Dif­fer­ent Theresa, same old rub­bish about Brexit

The New European - - Agenda -

You’d ex­pect a di­rect de­scen­dant of Ed­ward II to be wary of any­thing to do with poker. But Theresa Vil­liers con­tin­ues to bluff her way through Brexit.

Vil­liers, whose royal an­ces­tor is said to have met his end with a red-hot iron stuck up his bot­tom, ap­peared on Sky’s So­phy Ridge show last week­end as a cheer­leader for no-deal. She claimed talk of cliff edges was just “ex­ag­ger­a­tion and fear­mon­ger­ing” and in­sisted Bri­tain could flour­ish by trad­ing on “WTO terms with most-favoured na­tion sta­tus”.

She did not pro­vide much de­tail on the dif­fi­culty of se­cur­ing that most-favoured sta­tus by March 29, and thereby avoid­ing tiny prob­lems like the ground­ing of planes and the ban­ning of meat ex­ports. Nor, oddly for a former North­ern Ire­land sec­re­tary – she held the job for four years un­der David Cameron be­fore re­sign­ing from gov­ern­ment when Theresa May tried to de­mote her – did she tackle the fact that no-deal will break the Good Fri­day Agree­ment as it makes a hard bor­der in Ire­land in­evitable.

This proved to be a wise move, as footage soon emerged of Vil­liers on a 2016 visit to Sky, declar­ing “there is no rea­son why we have to change our bor­der ar­range­ments in the event of a Brexit, be­cause they’ve been broadly con­sis­tent in the 100 years since the cre­ation of Ire­land as a sep­a­rate state”. De­ri­sion fol­lowed, no­tably from the co­me­dian and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Pa­trick Kielty, whose fa­ther was killed dur­ing the Trou­bles. He tweeted: “The bor­der was con­sis­tently a war zone for 25 years. Then con­sis­tently in­vis­i­ble and peace­ful for 20 years thanks to the Good Fri­day Agree­ment.”

Next a Vote Leave press re­lease from April 2016 sur­faced in which Vil­liers promised that Brexit would mean “no prospect of se­cu­rity checks re­turn­ing to the North­ern Ire­land bor­der”. So the bor­der ar­range­ments were con­sis­tent for 100 years, ex­cept for all the years in which there were se­cu­rity checks. Clear?

More tri­umph fol­lowed as the Char­ity Com­mis­sion or­dered the In­sti­tute of Eco­nomic Af­fairs to re­move a pro-brexit re­port from its web­site be­cause it was “not suf­fi­ciently bal­anced” and “over­stepped the line of what is per­mis­si­ble char­i­ta­ble ac­tiv­ity”. And who was on the top ta­ble of sup­port­ers when this re­port was launched in Septem­ber, along with David Davis and Ja­cob-rees Mogg? The un­for­tu­nate Theresa Vil­liers, of course.

While it’s quite re­fresh­ing to have some­one else called Theresa spout­ing rub­bish about Brexit, the thought of

May and Vil­liers makes one re­call the old story about Mike and Bernie Win­ters at the Glas­gow Em­pire. Mike came out first, but the au­di­ence jeered his one-lin­ers. Then Bernie stuck his head through the cur­tains, grinned his gorm­less grin and a voice from the crowd groaned, “Oh Christ, there’s two of them”.

They say bad luck comes in threes, and per­haps the big­gest mis­for­tune for Theresa Vil­liers is that the no-deal she be­lieves in so fer­vently is likely to end her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer. Be­ing an ad­vo­cate for hard Brexit in a con­stituency which voted 59% Re­main is tricky when your ma­jor­ity is only 353.

Not the first time that some­one on Theresa Vil­liers’ fam­ily tree has had prob­lems with their seat.

★★★★★★★★★★

Na­dine Dor­ries took time off from pen­ning her frothy ro­mance nov­els to write a What­sapp mes­sage to Michael Gove which be­gan, “Michael, I love you, that’s a given.”

How­ever, in a plot twist wor­thy of su­pe­rior writ­ers (Dan Brown, EL James) it soon turned a bit Fa­tal At­trac­tion

(“for the love of God, be true to your­self and stop this fake selling of a deal you ob­vi­ously do not be­lieve in... stop selling us out”).

Na­dine, whose name is an ana­gram of ‘Inane Dis­or­der’, also pub­lished novella Christ­mas An­gels. Cur­rently rid­ing high at num­ber 796 in Ama­zon’s Kin­dle store, it adds to the nine full-length nov­els she has writ­ten and pub­lished in the last four years, dur­ing which you and I have paid her around £310,000 to be an MP.

★★★★★★★★★★

Ja­cob Rees-mogg leapt to the de­fence of old school friend Wil­liam Sitwell when the jour­nal­ist was sacked as

Waitrose mag­a­zine edi­tor for jok­ing

about killing ve­g­ans, and now the pair have held a re­union lunch in the House of Com­mons.

Sitwell, who has been run­ning a sup­per club at his Glouces­ter­shire home, told read­ers of the I news­pa­per that he asked for ad­vice about a group who had com­plained that the venue was too cold. The North East Som­er­set MP told him: “You can re­act one of two ways. You can be­have out­ra­geously and de­mand they never darken your door, or re­cant and give them a whop­ping re­fund.”

So, let’s get this straight. Ja­cob ReesMogg agrees that, even if you think it’s a bit of a rip-off, the best strat­egy for busi­ness suc­cess is to keep your cur­rent trad­ing part­ners happy rather than an­tag­o­nis­ing them and go­ing off in search of new ones.

Truly, Brexit is doomed.

Photo: Getty Im­ages

HARD LIN­ERS: Theresa Vil­liers, far right, with formerLabour MP Gisela Stu­art, former Brexit sec­re­tary David Davis and Ja­cob Rees-mogg at the launch of the IEA’S re­port in Septem­ber

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