Politicians who can’t sizzle up a sausage
LAWS and sausages – best not to see them getting made. So said Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s Iron Chancellor, and his words still ring true today in an age when political pygmies, not big beasts, hold sway.
Westminster is deep in one of its introspective phases, consumed by Brexit.
It is important work but BBC political journalist John Sergeant has a trenchant warning on this current crisis, likening it to the paroxysms the Commons went into over the Maastricht Treaty in the early Nineties.
That was all very important too, with late-night sittings and rebellions and confidence votes and a Prime Minister on the edge.
But Sergeant has sage counsel for those in the political bubble – the MPs and their hordes of advisors and spin doctors; the party apparatchiks; the media. ‘Don’t make the mistake of thinking the public care.’
And that’s every bit as apposite as Bismarck’s quip about the messy mechanics of government. The people, having spoken on Brexit, demand to be heard. They expect politicians to scuttle off to Parliament to get on with the minutiae of making their decision reality. And they do not want constant updates on how tough it all is.
They have too much going on in their lives – holding down a job; tightening belts as household budgets are squeezed by that shower at Holyrood.
Just bring us the sausages when they’re ready, thanks.
And woe betide those who think themselves smarter than the people who elected them.
Take Hannah Bardell, Nationalist MP for Livingston, rising in the Commons to oppose the Great Repeal Bill to align UK law with EU law ahead of Brexit. ‘The Government cannot hide behind this “What the people voted for” line. The reality is no one really knows what they voted for. There’s no White Paper… ’ Miss Bardell cannot make up for a lack of talent on her benches with a surfeit of effrontery.
‘What the people voted for’ is a line, all right – a red line.
Politicians who dare cross that line – as she does by trying to thwart the people’s will with obfuscation; or like Labour’s John McDonnell through crass support for ‘insurrection’ – deserve condemnation.
As Miss Bardell sees it, those who voted Leave (many of them SNP supporters who grasp the idiocy of seizing power from Westminster only to hand it to Brussels) were too thick to realise what Brexit might mean.
HOW rich that Miss Bardell bemoans the lack of a Brexit White Paper. Scotland’s Future, the SNP blueprint for 2014’s independence referendum, was a never-mind-the-quality-feel-the-width soufflé of lies, guesswork and foolish hope.
Mercifully we, the lumpen electorate despised because our views do not tally with the political elite embodied by Miss Bardell (majority 3,878 after a 5.2 per cent swing away from her anti-Brexit, pro-independence agenda) saw straight through the SNP’s deceptive nonsense.
I understand the Opposition criticising the Government’s handling of Brexit. That’s their job.
But trying to undermine the immutable principle of leaving the EU is a dangerous game that drives a wedge between the public and our servants. Miss Bardell, Mr McDonnell and their ilk forget they are our servants and never our masters.
Bismarck also said: ‘Politics is the art of the next-best.’
Brexit is showing us just how many second-prize politicians sit on our green benches.