Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (which we lovingly call the past), the Prime Ministers of Great Britain were people of principle who stood for something. They were people who had the moral courage to do what was right, often when the odds were stacked against them, often when vested interests were determined to thwart them at every turn. Some of these you will know the story of such as Winston Churchill. Some you may be less familiar with, such as Edward Stanley, who abolished slavery, reformed Parliament and educated Ireland. In that far off, distant land, Prime Ministers actually believed in the policies they promoted. This often lead to them being worshipped and loathed in equal proportions (Edward Heath a committed Europhile and Lady Thatcher are good examples). They were passionate and got things done, a good example being Clement Attlee who founded the NHS and the welfare state as we know it.
This all changed in 1997, when Tony Blair was elected. On that momentous night when Tory after Tory fell, I think we all knew the world had changed. What we didn't realise was that it had changed irreparably for the the worse. We had entered the age of the chameleon Prime Minister. They believe in nothing and simply blended in with the political background of the day. Blair lead the way. When Labour got sick of the fact that they were winning huge majorities but doing none of the things grassroots members wanted, Blair went, but the Tories had cottoned on to the trick. They chose their own straw man, Mr David Cameron. Cameron, he of the cunning plan, didn't actually have the cojones to face down the Brexiteers in his parliamentary party (a small minority of their MP's). So he he implemented his cunning plan, to let the electorate do his dirty work. He'd call their bluff and call a referendum on EU membership. Even more cunningly, he put his best buddy George Osborne in charge. Now if you are trying to convince the nation of something, when all of the foreign owned media are dead set against you, you really need to chose a credible individual to lead the campaign. Cameron picked a man who couldn't even implement a tax on Cornish Pasties without causing uproar.
The bizarre thing, which I've never really understood is that he had just the man in his party. Kenneth Clarke is a man that both sane Tories and sane Labour members trust. He can string two sentences together without causing uproar and he wouldn't be looking to use it as a platform for his own future. But here we are, less than six months from Brexit and the Tories are in meltdown. Theresa May is championing a policy she voted against. Boris Johnson is scheming and plotting and doing everything he possibly can to make her seem unelectable and the Tories seem ungovernable. Jacob Rees Mogg is becoming ever more bonkers, as he comes up with ever more absurd schemes to break the UK up to fit his vision for little England. The only senior Tory who has any semblance of being sane and rational is the Chancellor Phillip Hammond, who seems to at least be trying to do his job. Sadly every time he speaks, the rest of the Tories seem to put their fingers in their ears and shout "La La La" as loudly as they can. As report after report emerges outlining the chaos that a hard Brexit will bring, the hard Brexiteers retreat deeper into the fantasy world that says the entire civil service is simply making up lies to scare us. The sad thing is that because Cameron put Osborne in charge of the Remain campaign, no one believes a single word that anyone says about the economic realities of what lies at the bottom of the cliff when we drive the Brexit bus over the edge.
You would think that with the Tories in disarray, the Labour Party would be taking advantage of the chaos, to step in and demonstrate that they are the only party capable of fixing the mess. But any reading of what Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are doing tells a completely different narrative. It is clear to me that Corbyn has no intention at all of forcing May or the Tories out before the Brexit deal is concluded. Corbyn is of the hard left and he has concluded that the UK needs a fundamental change in the way we run our country. He wants to see wholesale nationalisation of utilities and transport. He wants to see complete reform of the way large corporations are run, with workers panels on the boards, and workers having shareholdings, given as annual bonuses. But as that flies in the face of the economic consensus of the post Thatcher world, it really needs a cataclysmic event to justify such a revolutionary change in the way we run our country. Corbyn knows that many of the changes he wants to make are seriously at odds with EU rules. In short, his program is undeliverable if we remain part of the EU. Not only that but if the apocalyptic prophesies emerging from the treasury and other departments associated with Brexit are anywhere near correct, we will be in a state of national emergency,. At such times, governments fall and new ones use the sweeping powers that they require to fix disasters to implement radical programs that would never normally be achievable. In short, a complete failure of the UK in a post Brexit nightmare scenario, presents a once in a millennial opportunity for a revolution in British politics.
Jeremy Corbyn has been in Parliament a very long time. He's saw the demise of Callaghan after the winter of discontent. He saw the fall of Thatcher after the Poll tax riots. He saw the end of Major after the Black Monday fiasco. These major shocks to the UK's economic and political system look like being a Sunday stroll compared to the brick wall the UK Brexit Bus is about to hit. Corbyn has clearly concluded that it's all worthwhile if it brings about the collapse of the Tories and gives him the keys to the Palace. I suppose nothing would be more ironic than a bunch of #Brexit supporting hard right fanatics are the ones responsible for the rise of the Peoples Republic of Great Britain. As for me, I'm stacking up on my tins of pasta, tinned sardines and corned beef. It is all starting to look rather inevitable to me.