Belfast Telegraph

Chris Moncrieff: Does the Theresa and Jeremy show hold key to a successful Brexit?


Brexit task: Theresa May
Brexit task: Theresa May
Jeremy Corbyn

By Chris Moncrieff

Is that unruly mob at Westminster - there is no other way to describe them - at last coming to their senses, or is that too much to hope for? The Conservative/Labour talks on Brexit seem to have achieved at least a faint glimmer of shaky consensus.

The trouble is that the forces on both sides of the Commons - and now in the House of Lords as well - seem hell-bent on frustrating anything which looks like achieving a satisfactory Brexit.

This so-called "elite" appear to think that their views are more important than those of the winners of the referendum who voted to leave the EU.

What right have these we-know-best, self-regarding individuals to dishonour the pledge that parliament gave that it would support the outcome of that referendum?

They claim that the situation has changed beyond recognition since that poll nearly three years ago.

Well, of course it has, because of the delaying and obstructive tactics they have employed - on both sides of the argument.

And, whatever you think about Theresa May, she is at least, to her immense credit in the face of tremendous odds, trying to honour that pledge that parliament gave (even though she voted Remain).

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We must live in hope, however slender that is, that the Recalcitrant Ones will eventually also agree to honour that undertaking.

It is hardly surprising that those seeking to succeed Theresa May as the Conservative Party leader are letting it be known that they will be making a big pitch for the youth vote when the time comes.

For years, party election hopefuls have, in general terms, paid scant attention to young people, on the grounds that they allegedly rarely vote. The candidates have invariably concentrated on the grey, or "wrinkly", vote.

But all that is now changing - dramatically. And it is largely down to Jeremy Corbyn.

Many people - not a few of them Labour - believed that Corbyn would be routed at Theresa May's ill-advised General Election. How wrong they were.

Corbyn concentrated on the youth vote and, as the campaign progressed, he achieved the status almost of a rock god, with crowds of young voters chanting his name as if he were a pop idol.

The rest is history. Corbyn robbed the Conservatives of their Commons' majority and gave the Prime Minister the shock of her life.

So, the young people of Britain can look forward to some alluring promises when the campaign starts. Whether those promises will actually be fulfilled is quite another matter.

Illusionist spoon-bender Uri Geller has boasted that he was responsible for the leakage which showered water on the Press gallery in the House of Commons chamber.

He claims that he willed the pipes to bend to a point at which they burst and caused the cascade which led to the suspension of the Commons sitting.

Well, since Mr Geller has made this claim - and whether you believe him or not - what a good idea it would be to send him the bill for the repair job, which would otherwise fall on the British taxpayer (and probably will anyway).

Surely, it is about time that someone campaigned for a better class of insults that politicians hurl at each other from time to time?

The Tory MP Mark Francois achieved a new low by saying that his message to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, about Brexit was "up yours".

The poor chump did not appear to have grasped that this said more about him and his woeful paucity of vocabulary than ever it did about the Chancellor.

I am all in favour of politicians hurling insults at each other, but they always need to be more telling and effective than the Mark Francois (below) brand.

Take Winston Churchill's remarks about his opponent Clement Attlee: "He is a modest man with plenty to be modest about" and "An empty taxi pulled into the parliamentary estate and Attlee stepped out".

Even the late Labour Sports Minister Tony Banks' comment about Margaret Thatcher - that she was behaving like "a sex-starved boa constrictor" - may not be pretty, but it is at least a cut above the Francois fare.

In fact, Francois deserves to be sentenced to a long period of unpaid community service.

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