And what a week it was!
A week in which politicians didn’t know what was happening! A week in which journalists didn’t know what was happening! And a week in which no one knew what was happening!
So what actually happened?
Let’s look back and see:
Following a two-year investigation, Robert Mueller has apparently found that Donald Trump didn’t collude with the Russians. Which is good to know, right? Unless you’re one of the people who pursued this angle at the cost of building a progressive alternative:
Worth noting that the journalists who worked hardest to unpick overblown claims of Trump-Russia conspiracy ( Like @aaronjmate @ggreenwald & more) are big Trump opponents – they wanted to stop Dems going up what they saw as a blind alley & giving Trump a gift. https://t.co/MaW5x9BAUV
— Solomon Hughes (@SolHughesWriter) March 25, 2019
Although we’ve not read it yet, the Mueller report allegedly claims:
- Trump didn’t conspire with Russians, although they did try to conspire with him.
- Trump probably tried to obstruct this being investigated.
A legal expert told Off The Perch:
Look – we can’t impeach the president for obstructing a crime he didn’t commit. Not even Judge Judy would try that case. We know because we asked her.
Although several other cases into Trump’s alleged misdeeds are ongoing, there’s a good chance he’ll avoid punishment – just look at the Iraq War; just look at the Panama Papers; just look at the DWP’s war on disabled people.
As our legal friend explained:
Corrupt institutions are generally pretty relaxed about corruption. Obviously we need to point out wrongdoing, but expecting the criminal classes to enforce the crimes of their peers is like waiting for a tiger to eat itself.
So yeah – don’t expect normality to resume any time soon. Things haven’t been ‘normal’ since forever.
Senior figures in the Tory Party have decided to name themselves after the head racists of the Ku Klux Klan:
Isn’t ‘Grand Wizard’ a KKK thing?! Why would you coin that nickname for yourself? 😳 https://t.co/g1mCYTIYaE
— Dom Walsh (@DomWalsh13) March 25, 2019
It seems the BBC's chief political correspondent had no idea Tory politicians calling themselves "Grand Wizards" would be controversial. She now feels it her job to cover their back. Telling, on a number of counts. https://t.co/pb350LIbbm
— Michael Walker (@michaeljswalker) March 25, 2019
Unfortunately for the already-beleaguered Tories, the KKK has decided to sue.
KLAIM KLAIM KLAIM
The KKK’s current grand wizard – one Shitbo Sluggins – had this to say:
We’ve been watching the UK Conservative Party for some time now. It’s clear they’ve been copying our stuff – who do you think invented the ‘hostile environment’? We didn’t mind that, as the more racism the better, to be honest. But seriously, guys – NOW YOU’RE STEALING OUR WIZARD STUFF!? THIS SHALL NOT PASS!
A senior Tory responded:
Why can’t we be wizards too? Play fair, guys! Surely two organisations with similar outlooks on society can refer to themselves as ‘grand wizards’ without anyone inferring some sort of link?
The BBC’s political guru Laura Kuenssberg has since tweeted:
I’m hearing that the Tory bigwigs will now be referring to themselves as the ‘herrenvolk’ – a German word that translates as ‘master people’.
She followed up on this a few hours later:
Apparently the copyright for ‘herrenvolk’ is owned by one A. Hitler. Seems to be an honest mistake; hopefully they’ll have better luck with their next nickname – the ‘Pale Anglo Crusaders of Odin SS-Front’.
On 26 March, Tory MP Suella Braverman said:
As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against cultural Marxism.
The phrase ‘cultural Marxism’ is historically a conspiracy theory that Western culture is being undermined by sinister Jewish academics. It was also used by the far-right mass-murderer Anders Breivik.
Although that sounds quite bad, the Tory party has assured its friends in the right-wing media that it only becomes clear it’s antisemitic if you do a cursory Google search.
Let’s not do that
To be fair to the British tabloids, it’s not like they spent the past few years trying to determine what is or isn’t antisemitic. I mean – they have spent a lot of time claiming there’s an awful lot of it in the Labour Party – but the time they spent doing that prevented them researching what it actually is.
As one senior source from the Daily Mail Group philosophised on Twitter:
If a member of the governing party repeats an antisemitic trope but the tabloids don’t lose their shit, does it even make a sound?
The Board of Deputies of British Jews seems to think so, but obviously it hasn’t got the memo yet:
— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) March 26, 2019
The Tory Party isn’t bigoted, you see, and any appearance to the contrary is just a misunderstanding:
just catching up on timeline, for avoidance of doubt, couple of insiders told me using the nickname informally, no intended connection to anything else
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 25, 2019
If you yourself are confused about what is or isn’t xenophobic, please consult the Daily Mail. Its co-founder was friends with Adolf Hitler, so it’s always had a pretty good grasp of the matter.
On 27 March, MPs held votes on several different Brexit options. The result was that every single option got voted down. And this means…
What does it mean?
Does anyone even know anymore?
Are we even allowed to admit that?
Regardless of what is or isn’t happening – at least our MPs have come to a consensus. It’s just a shame said ‘consensus’ is that they fundamentally disagree on everything.
Should she stay or should she go now?
Theresa May’s deal is both unpopular and terrible. She tried encouraging people to vote for it on the understanding that she’d quit immediately after. This is a bit like an amateur boxer telling Tyson Fury they’ll take a dive if they also get to keep the prize money.
Some MPs voted for no-deal Brexit. Britain isn’t really prepared for no-deal, though.
We’re still not prepared for an orderly Brexit, and we voted for that three years ago.
Others put their vote towards some sort of close economic relationship with the EU. Others didn’t because:
I’M SORRY BUT I’M NOT READING UP ABOUT HOW CUSTOMS ARRANGEMENTS WORK – I DIDN’T VOTE FOR BREXIT TO DO A LOAD OF READING!
No way out
One group of MPs voted for a new referendum. These politicians were scuppered by other MPs who wanted to represent their constituents’ votes.
It’s easy to say ‘you should ignore your constituents if what you’re delivering is harmful to them’. The problem is that MPs vote for things that are harmful to their constituents all the time. That isn’t a good thing, obviously. But expecting career politicians to suddenly stop looking out for their own interests mid-career is optimistic to say the least.
So what happens now?
by John Ranson
The end of a prime minister’s reign is always an exciting time in the world of publishing. There’s a bidding war to secure the memoir rights, TV chat shows queue up to offer a place on their sofas, and plans begin for lucrative speaking tours.
Industry watchers expected Theresa May’s announcement that she ‘might’ be standing down to fire the starting gun for the usual mad race. But nothing’s happened.
So far, there hasn’t been a murmur from any of the major players. It’s been left to third-rate vanity publishers Goastwright & Cashin (G&C) to offer May a deal. G&C’s head of public relations, Letitia Febreze, explains:
We specialise in books that wouldn’t ordinarily get a deal from one of the more mainstream publishers. We also do a certain amount of work with writers who, frankly, can’t write. For a competitive fee, we’ll put together a book with the person’s name on the front and run off anywhere from 100 to 50,000 copies. We expect Theresa will want wide coverage, window displays in Waterstones etc. So it’ll be towards the top end of our range.
But Febreze explained that G&C expects to shift barely a fraction of the total print run. As a result, she said:
We’ve already booked capacity at the pulping plant. You have to draw up these plans in good time. Our parent company makes toilet roll, so it should be a win-win.
‘Not a page-turner’
Ken Chisel, from the Institute of Criticism, was as scathing as ever:
A good political memoir should be a mixture of gripping whodunnit and scandalous kiss-and-tell. It’s absolutely clear that May’s will be neither. She’s unlikely to say, and it’s possible she doesn’t even know, who actually did anything that happened during her entire political career. And she’s already revealed that the naughtiest thing she ever did was to run through a wheat field. So this book is hardly going to be a page-turner. In fact, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if it’s just the phrase ‘nothing has changed’ repeated 20,000 times. As for going to hear her deliver an after-dinner speech, well obviously not.
Boris Johnson once described May’s Brexit deal as a “suicide vest”. For some reason, he’s decided to strap this deal on and hit the detonator.
It couldn’t be… it couldn’t be because blowing the country up will trigger a leadership contest, could it?
Johnson couldn’t really be so hypocritical; so self-centred; so achingly fucking transparent, could he?
Not Boris Johnson!
Yes, Boris Johnson
Johnson granted an interview to Off The Perch. The former foreign secretary showed up ten minutes late – slithering through the window like a snake. Apparently he exudes some sort of slime that allows him to wriggle around in such a fashion.
When asked if he only supported May’s deal to have a shot at becoming leader, he answered:
No – I’m acting in the national interest.
When we pointed out he’d previously said this deal ‘goes against the national interest in a manner unseen since the Black Death’, he assured us that:
Recent discoveries suggest Britons actually loved the Black Death. Apparently it was more of a mild sniffle than anything, and it released the most fantubulous feelings of euphoria.
We asked if Brexit would be better than the allegedly fantastic Black Death. He responded:
It can’t be any worse.
He then slithered off to vote for the country being so fucked that he has a shot at leading it.
The Independent Group (TIG) has morphed into Change UK (CUK). Although it’s obviously inspired by France’s En Marche, it isn’t inspired by what that party did – i.e. win seats in an election.
For some reason, Change doesn’t actually want any change on that front:
— Michael Walker (@michaeljswalker) March 29, 2019
Off The Perch caught up with Chris Leslie to ask him some questions:
OTP: So you’re called Change now. Wouldn’t the biggest change of all be holding an election?
CL: Definitely not. An election wouldn’t change anything.
OTP: It might change a few things. You’d probably lose your seat for a start.
CL: Yes, we’re all aware of the Labour and Conservative bullying campaign against us.
OTP: Are you describing rival political parties attempting to take your seats as ‘bullying’?
CL: Well how else would you describe it? We really want those seats. There shouldn’t be another election until we can outlaw grassroots campaigning altogether.
OTP: That would be a big change. Is that the only change you’re pursuing, or are there others?
CL: We’re quite keen on keeping public services privatised.
OTP: How is that a change from your previous position?
CL: I wasn’t a Change MP when I argued for it before.
It could be that Change UK’s name change will be enough to convince people the party actually stands for change. Some people remain unconvinced, however:
Imagine founding a party called "Change UK", but it's made up of ex-tory and ex-NewLab types and literally just puts forward the same centrist and right wing policies that have dominated politics since the late nineties lmao #ChangeUK #Tinge #tig
— Sam Fury (@SamFury9) March 29, 2019
Featured images via The Kremlin / Wikimedia – Chris McAndrew / Wikimedia – National Photo Company Collection / Flickr – Ashley Coates / YouTube – RT UK / Wikimedia – Kuhlmann/MSC / Pxhere / Pixabay / Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Wikimedia / YouTube (images were altered)
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.