Anyone watch Peston last night? I sure did, though I possess nothing but envy towards you if it happened to have passed you by. Far from a relatively jovial evening of breezy political discussion with the always endearing Robert Peston, the experience quickly became akin to having a cheese grater forcibly scraped across your brain. This was largely thanks to the innately insufferable Nadine Dorries who, despite being ever indignant towards people questioning her intelligence, seemingly struggles with the relatively simple concept of not responding to questions that were asked of someone else.
Though to be fair to her, I can understand why she was eager to pontificate. The only card Dorries and her ilk have to play is to endlessly bemoan a perceived problem they don’t have any real solutions to – and with Theresa May finally having produced a draft of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, it gave her the perfect opportunity to express her self-righteous indignation while keeping the empty vacuum behind her eyes conveniently obscured underneath a veil of distraction.
Indeed, today’s inevitable ministerial resignations only serve as testament to such an approach not only being a prevalent tactic, but also one which has poisoned our parliamentary system, setting in a seemingly irreversible rot which precipitated today’s collapse.
There’s already been resignations aplenty, each one undertaken under the pretence of “principle” and accompanied with the sort of bitter sloganeering usually found in one of Leave.EU’s pathetic morsels of wretched propaganda.
A significant portion of the resignees you’re unlikely to have heard too much of, having largely spent their cabinet career skulking in the shadows, periodically emerging with the occasional boneheaded, pro-Brexit soundbite or filling in if the government required a last minute stooge to suffer an avalanche of derision courtesy of the Question Time audience.
However there are two rather prominent Cabinet ministers who’ve also handed in their notice, though their prominence has only really been achieved by way of abject incompetence.
Obviously I speak of Esther McVey and, of course, Dominic Raab – a man who was ostensibly appointed our Brexit secretary in an move which can only be described as an act of sheer defiance against logic itself.
The resignation of McVey was expected and nobody really seems the least bit disappointed to see her go. The only quibble anyone could really have with such a pathetically inept minister finally pissing off is that she’s managed to fashion her own exit; resigning over the supposed Brexit “betrayal” with assumed honour hardly befitting of someone who’s heaped untold amounts of misery upon the most destitute and desperate by way of Universal Credit.
As morally repulsive as McVey’s reign of ruination may have been however, she is but a mere pretender when compared to the dishonourable absurdity of Dominic Raab, our erstwhile Brexit Secretary.
Raab is a rather strange character, paradoxically bearing the demeanour of a lost and frightened child while sporting the receding hairline of a middle aged man. Though these are merely cheap shots at what is ultimately immaterial. To let a man of such callous ineptitude escape with a bit of shallow aesthetical ribbing would be letting him off far too lightly.
It’s fair to say that not much was expected of Raab when he suddenly found himself in the spotlight as our nation’s Brexit Secretary. Our first attempt at employing someone with a semblance of nous had been an unmitigated disaster – and he didn’t even get fired; he himself having initially started the trend of running away the moment accountability drew near. So if he was shit, what could you really expect from his substitute?
Raab did indeed exceed expectations, though only by virtue of somehow making David Davis appear a veritable political titan by way of retrospective comparison.
Never once did Raab inspire confidence. While at times he did at least try to fashion his own style of aggressive negotiations, all attempts fell pitifully flat as each bluff was carried out with the expertise of a poker novice holding his cards backwards. In fact his chronic bumblings became so laughable there were rumours that he was in fact a hard Brexit sleeper agent, surreptitiously sabotaging negotiations from within. Whether there’s any truth in this only Raab himself will ever know, though it’s hard to expect such delicate subterfuge coming from a man who only realised that Britain is an island last week. Resigning in protest against a deal it was his job to cobble together is a move regrettably fitting of such a dubious intellect.
One man who most definitely is looking to collapse May’s Brexit deal (and indeed May’s premiership) however is the chronically displaced time immigrant Jacob Rees-Mogg, finally handing in the letter of no confidence we’ve all known was inevitable for at least a year.
Naturally he wasn’t courteous enough to enclose a workable alternative, but that’s always been the problem with the hardline Brexiteers. Whether we’re talking about Dorries, Rees-Mogg or now Dominic Raab, their bluster and laughably ramshackle veneer of patriotic integrity is all they have. It’s the easiest thing in the world to rally against a proposal that is universally despised, but do they really have any better ideas? When you consider that, when pressed today, Rees-Mogg suggested Boris Johnson and David Davis as credible replacements for May – two men who have offered nothing but empty rhetoric for over two years – the answer can only be summed up with a definitive “no”.
So where does this leave us? The mere citizens helplessly chained to the roof of this runaway train as it hurtles ever closer to the ravine?
Well let’s see. A government collapsing in on itself? Check. An EU withdrawal agreement over two years in the making about to die on its arse in less than a day? Check. Michael Gove mooted as our next Brexit Secretary? Check fucking mate.
As much as the Mogglodytes clearly revel in boosting their own profile by way of political brinkmanship, it seems to overlook the fact that these are serious and needless risks that we’re taking – and the plebs are along for the ride whether we like it or not. Brexit has always been fuelled by unrefined ideology with feasibility not even reaching the level of a mere afterthought – and the fatal drawbacks of such a short sighted approach are becoming more obvious by the day.
Ultimately these calculated resignations are doomed to be an exercise in futility. They might very well oust May, but the ship will still be sinking with the antagonists short of actual solutions – and if we’re to learn from the lessons of recent history, Raab and the rest of the rats are going to flee before it finally goes down.
It’s just a shame they have to chew so many holes in the hull before they scarper.Follow @grahamlithgow