If the Tories keep going like this Queen Elizabeth is going to need a fresh bottle of hand sanitizer. David Cameron, Theresa May and now, Boris Johnson, the Three Stooges of Westminster.
Cameron laid the groundwork for the current Brexit fiasco that has rocked Parliament and left the British people deeply divided. Before that was the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence that could have unglued the United Kingdom had it not been narrowly defeated. The following year, after leading his party to a strong majority win, he launched the referendum popularly known as Brexit, again assuming the result would be to remain. It wasn't. Cameron stepped down and left the steaming puddle to his successor, Theresa May.
May, perhaps subliminally seeking to prove that she could screw things up just as thoroughly as David Cameron wasted little time before unveiling her own blunders. The first was to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, setting the wheels in motion to get the UK out of the EU and only then trying to negotiate (dictate) terms of exit with the EU.
Fearing the Euros saw her as weak and hapless, May threw the Tories' majority to the winds, calling a snap election, confident that her government would be returned with another solid majority. She hoped that a strong victory would send a message to Brussels that she had the country behind her. Like David Cameron she took a gamble and it blew up in her face. The Tories were handed a minority and had to strike a deal with the Ulster gang to cling to power.
It didn't help May that, within her own cabinet, insurrection was brewing. Boris "Both Ways" Johnson, Michael Gove and others were gunning to bring her down and become the next prime minister. May struggled tenaciously to hold onto power but to no avail. Failing three times to get Parliament to approve her Brexit deal with the EU there was nowhere else to go but out.
Boris was rewarded by the Tory party faithful and became the third Conservative prime minister in just four turbulent years. By now Parliament had become a shambles. Party lines gave way to 'leave' or 'remain' camps. Johnson pledged a Halloween Brexit, a hard Brexit if need be, come hell or high water.
This has not been a good week for Boris Johnson or the Brexiteers. MPs, many angered by Johnson's ploy to prorogue Parliament, have used their majority to take control from their prime minister. They have passed a measure prohibiting a hard (no deal) Brexit that is being expedited through the House of Lords. They also soundly defeated Johnson's motion for a snap election. To add insult to injury, today's Boris' brother, Jo, announced he's resigning his seat in the commons due to unbearable conflict between family loyalty and the interests of the country.
Where does Britain go from here? Who knows? There are many opinions, guesses mainly, on what lies ahead in the countdown to Halloween. The Euros seem bemused. Newspapers on the continent are mercilessly taking the piss out of the unkempt first minister.
A “zombie prime minister” cornered by his “own intransigence” whose failed “kamikaze strategy” had left his country facing a future that had “never looked less certain” – Europe’s media were not kind to Boris Johnson after his fourth successive Commons defeat.
Le Monde said the prime minister had now “lost control of his Brexit strategy, the calendar and even of his own camp, which is deep in internal crisis”. The prime minister had warned in August the road would be bumpy, the French paper said, “but did he really expect to be buffeted to this extent, and so soon?”
The first of Wednesday night’s parliamentary votes “as good as finished off Johnson’s long-promised ‘do-or-die’ Halloween Brexit,” Le Monde said. His second defeat of the evening, in which MPs refused the prime minister an early election before a no-deal Brexit was no longer possible, was “even more bitter”.
Add to that the mounting fury in the Conservative party over his purge of Tory rebels, and Downing St “must surely be having doubts”, the paper concluded. Johnson may still have some options – including calling a vote of no confidence in himself – “but who outside the Westminster bubble still understands the Battle of Brexit?”Some are calling the uprising in the House of Commons a revolution, a taking back of power from the executive into the hands of the elected. I'll believe it when I see the guillotine standing tall outside the black lacquered door of No. 10.