britain once more becoming the place we used to know and love before the social justice warriors and race-baiters and cry-bullies and diversity officers and sustainability consultants almost went and ruined everything.
Watching the new gang â€” Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg especially â€” competing in the Commons last week to see who could most wittily and imaginatively put down the Opposition, I was reminded of the good old days at the Oxford Union when Oxford was still a halfway decent university and hadnâ€™t completely surrendered to whiny, entitled Communists.
The swagger, the confidence, the bantering good humour â€” where making your point is all very well, but what matters far more is the style and wit with which you do it â€” reminded me how much weâ€™ve been missing in Parliament all these years as MPs with class and hinterland and oratorical skills were edged out by career-safe, virtue-signalling placemen and placewomen.
What weâ€™re seeing happening in British politics now is very similar to what the U.S. has been experiencing under Donald Trump â€” only done in an English way. The bubble of pomposity has been pricked by our new God-Emperors of banter.
The Guardian reports that Theresa May’s government is falling apart over Brexit.
Boris Johnson has resigned as foreign secretary, becoming the third minister in 24 hours to walk out of the government rather than back Theresa Mayâ€™s plans for a soft Brexit.
The prime minister hammered out a compromise with her deeply divided cabinet in an all-day meeting at Chequers on Friday, but after consulting friends and allies, Johnson decided he could not promote the deal.
Pressure on the foreign secretary had been mounting since fellow pro-Brexiter David Davis resigned as Brexit secretary on Sunday night, swiftly followed by his No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.
A Downing Street spokesman said: â€œThis afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.â€
Friends said Johnson had been finalising his resignation letter, but Downing Street announced his departure before he had completed it.
After the Chequers summit, it emerged that Johnson had referred to attempts to sell the prime ministerâ€™s Brexit plan as being akin to â€œpolishing a turdâ€.
As the flamboyant public face of the Vote Leave campaign, his departure will deepen the sense of crisis around May, and increase the chances that she could face a vote of no confidence.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, being a literate chap educated at Eton and Oxford, naturally had the famous Kipling poem come to mind & tongue when invited to bang the bell in a temple of the Great God Budd in what used to be known as Rangoon, Burma.
The wet ends at the Guardian, and the British Left generally, had a cow over the incident.
Boris Johnson caught on camera reciting Kipling in Myanmar temple.
Foreign secretaryâ€™s impromptu recital of colonial-era poem was so embarrassing the UK ambassador was forced to stop him.
‘Not appropriate’: Boris Johnson recites Kipling poem in Myanmar temple.
The foreign secretary has been accused of â€œincredible insensitivityâ€ after it emerged he recited part of a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in front of local dignitaries while on an official visit to Myanmar in January.
Boris Johnson was inside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay, including the line: â€œThe temple bells they say/ Come you back you English soldier.â€
Kiplingâ€™s poem captures the nostalgia of a retired serviceman looking back on his colonial service and a Burmese girl he kissed. Britain colonised Myanmar from 1824 to 1948 and fought three wars in the 19th century, suppressing widespread resistance.
Johnsonâ€™s impromptu recital was so embarrassing that the UK ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, was forced to stop him. …
The previously unbroadcast footage shows the diplomat managing to halt Johnson before he could get to the line about a â€œBloominâ€™ idol made oâ€™ mud/ Wot they called the Great Gawd Buddâ€ â€“ a reference to the Buddha.
The gaffe came on the first visit to Myanmar by a British foreign secretary in five years. He had taken part in a ritual involving pouring water over a golden statue of what he described as â€œa very big guinea pigâ€, when he approached a 42-tonne bell, rang it with a wooden stick and spontaneously started reciting Kiplingâ€™s poem.
A visibly tense ambassador stood by as Johnson continued: â€œThe wind is in the palm trees and the temple bells they say …â€ Then Patrick reminded him: â€œYouâ€™re on mic,â€ adding: â€œProbably not a good idea…â€
â€œWhat?â€ Johnson replied. â€œThe Road to Mandalay?â€
â€œNo,â€ said the ambassador sternly. â€œNot appropriate.â€
â€œNo?â€ replied Johnson looking down at his mobile phone. â€œGood stuff.â€
â€œIt is stunning he would do this there,â€ said Mark Farmaner, director of the Burma Campaign UK. â€œThere is a sensitivity about British colonialism and it is something that people in Burma are still resentful about. British colonial times were seen as a humiliation and an insult.
â€œIt shows an incredible lack of understanding especially now we are seeing the impact of Buddhist nationalism, especially in Rakine state [where Rohingya muslims have been been the subject of violent persecution].â€
BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! ”
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!
‘Er petticoat was yaller an’ ‘er little cap was green,
An’ ‘er name was Supi-yaw-lat – jes’ the same as Theebaw’s Queen,
An’ I seed her first a-smokin’ of a whackin’ white cheroot,
An’ a-wastin’ Christian kisses on an ‘eathen idol’s foot:
Bloomin’ idol made o’ mud
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed ‘er where she stud!
On the road to Mandalay…
When the mist was on the rice-fields an’ the sun was droppin’ slow,
She’d git ‘er little banjo an’ she’d sing “Kulla-lo-lo!
With ‘er arm upon my shoulder an’ ‘er cheek agin my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an’ the hathis pilin’ teak.
Elephints a-pilin’ teak
In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
Where the silence ‘ung that ‘eavy you was ‘arf afraid to speak!
On the road to Mandalay…
But that’s all shove be’ind me – long ago an’ fur away
An’ there ain’t no ‘busses runnin’ from the Bank to Mandalay;
An’ I’m learnin’ ‘ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
“If you’ve ‘eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ‘eed naught else.”
No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay…
I am sick o’ wastin’ leather on these gritty pavin’-stones,
An’ the blasted English drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Tho’ I walks with fifty ‘ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An’ they talks a lot o’ lovin’, but wot do they understand?
Beefy face an’ grubby ‘and –
Law! wot do they understand?
I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
On the road to Mandalay…
Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin’, an’ it’s there that I would be
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
O the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay !
Boris Johnson (who typically dresses better) defends poor Matt Taylor against the Social Justice Warriors.
The other day the brilliant space scientist Dr Matt Taylor was asked to give a report on the progress of Philae, the astonishing little landing craft that has travelled, in all, four billion miles to become the first representative of humanity to visit the surface of a comet. Dr Taylor leant forwards. He started to speak. Then his voice went husky, and it became painfully obvious to viewers that he was actually crying. And of course he has many very good reasons to feel emotional. The London-born astrophysicist has been part of a mind-blowing success. …
Except, of course, that he wasnâ€™t crying with relief. He wasnâ€™t weeping with sheer excitement at this interstellar rendezvous. I am afraid he was crying because he felt he had sinned. He was overcome with guilt and shame for wearing what some people decided was an â€œinappropriateâ€ shirt on television. â€œI have made a big mistake,â€ he said brokenly. â€œI have offended people and I am sorry about this.â€
I watched that clip of Dr Taylorâ€™s apology â€“ at the moment of his supreme professional triumph â€“ and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Maoâ€™s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.
Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations.
I had words on Facebook with James Delingpole this morning, consisting of my dissenting from his agreement with Boris Johnson’s Telegraph editorial echoing the left-wing perspective that it was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power by a coalition of 49 countries led by the United States in 2003 which, eleven years later, is the cause of the latest outbreak of barbarians in that part of the world.
Boris the blonde (who obviously devoted his time at Oxford to partying and up-sucking, rather than critical reflection) faithfully parrots the international community of fashion’s articles of faith.
The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, â€œwe snipped the spinal cordâ€ without any plan to replace it. There are more than 100,000 dead Iraqis who would be alive today if we had not gone in and created the conditions for such a conflict, to say nothing of the troops from America, Britain and other countries who have lost their lives in the shambles.
No, Boris, your “more than 100,000 dead Iraqis” figure is only a supposititious estimate cooked up for propagandistic purposes, and whatever quantity of Iraqis wound up as casualties in the course of opposing Coalition military operations or as incidental collateral damage was obviously not the fault of George W. Bush (or Tony Blair), but their own fault and the fault of Saddam Hussein and the rest of the Nationalist-Socialist leadership of that country which chose to adopt an extraordinarily belligerent and anti-Western posture and which defiantly undertook to violate an existing armistice agreement.
It is, moreover, obviously totally impossible to tell today just which and how many Iraqis might still be alive, absent the 2003 and invasion and the removal of that regime from power. Possibly some even greater number of Iraqis might have died at the hands of their own regime, in another major war instigated by Saddam, or via American retaliatory strikes after WMDs provided by Saddam’s regime to non-state jihadi actors were used to kill massive numbers of innocent Western civilians.
Many of the same countries participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq previously participated in the 1944 invasion of Normandy aimed that the “destruction of institutions of authority” and “snip[ping] the spinal cord” of a highly similar regime to that of Saddam’s, erected in point of fact on the same foundation principles of (aggrieved) Nationalism and (militarist and despotic) Socialism. No one sheds a tear for the far more than 100,000 Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and other Europeans slain in the course of opposing that coalition, nor for the many hundreds of thousands of civilians at that time intentionally targeted as the objects of strategic bombing.
The real differences, of course, reside in the much larger scale of WWII casualties and destruction, and in the thorough and completely ruthless post-war de-Nazification of the enemy.
The real tragedy in Iraq is that coalition efforts at regime change were too limited and piecemeal, too half-hearted and too confused in purpose. The WWII allies reduced their opponents to prostration and unconditional surrender, then occupied and ruled them for years, completely and fundamentally liberalizing, democratizing, and remodeling their cultures along our own lines. We attempted no such thing in Iraq, instead deluding ourselves with fantasies of being welcomed as liberators by friendly natives and trusting that the gift of democracy would in itself suffice to convert murderous and bigoted Mussulmen into bourgeois liberals.
It only required the setback of an unexpected Insurgency to unleash the hounds of treason and pacifism throughout Western intelligentsia circles. George W. Bush and his coalition allies found themselves far more effectively under attack from behind in the Times, the Post, and the Guardian than they ever were in Fallujah or Ramadi.
Boris Johnson would be right if he had attacked George W. Bush and Tony Blair for failing to put domestic traitors behind barbed wire and for not finishing the job, but when he accuses them of destroying some kind of legitimate authority or when he implies that Iraq would be better off under Saddam, he is just being a conformist tool and a complete ass.