August is traditionally known as the ‘Silly Season’ – when parliaments close, politicians head for the beach and the papers are reduced to reporting even more rubbish to fill their columns during the summer break. Normally they make do with the mediocre performance of the English cricket team, sharks off the Devon coast and the occasional sighting of the Loch Ness monster. But this is not a normal summer.
The movers and shakers are on stand-by for a snap election, and all sorts of nonsense is being spouted by MPs who otherwise would literally be spending more time with their family in pleasanter climes.
Whilst Liberal-Democrats talk about “national governments” headed by the likes of discredited Blairites Hillary Benn or Yvette Cooper, the Greens have gone one better in calling for an all-woman coalition to topple Boris Johnson and keep us in the European Union (EU).
Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP in Parliament, has asked 10 female politicians from all parties to join her in forming an "emergency cabinet" in a bid to oust Boris Johnson and stop a No-deal Brexit. The chosen few include Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and even Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish nationalist leader who is not even a member of the Westminster parliament. Diane Abbott, the most senior woman politician on the Labour front bench, was predictably ignored. But it hardly matters because no-one, apart from the Guardian that published it, took the Green proposal seriously in the first place.
Boris Johnson has nothing to fear from embittered Blairite backbenchers whose “Anyone but Corbyn” mantra makes the formation of a “government of national unity” in this current parliament all but impossible. But Johnson’s Brexiteers are under threat from the Europhiles in their own camp and the prospect of Brexit overturned in parliament cannot be ignored.
This week former Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond had a pop at Boris Johnson’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings, when he accused the Prime Minister of heeding “unelected” saboteurs “who pull the strings” of his government. Needless to say, Cummings is loathed by the Remainers for his hard-line Brexit views.
Johnson’s foolish talk of proroguing parliament has enabled the Remainers to don the mantle of parliamentary sovereignty in the quarrel over Europe. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has vowed to block Boris Johnson from suspending parliament to force through a No-deal Brexit “with every breath in my body”, whilst others believe that the Queen’s "disappointment in the current political class” has further undermined Johnson’s prestige.
Johnson is clearly banking on being bailed out by an American trade deal to off-set the supposed losses that will follow Brexit. But even this is in doubt, despite the enthusiastic support of the Republican president, Donald Trump. Democrat rival Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, says there is “no chance” of a UK–US trade deal if a No-deal Brexit undermines the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland.
The Brexit crisis cannot be resolved by dirty deals in Parliament nor by crawling to the Americans. In fact this fractious parliament cannot resolve anything. There’s got to be a snap general election.
This will be our chance to kick the Tories out and sweep Labour back into power. We must use every resource the labour movement has to win the biggest possible vote for Labour by mobilising the mass support that swept Corbyn to the helm of the party in the first place. Labour can end austerity and empower the unions to raise the standard of living of every worker across the country. Let’s make sure it does.