Hypothetical situations

It’s not getting any better for Theresa May. It’s not getting any better for the rest of us either as Theresa and her not so merry band of Tory malignities drive us all closer and closer to the inevitable precipice, but at least we can enjoy a spot of Schadenfreude at Theresa’s difficulties along the way. Our Prime Minister is blessed with an unerring capacity to find a swamp to get mired in, and usually it’s one that she made for herself.

It was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be a nice wee cosy chat with a friendly face. You know, the sort of penetrating and hard hitting interview that Ruth Davidson favours when she’s posing with a kitten in front of the cameras as her pals in the Scottish press ask her to explain just how god-awful the SNP is. There was Theresa, trotting along to have a nice wee chat with that lovely Iain Dale on his LBC radio show. That’s the Iain who was once a Conservative party parliamentary candidate. So Theresa was expecting a comfortable and cosy fireside chat, allowing her to indulge herself in her true political love, which is using as many words as possible to say nothing very much in particular, and reestablish her authority over her restless party after the debacle [cough cough] of her speech to the party conference.

Mind you, her wee chat with Iain was going to involve taking questions from the public, but these could safely be dealt with by Theresa’s usual tactic of answering an entirely different question to the one that had been posed. They were only punters, and could be cut off. If only she could do the same with the rest of the Conservative party, her life might be slightly more bearable. A woman called to ask how Theresa was going to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK in the event of there being no Brexit deal with the EU. Theresa assured her that she was looking for the best deal, even though in parliament the previous day she had aired the possibility that there might be no deal at all. She was going to guarantee the rights of EU citizens by not telling them what their rights might be. So that was all clear then. At least to Theresa’s satisfaction if to no one else’s. She was being very clear. You always know that Theresa is being vague and evasive when she makes a point of telling you how clear she’s being.

Iain suddenly ceased being the cuddly Conservative offering a fireside chat, and started to poke Theresa with a red hot poker. Or at least a metaphorical one. Three times he tried to press her to give a reply, and three times she talked about something else entirely. After a soul destroying few minutes for any EU citizens listening, and indeed for anyone who actually possesses a soul – which discounts most members of the government – she finally conceded that no EU citizen was going to be thrown out. By which she meant that she herself was not personally going to send round the deportation teams to round them up and ship them out of the nearest ferry port, but if they wanted to leave of their own accord after losing many of their civil rights and being turned into third class human beings, Theresa wasn’t going to see that as her problem. This is one of the ways in which Brexit is going to make us all proud to be British, like the Opium Wars, or the theft of the marbles from the Parthenon, or anything that ever comes out of Piers Morgan’s mouth.

Then the poker came in for the kill. Iain pointed out with the poker that Jeremy Hunt has changed his mind on Brexit. Previously Jeremy opposed Brexit, but now he’s in favour because George Osborne’s dire predictions haven’t come true yet. So, Iain asked, how would Theresa vote if there was to be another EU referendum? To be fair, being told that Jeremy Hunt thinks Brexit is going just dandy isn’t much of a recommendation. After all this is the guy who’s ruined the NHS in England but still claims it’s in robust good health. Being asked to agree with Jeremy Hunt is a bit like conceding you don’t know the difference between a mild head cold and the Ebola virus.

Faced with the prospect of having to agree with Jeremy’s judgement, Theresa repeatedly refused to give an answer. It was a simple yes and no question, but this put her in the position of not being able to give a simple answer to a simple question. I’m not going to deal with hypothetical situations, she pleaded unconvincingly.

She could have lied, and claimed that she was now confident in her own policies and so would vote to leave. Or she could have told the truth and said that she was a remain voter, but the British people had their say in the EU referendum and as a democratically elected politician it was more important for her to do her duty and attempt to deliver the magic unicorns, fairy princesses, and golden egg laying geese that they’d voted for.

Theresa voted remain in the EU referendum, albeit none too enthusiastically, but now she’s the woman who is taking the UK out of the EU, who is leading negotiations and is planning the country’s future, one which she’s always telling us is going to be a rip roaring buccaneering free marketing success. By refusing to answer the question, she was telling us all that even she has no confidence in the policies that she’s trying to sell to the rest of us. By avoiding the question she’s only decreased what little confidence remained in her, and decreased the little confidence that remained that she’s able to produce a Brexit that’s not going to create huge damage to the country.

Today the Conservatives are out telling the media that of course Theresa was correct to refuse to answer the question. There’s not going to be another referendum so the question is purely hypothetical, they said in her defence. But Theresa deals with hypothetical situations all the time – like the hypothetical situation that the Conservative party is united and there’s no challenge to her leadership. Or the hypothetical situation in which Boris Johnson manages to get through a week without talking Jackie Baillie about some foreign leader. Or the hypothetical situation in which the British government is halfway competent and Brexit isn’t going to be an unmitigated disaster.




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0 thoughts on “Hypothetical situations

  1. It was a howler, but it was all downhill after that. šŸ˜€

    I posted a link on the last thread to some earlier breaking news. Hammond before the Treasury select committee basically telling it like it really is in event of a hard Brexit. Cash and resources will be fairly thin on the ground for public services for instance. An already critically damaged NHS in England would see yet further lack of funding as an example.There would be less funds available for education, social care, deficit reduction and so on. Without a negotiated deal in place airlines currently flying to the continent would face almost immediate grounding.

    Y’know, carnage. Of course those few examples are a mere appetizer for the shitstorm that is hard brexit. There are way more examples from customs calamity to near immediate food shortage that could be added, but you get the drift.

    Anyroads, in a complete about face come PMQs, May then swears blind that money will be found. (Probably from that magic money tree known as QE). Who has the bigger riddy at this point between the PM and the Chancellor is anyone’s guess, but they’re clearly not reading from the same page.

    When this goes completely wrong, and it will, I wonder what the public’s response will be? The right wing media (well, pretty much all of the media) share a good deal of the blame for this omnishambles. How and ever, the ultimate responsibility lies with government, the system of government, the political class and their practice of politics. If an over-manipulated public ever do get two and two to add up to four, the backlash against government, societal cohesion and public order could be grim. It’d make the city riots of a few years back look like a kiddies party temper tantrum.

    • It’s high time I stocked up on Guinness and rice pudding in the Jack Cave in a secret location in the Old Kilpatrick Hills, Sam.
      Toilet paper, too.
      ‘Planes grounded, customs shut, and the magic money tree dying of EU disease.
      I know I shouldn’t but…
      May won’t last ’til Bonfire Nicht.

      • Ah but, Wendy, does Maybot dream of electric sheep?
        Or lambs to the slaughter?
        It has descended into Whitehall Farce.
        No money for a No Deal Brexit, until the eve of leaving the EU.
        Hammond let the cat out of the bag. He called investment in supporting a potential No Deal UK ‘nugatory’ at this stage.
        ‘Nugatory’ is one of those Whitehall Mandarin words….The Boys at the Treasury are obviously pulling his strings.
        I half expect Brian Rix in white flannels swiping at an imaginary tennis ball with a Slazenger racquet to appear at the French windows overlooking the gardens of No 10 and asking:-
        ‘Anyone for tennis?’
        ‘Tiffin, anyone?’
        It really is a very English Eton Mess, isn’t it?

      • Blade Runner’s far too hi-tech. I was just thinking, the other day, what the threat of a hard Brexit really reminds me of, is a trilogy of kid’s fantasy books, authored by Peter Dickinson and known collectively as, ‘The Changes,’ which were made into a scary kid’s TV series in the mid-Nineteen Seventies.

        England, specifically, suddenly becomes magically technophobic, cut off from the rest of the World, reverting to mediaevalism. Much scapegoating, witch hunting and burning ensues as the populace turns on minorities, foreigners and those not completely free of modern ways.

    • Given the kite the Torygraph was flying yesterday it seems like that hoary old standby of the UK joining NAFTA is being given a dusting down and serious airing now that a no deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely.

      Quite what the masses will make of what will effectively be a declaration of dependence, with the UK officially becoming the 51st State and de facto US Overseas dependency, will be interesting to witness. I’d certainly buy tickets to watch that.

      Perhaps we could have a formal ceremony at some suitable venue, like Alton Towers or Battersea Dogs Home? Formally handing over the keys to the kingdom to Dick Cheney on behalf of Halliburton? Hell, why not? After all Boeing have the been given the keys to turn off the county’s aircraft – how’s that for an independent deterrent?

      Nigel Farage could move into Buck House as State Governor. Existing political parties could be replaced with Republicans and Democrats whilst the Football League gives way to the NFL. Rounders would replace cricket and country music made compulsory in every remaining pub. Implementation of the second amendment rights would help solve the housing crisis and deal with the increasing surplus human work force generated by the coming wave of AI automation.

      What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Pingback: Hypothetical situations | speymouth

  3. I very seldom comment on Paul’s posts as he splendidly encompasses everything I would want to say with his sharp irony.
    The Brexit referendum result was discretionary and should have been adjourned, as such a close result could not claim to represent the will of all the people with such a small majority for leave.
    It must have sounded wonderful to the greedy tories, to have the opportunity to set up an everlasting authoritarian state with no oversight whatever; picking and choosing whichever statutes were advantageous to their rule by Statutory Instrument and discarding anything that would have left any citizen rights intact.
    I am so pleased they they proven themselves even more inept than I had hoped.
    So thanks Paul and keep twisting the knife until they yelp.

    • I agree Andy, but sometimes I wonder when it will be seen by Scotland’s voters. We have had thirty years pre 2008 where bad management by the blue and then the red tories led to a dept of 800 billion pounds, and since 2008 we have an elected mix of blue and yellow tories followed by blue ones again who have between them all managed to more than double the dept to just under 2 trillion. We are not to wee, but are we to stupid?.

  4. Torys lib dems or labour its the same old pish english mps trying to basically sell piss as booze no matter which way the blasted English down there vote its the same thing another reason independence is inevitable like mhairi black said we not knowing what we might be stepping into but we know what we are walking away from

    • If only the UK Gov could be as united and clear on their position as the EU Commission. The Maybot et al just don’t have a clue do they?

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  6. Eh after , whats it now Five meetings ? , anyone able to say exactly what progress has been made , if i had so many meetings by now i would be able to say how things were progressing ,I haven’t heard of any successful parts of this negotiation so far it’s all , negative blurbs , tories doing well arent they , they dont want a deal they are only looking for the most palatable form of words to enable them to blame the pesky EU .

  7. UK will not negotiate further the divorce bill until the UK starts to talk about trade.

    Barnier says he will clarify his position next week at EU27 leaders meeting. Apparently Germany not happy.

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