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Referendum – when the sky didn’t fall down

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Theresa May
Theresa May

Remember Chicken Licken?  Well the sky didn’t fall down after all, and he went happily back to the farmyard once Foxy Loxy met his just deserts. Mind you, the story doesn’t go onto tell us what eventually happened to Chicken Link after he got back to the farmyard.

So we all woke up after our post-Brexit hangovers expecting the sky to have fallen down but nothing seemed to be happening.

Prime Minister Cameron announced that he would be stepping down by October to give the Conservative Party plenty of time to carry out an orderly democratic campaign to decide who his successor would be. However, events moved rather faster than anyone anticipated. Johnson threw his hat into the ring, but his erstwhile Brexit running mate Gove stabbed him in the back by telling the world he (Johnson) was unfit to be PM. By publicising his second personal and political betrayal of the year Gove himself demonstrated to the world that he was equally unelectable. We then had the spectacle of the absurd Andrea Leadsom and her imploded campaign to convince the world that she should succeed Cameron.

By this time the leadership selection process was threatening to become a Whitehall farce. From nowhere Home Secretary Theresa May announced her candidacy and before you could say “knife” let alone “in the back” every other contender for the job had amazingly decided to withdraw from the race. With only one candidate left Theresa May was declared leader on 11 July by the 1922 Committee of MP’s, which effectively was overseeing the leadership contest.  One can only imagine the shouting behind closed doors, but the Conservative Party has always avoided washing its dirty linen in public.

Contrast this with the Opposition Labour Party which once again threatens to tear itself apart.  Jeremy Corbyn has lost the support of his own MP’s. Militant left-wingers are on the march again under their new Momentum banner and members are fighting over the interpretation of electoral rules in the Courts. This has every characteristic of the Labour Party schisms of the 1970’s and 80’s, although potentially more damaging because the key protagonists are threatening to take their campaign outside the parliamentary system. A weak and divided opposition is politically unhealthy.

Theresa May wasted no time in getting her feet under the table. Gove followed Osborne out of the Cabinet and the world thundered to the crash of falling jaws as Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary.  A Brexit triumvirate of Johnson/Davis/Fox was appointed.  In one stroke she neutralised the eurosceptic faction of her party.  Since then she has continued to demonstrate why she is possibly the only member of the current political establishment with the personality and experience to lead a post-referendum government.

Does anyone know what the Liberal Democrats are up to?  If so, do let me know. They seem to have vanished from the political landscape and I would have thought they now have a wonderful opportunity to stake a claim left of centre now that the Labour Party is preoccupied with self-destruction.

Parliament goes into recess today and members disperse to their chosen retreat in the sun or otherwise. Next term starts on 7 September. I wonder what sort of Autumn we can expect.  For sure, not only leaves will fall.

 

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