Brexhaustion, Crossrail and misundereducating America

16 December 2018

I’ve been suffering from what someone far cleverer than I called Brexhaustion but this week has been quite fascinating.  Theresa May cancelled the vote she knew she’d lose on the “best-and-only-possible-deal plus backstop” that couldn’t be improved, then rushed round Europe to see if it could be improved.  Predictably, the EU’s response was something like “This is your problem not ours”.

This led to a vote of no confidence in her leadership so she then rushed round Britain to tell people how great she is.  She survived the vote but it left her absolutely clear that about a third of her own party aren’t on her side.  Coming only a few weeks after her government was found to be in contempt of parliament, this would seem a good time for the UK to merge with Iceland, which held the world’s first parliament and is getting larger as the tectonic plates it sits on move apart, to form a new world-beating alliance which could then declare war on Andorra … oh, I can’t go on, long creek, facing the wrong way, no paddle, dead woman walking etc etc.

But actually she can’t resign because all the possible replacements are so ghastly – imagine a PM with the haircut and brains of a haystack – and the most sensible way out now seems to be to withdraw the notice she gave the EU under Article 50, which would give her a lot more time to sort things.

It seems reasonable to assume she got it right and her deal really is the best-and-only-possible-deal plus backstop, so she could then hold another referendum offering a choice between her deal+backstop and staying in the EU.  But when did any government ever do the most sensible thing?

Actually, the headline on the main news story on the BBC website yesterday morning said  ‘“Forge Brexit consensus” Rudd urges MPs’.  Brilliant!  Even I hadn’t thought of that one.  And it’s all thanks to America:  Trump fakes news, Rudd forges consensus.

Which reminds me that Paul Dacre, former editor of the Daily Mail trousered £2.7m in his last year and gets a pension of £735,000 after having lost one in every eight browsers on its website in the same year.  More proof that what people are paid bears no relation to their ability.

Who remembers that the Queen used to have “open Crossrail” in her diary for today but, because it’s now more than 12 months behind schedule, she didn’t;  and we’re all going to have to find yet another £1bn to cover further overspends.  Despite this, Crossrail’s chair, Sir Terry Morgan, was considered the obvious person to chair HS2, which is already estimated to cost twice its original budget and the navvies haven’t even picked up their dynamite and shovels yet.  We’re all, naturally, devastated that Morgan has now left both organisations.

Trump continues with his mission to misundereducate America by tweeting on Monday “Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun… No Collusion.”  We all make typing mistakes but the same one in the same word twice in one tweet is a bit like losing two parents.

Here at the ranch, there was good news:  one of the few advantages of being a carer (probably the only one) is that you get to see the night sky and I’m happy to tell you that, at 1 am, 3 am and 5.30 am last night, the sky was splattered with bright, shining stars like an early Jackson Pollock from the days when he had only a limited supply of paint.

And the best news of all is that, changing only the gender in one of Maggie Thatcher’s more ludicrous announcements, “We are a grandfather”.  Kristin was born on Thursday and looks from the pictures to be utterly gorgeous.  She apparently has hairy ears but George says her feet are OK so she’s probably not a hobbit.

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