Another one bites the dust - who's next?
Prime Minister Theresa May’s war against the Remoaning liberal elite has claimed another scalp – a Tory peer who dared back a public vote on the final Brexit deal.
Lord Hestletine was phoned up during dinner by the Tory chief whip Gavin Williamson to hear he had been sacked from five roles as advisor to the government.
The message was clear: defy me and you’ll be punished. And the grounds for discipline are getting narrower.
Sir Ivan Rogers, now former UK ambassador to the EU – whose experience would have been handy in negotiations – resigned after having the gall to suggest a trade deal with the EU could take ten years to hammer out.
For this he was rounded on by Brexiteers and stepped down, blasting the government’s ‘ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking’.
His exit was hailed by the same Brexiteers, with the Daily Telegraph saying:
“Sir Ivan Rogers should be replaced by someone who is positive about Brexit.”
This Tinkerbell politics, whereby everyone has to believe, smile and applaud or else bear the blame for failure, is not only silly but deeply sinister.
The PM’s fans in government and the press have so far targeted the Governor of the Bank of England, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the civil service, High Court judges, the Supreme Court, the BBC, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and the Speaker of the House of Commons.
How small must be the cadre who represent the true will of the people!
The tightening noose of acceptable opinion has become taught even around the merits of making pals with a demagogic US President.
And criticism of the government’s Brexit plans is made synonymous with an attack on democracy and ‘ordinary people’, and treated as a sign of national disloyalty and a general want of patriotism.
Calls from former Tory leader William Hague for an early election to dispense with the inconvenience of political opposition and democratic scrutiny are a clue to the direction of travel.
Generally speaking, when politicians start banging on about democracy and being open and tolerant, while simultaneously trashing dissenters and scapegoating foreigners, people ought to be on their guard.
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.