Jo Johnson has become the 18th minister to quit Theresa May’s government, saying her policies on Brexit have plunged the UK into its worst crisis since Suez – and that’s all accurate, well and good.
— Jo Johnson (@JoJohnsonUK) November 9, 2018
But let’s not turn him into some kind of twisted folk hero. He’s a Conservative, and Leave figurehead Boris Johnson’s brother.
Remember, this is the man who – as Transport Minister – inflicted “blithering twaddle” that painfully-stiff seats on new trains would become more comfortable with use, implying either that users would acclimatise to them or they were so poorly-made that they would change shape to fit the posteriors being parked on them.
It is not believed he is ever likely to have used them himself, of course.
Now he has resigned from the government on the grounds that Theresa May’s Brexit is “blithering twaddle”, too. Well, he should know it when he sees it!
But I wonder: Why did he not speak up about it before?
Mr Johnson, who voted Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, wrote in his resignation letter: “Brexit has divided the country. It has divided political parties. And it has divided families too. Although I voted remain, I have desperately wanted the government… to make a success of Brexit: to reunite our country, our party and, yes, my family too.
“But it has become increasingly clear to me that the withdrawal agreement… will be a terrible mistake.
“The choice being presented to the British people is no choice at all. To present the nation with a choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis.”
“Hopes for ‘the easiest trade deal in history’ have proved to be delusions. Contrary to promises, there is in fact no deal at all on our future trading relationship with the EU which the government can present to the country.
“Even if we eventually secure a customs arrangement for trade in goods, it will be bad news for the service sector… An agreement that sharply reduces access to EU markets for financial services – or leaves us vulnerable to regulatory change over which we will have no influence – will hurt my constituents and damage one of our most successful sectors.
“While we wait to negotiate trading terms, the rules of the game will be set solely by the EU… Instead of Britain “taking back control”, we will cede control to other European countries. This democratic deficit inherent in the prime minister’s proposal is a travesty of Brexit.
“When we were told Brexit meant taking back powers for parliament, no one told my constituents this meant the French parliament and the German parliament, not our own.
“The government’s proposals will see us out of Europe, yet run by Europe, bound by rules which we will have lost a hand in shaping.
“Worse still, there is no real clarity about how this situation will ever end. The proposed withdrawal agreement parks many of the biggest issues about our future relationship with Europe into a boundless transitionary period.
“This is a con on the British people.”
But we knew all that already, didn’t we?
Here’s another example:
Joe Johnson says on @BBCr4today his former Department’s post Brexit plans will turn Kent into a car park. Exactly what we’ve been saying for months and refuted at every turn by his former boss Chris Grayling. What an utter shambles!
— Andy McDonald MP (@AndyMcDonaldMP) November 10, 2018
Some have chosen to praise Mr Johnson for his principled stand against a Brexit that he now sees cannot do anything but harm. But we need to consider this man’s other principles before admiring these. Read:
Tory Jo Johnson. Before you tell me about his principles remember this. He voted:
•13 times for the Bedroom tax
•46 times to cut benefits
Yet he also voted…
•15 times against banker’s bonus tax
•21 times to reduce corporation tax
So save me the lecture.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 9, 2018
It is, however, a mark of how badly Brexit lies have broken political norms that a minister can be hailed as almost heroic for stating publicly what has been obvious to everyone for the best part of two years.
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) November 9, 2018
The best response to the resignation is to point out that it is a product of the sheer boneheaded stupidity of the Conservative government – stupidity that we saw only last week, in the ignorance of Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab:
Jo Johnson: “This could be worse than Suez”
Dominic Raab: “Suez? That’s in France, isn’t it? Just at the land border between France and Doncaster."
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) November 10, 2018
Alternatively, we could exhibit cynicism: What’s Mr Johnson’s real motivation for this decision?
He's certainly socking it to May .
The question arises in my mind :
* Is he exhibiting more *honour* than his brother ?
*Is he doing a *John the Baptist* and preparing the way for Boris. ? https://t.co/sDTPzt6RU7
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) November 9, 2018
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn is being pilloried for saying nothing can be done to stop Brexit.
I do not understand why people are attacking the Labour leader over this. He is only presenting the facts.
Nothing can be done to stop Brexit while we have a Conservative government run by Theresa May.
They will not stop the process because they see it as an opportunity to hammer the working, working class and middle class people of the UK into the kind of abject powerlessness we have not seen since the 18th and 19th centuries.
Already the poor have been put into impossible situations – work that does not pay; benefits that do not cover the necessities of life. We are hearing of children begging to go to work, simply to help their families pay the bills. Joy to the ears of a Tory!
And Brexit will give them an excuse to remove the rights that prevent them from sending children to work, rather than school.
Tory Brexit will plunge the UK back into primitive times.
That is the reason they won’t stop it. That is the reason they won’t allow a new referendum, in the light of the facts we have discovered since 2016 – and didn’t we have to work to drag those facts into the light!
But Mr Corbyn is right. Nothing can be done to stop Brexit.
The British people voted to support it in 2016 and the British people voted to support a government that will push through exactly the Brexit that Jo Johnson described, in 2017.
Just as they voted to support governments that have impoverished them.
Just as they voted to support governments that have stolen and sold our national assets to foreign owners.
Just as they voted to support governments that have been killing our sick, disabled and elderly people by stealth.
Nothing will change until British voters stop supporting these villains. Don’t blame Jeremy Corbyn for that. Look closer to home.
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