Now that Brexit is famously “done”, Michael Gove has begged the EU to extend the grace period until 2023 because everything is going to shit in Northern Ireland. The “teething problems” have turned out to be more like a botched root canal surgery where the dentist accidentally installed an elephant’s tusk in place of a secondary molar, and gave you tear gas instead of laughing gas.
If Gove’s slithering begging to the EU succeeds, there is a chance he’ll be able to claim credit for fixing Northern Ireland’s crippling trade barriers (or at least for raising the issue and framing it as the EU’s fault), just in time for a 2024 leadership contest and general election.
Never saw that coming? Of course you did. Everyone did. Like so many parts of the Brexit maelstrom, the Northern Ireland thing was never going to work, but nobody wanted to listen, and those in power who knew it was wrong, held their tongues until a moment came along that would help them to progress, personally. (That’s Conservatism, folks!)
A pathetically over-simplified three-word catchphrase, vs a dangerous reality of huge complexity.
Now we have the clash of a pathetically over-simplified three-word catchphrase, vs a dangerous reality of huge complexity.
The square peg is not fitting in the round hole, and that’s an opportunity for wanabee PM Gove simply has to seize.
He will openly and loudly call for an extension to the process, so that he can grasp credit for pressing the issues before the next election, in which he clearly wants to be the Tory Leader.
Gove isn’t the first to be sniffing around for the keys to Number 10, and he won’t be the last. There is a growing sense that Johnson’s buffoonery is sitting badly in the pallette of a nation gripped by a health crisis, and with every inch closer to escaping that crisis, the curtain raises an inch higher on the catastrophe of Brexit.
As we watch this play out, prepare to see vultures circling around the doors of Number 10. Career-minded cabinet minsters will continue to let Johnson take the hit for the worst of all this, then, finally, when the moment is right, they’ll step in to paint themselves as the hero who fixes it at the last minute, just in time for another general election. We can but hope none of this washes with the electorate who, by then, will be sick to the back teeth of Tory incompetence of all kinds.