Brexit People

Michael Gove – Vote Leave

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Michael Gove is what the Urban Dictionary calls  a “poison dwarf”  “a selfish, untrustworthy, deeply obnoxious or evil person of diminutive size, whose ostensibly unthreatening appearance allows him to fulfil his predisposition for causing unprovoked pain and suffering in an under-hand manner”.

A 2016 Daily Telegraph story records that his adoptive father told the paper that his son was not destined to follow in his footsteps saying “He hated the smell and gutting the fish, so I asked him what he was going to do with his life,” to which came the reply:  “I’m going to get a job where it’ll cost you money to speak to me.”

Gove was appointed to the Conservative Front Bench in opposition and became Education Secretary in the Cameron-Clegg coalition.  In a 2011 judicial review a Judge declared that his failure to consult was “so unfair as to amount to an abuse of power” and by 2013 the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers all passed motions of no confidence in Gove.  Strikes followed.  Soon the Prime Minister had had enough and Gove’s stint as SoS for Education came to an end in the reshuffle in 2014 when and he was appointed Government Chief Whip – regarded as a demotion (see James Forthsyth in the Mail on Sunday) .  Gove’s  Eurosceptic views are now culminating in his leadership of the Vote Leave campaign referendum.

But his campaign  against the policy of HM Government may in reality  be seen as the retribution of a Poison Dwarf.


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Boris Johnson – Vote Leave

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (see Wikipedia) is another Conservative MP campaigning for the Vote Leave side. Boris was educated at Eton and Balliol College and in 1987 he became a graduate journalism trainee at the Times.  He was sacked by the Times but moved to the Telegraph.  In 1989 he was sent to the Brussels Bureau and established himself as a critic of Jacques Delors and the author of many Eurosceptic pieces – some of them made up to discredit the Commission.   He also wrote for the Spectator.

In 1998 Boris appeared for the first time on “Have I Got News For You” where his act as a bumbling member of the upper class, went down very well and he was frequently invited back on this and other programmes.  In short he became a TV personality. Boris entered the Commons in 2001 but did not make much of an impression on the House.  He also kept up his lucrative journalistic efforts and TV appearances. He was eventually removed from the Spectator but kept on writing for the Telegraph and his Television activities. He stood as Mayor of London in 2008,  was re-elected in 2012 and served until 2016. In 2015 Boris was selected as Candidate for the safe seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip and was duly elected.

On 21st February 2016 Boris endorsed Vote Leave  and in consequence Sterling slipped down by nearly 2% on the foreign exchange markets (its lowest level since March 2009).

The Sun newspaper report was headed: Blond bombshell: Cameron rocked as Boris backs Brexit from EU… telling PM by text just 9 mins before going public” and the report added: “The PM and No 10 staff are said to be livid, believing it is a cynical attempt by Boris to woo eurosceptic Tory activists and stake a claim to be the next party leader.”

The point is that Boris is not really “for” anyone or anything – except Boris himself,  but he is a first class media performer. Boris and his upper class twit clown act has endeared him to the public.  No matter what the message,  5 minutes of Boris is worth a great deal.


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Ian Duncan Smith – Vote Leave

There is quite a lot of information about Ian Duncan Smith (“IDS”) on his Wikipedia  entry.   IDS entered the House of Commons in 1992  thanks to the good people of Chingford, a very safe seat formerly held by Norman Tebbit.

During the premiership of John Major, IDS  remained on the backbenches  until  1997 when William Hague made him Shadow Social Security Secretary.   When the Labour Party won the 2001 general election,  William Hague resigned and IDS stood for the Tory leadership.  The BBC sussed out that IDS had made false claims about his educational qualifications both in Who’s Who and on his CV on the Conservative Party website. Nevertheless, IDS briefly became Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition.  IDS’s  appearance at the 2002 Party Conference is remembered for the inane slogan:

 “do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man

After the Conference, the Labour Benches in the Commons made a practice of holding their finger to their lips feigning that they wanted to hear the quiet man speak.  So at the next conference there was a new slogan:

 “The quiet man is here to stay, and he’s turning up the volume

Unfortunately that was not to be.  Things did not go well for IDS.   The shadow Secretary of State at the DTI  resigned calling IDS a “handicap” and in October 2003 there were  some questions asked about dubious salary payments from public funds to his wife – aka the “Betsygate” scandal.  Far from staying,  IDS resigned and was replaced as Tory Leader  by the equally unimpressive Michael Howard.

While on the back benches, IDS sought to repair his standing by becoming an expert on welfare issues.  In 2004, he got involved with the Centre for Social Justice   In December 2006  the Centre published  a report “Breakdown Britain”  still available on-line.  Then in July 2007 the Centre published “Breakthrough Britain – Recommendations to the Conservative Party”  also still available on-line.  Only on the last page is the real recommendation revealed:-

“First of all, in the short term, the expenditures we propose will be offset by the considerable savings likely from our proposed reforms to welfare, which may save the Exchequer £8 billion per year.”

For those not used to this kind of Newspeak, a useful translation may be found in a New Statesman piece by Jeremy Seabrook – “ Regression dressed up as “reform”: how rhetoric helped dismantle the welfare state

Duncan Smith’s attempt at regression to something akin to the Elizabethan Poor Laws has made him wildly unpopular with the disadvantaged and very popular with the bar who have vastly enjoyed successfully dragging the the Secretary of State  before the Courts  time and time again.

IDS is doubtless a keen Brexiteer because both EU standards and those resulting from the the European Convention on Human Rights stand in the way of his policies.  No fewer than 10 of his proposals were rejected by the European Court as  “unfit for a modern democracy” and “verging on frighteningly authoritarian“.

IDS resigned from the Government on 18th March 2016.  Good Riddance.  But in the context of the Referendum, one should consider that our membership of the EU and of the ECHR helps to protect us from excesses such as those conjured up by IDS and his “Nasty Party”  tendencies which are incompatible with One Nation Conservatism.