MPs need discipline, not blatant ambition and bad manners
THE departure of Transport Minister Jo Johnson is hardly one of the great principled resignations of history. It is hard to see what cause it serves, except Jeremy Corbyn’s.
While the Prime Minister was rightly preoccupied with marking the centenary of the end of the First World War, solemnly laying wreaths at the graves of the dead, Mr Johnson chose to hurt her and damage her authority.
Ignoring the traditional courtesies, he gave no warning and sent no letter, simply releasing the news on Twitter at a moment designed to gain the maximum publicity and do the maximum damage to Mrs May.
It is hard to see how his action will in any way help Britain get a better Brexit deal.
He claims that the country is now in the worst crisis since Suez, but in fact the Suez disaster was not brought about by the policy of careful, intricate compromise pursued by Mrs May, but by rash action, taken against the advice of many at home and abroad. Jo Johnson’s call for a second referendum is itself rash, as it would serve no purpose except to deepen the divisions in the country and postpone a resolution of them.
Mr Johnson has been blessed from the start by the favour of his party, which selected him for one of the safest seats in the country and swiftly rewarded him with ministerial office.
He chose to remain in the Government after the referendum and after Mrs May became Premier.
He must have known, when he accepted these privileges, that this would involve him in awkward compromise. Why break away now?
Manyothers have managed to stifle doubts and mute their finer feelings, in the knowledge that the country will suffer if they do not.
We are very close to the final stages of the Brexit negotiations. Everyone involved is going to have to swallow some doubts, accept terms he or she dislikes and abandon cherished aims. That is what politics and diplomacy have always involved.
But the good of the nation requires discipline and calm, not rampant ambition, bad manners and exaggerated language.
Honour the dead, respect the living
ON THIS day we commemorate courage and self-sacrifice.
Despite the over-use of the word ‘heroes’, these great military virtues were in truth displayed by thousands of ordinary men and women who often felt deep fear and hoped with all their hearts to survive the wars in which their lives were lost.
And yet, despite the terror of bombardment and machine gun fire, despite the incessant danger, the cruel separation from home and loved ones, despite the hardship and squalor of the trenches, they did their duty, not just once, but again and again.
And it is in our disciplined Armed Forces that these traditions of courage are maintained, nurtured and kept alive for the next generation.
We never know when we will need them again. On this day of sad songs and mourning, mingled with gratitude and pride that our forebears saved us from the miseries of defeat and conquest, it is fitting to think of those forces.
And it is fitting to resolve that we should do more to observe the pact between military, people and government, which demands that we ensure that combatants are properly cared for when they are injured in body and mind, that they are properly armed and equipped for the tasks that they face, and that their loyalty is rewarded and respected for their whole lives.
Today’s leaders, as they lay their wreaths, need to think very hard about these obligations.