Wednesday 26 January 2022
Not So Barking After All
Time was when if you wanted to know what the Constitution was, then you asked Norman St John-Stevas, and whatever he said that it was, then it was. In our own time, that role has passed to Jacob Rees-Mogg. In newly "Presidential" Britain, "a change of Leader requires a General Election," he drawls in order to frighten Conservative MPs into line.
But if 100 of them lost their seats, then that would result only in a hung Parliament with Labour as the largest party. Exactly as would have happened in the ordinary course of events this spring if Keir Starmer had not abandoned Labour's 2017 manifesto commitment to Brexit.
Boris Johnson responded to that change by calling a General Election. That same opportunism, which is not necessarily a bad thing in politics, caused him to respond to tabloid sentiment by ordering the evacuation of Pen Farthing's dogs and cats.
That was obvious at the time, and most people had probably forgotten that Johnson had ever gone through the formality of denying it. The fact that it had happened proved that it had been authorised by a Prime Minister who had saved dogs and cats ahead of human beings.