Here’s why you really don’t want a grand coalition to run Brexit
Theresa May is making such a bodge out of Brexit that there are calls for a ‘government of national unity’ to run the country instead.
And there is precedent – in times of crisis, such as financial crash or war, Britain has had Grand Coalitions of all political parties who come together in the national interest.
We did it in the First World War and the Second. We also did it during the Depression, when financial crisis meant the Labour government couldn’t agree what to do, the extremes of Left and Right were agitating, and King George V stepped in to demand a national government instead.
So Anna Soubry wasn’t talking entirely out of her bum when she said: "Jacob Rees-Mogg is running the country… This really should concern everybody about the state of democracy… I think we need a government of national unity."
The current government is split over Brexit, the Prime Minister is having a limb removed by backbenchers every day, and while they scrap over the most important thing to affect our country in a generation we are heading towards a Brexit deadline that will likely have the same impact as an angle grinder on a snoozing face.
If we crash out without a deal, farm subsidies stop at midnight. Borders close, tariffs kick in, the City can’t do business and Northern Ireland will have the peacekeeping lights turned off.
Save us, Queenie! Step in and tell these turds to put politics aside and act in the national interest.
Which is a lovely idea, until you realise who’d be running it.
Winston Churchill is not available, which leaves two choices.
The first is that some of the current crop form a government. The PM would need to be a party leader, which means Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable, Ian Blackford for the People’s Republic of Scotland or Nigel Dodds of the Northern Ireland Wingnuts.
Traditionally they lead a Cabinet mixed of all parties, but balanced politically slightly in the other direction, for fairness.
So Comrade Corbyn would need to lead a majority Tory cabinet, St Theresa would be in charge of a mostly-Labour front bench, and Grandad Cable would pirouette at the despatch box while in charge of a government that doesn’t watch Strictly Come Dancing.
Let’s not think what the cabinets of Dodds or Blackford would be like. There’d be blood on the shagpile either way.
The Queen could nominate a non-leader as PM, but seeing as no-one has yet found a genius-level unicorn it’s unlikely they’d get cross-party support, which means back to square one.
There is a second option. Which would be to appoint those politicians who did the jobs for longest, and thus have the most experience. Whatever your politics, it would be hard to argue that knowing what you’re doing is a luxury unnecessary to untangling Brexit.
Of course, you cannot reanimate our first and longest-serving PM Robert Walpole, who was in charge from 1721 to 1742 and even doubled up as Chancellor for some of it. You’ve got to choose the person who was PM for longest and is still alive.
There are many people who hanker after a return to the optimism of 1997, not least Tony Blair. And about as many who hanker after stringing him up for war in Iraq, which is a good chunk of the current Labour Party.
But then who is our longest-serving and surviving Chancellor, to be alongside him? Ah.
I liked Gordon Brown. He was sincere and intelligent, which always helps, and bailing out the banks in 2008 saved the UK from disaster. But the Tories can’t see him without squealing "borrowing!" like little piggies who have forgotten George Osborne.
And we all know how Blair and Brown got on when they were in Downing Street before. They’re still patching up the plaster.
Anyway. Longest serving foreign secretary? Jack Straw, which would be torture in more ways than one. Home secretary? Theresa, who at least comes with her own ‘go home’ van we could bundle her into.
And health of course is important. The NHS is the closest we come to having a national religion these days, and we need someone that can be trusted not to cock it up.
But there is, in typical Blair style, a third way.
And that is to cancel Brexit. Not because it means ignoring the will of the people, and not because democracy is dead. But because democracy got buggered.
The referendum was invalid, because only one of the two choices the people were presented with was possible. Remaining was always an option, but Leave was not. The ballot paper, to be valid, should have asked us to choose between ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave the EU, Northern Ireland, and thereby dissolve the United Kingdom’. Never mind all the add-ons about single markets and customs unions – to Leave meant a province of 1.8million British citizens was told to go hang, and it should have said so.
The will of the people is also changing. Leavers have started to see that belief is not enough, and dreaming doesn’t get you financial passporting rights. Reality is biting, and if the will of the people changes then so must government policy, whatever Theresa says.
There are allegations democracy was interfered with using illegally-harvested data, that the Russians were tinkering with it and election laws were broken. There’s enough evidence to say the vote was unsafe.
And in the absence of anyone capable of carrying it out, what choice is there? Politicians voting against their own constituents, voting with their constituents even when they know it’s wrong, being sent home early and haggling over leadership, while the whole nation is chained to a clown car pointed at the English Channel and picking up speed.
Brexit wasn’t an option. Brexit won’t work. Brexit will hurt us all, and it will hurt the people who voted for it the most.
So come on, Queenie. Do your bit. Point out the iceberg and steer us around it – tell Theresa the United Kingdom is not up for negotiation, and the whole country will back you.
There simply is no other solution.
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