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A lazy chancer

Comments Off on A lazy chancer 07 December 2017

A lazy chancer

This tweet from the journalist Patrick Wintour:

“Chancellor Philip Hammond: The Cabinet has not yet had a full discussion of what should be the Government’s preferred “end state position” for the UK after Brexit. It’s official. HMG has no agreed destination on Brexit. 18 months on.”

This excerpt from the Evening Standard:

Labour MP Hilary Benn, chair of the committee, said in an astonishing exchange with the Brexit Secretary: “So the Government hasn’t undertaken any impact assessments on the implications for leaving the EU for different sectors of the British economy?

“So there isn’t one for example on the automotive sector?”

“No, not that I’m aware of,” Mr Davis said.

Mr Benn asked: “Is there one on aerospace?”

Mr Davis replied: “Not that I’m aware of.”

Mr Benn said: “One on financial services?”

Mr Davis replied: “Well I think the answer is going to be no to all of them.”

Two rather important things here. 18 months since the EU referendum and the Cabinet has not even discussed its “end state position” for the UK once we leave the EU. After saying the government had carried out impact statements on the implications for the EU, which were in “excruciating detail”, Brexit secretary David Davis now admitted there were none, effectively saying he had lied through his teeth.

What should be, but isn’t, surprising is the tame reaction to these astonishing revelations in the media. We would not expect the Tory house publications like the Mail, Sun and Express to all but ignore these awkward facts but what about the rest of the media? Has the BBC been silenced to such an extent that it appears to offer no serious critical journalism about what has happened? We are not, after all, debating matters of opinion. These are not unsubstantiated rumours or idle speculation about what Davis may or May not have said: what he said is a matter of fact. And he is getting away with it.

My loyal reader will know that I am barely more impressed with Jeremy Corbyn’s wretched Labour Party than I am with Theresa May’s bungling Tories but the main issue is not that of party politics. However, if it was, say, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott behaving like this in government, does anyone seriously believe the media would not be taking them to the cleaners? But today, the red tops bury the story on their inside pages and the ludicrous Express even heaps praise on David Davis for his “brilliant” riposte to Brexit Committee chair Hilary Benn, the same Hilary Benn who had just shredded what was left of Davis’s reputation. Here is the “free press” at work, the press that enables the rich and powerful to say whatever they like so long as it sits properly with their, in this instance, hard right political views.

In normal times, Davis would be sacked. He’s a lazy chancer who has once again been caught out. Instead, the Sun reports that the friends of Davis are manoeuvring behind the scenes to remove Theresa May as PM and insert their man before Christmas. You could not make it up.

Hilary Benn said this to Davis: “Doesn’t it strike you as rather strange that the Government undertakes impact assessments of all sorts of things all the time, but on the most fundamental change that we are facing as a country, you’ve just told us that the Government hasn’t undertaken any impact assessments at all on the implications for various parts of the economy?”

Quite. And this country is dependent on the likes of Davis to secure the future of our country. Surely even the most slavish Brexiteer must be very concerned about the way things are panning out? If they aren’t, I doubt they are paying attention.

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