A Very British Coup revolved around a conspiracy by the military, the media, big business and MI5 to bring down a Left-wing government
Some of you will recall the novel A Very British Coup, subsequently made into an award-winning television series by Channel 4.
It was written by Labour MP Chris Mullin, published in 1982, and revolved around a conspiracy by the military, the media, big business and MI5 to bring down a Left-wing government.
At the time, the plot was entirely credible, since Britain was riven by strikes and revolution was in the air. I read the book as a young labour and industrial correspondent, and it made sense to me.
The Bennites were in the ascendancy, Margaret Thatcher was horribly unpopular and it looked as if the wizened Hampstead Leftie Michael Foot — Worzel Gummidge, as Private Eye dubbed him — would be our next Prime Minister.
Mullin’s assumptions were based on hard fact. In the Seventies there had been well-founded reports about an Establishment plot to depose Labour’s Harold Wilson.
In some quarters, there were even rumblings of a military coup.
A couple of years ago, when the unreconstructed Bennite Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, Mullin talked about writing a sequel. He imagined the Funny People orchestrating a putsch to thwart a democratically elected Corbyn government.
Trouble is, history has a habit of not working out as you expect. Although, as Marx said, history does have the capacity to repeat itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. That’s where we are right now. Except tragedy and farce are running in tandem.
We are in the middle of A Very British Coup, but not as Mullin predicted. What we’re seeing is an elaborate, well-financed and co-ordinated plot to overturn not an extreme Left-wing Prime Minister, but the democratically expressed will of the British people.
A couple of years ago, when the unreconstructed Bennite Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, Mullin talked about writing a sequel
It’s being mounted by the Government of the day, aided and abetted by big business and the Civil Service.
This is A Very British Coup, only written by Lewis Carroll, not Chris Mullin. In our new Looking Glass World, words mean — as Humpty Dumpty declared — whatever they want them to mean.
Thus, the dwindling band of MPs sticking up for the 17.4 million who voted Leave are condemned as plotters and rebels.
Those, including Theresa May, who are doing everything in their power to prevent Britain leaving the EU and becoming once again a proud, sovereign nation are hailed absurdly as true patriots.
As I’ve said often enough, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. About the only thing upon which I’ve ever agreed with Ken Livingstone — apart from cheap Tube fares — was when he wrote a book called If Voting Changed Anything They’d Abolish It. The Establishment seems hell-bent on proving him right over Brexit.
I told you the day after the referendum that the fix was already in. Now they’re on the final furlongs.
We’re being informed, in no uncertain fashion, that our votes are worthless, that we don’t count. We’re too ignorant, too uneducated, too racist to be taken seriously. Politicians who try to square the circle are vilified.
One minute Dominic Raab, who attempted to make a go of being Brexit Secretary, is a principled, pragmatic operator worthy of the highest praise.
One minute Dominic Raab, who attempted to make a go of being Brexit Secretary, is a principled, pragmatic operator worthy of the highest praise
The next, when he is forced to resign because Mother Theresa has deliberately undermined his negotiating position and then lied about it, he’s dismissed as a disloyal traitor.
And if I hear anyone else demanding a second ‘People’s Vote’, I’ll scream. All they want to do is reverse the referendum result or give us three options so they can split the Leave vote.
To be honest, I can’t take much more of this patronising guff. The Beeb’s idea of discerning, independent commentators these days seems to extend no further than ‘Baroness’ Shameless Chuckabutty, Potty Toynbee and Mad Alastair Campbell, the author of the dodgy dossier which took us into an illegal war in Iraq.
As I believe I may have observed before, Campbell is the only bloke I know with a certificate to prove he’s sane.
And don’t get me started on the CBI, which throughout my career has been wrong about everything, from joining the euro to the Thatcher reforms. The CBI speaks only for monopolistic, multinational megacorps, not the small-to-medium-sized businesses which are the backbone of our economy and always get the rough end of the pineapple from Brussels — even though they don’t sell so much as a brass washer outside Britain’s borders.
Twenty-five-odd years ago, covering a CBI conference in Glasgow, I watched the chairman of Dunlop take to the stage wearing a kilt and waving a Union Jack, as part of an I’m Backing Britain campaign. The following week, he sold the company to the Japanese.
The next, when he is forced to resign because Mother Theresa has deliberately undermined his negotiating position and then lied about it, he’s dismissed as a disloyal traitor
These are the same people now claiming to have British interests at the heart of their determination to keep us shackled to the anti-democratic EU.
The final straw came when the arrogant Amber Rudd was restored to Government over the weekend and immediately demanded loyalty and unity around Mrs May’s ‘deal’. Her commitment to ‘loyalty’ hasn’t stopped her trashing Cabinet colleagues in the past.
This fanatically pro-EU woman, who oozes an inter-galactic sense of entitlement from every pore, is the sister of the PR spiv Roland Rudd, who is paid a small fortune to run Project Fear on behalf of his well-heeled clients.
You Couldn’t Make It Up
Larry David adopts a ‘racist’ dog in Curb Your Enthusiasm
In one episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David adopts a ‘racist’ dog, which barks only at black people.
Now we learn that, in real life, the Met Police investigated as a ‘hate crime’ a dog which did its business on the pavement outside the home of an (unidentified) member of an ethnic minority.
The incident was duly recorded as: ‘An unknown dog has fouled outside of victim address and victim perceived this to be a racial incident.’ A second ‘hate crime’ involved ‘a dog which barked at a victim’.
Another couple of stories I don’t know whether to file under Mind How You Go or You Couldn’t Make It Up.
Just imagine if one of Boris’s siblings was cashing in on Brexit. The calls from Remainers for the police to investigate would be deafening. By Sunday, I’d had enough and reached the point where I came over all Tom Robinson.
I’ve given up reading the papers,
I’ve given up watching TV.
Look, I repeat, for those of you who missed it the first time round, even tungsten-tipped hard Brexiteers like me accept there will have to be some concessions if we’re going to escape from the EU straitjacket.
And I do think the prospect of a Marxist Corbynista government is too horrible to contemplate.
But I also believe it’s 1992 all over again. This is Mother Theresa’s Black Wednesday moment. Whatever happens next, the Tories are shot to pieces. All trust and confidence in them has drained away and we’re looking at a Labour government by default whenever the next election is called.
Most of the 17.4 million who believe they have been betrayed will simply stay at home, or drift back to Labour. Democracy will be the ultimate casualty of this shabby debacle.
The pathetic, defeatist dog’s breakfast of an agreement which Mother Theresa is trying to force down our throats isn’t even worthy of the description ‘deal’.
It is a monstrous capitulation and it will be etched on her political gravestone, even if she does manage to get it, or a version thereof, through Parliament.
Where do we go from here? I haven’t a clue. But at least we now know exactly what A Very British Coup looks like.
Digby, Britain’s first guide horse, has been sacked for being too big. Digby is being retrained to navigate escalators on the London Underground
Just as there is a Whitehall department which meets once a week to give me something to write about, so, too, does there appear to be an organisation devoted to giving Gary something to draw.
How else to explain the story about Digby, Britain’s first guide horse, who has been sacked for being too big?
Digby, an American Miniature, was being trained to assist a partially sighted BBC journalist. He learned to press the button at pedestrian crossings and post letters. But after a growth spurt, he started knocking items off the shelves in supermarkets and was too large to fit under a desk.
Rather than waste his skills, Digby is being retrained to navigate escalators on the London Underground before being reassigned to a new owner who works at the Office for National Statistics.
I have visions of finding myself on the Piccadilly Line, sitting next to a horse wearing iPod headphones and reading the Evening Standard.
It reminds me of the old story about someone bumping into a chap walking round Regent’s Park with a gorilla.
‘I’m taking him to London Zoo,’ the man explained.
Next day he’s spotted on the Finchley Road with the same gorilla.
‘I thought you were taking him to the zoo?’
‘That was yesterday. Today, I’m taking him to the pictures.’