Politi­cians who can’t siz­zle up a sausage

Scottish Daily Mail - - Weekender -

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.

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