Mike Harding used to be all over TV and the radio when I was younger, but seemed to have taken a step back from broadcasting in recent years.
That changed when a letter he wrote to prime minister Theresa May, in response to her missive to the nation demanding our support, went viral.
It’s a powerful piece – listen to the author reading it, if you don’t believe me – he recorded it for LBC’s James O’Brien. I’ll copy the text below.
The other comedy legend who slammed Brexit this weekend is Stephen Fry.
He shared an 11-minute animated video on YouTube and Twitter, detailing “the story of how a mythical EU dragon was conjured up” and outlining the “myths” that were spread by the campaign to leave the EU.
Here it is:
These attacks on Mrs May and Brexit – both of which have gone viral, gaining huge popularity with the general public – are critically important at this time.
Today (December 3), Parliament will find out whether Mrs May can be bothered to honour a binding vote by MPs, demanding in the name of the Queen that she make available all legal advice given to her on her Brexit plan.
On @RidgeonSunday I warned the Government that it is heading for deep water if it doesn’t publish the full legal advice on the Prime Minister’s deal, as ordered by Parliament. #Ridge pic.twitter.com/q1eGkkKd8C
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) December 2, 2018
When a Cabinet source is in the Sunday Times saying "the legal advice is very bad which is why they don't want anyone to see it", the govt position on not publishing is pretty obviously untenable. https://t.co/Ko0gDSk5qU
— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) December 1, 2018
Failure to provide the information will trigger proceedings against Mrs May and her government for contempt of Parliament, which used to be a serious matter but may now be worth very little.
More importantly: If she refuses, we will take this as tacit admission that the advice suggests her plan is not only bad, but disastrous.
That may be vital in swaying MPs to vote against it in the “meaningful vote” on the Brexit plan, to take place next week (December 11? 12? Thereabouts).
The information provided here by Messrs Harding and Fry could be instrumental in helping swing MPs against Mrs May’s plan – if you, as constituents, send it to your MPs in support of your own call for them to vote it down (assuming that this is what you want. If you support the plan, you’ll have to find your own supporting information. Good luck with that).
If the plan is voted down – and some commentators are suggesting that Mrs May could lose by a margin of as many as 400 votes – then Labour will demand a vote of “no confidence” in the government.
Glad we’ve confirmed we will be calling for a vote of #NoConfidence in Theresa May when her withdrawal agreement fails to get through the house. No, I can’t see us having the numbers, but who’d imagine an extra from Home Alone 2 somehow become the leader of the ‘free world’?
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) December 2, 2018
It seems the Conservative government is exerting pressure on its local party memberships to demand that MPs support the plan:
I am told by Tory MPs that full force of Conservative Party machine is being mobilised to put pressure on party associations and their respective chairs to put maximum pressure on their respective MPs to back @theresa_may and her Brexit deal. How many rebel Tory MPs will buckle?
— Robert Peston (@Peston) December 1, 2018
Ultimately, it may be a matter of reminding all our Parliamentarians that their behaviour will be a matter for discussion by future historians. The names of all those who take part in these crucial votes will be recorded – and may be vilified if the decision they take proves to be as disastrous as Messrs Harding and Fry suggest.
Does any MP – even the most spineless of the party faithful – want to be remembered as a toady who brought ruin down on the country?
I suppose we’ll find out in the very near future. We’ll have the names of all such representatives – if that’s the right word for them – before Christmas.
I don’t think there will be many, though. I think the arguments against the plan are persuasive, and that MPs will accept the need for a change of government rather than risking everything for the weakest and worst prime minister in living memory.
It would be ironic if a couple of comedians were responsible for swaying such a serious matter – but it would also be quintessentially British. Let’s make it so.
Here’s the text of Mr Harding’s letter – from the LBC website:
“Dear Mrs May,
“I am in France having a break having come here on the train all the way from Settle. I just read your letter to me and the rest of Britain wanting us all to unite behind the damp squib you call a deal. Unite? I laughed so much the mouthful of frogs legs I was eating ended up dancing all over the bald head of the bloke on the opposite table.
“Your party’s little civil war has divided this country irreparably. The last time this happened Cromwell discontinued the custom of kings wearing their heads on their shoulders.
“I had a mother who was of Irish descent, an English father who lies in a Dutch graveyard in the village where his Lancaster bomber fell in flames. I had a Polish stepfather who drove a tank for us in WW2 and I have two half Polish sisters and a half Polish brother who is married to a girl from Donegal.
“My two uncles of Irish descent fought for Britain in N Africa and in Burma.
“So far you have called us Citizens Of Nowhere and Queue Jumpers. You have now taken away our children and grandchildren’s freedom to travel, settle, live and work in mainland Europe.
“You have made this country a vicious and much diminished place. You as Home Sec sent a van round telling foreigners to go home. You said “ illegal” but that was bollocks as the legally here people of the Windrush generation soon discovered.
“Your party has sold off our railways, water, electricity, gas, telecoms, Royal Mail etc until all we have left is the NHS and that is lined up for the US to have as soon as Hannon and Hunt can arrange it.
“You have lied to the people of this country. You voted Remain yet changed your tune when the chance to grab the job of PM came. You should have sacked those lying bastards Gove and Bojo but daren’t because you haven’t the actual power.
“You have no answer to the British border on the island of Ireland nor do you know how the Gib border with Spain will work once we are out.
“Mrs May you have helped to divide this country to such an extent that families and friends are now no longer talking to each other, you have managed to negotiate a deal far worse than the one we had and all to keep together a party of millionaires, Eton Bullingdon boys, spivs and WI harridans. Your party conserves nothing. It has sold everything off in the name of the free market.
“You could have kept our industries going with investment and development – Germany managed it. But no – The Free Market won so Sunderland, Barnsley, Hamilton etc could all go to the devil.
“So Mrs May my answer to your plea for unity is firstly that it is ridiculous.
“48% of us will never forgive you for Brexit and secondly, of the 52% that voted for it many will not forgive you for not giving them what your lying comrades like Rees Mogg and Fox promised them.
“There are no unicorns, there is no £350 million extra for the NHS. The economy will tank and there will be less taxes to help out the poor. We have 350,000 homeless (not rough sleepers – homeless) in one of the richest countries on Earth and you are about to increase that number with your damn fool Brexit.
“The bald man has wiped the frogs legs of his head, I’ve bought him a glass of wine to say sorry; I’m typing this with one finger on my phone in France and I’m tired now and want to stop before my finger gets too tired to join the other one in a sailors salute to you and your squalid Brexit, your shabby xenophobia and Little Englander mentality.
“Two fingers to you and your unity from this proud citizen of nowhere. I and roughly half the country will never forgive you or your party.
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