It has been another unhappy week for the prime minister, though as usual he has brought it on himself. Given the dreadful statistics, the crumbling services, Keir Starmer in his pomp and the rest of his troubles, it could be expected perhaps that Mr Sunak might be concerned at losing his marbles. Though one hadn’t thought it would happen quite so literally.
Whatever possessed him and his increasingly manic advisers to decide to pick a fight with the visiting Greek prime minister? Does he not have enough battles to fight already? One can only suppose that, like all of his predecessors in recent years, he is terrified of upsetting his lunatic back benchers. Rather than that, he is prepared to create a diplomatic incident with a close NATO ally, and he was even persuaded at PMQs to accuse his guest of “grandstanding”, just to heap insult on injury.
It seems these people can get nothing right, not even narrow self-interest.
Meanwhile, King Charles has turned up to speak at COP28 wearing a Greek tie. Make of that what you will, but it does seem unlikely to be a coincidence.
Professor John Curtice, the guru’s guru on matters psephological, has been talking about our changing attitudes to Brexit.
He explains that those former Labour voters in the supposed Red Wall who deserted the party over Brexit would now vote to join the EU. Those voters across the country who voted Labour are even more pro-Labour now and also more pro-EU. And young voters, who didn’t qualify to vote in 2016 are overwhelmingly in favour of joining the EU.
So who is there left? As we have wondered before, who exactly is it that Labour is scared of? Does anybody know? Nobody in the Labour Party will tell you. Even down to the lowliest canvasser, they are all sworn to silence at pain of ex-communication. From here, it looks rather as though Keir Starmer and his team are just scared of the dark.
Now, there are stirrings among the Liberal Democrats, who are increasingly frustrated by the belligerent cowardice of Ed Davey to take any serious or principled position on Brexit. Baroness Sarah Ludford has just been sacked from the LibDem’s front bench for signing a letter to that effect.
There will come a time when the only supporters of Brexit will be Jacob Rees-Mogg and the entire Labour Party. And at least Mr Rees-Mogg will know his reasons. Labour still won’t be able to tell you theirs.
Readers can hardly not be aware of the Covid inquiry, and of course as well as the scientists there has been the duplicitous crowd of liars and incompetents who misled the public and looked after their friends whilst 120,000 died – many of them needlessly. Among the sorriest and most contemptible figures is Matt Hancock, still making excuses, still looking to save himself. As this is written, he has just had to face the embarrassment of his testimony to the inquiry apparently being at odds with his account of the pandemic in his book. We must hope for his sake that what he told the inquiry is true, and it is the book that is – shall we say – at odds with reality. Because at the inquiry he is giving evidence under oath, and perjury is a serious criminal offence.
Speaking of which, we understand that both Mr Hancock and Michael Gove have been interviewed by the National Crime Agency, in connection with the PPE contract awarded to Michelle (now Baroness) Mone. Now do tell: what on earth do we imagine that’s all about…?
Meanwhile, Matt Hancock continues to draw his £84,000 salary for supposedly being the MP for West Suffolk, plus generous expenses. He no longer takes the Tory whip, and ‘sits’ (as they say) as an independent. Though in practice of course he represents nobody but himself. Nobody can make him earn it. Nobody has any sanction that can remove him. He incurs the savage anger of millions, yet there is nothing anybody can do about it.
Those millions will recall, however, that Keir Starmer and his advisers insist the public has no interest in voting electoral reform. Leave things as they are, eh? Dear reader, you might care to write to him or your Labour MP to make your own views clear on that point.
If those campaigners for proportional representation to replace our first-past-the-post voting system were wise and wish to take public opinion with them, they might well couch their arguments in terms which link it quite legitimately to the desiccated system, which offers MPs such a sinecure under the preposterous assumption that they are all gentlemen and incapable of acting dishonourably.
Sadly, this week’s diary has had to be truncated, for technical reasons. Snippets of politics will continue to appear in EAB’s new daily politics blog. What few garbled notes you have here reached you only by being strapped to mules to make the hazardous journey through blizzards over the high sierras, in fear of wolves and bandits and running out of Old Unprintable, which has been the only sustenance. Normal service, as one understands is the phrase, will be resumed next week.