Where are we going?
Today is the 2nd Sunday after the Referendum and the Country is in a mess. Why? Because no-one knows how we should deal with the consequences of the Referendum vote. The headlines in the Sunday papers concentrate on the most urgent consequences: the choice of the next Tory leader and the difficulties of the Labour leader: see the BBC Headlines. That is probably the right approach since any resolution of the Brexit issues is going to need a House of Commons with an effective Government and an effective Opposition.
But it is also necessary to understand some of the background. In the Observer/Guardian Linda Colley has this: “It is easy to despair of our leaders, but Brexit has exposed Britain’s rotten core” in which she observes:-
“Cameron did not, for example, opt for a referendum on the EU chiefly to cater to democracy. He did what he did to placate his party’s Eurosceptic wing and in an attempt to scuttle Ukip.”
Absolutely so. But he did not bother to work out the consequences of a “Leave” vote, and there was no planning to prepare for the outcome. So what did he do – he has announced his resignation and left the mess for others to sort out. Also writing in the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland obsererves: “Cameron really was the true heir to Blair: both were totally reckless“.
Tory Leadership Issues
The MPs have whittled down the potential candidates to Teresa May, presently the Home Secretary and Andrea Leadsom, presently the Energy Minister. A postal ballot of party members will decide who the Leader of the Conservative Partly will be and therefore who will be the next Prime Minister. William Hill is today taking bets offering 1/4 on Teresa May and 3/1 on Andrea Leadsom. That seems to reflect the result of the MPs ballots with May getting 199 votes and Leadsom 86 votes.
Teresa May is very much seen as the “safe pair of hands” and Leadsom as a potential preference of those who voted for Brexit, but today’s headlines focus on a spat between the ladies’ supporters about whether Leadsom ought to have said she had a better claim for support because she had children while Mrs May had not.
The Sunday Times reports, “Leadsom’s enemies stick the knife in(£)” but adds that up to 20 Conservative MP’s would leave the Party if Leadson were to be elected. The Sunday Telegraph has “Tory women turn against Andrea Leadsom in retaliation for ‘vile’ suggestion Theresa May should not become PM as she has no children(£) and The Sunday Mail has “‘Do us all a favour and quit’: Senior Tory women spearhead the backlash against leadership contender Andrea Leadsom after motherhood jibe at rival Theresa May” The Sunday Express has a Tory MP saying “Steely Theresa May is ideal as our next Prime Minister, says MIKE PENNING“. One might think that Andrea Leadson has a “foot in mouth” problem.
But she has another problem – the support of Arron Banks. See “Theresa May would ‘BETRAY’ Brexit, Ukip backer Arron Banks slams Home Secretary“. Some Conservative Members, particularly those in deprived areas where UKIP does well, may be induced to support Leadsom because she has support from that quarter. But the policy of all the main UK parties is to keep well away from Arron Banks and everything he stands for. See also the interview with Arron Banks on the Andrew Marr Show which suggests that his present plans are to move to attract more voters to UKIP in the depressed areas which voted to leave the EU.
It doesn’t help her either to have articles like this: “Neocons linked to Tea Party paid for Andrea Leadsom’s flights to US“.
The Labour Party
The standoff between the majority of the Labour MPs in Parliament and their Leader continues. See the Observer: “Labour in turmoil as Eagle announces leadership bid“. It appears from the article that Labour’s National Executive Committee will meet on Tuesday.
A New Centrist Party?
The Observer also has this: “Pro-EU Labour and Tory MPs look at forming a new centrist party“. In effect, Labour MP’s who cannot stomach Corbyn and Conservative MP’s who voted to Remain (the majority) and cannot stomach Leadson are talking about coming together in a re-run of the SDP. Further, Baroness Shirely Williams is suggesting that there should be a cross party committee to approve any future deal on the UK’s relationship with Europe. It merits further consideration.
With the summer recess coming up, there is not likely to be much movement before September. While the various legal challenges seeking to ensure that Parliament has control of the post referendum process will chug along, there is unlikely to be any substantive hearing during the Long Vacation. So we just muddle on.