Thursday 1 June 2017

The Saboteur

“You’re our insurance policy”, DC had said. “Our last chance. If the worst happens, you are going to drive a bomb into Brexit”.

“If Remain wins, you win – I’ll quit before the next GE and you’ll stand as PM. And if Remain loses, you will still win, for a time, and you'll be an even bigger hero in the long run.” He explains the plan. You accept.

You lay low during the referendum campaign. A few low-key speeches for Remain. Nothing grandiose. Nothing to alienate the Brexiteers.

Then it happens. Leave somehow wins. Boris and Michael, ashen-faced, accept victory as though they’ve been given a week to live.

The Greek tragedy unfolds on cue. Boris and Michael murder each other as they were always destined to. Andrea insults you for being childless. Amateur hour.

You step carefully over their quivering corpses to ascend the throne.

“You’ll keep it simple”, DC explained. “Just slogans and gumpf. Nothing for months. Put the Brexiteers in charge of the ship. They'll flounder all by themselves because the task is impossible”.

You position Boris, Liam and David at the helm. Even competent ministers would struggle, but they are so hopeless you can’t possibly fail.

"Brexit means Brexit". Say it repeatedly. Perfectly vacuous and wastes time while sounding decisive.

A court challenge is issued. Good. You fight it which plays well with the hate rags. At best the courts will weaken Brexit and it chews up even more time.

The courts fail. Annoying. You proceed to the next phase.

“You'll have to push the hardest possible Brexit.”, DC had explained. “You have to neuter UKIP while giving the opposition every chance to weaken it in the Commons and Lords.” 

Corbyn goes along with you. Didn't expect that at all. You handed him soft Brexit on a platter and he batted it away. Always was a Leaver, the silly old fool.

You realise you have the unpleasant task now of issuing Article 50 but it doesn’t matter. Plays well with the papers and the lawyers say it’s revocable anyway. Pure stage show.

“If you get to this point”, said DC, “you might be pushed to more extreme measures. The party will take a hit but we’ll recover - we're the most successful party in the world, afterall.”

You call an election, going back on a promise but this plays well into the narrative you need to create. Brexit on pause at least. Your goal is the darkest and most hidden of secrets: to throw the vote but only just. Political microsurgery.

Nobody knows but you and the tightest of inner circles. It’s an election that can't be lost but you need to win by a small enough margin to derail the train.

“Strong and stable”. Perfect. Easy pickings for opponents who will flip it to "weak and wobbly". Yes. You can play this part.

“If you have to force an election, you’ll need to play the coward and liar to a tee”, DC had warned. “It will hurt, but remember, at the end of all this you’ll go down in history”.

You line up the dominoes. A weak manifesto. A dementia tax to alienate your core older vote. Devoid of costings while attacking opponents for their costings. Double standards galore, and ample rope for the left to hang you with.

The vote is still too high. Reverse a manifesto promise during the campaign. It's never been tried but you need this to be close. Issue angry denials. Refuse to answer direct questions. Refuse to attend debates. 

Refuse to engage at all with voters. Appear bad tempered, limp and incompetent in media interviews. Some will say it looks like you don't want to win but they will never realise just how true that is.

You hate the election campaign but the narrative is working. Corbyn has stepped up at last. The polls are converging. You’ll still win but with luck, you’ll have weakened the Brexiteer’s hands just enough.

Election day comes. Corbyn does well. He plays best when backed into a corner. You still win the most seats but SNP ensures that it’s a hung parliament.

Finally. You can breathe.

Brexit on hold, maybe forever. Soft Brexit at most. The Scots will now vote to remain in the UK. And by now public opinion favours remaining in the EU anyway. You resign. Bomb detonated, agreement with DC met.

Corbyn forms a struggling minority government but he won't last long. He has too many enemies within and your party will be back in charge by 2022.

You leave politics, offering up health reasons.

Now the real work begins: the diaries. You recorded everything. Everything. Every stupid meeting with Boris. Every ridiculous phone call with The Donald. It will be the most explosive political manifesto ever written - how you destroyed the far right from within your own party. They will celebrate you as the hero who saved Britain from Brexit and the UK from Balkanization.

Disclaimer: no I haven't donned a tin foil hat - this is indeed a work of pure fiction. Wouldn't it be entertaining though!


  1. I've been puzzling over these very issues. I mean, if you really want to get elected, what's the first thing you announce: reinstating fox-hunting?! Seen as trivial relative to other issues, and disliked by the majority of Brits of all political persuasions, so hardly a vote-winner. Comments on twitter imply May is just stupid, but her current speeches contrast so markedly with this speech before the referendum in 2016. I am citing it not just because it puts forward arguments completely at odds with May's current policy, but because it demonstrates her ability to consider complex arguments in a highly intelligent way:

    My own theory is even more preposterous than yours: she's been captured and had a brain transplant is now a cyborg working for the Russians.

    1. "My own theory is even more preposterous than yours: she's been captured and had a brain transplant is now a cyborg working for the Russians."

      I agree, that is an even more plausible theory than Chris' story!

    2. Yup, only by a factor of 10 billion or so!

  2. yeah. this has been entertaining.