The Saturday Smile

DSCN0254 I’ll swap you a Kuennesberg for a Rooney, a pathway for a tunnel, an extension for a No Deal, a Jeremy Corbyn for a Woman, a John McDonnell for a Trabant 601, and an Arndale Centre for a fake terrorist. Barter is the Next Big Thing and, as usual, The Slog is atop a new wave that is already ahead of the Curve.


lagerKgag.PNGThere is, I am reliably informed, a petition under way to replace the BBC’s highly-political correspondent Laura Kuennesberg with Coleen Rooney. I think this is an irony-laden attempt to highlight the light weight of Ms K, but as it stands, it’s not vicious enough. Now had they said Wayne Rooney, I would’ve laughed out loud. As it stands, it is a slur upon Our Coleen, ‘ooz always struck me as a birrova bright spark an’ a fit Judy to boot like, yerknowarramean?

Laura’s latest headline-grabbing scoop is ‘Avid #Brexitcast listener and now watcher. Letty, aged 6 and a bit months should have been born on the original Brexit day’.

Sorry to have to butt in with a corrrection there Laur-laur, but Babbie Letty was born on the original Brexit Day. It was the, um, Brexit Day that should’ve been on March 31st. Not the birth. Letty happened, Brexit didn’t. It’s an easy mistake to make.


The mood in Brussels, I’m told, is approaching euphoric. The EC has given The Green Light to the Johnson-Varadkar pathway, and so naturally everyone’s drilling a negotiation tunnel, getting inside the thinktank and thinking outside the box.

The “new” deal they’re now tunnelling into is, seemingly, that of Theresa May; but with changes to the Irish backstop ensuring that nobody in the media or the electorate can understand the situation at all. So the general assumption of the Eurocrats is that Blustering Boris has come to heel, there will be a deal but haha we’re still in control because British backbench MPs are too lazy to read the WA.

But there are some weird signals out there. Steve Baker is up for the deal. So too is John Redwood. Dom Cummings is walking about with a less than customary smile. The ERG “Spartans” seem happy, and the DUP is, in principle, on board. Number Ten is unusually tight-lipped about what happens next.

The new national chatterati supper party game is to try and discern what Team Boris’s motives are: is he hoping to pull a fast one on the 17.4 million? And what did he really mean by, “I shall obey the law, but we shall leave on October 31st come what may”?

“Cummings has only empty threats,” wrote a prominent European two days ago, “and the EU side knows it”. This morning, Matthew Parris writes with a degree of smugness in the Times that the Spartans have finally seen sense, and given up.

So one way or another, come Saturday week and then October 31st, quite a few people in the Commentariat are going to look very silly. But who are they?

There are in fact a number of ways for BoJo to slip the leash.

One is that the Benn Actors were forced to use a specific date – October 19th – by which a deal must be approved in principle in Brussels and Westminster. Once that date has passed without any ‘need’ for an extension, the Benn Act becomes null and void. On (say) Friday October 25th – with the deal still not enacted in Law – a last-minute glitch could be “found” and not settled by the 31st, the following Wednesday.

Ergo, Boris has obeyed the law, and left the EU with no finalised deal.

Far more likely, it seems to me, is that the deal won’t pass the Commons….and that Team Boris has already worked this out. Baker, Cash, Redwood et al all vote against – as does Labour, because it wants a General Election with Johnson’s hands tied by the Benn Act, rather than Hero Boris finally getting a deal.

So the Super Saturday votes take place, and we have no deal…therefore Boris must ask for an extension.

Not necessarily. The debates end, the PM rises to his feet, and announces a challenge to be launched in the High Court immediately. And he will abide by the Law if it finds against him.

The application for challenge is not disobedience to the Law. But the case begins after October 19th with no application to extend. So the Benn Act is still null and void.

Here too, Boris has obeyed the law, and can leave the EU with no finalised deal. There won’t be time for a new Act to be prepared, and if necessary the Government can challenge any such attempt.

This is simply running down the clock à la Theresa May, but with an entirely different purpose.

Finally, there is the ironic point about the primacy of EU Law. The Benn Act is British law, but the Article 50 Extension Act is European Law. Here too, Boris can say, “EU Law has supremacy and I am obeying that Law by ignoring the Benn Act – which Article 50 does not recognise”. A Court case ensues, and once again, time runs out because – in this case – a High Court would be very odd indeed if it found in favour of UK Law. The Government would appeal, and almost certainly win.

By the way, Yvette Cooper says she will only vote for the Deal if bearded 6 foot 3 inch males can be classified as unaccompanied migrant children.


There is no certainty in any of this. I’m sure the Benn-Cooper-Thornberry-Swinson-Grieve axis of shared interests is also busily engaged playing with scenarios, and plotting what the corporates love to call critical path analyses. Equally, Corbynite Labour strategists will be weighing up the pros and cons, knowing full well that their Party too is both divided and divisive.

Man of non-violence and democracy (if the votes go his way) John McDonnell is already looking to life after St Jeremy of Islington. He has proclaimed that the next leader of the Labour party “must be a woman”. The Great Helmsman has spoken, so listen up all you worker ants: it’s a female next time, or else.

The single-gender Leadership shortlist has arrived.

In a 21st century world, one would hope that equality of opportunity was a given in a soi-disant meritocracy. But then, Mr McDo is still in the 19th, helping uncle Karl and then later that nice Mr Ulyanov to frame the basis for the dictatorship of the proletariat. By which, of course, he means the twitteriat.

Problem: Labour is seen by its Wimmin as a misogynist Party….probably because it is, and always has been.

McDonnell solution: Find a woman – any woman – and ensure she gets the leadership. Stuff a few Union ballots here and there: you know the sort of thing.

By their words shall ye know them.

Personally, I think the next Shadow Chancellor must be Diane Abbott. I think the next Foreign Secretary must be Jess Phillips. I think the next Minister for Truth must be Emily Thornberry. I think John McDonnell must be mad. Or a demagogue. And a demagogue even: thus making him a mademagogue.

All he needs is some transgender surgery, and voilà – he would become a Madamegogue, in pole position on a shortlist of One.


arndalegag.PNG Here’s a funny one, missus: this picture popped up on Twitter yesterday, with the words, ‘Manchester cops re 2nd suspect they want to interview re Arndale: “Do not jump to conclusions, as this could be an innocent shopper just going about his day.”‘ I have established that the shot was taken in the Arndale Centre; further, the subject is a person of colour, and does have a genuine Isis flag in his hand.

However, I have to think that the bullet belt, rifle and inescapably daft “police” caveat strongly suggest we were not meant to take it seriously. In fact, the shot has now disappeared entirely from the Digital Superhighway.

Nevertheless, it does point up again that the pandemic (some would say plague) of cognitive dissonance in our World makes it harder than ever to tell satire from ideology.

Ideology as satire: now there’s a subject that could generate more dark humour in ten minutes than the assassination of Abe Lincoln. But everyone’s too scared to do such a thing. Which is, if you think about it, reality as irony.

Have a terrific Saturday.