Kenneth Clarke was the only Conservative MP to vote against Brexit, but he's both defiant and unapologetic over his stance pro-EU while providing the kind of criticism and leadership that ought to be coming from Labour's Jeremy Corbyn.
Clarke family points out that the Iraq War was supported by the Labour Government of the day, most Conservatives and a big majority of the public - yet this initial enthusiasm drained away within a very short time and many people the re-wrote their place in history.
In a lively interview with The Times Clarke pours scorn on his party and the Brexiteers:
“I compare it to the Iraq war. That was the last time I stuck my neck out in supporting a really unpopular cause – 70% of the British public were in favour of the invasion and most of the Conservative party was in a patriotic fury.
“Within 12 months you couldn’t meet a member of the public who had ever known anybody who was in favour of it...[the public] won’t blame their fellow citizens for voting in the referendum [should Brexit go wrong], they will blame the government of the day.”
Which just goes to prove the old adage that 'success has many friends, but defeat is always an orphan'.
‘It’s absurd to say 16m who voted Remain have no voice’
Ken Clarke talks about finding himself a lone Tory rebel on Europe
By Alice Thomson, Rachel Sylvester - The Times
Ken Clarke believes the Tory party is lost, with “rebels driving ministers to deliver Jerusalem”TOM PILSTON FOR THE TIMES
Curiouser and curiouser, says Ken Clarke: “It does feel as though we have fallen down a rabbit hole. I won’t name who is the White Rabbit or the Red Queen but politics at the moment are an unrealistic fairyland.”
The former cabinet minister and elder statesman has suddenly found himself the lone rebel in his party, the only Tory to vote against triggering Article 50. For him the past few months have not been a wonderland but a wasteland. After an impassioned speech against the Brexit bill this week, he takes comfort from the fact that walking down the street he is accosted by well-wishers but insists: “You shouldn’t get carried away by the kind things that people keep saying, because the other person who just walked past may not agree at all.”
It must have been lonely being the only Tory rebelling in the Commons this week. “The chief whip gave me a wink when I went through but he was obviously relieved it was just me. I’m a naturally cheerful chap but there was sadness, and also on the night of the referendum when I heard the results coming in from Hartlepool and Sunderland and it was obvious we were going to leave.”
After almost 50 years at the front line of politics, the former chancellor, health, education and home secretary has never wavered in his pro-European views. His parliamentary career has coincided almost exactly with the beginning and end of Britain’s membership of the EU.
The hardcore right wing of the Conservative Party is running the country.
Brexit and Bananas (03/02/17)
I don't watch the BBC's Question Time programme too often these days, but I tuned in last night and heard a member of the audience say that she was initially a Remain voter, yet changed her mind and supported Brexit because of the European Union's 'crazy and restrictive' rules covering the sale of bananas.
Now I know there's been lots of talk lately about respecting a democratic vote, but I don't respect this woman's vote one little bit because her reason for voting to leave the EU is both idiotic and untrue.
So while a majority of people did vote for Brexit, the referendum did even not address, never mind decide, the terms of the likely 'divorce' settlement.
For that reason I strongly favour a further vote once the terms of Brexit become clear, whether in Parliament or by way of a second referendum.
Not least because if last year's referendum had gone the other way, Leave supporters would have continued with their ugly and false campaign against the EU.
Here's a bunch of five bananas I bought in my local supermarket in Glasgow the other day, one or two of which were especially 'curvy'.
So I think I'll send a copy of this post to Boris Johnson courtesy of his Westminster email address and ask the leader of the 'Leave' campaign if he is now prepared to eat his words.
Boris Goes Bananas (18/05/16)
I'm off to my local supermarket later today to test Boris Johnson's latest intervention in the great EU debate to destruction.
As regular readers know, I've been saying for some time that Bojo's lost his mojo, but it appears even worse than that because his thoughts on bananas suggest that the former London Mayor really lost his marbles.
Speaking in support of his view as to why Britain should leave the EU, Boris said:
"If we take back control on 23 June, we can also get rid of so much of the pointless rules and regulations that are holding back this country.
"This gentleman here mentions bananas. It is absurd that we are told you cannot sell bananas of bunches of more than two or three bananas.
"You cannot sell bananas with abnormal curvature of the fingers. Why should they tell us?"
Now I've bought bananas in all kinds of places - Morrisons, Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, local markets - and I've done so both at home and abroad (in Europe) without the slightest problem.
I've never been restricted to just two or three bananas or had extra curvy ones snatched form my hands at the till.
But it's great PR for the Remain side while making Bojo look like a complete laughing stock - Boris may be good for a laugh, but his hopes of ever becoming Prime Minister are receding by the day.
Down the Rabbit Hole (01/02/17)
Veteran Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke turned in a bravura performance in the House of Commons yesterday during the parliamentary debate over Brexit.
Clarke chided his fellow Conservatives and said that even his former colleague Enoch Powell (a rabid anti-immigrant) would struggle to understand what had become of the Tories in their attitudes towards Europe.
Clarke went on to accuse his party of pursuing a new relationship with Europe which resembled the impossible world of Alice in Wonderland:
“If he was here he would probably find it amazing to believe that his party had become Eurosceptic and rather mildly anti-immigrant in a strange way in 2016.
“I’m afraid on that I haven’t followed them and I don’t intend to do so.
“Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and you emerge in a wonderland where suddenly countries around the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages and access to their markets that previously we had never been able to achieve as part of the European Union (EU).
“Nice men like President Trump and President Erdoğan are just impatient to abandon their normal protectionism and give us access.”
Now that's what I call 'not pulling your punches' and telling it straight.
Battle Over Brexit (05/12/16)
I though the issues were summarised well in a reported conversation between Carlo Calenda, Italy's economic development minister and Boris Johnson, the UK's foreign secretary.
Calenda recalled their exchange as follows:
Johnson: "I don’t want free movement of people but I want the single market."
Calenda. “I said, ‘No way."
Johnson: "You’ll sell less prosecco.’
Calenda: "I said, OK, you’ll sell less fish and chips, but I’ll sell less prosecco to one country and you’ll sell less to 27 countries.’
Game, set and match to the Italian minister, if you ask me.