Skip to main content

Brexit: Where's Barbara Cartland's magic acorn when you need it?

THERE are no words - quite the technical hitch when it comes to writing - to do justice to the single greatest political calamity of our generation. This Reporter considered instead using expressionist art or shadow puppetry. She would make a concerted effort at it for five minutes before setting fire to the whole damn lot - as symbolism.
As alternative, let's start with the bare-boned facts of the matter. Prime Minister Theresa May lost her second meaningful vote on her Brexit deal in Parliament on Tuesday night by a stonking 391 votes to 242. Not the complete annihilation of meaningless vote part numero one, but still an almost unprecedented disaster.
David Cameron, tracked down at his lair, said: "I don't understand why MPs who have always wanted Brexit keep voting against it". Well David, sometimes people do the most unfathomable of things don't they. But back to the facts.
Mrs May's promise of votes on No Deal and Article 50 extension are coming up next. A toss up then between hurling ourselves off a cliff and more time for MPs to prat around.
Now to mosey back in time in manner of inquest, to see how it came to this...
Late night Monday - "I've got it", Mrs May tumbles into view on satellite link up, broadcasting live to the House of Commons. She is in Strasbourg waving a piece of paper manically above her head.
"I've got it", she garbles, again, "the changes to the Irish backstop. You said I needed to get them. I've got them. See."
She slaps the piece of paper onto a nearby table and immediately takes up runner's recovery position - bent double, hands braced on knees, panting. The camera zooms forward, gives an almost imperceptible double take, before focusing in to reveal a missive in purple wax crayon. In EU chief Jean Claude Juncker's handwriting, it reads: "The backstop will be temporary".
Much was made of this new development in the national newspapers. An 11th-hour triumph for Mrs May; a "legally binding" alteration to the Irish backstop, such as MPs had been clamouring for, before they would even think of voting for her deal.
Here's the glaring problem. (Yes there was one - funnily). What MPs had been promised by Mrs May back in January was one of these three joys - a unilateral exit mechanism, so the UK could get out of the backstop without the EU's permission, a time limit, or a replacement with an alternative arrangement, written - crucially - into the actual Withdrawal Agreement. Not this "legally binding" add-on, which pushes the capabilities of quotation marks to the limits of imploding.
The matter was formally referred to MP and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox for him to run his professional eye over it and he concluded - direct quote - it was "bollocks". So all looked good for the meaningful vote later that day (Tuesday).
The mood was not downbeat in all quarters. One Tory MP was heard telling Mrs May: "I was looking for you to bring a rabbit out of the hat - you've managed a hamster. It's good enough for me".
As we all know however, what everyone else thinks is immaterial. It all, inexplicably, boiled down to how Tory hardliners the ERG and "here's what we think of a billion pound for our loyalty" the DUP, planned to vote. Just hours to go and it was announced they would be voting against Mrs May's deal, so that was rather that.
And then in glorious poetry, Mrs May started to lose her voice as she addressed the Commons one final, desperate, time ahead of the vote, taking us neatly back in mood and timbre to the Tory Conference 2017 where, in hindsight, she really should have accepted that P45.
She croaked: "This is the moment and this is the time - time for us to come together, back this motion and get the deal done. Because only then we can get on with what we need to do, what we were sent here to do." The rest as they say, is history.
As is this...It has been revealed that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher consulted romantic fiction author Barbara Cartland for alternative remedies and lucky charms for her health. It was Ms Cartland who came to the Iron lady's aid in 1989, the year her popularity waned over the poll tax, with the gift of the "magic acorn".
The nut - according to unearthed letter exchanges between Ms Cartland and Mrs Thatcher - originated from an oak tree in the garden of Ms Cartland's estate in Hertfordshire. Reputedly planted by Queen Elizabeth I on shooting her first stag there, Ms Cartland believed the oak tree to have magic powers.
The unavoidable question is this - would things have panned out any differently if Mrs May had had access to the magic acorn?
All things considered - probably not.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Government accused of Coronavirus cover-up and Veggie Corbyn booed at kebab awards

FROM the UK Government announcing it will only release Coronavirus data weekly, to vegetarian Jeremy Corbyn presenting an award for the best kebab, these are the news headlines according to This Reporter on Thursday 5th March 2020. The Government has been accused of withholding information about the spread of Coronavirus after a 70 per cent increase in confirmed cases prompted health chiefs to stop providing daily updates on the location of new infections. Instead they will be provided on a Friday in a weekly round-up. Thirty six new UK cases were announced yesterday (Wednesday) bringing the grand total to 87 people. A former director at Public Health England said the move to weekly updates should be reconsidered to allow the public to make informed decisions. In related news, the Government is putting in place contingency plans, should the virus outbreak become widespread, to close Parliament for up to three months to stop 650 potential "super spreaders". Which gives Th

The inside scoop on Meghan and Harry's wedding - all the action before it's even happened

Fantastic news. We have all been invited to a wedding, and not just any old wedding but the royal wedding of the year (sorry Princess Eugenie) between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This is what the big day - 19th May, if you still need to jot it down in your filofax - will look like. The girls will all get ready at Meghan's house, taking it in turns to marvel at her dress, by an avant garde British designer we will all pretend we have heard of. We will watch back-to-back episodes of Suits, quaffing glasses of Kombucha, so we can exclaim over how far she has come, all the while trying to reassure Kate Middleton we cannot see the baby sick down her brand new pleat detail dress  from Reiss. (We can). The boys will meanwhile be round Harry's gaff, stuffing themselves on venison burgers and Kettle Chips, before stripping down for a last game of naked snooker - for old time's sake. Reminiscing about ill-advised fancy dress costumes, past girlfriends with posh, fancy names

Theresa May's girls' night in and ice-cream flavoured plimsoles

The fashion world is in a two-and-eight. It has inconceivably come up with a trend which is the complete antithesis of everything it stands for - ice-cream. Let's be honest, no one in the fashion industry has eaten since 1997, subsisting on fresh air and the occasional whiff of Lancome watermelon Juicy Tube (because they're back). Never mind the veritable Pandora's box of worms the issue rears up for the lactose intolerant, and the vegans, who have risen up like a Samuria army since the clock struck midnight on first of January. But fear not, this ice-cream trend is nothing to do with consuming delicious frozen cream (sadly). Instead it is about the chosen pastel colour palette for this spring, leading on to summer 2018. Melting their way down runways there have been strawberry ice-cream coloured jackets from Celine, Acne Studios have offered up pistachio co-ords, Chanel have served us vanilla wafer coloured suits. There have been blueberry swirl skirts at Versace and

"Summer dreams ripped at the seams" - The day we should have Brexit

TODAY - Friday 29th March - was to have been The Day -  the day we Brexited from the European Union. If all had gone according to - if there had actually been a - plan. Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg were scheduled to be there at Dover cliff edge, gardening shears at the ready, to ceremoniously sever, together, all ties with our continental neighbours. In manner of some warped version of the bride and bridegroom cutting into their first slice of wedding cake. Former fireplace salesman, turned Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson would have led the military salute as Salvation Army brass bands from across the country, on pain of death, led a rousing rendition of "Jerusalem", followed by a blast of the Grease Megamix. That's the news of what didn't pan out this week, so what actually did happen? We heard Nigel Farage compared to Blackadder's Field Marshall Haig when Guy Verhofstadt questioned why he was sat in European Parliament and not out on the 200 mile Mar

Children lose sleep over climate anxiety and Boris Johnson's paternity leave

FROM young people surveyed by Newsround revealing their climate anxiety, to Boris Johnson announcing he will "almost certainly" take paternity leave, these are the news headlines according to This Reporter on Wednesday 4th March 2020. A survey for BBC Newsround has found that children are losing sleep over climate change and the environment. Two thousand children aged between eight and 16-years-old were given the opportunity to answer questions on climate anxiety. And the results overwhelmingly showed that most children  - four out of five - considered the problem of climate change important to them, while three out of five were worried about the impact climate change would have on them when they're older. One in five have even had a bad dream about it. But when asked about the action being taken by grown-ups to tackle the problem, two in five don't trust adults to tackle the challenges and nearly two-thirds say leaders aren't listening enough to young people&#